Date 30 January 2005
|Sponsor(s) PlayStation 2|
|Tagline(s) All the rumbling, minus the dancing and singing|
Theme song(s) "Find the Real" by Alter Bridge
Venue Save Mart Center at Fresno State
Location Save Mart Center, Fresno, California, United States
Other Instances Royal Rumble (2017), Royal Rumble (2016), Royal Rumble (2015), Royal Rumble (2014), Royal Rumble (2013)
Royal Rumble (2005) was the eighteenth annual Royal Rumble professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It was presented by PlayStation 2 and took place on January 30, 2005, at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California and featured talent from both the Raw and SmackDown! brands. As has been customary since 1993, the Royal Rumble match winner received a match at that year's WrestleMania, (in this instance: WrestleMania 21) for his choice at either the WWE Championship or the World Heavyweight Championship.
Five professional wrestling matches were featured on the event's supercard, a scheduling of more than one main event. The main event was the annual 30-man Royal Rumble match, which featured wrestlers from both brands. Batista, the twenty-eighth entrant, won the match by last eliminating John Cena, the twenty-fifth entrant. The primary match on the Raw brand was Triple H versus Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship, which Triple H won by pinfall after performing a Pedigree. The primary match on the SmackDown! brand was a Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship between reigning champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield, Kurt Angle, and The Big Show, which JBL won by pinning Angle after performing a Clothesline from Hell. For the first time since The Wrestling Classic, no tag team match was featured on the card.
The professional wrestling matches at Royal Rumble featured professional wrestlers performing as characters in scripted events pre-determined by the hosting promotion, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Storylines between the characters were produced on WWE's weekly television shows Raw and SmackDown! with the Raw and SmackDown! brands—storyline divisions in which WWE assigned its employees to different programs.
On the night after Summerslam, Triple H kicked Randy Orton out of Evolution. The next month, at Unforgiven, Triple H won the World Heavyweight Championship against Orton. At Survivor Series, Team Orton (Orton, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, and Maven) defeated Team Triple H (Triple H, Edge, Batista, and Snitsky) in a four-on-four Traditional Survivor Series Elimination match, when Orton lastly eliminated Triple H. Two months later, at New Year's Revolution, three weeks before the Royal Rumble, Triple H won an Elimination Chamber match for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship, lastly eliminating Orton after outside interference from Evolution members Batista and Ric Flair. The next night on Raw, Orton defeated Batista to face Triple H for the title at the Royal Rumble. The next week, after Orton and Triple H had a verbal confrontation in the arena, Triple H ambushed Orton backstage. They fought until Orton tried to use a steel chair, and Triple H fled. The next week on Raw, Orton faced Ric Flair. During the match, as the referee was knocked down, Triple H came in and attacked Orton along with Flair. However, Orton fought off both men and won the match.
On the December 16, 2004 episode of SmackDown!, Angle challenged John "Bradshaw" Layfield to the WWE Championship. The Cabinet (Orlando Jordan, Doug, and Danny Basham) interfered and attacked Angle, disqualifying JBL. As they continued to attack Angle after the match The Big Show came out, beat down everyone, and signaled to JBL that he wanted the title. In the following weeks, a Triple Threat match for the title between the three was booked for the Royal Rumble. After this, JBL set up Angle to anger The Big Show, but Angle angered JBL in response. After realizing this, JBL aligned himself with The Big Show and confronted Angle; however, JBL turned on Big Show and beat him down with Angle. On the January 27 episode of SmackDown!, SmackDown! General Manager Theodore Long booked a Last Man Standing match between JBL and Angle for later that night. The two eventually turned on each other, and the match ended in a no contest. It was later revealed that the match was Big Show's idea.
Back in October 2004 at No Mercy, Heidenreich helped John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) defeat The Undertaker in a Last Ride match by attacking Undertaker and putting him in the hearse. At Survivor Series, Undertaker defeated Heidenreich by pinfall after executing a Tombstone Piledriver. At Armageddon 2004, Heidenreich once again cost Undertaker his title match against JBL in a Fatal Four Way that involved Booker T and Eddie Gurrerro by pushing Undertaker backwards while holding JBL in the tombstone piledriver position, before JBL pinned Booker T after a Clothesline From Hell. Smackdown's General Manager Theodore Long let Undertaker name the stipulation for his match against Heidenreich at Royal Rumble. As Heidenreich mentioned his fear of caskets, Undertaker chose to face him in a casket match for Royal Rumble.
At Taboo Tuesday 2004, Shawn Michaels was voted over Edge to face Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship. At New Year's Revolution 2005, Edge lost a shot at the title in an Elimination Chamber with Michaels as special referee. In the Elimination Chamber, Michaels superkicked Edge, before a lionsault from Chris Jericho, with Jericho making the cover. Believing it was Michael's fault that he was not crowned champion, Edge speared Michaels and the two men were booked into a match at Royal Rumble.
Before the event went live on pay-per-view, Maven defeated Rhyno in a match taped for Sunday Night Heat. The first match was between Edge and Shawn Michaels. Edge mocked Michaels by performing some of Michaels' signature taunts. Edge gained the advantage after an (Edge-O-Matic) outside the ring. After Edge left the ring, he speared Michaels outside the ring. Edge executed a Spear on Michaels for a near-fall. After countering Edge, Michaels executed a diving elbow drop on Edge. Edge countered a superkick attempt into an electric chair drop for a near-fall. Edge applied the Edgecator on Michaels but Michaels broke the hold. Michaels attempted a roll-up but Edge pinned Michaels using the ropes to win the match.
The second match was a Casket match between The Undertaker and Heidenreich. The match started back and forth until Heidenreich sent The Undertaker into the casket. The Undertaker applied the triangle choke until Gene Snitsky interfered and attacked The Undertaker. Snitsky and Heidenreich attacked The Undertaker and called for the casket to be opened but Kane was revealed to be inside the casket. He attacked Snitsky and Heidenreich and fought Snitsky throughout the arena. Heidenreich sent The Undertaker into the steel steps and pushed the casket into him. Heidenreich put The Undertaker in the casket after applying the cobra clutch but The Undertaker stopped the lid from closing with his arm. Heidenreich put The Undertaker in the casket again but The Undertaker countered. Undertaker executed a chokeslam and a Tombstone Piledriver and put Heidenreich in the casket to win the match.
The third match was a Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship between John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL), The Big Show, and Kurt Angle. Angle stayed on the outside of the ring as Big Show and JBL fought. After Angle broke up a pinfall attempt, Big Show attacked both men. Angle hit Big Show with a television monitor, causing him to fall through a broadcast announce table. Later, Big Show executed a Chokeslam on JBL but JBL placed his foot on the ropes to void the pinfall. Big Show tackled JBL through the barricade and performed a flapjack to Angle onto a chair. Luther Reigns, Mark Jindrak and Doug and Danny Basham attacked Big Show as Orlando Jordan helped JBL back into the ring. JBL executed a Clothesline from Hell on Angle to retain the title.
The fourth match was between Triple H and Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship. Before the match, Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff banned Evolution (Batista and Ric Flair) from ringside. Orton had the advantage until Triple H countered an RKO by throwing Orton out of the ring. Triple H kept the advantage and targeted Orton's left knee until Orton knocked him into a broadcast table. Orton kept the advantage until he missed a DDT. Triple H knocked both Orton and the referee down with a clothesline and tried to hit Orton with a sledgehammer but Orton pulled him into the ringpost. Triple H performed another clothesline and a Pedigree to retain the title.
The final match was the Royal Rumble match. Before the match, Kurt Angle stole Nunzio's entrance number and replaced him in the match. The participants divided into their brands and fought against each other, working together to eliminate Muhammad Hassan, the thirteen entrant. Scotty 2 Hotty, the fifteenth entrant, was attacked by Hassan during his entrance and never entered the match. Angle, the twentieth entrant, dominated upon entering until Shawn Michaels eliminated him. Angle came back to eliminate Michaels and attacked him. The final four participants remaining were Batista, United States Champion John Cena, Edge, and Rey Mysterio. Edge fought with Mysterio, executing a spear to eliminate Mysterio. Cena and Batista then eliminated Edge as he was attacking them. Cena tried to perform an FU on Batista but Batista countered. Batista then attempted a Batista Bomb but was countered with a headscissors takedown by Cena, sending both over the top rope and touching the floor at the same time. The referees for the Raw brand believed Batista to be the winner while the SmackDown! referees believed Cena to be winner. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon came to the ring, in the process legitimately tearing both his quadriceps muscles, and ordered the match to be restarted with the final two participants. Batista eliminated Cena following a Spinebuster to win the match.
The following weeks on Raw surrounded Batista's choice of which champion to face at WrestleMania 21. Triple H devised a scheme to have Batista almost run over by a limousine resembling John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL)'s, so Batista would challenge JBL instead of himself. Batista became aware of the scheme and chose to face Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania, thus leaving the Evolution stable in the process. He won the title, and their feud continued until he was drafted to SmackDown! on June 30. Batista remained champion until the January 13, 2006, episode of SmackDown! when he surrendered the title due to injury.
John Cena went on to win a tournament to become the number one contender to the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 21. The tournament concluded in a match between him and Kurt Angle at No Way Out, which Cena won after performing an FU. Following this, he began an angle with JBL. Cena defeated JBL to win the title at WrestleMania, and their feud ended after Cena retained the title in an "I Quit" match at Judgment Day. Cena would then go to hold on to the title until New Year's Revolution 2006 when Edge cashed in the Money in the Bank contract he won at Wrestlemania 21 and defeat Cena after an Elimination Chamber match.
Following the Royal Rumble, Randy Orton and Kurt Angle began feuding with The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, respectively. The Big Show faced JBL in the first ever barbed wire steel cage match for the title at No Way Out, which JBL won to retain the title. Orton briefly feuded with Christian before moving on to feud with The Undertaker, which spanned nine months. After losing his title match at No Way Out, The Big Show faced Akebono in a sumo match at WrestleMania, and he briefly feuded with Carlito afterwards.
Royal Rumble entrances and eliminations
Red ██ and "Raw" indicates a Raw superstar, blue ██ and "SmackDown!" indicates a SmackDown! superstar. A new entrant came out approximately every 90 seconds.
^ Scotty was attacked by Hassan before he made it to the ring, and therefore was unable to compete and never officially entered the match.
^ Kurt Angle had been eliminated by Shawn Michaels and then returned to the ring, and eliminated Michaels in retaliation.