|Tagline(s) I Am The One|
Venue Philips Arena
Date 31 January 2010
song(s) "Hero" by Skillet
"Martyr No More" by Fozzy|
Location Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Other Instances Royal Rumble (2017), Royal Rumble (2016), Royal Rumble (2015), Royal Rumble (2014), Royal Rumble (2013)
Royal Rumble (2010) was the twenty-third annual Royal Rumble professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It took place on January 31, 2010 at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia and featured talent from the Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands. As has been customary since 1993, the Royal Rumble match winner received a match at that year's WrestleMania, (in this instance: WrestleMania XXVI) for his choice at either the WWE Championship, the World Heavyweight Championship, or the ECW Championship.
- Preliminary matches
- Main event
- Royal Rumble entrances and eliminations
Six 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-competitor Royal Rumble match which featured wrestlers from all three brands. Edge, the twenty-ninth entrant, won the match by last eliminating John Cena, the nineteenth entrant. The primary match on the Raw brand was for the WWE Championship between reigning champion Sheamus and Randy Orton, which Sheamus won by disqualification. The primary match on the SmackDown brand was between The Undertaker and Rey Mysterio for the World Heavyweight Championship, which The Undertaker won to retain the championship. The featured match on the ECW brand was between Christian and Ezekiel Jackson for the ECW Championship, which Christian won.
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, SmackDown, and ECW with the Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands—storyline divisions in which WWE assigned its employees to different programs.
The pay-per-view featured the annual Royal Rumble match, which has been featured at every Royal Rumble event since its inception. It features 30 wrestlers, and the match ends when one wrestler remains in the ring, after all 29 other wrestlers have been eliminated via being tossed over the top ring rope and having both feet touch the floor. The winner would earn a world championship match of their choosing at WrestleMania XXVI.
On the December 15, 2009 episode of ECW, general manager Tiffany announced that the ECW brand would host a competition called the "ECW Homecoming", where the winner will face Christian for the ECW Championship at the Royal Rumble. Featuring current and former wrestlers from the ECW brand, the first round of the competition consisted of eight singles matches. The winners would then qualify to the "Homecoming Finale" on the January 12, 2010 episode of ECW, where they would fight in an eight-man battle royal that will determine the competition winner. The first two qualifying matches were featured later that night with Ezekiel Jackson defeating Vladimir Kozlov and Kane defeating Zack Ryder. On the December 22, 2009 episode of ECW, Jack Swagger returned in a losing effort to Yoshi Tatsu, while Vance Archer advanced with a victory over Goldust. On the December 29, 2009 episode of ECW, Matt Hardy and Evan Bourne defeated Finlay and Mike Knox respectively to qualify. The two remaining qualifying matches were held on the January 5, 2010 episode of ECW and saw Shelton Benjamin defeating Chavo Guerrero and CM Punk defeating Mark Henry to qualify. Ezekiel Jackson won the "Homecoming Finale", last eliminating Kane, to earn the right to face Christian at Royal Rumble.
On the January 4 episode of Raw, a fatal four-way match was held to determine the number one contender for WWE United States Championship featuring Montel Vontavious Porter, Mark Henry, Carlito and Jack Swagger. Porter emerged victorious by pinning Swagger, and earned a match against The Miz for the championship.
It was announced on December 31, 2009, on the company's official website that The Undertaker would be defending the World Heavyweight Championship at Royal Rumble; the means of determining the challenger was stated to be via the "Beat the Clock Sprint", a series of matches that sees who ever wins their match in the fastest time would be declared the number-one contender. The sprint, held on the January 1, 2010, episode of SmackDown, consisted of four matches involving CM Punk, Kane, Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, Matt Hardy, and Batista. The wrestler who won his match in the quickest time would earn the championship match. CM Punk defeated Matt Hardy in his match, setting the time at 7:20. The next match featured Kane and Ziggler; both failed to beat the time limit and the match ended in a draw. Rey Mysterio defeated Chris Jericho one second faster than Punk's time, with 7:19. The final match was Batista versus R-Truth; the match resulted in another time-limit draw, due in part to interference from Mysterio. Despite Mysterio's fastest time, on-screen consultant Vickie Guerrero overruled the result, announcing a match the following week between Mysterio and Batista, who had disputably won his match. The match between the two on the January 8 episode of SmackDown was declared a no contest following both men being incapacitated. A rematch between the two was held the following week, this time inside a steel cage. Mysterio won the match, earning the right to face The Undertaker at Royal Rumble.
The main event for Raw was determined on the January 11 episode with guest host Mike Tyson announcing the winner of a Triple Threat match later that night between John Cena, Kofi Kingston, and Randy Orton would advance to face Sheamus at Royal Rumble for the WWE Championship. Orton ultimately won with the help of Legacy, who took out Cena and Kingston for him.
Since November of the previous year, WWE Women's Champion Michelle McCool had been relentlessly insulting Mickie James over a perceived weight issue. The two had a match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, which saw McCool win, continuing the torment. James confronted McCool on the January 15 episode of SmackDown during a mocking monologue about James, leading to the champion assaulting her. It was also confirmed that day that McCool would defend her title again at Royal Rumble against James.
Before the event aired live on pay-per-view, an untelevised match took place in which Gail Kim, Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, and Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie) defeated Maryse, Katie Lea Burchill, Jillian Hall, Alicia Fox, and Natalya in a 10-Diva tag team match.
The event opened with Christian defending the ECW Championship against Ezekiel Jackson, who was accompanied by William Regal. Regal attempted to interfere but the referee noticed, ejecting Regal from ringside. Christian executed the Killswitch on Jackson to retain the title.
Next, The Miz defended the WWE United States Championship against Montel Vontavious Porter, as Theodore Long booked in a backstage segment. After MVP chased Miz into the ruing, Miz pinned him with a small package to retain the title.
After that, Sheamus defended the WWE Championship against Randy Orton. Sheamus dominated most of the match, targeting Orton's left arm. Sheamus attempted Pale Justice on Orton but Orton countered the move with a Rope Hung DDT. Orton pinned Sheamus but Sheamus touched the bottom rope, voiding the pinfall. Orton attempted a punt on Sheamus but Sheamus countered and targeted Orton's left arm. Cody Rhodes interfered and attacked Sheamus, meaing Sheamus retained the title by disqualification. After the match, Orton confronted and attacked Rhodes. Ted DiBiase came out but was also attacked by Orton. Sheamus attacked Orton with a Brogue Kick and celebrated his victory.
Next, Michelle McCool defended the WWE Women's Championship against Mickie James. McCool was accompanied by Layla. Before the match began, McCool taunted James by calling her "Piggy James" and Layla wore a fat suit to mock James. As the match started, Layla tried to attack James but McCool accidentally executed a Big Boot on Layla. James took advantage and executed a Mickie DDT to win the title.
The fifth match featured The Undertaker defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Rey Mysterio. After countering a Last Ride, Mysterio executed two 619s on Undertaker. Mysterio attempted a Splash but Undertaker caught Mysterio and executed a Last Ride to retain the title.
The main event was the Royal Rumble match. Dolph Ziggler and Evan Bourne, the first two entrants, were quickly eliminated by the third entrant CM Punk. After eliminating both men, Punk began talking on the microphone, boasting of his intention to win the match. Punk eliminated the fourth entrant, JTG, before being stopped by The Great Khali, the fifth entrant. The sixth person to enter the match was WWE Diva Beth Phoenix, who became only the second WWE Diva to participate in a Royal Rumble, after Chyna. Phoenix eliminated Khali by pulling him over the top rope while kissing him but was eliminated by Punk immediately afterward. Punk also eliminated Zack Ryder. Triple H entered at number eight and quickly began dominating the match. Montel Vontavious Porter, the fourteenth entrant, was attacked by The Miz during his ring entrance and taken backstage by medical personnel without entering the match. The Miz entered at number 16 but Porter returned to the match and eliminated himself and The Miz. The other half of D-Generation X, Shawn Michaels, entered at #18 and he and Triple H eliminated all the other competitors in the match, leaving themselves.
Michaels and Triple H were immediately joined by the nineteenth entrant, John Cena. After Triple H was attacked by Cena, Michaels performed a "Sweet Chin Music" (superkick) on Triple H and eliminated him. Chris Jericho entered the ring as the twenty-eight participant. Edge, the twenty-ninth entrant, entered, making his return following a six-month hiatus due to injury. Edge speared Jericho, Michaels and Cena before eliminating Jericho. Batista was the final participant in the match, entering at number 30. Batista eliminated Michaels, who tried to rejoin the match but was stopped. Cena eliminated Batista and Edge eliminated Cena to win the match.
After failing to win the Royal Rumble match and losing an Elimination Chamber qualifying match to Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels cost The Undertaker the World Heavyweight Championship against Chris Jericho in the SmackDown Elimination Chamber match at Elimination Chamber. As a result, Michaels challenged Undertaker to a rematch of their WrestleMania XXV match at WrestleMania XXVI. Undertaker agreed on the term that if Michaels lost, he would retire from professional wrestling. A stipulation was added that the match would be contested under no disqualifications and no countouts. At WrestleMania, Undertaker defeated Michaels to extend his WrestleMania winning streak to 18–0 and Michaels was forced to retire.
As a result of winning the 2010 Royal Rumble match, Edge earned the opportunity to wrestle for a world championship of his choosing at WrestleMania XXVI. After Chris Jericho won the World Heavyweight Championship from The Undertaker in an Elimination Chamber match at Elimination Chamber, Edge announced that he would wrestle Jericho for the title. At WrestleMania, Jericho defeated Edge to retain the title. After the match, Edge would be frustrated, spearing Chris Jericho through the barricade in the process at ringside. The rivalry ended after Edge defeated Jericho in a Steel Cage match at Extreme Rules.
John Cena eliminated Batista from the Royal Rumble match, which started a conflict between Batista and Cena. On the February 1, 2010 episode of Raw, Cena rescued Bret Hart from an assault by Batista and Vince McMahon. After the show ended, Cena tried to help Hart but was attacked by Batista. At Elimination Chamber, Cena won the WWE Championship from Sheamus in an Elimination Chamber match. After the match, McMahon ordered Cena to defend the title against Batista. Batista defeated Cena to win the WWE Championship. At WrestleMania XXVI, Cena defeated Batista to regain the WWE Championship. Cena would retain the title against Batista in a Last Man Standing match at Extreme Rules and in an "I Quit" match at Over the Limit, which forced Batista to quit WWE.
After the Royal Rumble, Christian and Ezekiel Jackson continued to feud over the ECW Championship. On the final episode of ECW on February 16, 2010, Jackson defeated Christian in an Extreme Rules match to become the final ECW Champion. Afterwards the ECW Championship along with the brand itself became defunct.
The Royal Rumble received generally positive reviews from critics. The Sun in a positive review gave praise to Edge's Rumble victory and Rey Mysterio's and The Undertaker's performances in the World Title match, though criticized the US title match as rushed and poorly booked, and the short length and quality of the Rumble match. The Women's Title match was praised for its build up prior the event, but received mostly negative reviews because of the little time the match had. Overall they awarded the event a 7 out of 10.
The event earned 462,000 pay-per-view buys, an increase of 12,000 on the 2009 Royal Rumble.
Royal Rumble entrances and eliminations
Red ██ and "Raw" indicates a Raw wrestler, blue ██ and "SD" indicates a SmackDown wrestler, purple ██ and "ECW" indicates an ECW wrestler.