Date 30 January 2011
|City Boston, Massachusetts|
Venue TD Garden
|Tagline(s) The Biggest Royal Rumble in History|
Theme song(s) "Living in a Dream" by Finger Eleven
Location TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Other Instances Royal Rumble (2017), Royal Rumble (2016), Royal Rumble (2015), Royal Rumble (2014), Royal Rumble (2013)
Royal Rumble (2011) was the twenty-fourth annual Royal Rumble professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It took place on January 30, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, and featured talent from 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 XXVII) for his choice at either the WWE Championship or the World Heavyweight Championship.
Four matches were featured on the event's supercard, a scheduling of more than one main event. The main event was the annual Royal Rumble match featuring 40 participants from both brands, instead of the usual number of 30. Alberto Del Rio, the thirty-eighth entrant, won the match by last eliminating Santino Marella, the thirty-seventh entrant. The primary match on the Raw brand was for the WWE Championship, between reigning champion The Miz and Randy Orton, which The Miz won to retain the championship. The primary match on the SmackDown brand was Edge versus Dolph Ziggler for the World Heavyweight Championship, which Edge won, to retain the title. The other featured match on the card was a Fatal Four Way match for the WWE Divas Championship between Eve Torres, Natalya, Layla, and Michelle McCool, which Torres won to win the championship.
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.
The pay-per-view featured the annual Royal Rumble match, which has been featured at every Royal Rumble event since its inception. However, for the first and only time in the history of the event, the Royal Rumble match featured 40 wrestlers instead of the usual number of 30. The same rules implied regardless of the number of entrants; the match ends when one wrestler remains in the ring, after all 39 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 XXVII.
The night after Survivor Series, The Miz cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and defeated Randy Orton for the WWE Championship before successfully defending it against Orton the next month at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs. After defeating Wade Barrett and Sheamus, in a steel cage match on an episode of Raw, Orton received another opportunity at the title in a match against The Miz.
After defeating "Dashing" Cody Rhodes, Drew McIntyre and The Big Show, Dolph Ziggler received a World Heavyweight Championship match against Edge after Kane lost to Edge in his rematch. After winning his opportunity, Edge went on a campaign against Ziggler and his girlfriend, Edge's ex-wife, Vickie Guerrero. On the January 28 episode of SmackDown, Vickie Guerrero, who acted as General Manager in place of the injured Theodore Long, banned the use of the spear and would strip him of his title if he was caught using it during his match against Ziggler.
The Divas rivalry entering the Royal Rumble was between Natalya and LayCool over the Divas Championship. Natalya defeated LayCool in a handicap match at Survivor Series to win the Divas Championship, and she would later team with Beth Phoenix in defeating LayCool in a Divas tag team Tables Match at TLC. On the December 20 edition of Raw, Melina turned villainous after defeating Eve Torres and Alicia Fox in a #1 Contender's Triple Threat Match, when she slapped Natalya after the match. On the January 24, 2011 edition of Raw, Natalya successfully defended the title against Melina, and after the match ended, LayCool entered and announced that they will cash in their rematch clause at the Royal Rumble event.
The event opened with Edge defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Dolph Ziggler, with the stipulation that Edge would lose the World Heavyweight Championship should he use the Spear. Edge applied the Edgecator on Ziggler but Ziggler touched the ring ropes, forcing Edge to break the hold. Ziggler performed a Leg Drop Bulldog on Edge for a near-fall. Ziggler applied a Sleeper Hold on Edge but Edge escaped and performed an Edgecution on Ziggler. Edge pinned Ziggler but Vickie Guerrero pulled the referee, voiding the pinfall at a two count. Whilst Kelly Kelly attacked Guerrero, Ziggler performed a Zig Zag on Edge for a near-fall. Ziggler applied another Sleeper Hold on Edge but Edge collided with the referee, allowing Edge to perform a Spear on Ziggler. Edge performed a Killswitch on Ziggler to retain the title.
Next, The Miz defended the WWE Championship against Randy Orton. During the match, Orton attempted an RKO on The Miz but The Miz countered the move and attempted a Skull Crushing Finale on Orton but Orton countered the move and performed an Olympic Slam on The Miz. The Miz retrieved the WWE Championship belt and attempted to walk away but Orton performed a Clothesline on Miz. Orton performed an Elevated DDT on Miz but The Nexus appeared. Whilst the referee was distracted by The Nexus, Orton threw Alex Riley and the referee. Orton performed an RKO on The Miz but Punk performed a GTS on Orton. When the referee recovered, Miz pinned Orton to retain the title.
After that, Natalya defended the WWE Divas Championship against Layla and Michelle McCool and Eve Torres in a Fatal 4-Way match. Natalya applied a Double Sharpshooter on Eve and Layla but McCool performed a Big Boot on Natalya. McCool attempted another Big Boot on Natalya but Natalya avoided the move, resulting in McCool performed a Big Boot on Layla. Eve performed a Diving Moonsault on Layla to win the title.
The main event was the 40-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania XXVII. CM Punk entered at #1 whilst United States Champion Daniel Bryan entered at #2. Punk would last the longest in the match for over 35 minutes and scored seven eliminations, eliminating Bryan, John Morrison, Mark Henry (with the assistance of The Nexus), Chris Masters, Tyler Reks, WWE Tag Team Champion Vladimir Kozlov and R-Truth.
Booker T was a surprise entrant at #21 but he was eliminated by Mason Ryan. John Cena, the twenty-second entrant, scored seven eliminations, eliminating Ryan, David Otunga, Michael McGillicutty, Punk, Tyson Kidd, and Heath Slater. Diesel was a surprise entrant at #32 but he was eliminated by Wade Barrett. Alex Riley was eliminated by Cena and Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston. WWE Champion The Miz eliminated Cena, leaving Barrett, WWE Tag Team Champion Santino Marella, Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton as the final four.
Orton eliminated Barrett but was eliminated by Del Rio. Whilst Del Rio argued with a referee, Marella performed a Cobra on Del Rio. Marella attempted to eliminate Del Rio but Del Rio eliminated Marella to win the match. This Royal Rumble match was the longest in its history, being longer than the 2002 match by 27 seconds.
Royal Rumble received positive reviews, most notably from Arda Ocal and Jim Korderas of Right After Wrestling on SIRIUS Radio 98, who called it one of the best Royal Rumble matches in recent memory. Writing for the United Kingdom's The Sun newspaper, Rob McNichol praised the event, particularly noting Alberto Del Rio's surprise Rumble match victory, and John Morrison's impressive performance which, he wrote, "featured arguably the spot of the decade as John Morrison was knocked from the apron to the guardrail, but avoided elimination by gripping the barrier and leaping back onto the steps. It truly had to be seen to be believed". He further praised Dolph Ziggler's performance in a big-match situation, giving a 9 out of 10 rating in his match with Edge and the story the Miz–Orton told, in a match that received an 8 out of 10. Overall he awarded the event 8.5 out of 10. SLAM! Wrestling writers Dale Plummer and Nick Tylwalk shared similar compliments to the event, praising the short, though crowd-pleasing appearances of Kevin Nash and Booker T. Overall, they also awarded the event a score of 8.5/10. The event received 476,000 buys, up from the previous year's 465,000.
Royal Rumble entrances and eliminations
Red ██ and "Raw" indicates a Raw wrestler, blue ██ and "SD" indicates a SmackDown wrestler, Beige ██ and "Legend" indicates a WWE Legend
^ The Miz was not a participant in the Royal Rumble match.