|Royal Rumble (2005)|
Promotional poster featuring various WWE Superstars and referencing West Side Story.
|Theme(s)||"Find the Real" (Alter Bridge)|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Entertainment|
|Date||January, week 3, 2005|
|Venue||Save Mart Center|
|Royal Rumble chronology|
Royal Rumble (2005) was the eighteenth annual Royal Rumble professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It took place on January 30, 2005 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California and featured talent from both the RAW and SmackDown! brands.
The main event was the annual 30-man Royal Rumble match, which featured performers from both brands. Eddie Guerrero, the twenty-second entrant, won the match by last eliminating John Cena, the twenty-fifth entrant. The predominant match on the Raw brand was Shawn Michaels versus Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship, which Triple H won the title by pinfall after executing a Pedigree. The primary match on the SmackDown! brand was for the WWE Championship between champion Kurt Angle and Rob Van Dam. Angle won the match and retained the title after pinning RVD following a illegal hit with the championship belt followed by an Angle Slam. Other matches on the card included a Royal Rumble qualifying match between The Rock and Ric Flair and John Cena defending his WWE United States Championship against The Big Show.
The main feud heading into the Royal Rumble on the RAW brand was between Shawn Michaels and Triple H over the World Heavyweight Championship. Their feud started shortly after Michaels returned to WWE full-time following a four-year hiatus due to career ending back injuries and following surgery. Between 2002 and 2004, Michaels and Triple H had participated in several high-profile matches with one another. On the January, week 2 edition of Monday Night RAW, Triple H defeated Chris Benoit with help from Evolution teammates Batista and Ric Flair to become the no.1 contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. The following week on RAW, Michaels and Benoit defeated Triple H and Intercontinental Champion Randy Orton in a tag team match, followed by an attack on both victors by the stable.
The main feud on the SmackDown! brand was a singles match between WWE Champion Kurt Angle versus Rob Van Dam. On the first edition of SmackDown! of 2005, SmackDown general manager Paul Heyman announced a match to find out who Angle would face at the PPV. RVD defeated John "Bradshaw" Layfield and Booker T in a triple threat match to determine the no.1 contender for Angle's title. Over the next two weeks, Van Dam scored the victory over Angle in two seperate tag team match, first teaming with Rey Mysterio to defeat Angle and JBL. On January, week 3, RVD, Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero beat Angle, JBL and Booker T. The show ended with the challenger holding Angle's title belt over his head.
Another hyped match scheduled for the event was a one on one bout between The Rock and Ric Flair, with the winner advancing to the Royal Rumble match later in the evening. From late 2004, Evolution began to ambush The Rock, believing that he had no place anymore on RAW. The first major match between Rock and Flair in this current feud was a successful World Tag Team Championship by Flair and Batista against The Rock and Kane. The following week, Rock defeated Batista in a singles match. Afterwards, Raw general manager Eric Bischoff announced the match for the PPV, with the winner taking a spot in the thirty-man Royal Rumble match.
Another feud heading into the event from SmackDown! was over the WWE United States Championship between champion John Cena and The Big Show. After being "dissed" by Cena in a backstage interview segment with Josh Mathews on the January, week 1, episode of SmackDown!, Big Show appeared following Cena and Rey Mysterio's win over the Dudley Boys, attacking both men. The following week, both Cena and Big Show had Royal Rumble qualifying matches with Bubba Ray Dudley and Eddie Guerrero respectively. After Show cost Cena his match with Bubba Ray, Cena returned the favour by striking him with his title belt in the head. Paul Heyman then made the title match between the two Superstars for Royal Rumble.
Before the event went live on pay-per-view, WWE Cruiserweight Champion Chavo Guerrero defeated Tajiri in a non-title match in a match taped for Sunday Night Heat. The first match that aired was between United States Champion John Cena and The Big Show. Cena began mocking Big Show by copying his taunts, resulting in Show dominating the match physically. Cena began fighting back and took Show down with a top rope splash. Paul Heyman, who was watching the match at ringside, removed Cena's signature chain necklace off the ring post, claiming Cena was attempting to use it. Whilst Cena was distracted, Show regained momentum and chokeslammed Cena to win the match and the United States title.
The second match on the card was between The Rock and Ric Flair, with the winner advancing to the main event Royal Rumble match. Rock ran to the ring, different from his usual entrance, forcefully taking down Flair when he reached the ring. After a back and forth match, Flair took the advantage with a low blow without the referee noticing. When going for his signature submission, the Figure Four Leglock, Rock nearly submitted before reaching the ropes. After a sudden Rock Bottom and People's Elbow, The Rock scored the pin, qualifying for the Rumble match later in the night.
The third match at the Royal Rumble was a six diva tag team match between WWE Women's Champion Victoria, Jacqueline and Lita versus Jazz, Trish Stratus and Molly Holly. With all six ladies getting involved and offence in the match, the ending of the match came with the legal women Victoria and Jazz trading blows before a superkick to Jazz's face and a Widow's Peak to attain victory.
The next match was the SmackDown! main event for the WWE Championship featuring champion Kurt Angle and Rob Van Dam. The match began with a series of lock ups and reversals between champion and challenger, Angle took RVD down with a European uppercut, followed up with an attempt at an Angle Lock, with Van Dam reversing, throwing Angle out of the ring. RVD followed Angle out of the ring, performing a split legged moonsault on the security barricade at ringside. RVD threw Angle back into the ring, utilising the Rolling Thunder and a spinning leg drop on the champion. Later, Angle regained his stance and took Van Dam with a chickenwing hold. Referee Mike Chioda noticed Angle using an illegal choke, nearly disqualifying him. While arguing with the referee, Van Dam took Angle down with a dropkick and slingshot suplex. RVD climbed to the top rope, about to execute his Five Star Frog Splash signature manuever, Angle swiftly jumped to the top rope and suplexed the challenger off the third rope. After picking up RVD, Angle used his own finishing move, the Angle Slam to win the match.
The fifth match was the RAW main event with World Heavyweight Champion Shawn Michaels defending his title against Triple H. Whilst referee Earl Hebner was checking Michaels for illegal objects, Triple H piefaced the champion before Michaels retaliated with a open hand slap. The battle next made its way towards the announce position, with the Raw brand announce table losing its lid, with Michaels driving the Evolution leader through the table with a snap DDT. Michaels dragged Triple H back into the ring for a two-count, with further pummelling of the challenger. When Michaels attempted an elbow drop from the top rope, HHH got up and threw Michaels off the top rope into the barricade at ringside. HHH then grabbed the camera cable, trying to choke Michaels until Hebner took the cable off him. Triple H retaliated by tossing Hebner into the steel ring steps. During the referee's beaten state, Evolution members Batista and Randy Orton made their way to the ring to beat on Michaels, first Orton delivering an RKO. When Triple H attempted a cover, Hebner counted a slow two-count. When the referee fell back out of the ring, Batista entered and used his Batista Bomb finishing move on the champion for Triple H to score the win and become the new World Heavyweight Champion.
The final match was the 2005 Royal Rumble match.
|Sunday Night Heat||Chavo Guerrero defeated Tajiri||Singles match|
|1||Big Show defeated John Cena (c)||Singles match for the WWE United States Championship|
|2||The Rock defeated Ric Flair||Royal Rumble qualifying match|
|3||Victoria, Jacqueline & Lita defeated Trish Stratus, Jazz & Molly Holly||Six diva tag team match|
|4||Kurt Angle (c) defeated Rob Van Dam||Singles match for the WWE Championship|
|5||Triple H defeated Shawn Michaels (c)||Singles match for the World Heavyweight Championship|
|6||Eddie Guerrero last eliminated TBC to win||2005 Royal Rumble match|