This was the fifth annual "Royal Rumble" event to take place within the WTX Universe. It was the first live event to take place in 2016 and was followed in February by SmackDown's No Way Out.
There were seven matches that took place on the show, with 2 being from each of the three brands and then the main event featuring 10 superstars from each brand. The first match scheduled for the event was the traditional Royal Rumble match that featured 10 superstars from Raw, NXT & SmackDown. Unlike previous Royal Rumble event, this match was put together in the prior weeks to the event with 10 qualifying matches on each show. The first confirmed participants were Kalisto (who defeated Tyler Breeze) and John Cena (who defeated Neville) on the December 10th edition of SmackDown. On the December 14th edition of Raw, the brands first three participants were revealed as new Global Champion, Dean Ambrose defeated Corey Graves, Baron Corbin defeated Titus O'Neil and Finn Balor defeated Rey Mysterio, whose hands were on the rope but neither Balor nor the referee knew. On the December 16th special edition of NXT, TakeOver: Brooklyn, all non-title matches were made into Royal Rumble qualifying matches. On the show William Regal qualified defeating Fandango along with R-Truth who defeated Brian Pillman and Dean "The Nightmare" Frost who defeated the debuting Arnold T2. SmackDown's second batch of participants were revealed next on the December 17th edition of SmackDown as Chris Jericho defeated Bray Wyatt via countout, Sin Cara defeated Sami Zayn and Roman Reigns defeated the returning Vader.
The following Saturday, Main Event hosted its first ever Rumble qualifiers on the December 19th edition, with one qualifier from each brand. On the show Big Show defeated Booker T, James Storm defeated Tyson Kidd and Curtis Axel defeated Cesaro with assistance from returning superstar, Axel's father and tag partner, Mr. Perfect. On the December 21st edition of Raw, two more participants were revealed as Rusev quickly defeated Goldust and Wolfe Kessler defeated former tag team partner Kevin Nash, who walked out on the match after being overwhelmed. On the following NXT three more participants were revealed as Seth Rollins defeated The Miz via disqualification, Heath Slater defeated Darren Young and Kevin Owens defeated Rikishi. SmackDown's final participants were revealed on the December 24th edition of SmackDown, which saw Booker T win a Battle Royal featuring the prior six superstars who had failed to qualify on SmackDown, Luke Harper defeat Daniel Bryan, Sting defeat Erick Rowan, CM Punk & Christian and The Rock defeated Bret Hart, Batista & Kane. With SmackDown's 10 participants revealed, the December 26th edition of Main Event saw NXT superstar Jack Swagger qualify after defeating Mr. Perfect as well as Raw superstars Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods (The New Day) qualify as they defeated Mark Henry in a 3-on-1 Handicap. The final Raw participant was determined on the December 28th edition of Raw as Rey Mysterio defeated Bad News Barrett, Damien Sandow, Bo Dallas, Jeff Hardy & Hideo Itami. On the final NXT of the year, airing December 30th, the final 2 participants of both NXT and the Rumble as a whole were decided when Ricky Steamboat defeated Stardust, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Leo Kruger & Alberto Del Rio and the debuting Prince Puma defeated Roddy Piper, Justin Gabriel, The Brian Kendrick, Eddie Guerrero & Rick Rude. After the 30 participants were decided there were rumours that some may be replaced with surprise entrants, as well as this there has been controveries surrounding some outcomes in the qualifiers. On the January 11th edition of Raw, Ryback, Sheamus & Mark Henry challenged The New Day for their spots in the Rumble but were unsuccessful. Following this on the January 13th edition of NXT, R-Truth was made to defend his Rumble spot against The Miz in successful fashion, Curtis Axel was also forced to defend his spot against Stone Cold, but unlike Truth, was unsuccessful and lost his spot in the Rumble Match.
As the Royal Rumble qualifiers were being determined, the other six matches for the event were being set. Raw's main event was determined following the WWE Championship Elimination Chamber at Vengeance in which Randy Orton became a 2-time WWE Champion. The former champion, The Undertaker invoked his rematch clause for the Rumble event. On the road to the Rumble however, Hideo Itami, who eliminated The Undertaker in the chamber match issued a challenge to Orton on the December 14th edition of Raw in which Itami defeated Orton with a single GTS. Itami, who was now #1 contender, invoked his shot for the December 21st edition of Raw, claiming he would close out the year as champion, however, Orton defeated Itami the following week on Raw, retaining the championship. After this Undertaker faced Orton in non-title action on Raw, the two had a phsycial encounter that ended with Orton defeating the former champion. The following week, Undertaker issued a rematch but due to injuries suffered in the match, Orton could not compete and was filled in for by Damien Sandow, who got an upset victory over The Undertaker.
The second match from Raw set for the Royal Rumble saw the Global Champion Dean Ambrose defend his championship against the former champion, Carlito, who Ambrose defeated at Vengeance to become the second ever champion. Carlito claimed that the win was controversial as Ambrose pinned another participant within the match, Damien Sandow, to win the championship. Carlito went as far as to distract Ambrose during a non-title match with Finn Balor, costing Ambrose the match. The following week Ambrose and Carlito faced off in non-title action, with Carlito defeating Ambrose clean. Further building tension on the current champion, Ambrose for his match with Carlito at Royal Rumble.
NXT's matches were also set quickly after their special event, TakeOver: Brooklyn. With The Great Destroyer defeating Stardust to become a 2-time NXT Champion. Stardust was not given a rematch due to the shortness of his reign. However, Pentagon Jr., who was undefeated heading into TakeOver, challenged the champion to a championship match at the Royal Rumble. The Great Destroyer, who claimed he was responsible for Pentagon Jr's arrival in NXT as well as the "Lucha Movement" that had been taking place across the brands in recent weeks, accepted the challenge, but non-title. On the December 23rd edition of NXT Pentagon defeated The Great Destroyer, earning a title match at the Royal Rumble.
The second match set from NXT saw the NXT Women's Champion, Alice Lovecraft, defend her championship against her friend Becky Lynch and newcomer Tamina in a Triple Threat Match. Alice, who was injured at TakeOver: Brooklyn, had to miss her match with the debuting Tamina, Lynch, who filled in, lost the match to Tamina in a squash. Frustrations built between Lynch and Lovecraft leading to a non-title match on the December 23rd edition with Lovecraft defeating Lynch in aggressive fashion, before the match however, Lovecraft was attacked by Tamina. The following week, Tamina defeated Lovecraft in singles competition.
The final two matches from SmackDown were set over many weeks, with Jeri-Show being forced to defend their WWE Tag Team Championship against a handpicked opposing team by SmackDown General Manager Teddy Long. On the December 24th edition of SmackDown it was revealed that the new contenders were Luke Harper & Erick Rowan, who went on to lose to the WWE Tag Team Champions in non-title action heading into the Rumble event.
The final match of the card saw Brock Lesnar defend his World Heavyweight Championship. In previous weeks Lesnar had issued open challenges that had been accepted by Bret Hart, Vader, The Rock, Roman Reigns & Neville who have all lost to Lesnar in non-title matches on SmackDown. Neville, unlike the former challengers, insisted on facing Lesnar a second week claiming he would have won had the referee seen his hand on the ropes. The following week Neville was screwed again, after kicking out of two F5's from Lesnar, as Paul Heyman distracted the referee, keeping Lesnar in the match. The SmackDown General Manager, Teddy Long, announced that on the January 14th edition of SmackDown, Neville will face Bret Hart in a Ladder Match for a shot at Lesnar's championship at the Royal Rumble. The match ended with Bret Hart winning the shot at Lesnar after Neville fell to the outside.
The event saw three new champions crowned as Erick Rowan & Luke Harper ended the 252 day reign of the WWE Tag Team Champions, Jeri-Show, with Erick Rowan defeating Chris Jericho. Becky Lynch defeated the NXT Women's Champion Alice Lovecraft as well as Tamina in an underdog-like situation to become Women's Champion, pinning Tamina, who was previously undefeated heading into the match. Finally, the NXT Championship changed hands as despite the return of Prince Crimzon, reforming The Disciples of Darkness to help The Great Destroyer, Pentagon Jr. still defeated the champion.
The show also featured two championship retentions as Dean Ambrose defeated Carlito to end their rivalry, with Ambrose finally pinning Carlito to retain his Global Championship. Next, Brock Lesnar retained his World Heavyweight Championship with minimal effort over Bret Hart, dominating the entire match to get his first championship defence since winning it back in November. Finally in the semi-main event, Randy Orton defeated The Undertaker with an RKO to retain the WWE Championship.
In the main event, Rey Mysterio, who entered at #19, won the Royal Rumble Match by last eliminating the United States Champion John Cena to earn a world championship main event match at WrestleMania V.
|1||Dean Ambrose (c) def. Carlito||Singles Match for Global Championship||5:49|
|2||Erick Rowan & Luke Harper def. Jeri-Show (c)||Tag Team Match for WWE Tag Team Championship||14:56|
|3||Becky Lynch def. Alice Lovecraft (c) & Tamina||Triple Threat Match for NXT Women's Championship||6:24|
|4||Brock Lesnar (c) w/Paul Heyman def. Bret Hart||Singles Match for World Heavyweight Championship||9:23|
|5||Pentagon Jr. def. The Great Destroyer (c) w/Prince Crimzon||Singles Match for NXT Championship||14:22|
|6||Randy Orton (c) def. The Undertaker||Singles Match for WWE Championship||7:45|
|7||Rey Mysterio won after last eliminating John Cena||30-Man Royal Rumble Match for a WWE, World Heavyweight or NXT Championship Match at WrestleMania V||33:50|
Royal Rumble eliminations
|#||Entrant||Order of Elimination||Eliminated by||Time||Eliminations|
|2||Heath Slater||2||Finn Balor||2:28||1|
|3||Finn Balor||5||AJ Styles||4:10||2|
|4||Baron Corbin||3||Finn Balor||2:10||0|
|5||Booker T||6||AJ Styles||3:05||1|
|6||Kevin Owens||4||Booker T||1:40||0|
|7||AJ Styles||7||Stone Cold||3:48||2|
|8||Seth Rollins||12||Sin Cara||7:59||0|
|9||Wolfe Kessler||8||Stone Cold||2:40||0|
|10||Prince Crimzon||10||James Storm||5:34||0|
|11||Stone Cold||9||James Storm||3:38||2|
|12||James Storm||13||Big Show||5:06||2|
|13||Big Show||15||Ricky Steamboat||7:52||2|
|14||Roman Reigns||11||Big Show||2:26||0|
|15||Sin Cara||14||Prince Puma||3:53||1|
|16||Chris Jericho||17||Prince Puma||6:11||0|
|17||Dean Frost||16||Rey Mysterio||4:13||0|
|18||Prince Puma||19||Kofi Kingston||6:02||2|
|19||Ricky Steamboat||20||Kofi Kingston||6:44||2|
|21||Xavier Woods||21||Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio & The Rock||5:10||0|
|22||Kofi Kingston||22||Rey Mysterio||5:23||3|
|23||Big E||18||Ricky Steamboat||0:12||0|
|24||Jack Swagger||25||John Cena||6:39||0|
|28||Dean Ambrose||24||Luke Harper||1:00||0|
|29||John Cena||29||Rey Mysterio||5:28||2|