Royal Rumble 2007 was the twentieth annual Royal Rumble professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It took place on January 28, 2007 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
This marked the first time that the new ECW brand participated in the Royal Rumble match. The winner of the Royal Rumble won a championship match for his choice of either the WWE Championship, the World Heavyweight Championship, or the ECW World Championship at WrestleMania 23. Unlike previous years, there was an uneven distribution of participants in the Royal Rumble match between the brands (with thirteen from Raw, ten from SmackDown!, and seven from ECW).
The main event was the annual 30-man Royal Rumble match, which featured participants from all three brands. The Undertaker, the thirtieth entrant, won the match by last eliminating Shawn Michaels, the twenty-third entrant. The primary match on the Raw brand was a Last Man Standing match for the WWE Championship between John Cena and Umaga. Cena won the match and retained the title after Umaga was unable to get to his feet before the referee counted to ten. The predominant match on the SmackDown! brand was Batista versus Mr. Kennedy for the World Heavyweight Championship, which Batista won by pinfall after executing a Batista Bomb. The featured match on the ECW brand was between Bobby Lashley and Test for the ECW Championship, which Lashley won after Test was counted out.
Royal Rumble featured professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines that were played out on Raw, SmackDown!, and ECW – World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) primary television programs. Wrestlers portrayed a villain or a hero as they followed a series of events that built tension, and culminated into a wrestling match or series of matches. The event featured wrestlers from WWE's Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands – a storyline division in which WWE employees were assigned to a television program of the same name.
The main feud heading into the Royal Rumble on the Raw brand was between John Cena and Umaga, with the two feuding over the WWE Championship. At the previous pay-per-view event, New Year's Revolution, Cena defeated Umaga to end his undefeated streak and retain the WWE Championship. The night after on Raw, Armando Alejandro Estrada, Umaga's manager, asked for a rematch, which Cena agreed to. Later that night, during a match between Cena and The Great Khali, Umaga interfered and attacked Cena. The following week, the official contract signing for their rematch at the Royal Rumble took place. After it was announced that Estrada could choose the match type, Estrada chose the match to be a Last Man Standing match. Cena signed the contract and proceeded to attack both Umaga and Estrada. On the January 22 episode of Raw, after Cena was eliminated from a Battle Royal, Umaga attacked Cena, and injured his spleen, which was portrayed as real as part of their storyline.
The predominant feud on the SmackDown! brand was between Batista and Mr. Kennedy, with the two battling over the World Heavyweight Championship. On the January 5 episode of SmackDown! a Beat the Clock Sprint began. Wrestlers competed in single matches, and the wrestler to win a match in the shortest amount of time would then become the number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble. Mr. Kennedy, who defeated Chris Benoit in nearly five minutes, had the shortest time at the end of the show. The following week, the Sprint continued. In the final match, between The Undertaker and The Miz, Kennedy interfered by pulling The Miz out of the ring. After performing the Tombstone piledriver on The Miz, The Undertaker went for the pin attempt. Time, however, ran out and Kennedy became the winner of the Sprint. The following week after on SmackDown!, The Undertaker was put in a match with Kennedy, where if he won, he would be added to the title match at the Royal Rumble. During the match, after Kennedy attacked Batista, who was at ringside. Batista retaliated against Kennedy, causing The Undertaker to get disqualified. Thus, the match at the Royal Rumble remained a singles match between Batista and Kennedy.
The main feud on the ECW brand was between Bobby Lashley and Test, with the two feuding over the ECW Championship. Rob Van Dam won an online poll against Test and Sabu to earn a title shot on the January 2 episode of ECW, which ended in no-contest. Van Dam was given another title match the next week. Test interfered in the match, and attacked both men. A Triple Threat match for the title occurred on the January 16 episode of ECW between Lashley, Van Dam, and Test. Lashley won, but was beaten down afterwards by Test. A title match between Lashley and Test was then made for the Royal Rumble. A week after that match was made, on the January 23 episode of ECW, Lashley defeated Test in another title match.
The first match that aired was a tag team match between The Hardys (Matt and Jeff) and MNM (Joey Mercury and Johnny Nitro). The match went back and forth until MNM took control by attacking Matt's injured jaw repeatedly. The Hardys gained the advantage briefly, but lost it when Nitro countered an aerial attack by Jeff. Jeff finally tagged Matt, who beat down both Mercury and Nitro. The finish came when Matt hit the Twist of Fate, and Jeff hit the Swanton Bomb on Nitro. Jeff then pinned Nitro for the victory.
The second match was between ECW World Champion Bobby Lashley and Test for the ECW World Championship. Test used several illegal moves, and took control after driving Lashley's shoulder into the ringpost. He continued to attack the shoulder until Lashley fought back with several powerful moves. Test rolled out of the ring, and allowed himself to be counted out. Lashley won, and retained his title. He came after Test, however, brought him back into the ring, and continued to beat him down.
Main event matches
The third match was between World Heavyweight Champion Batista and Mr. Kennedy for the World Heavyweight Championship. Batista gained an early advantage by overpowering Kennedy until Kennedy injured Batista's knee by using the steel steps. Kennedy continued to attack Batista's knees, and applied various submission holds that target the knee. Batista fought back, still favoring the knee, until Kennedy pushed Batista into the referee, and hit a low blow. Kennedy had a clear advantage and had Batista pinned for over a three-count, but the match went on due the referee being knocked out. Batista eventually rose and hit a clothesline, and a Batista Bomb for the pinfall to retain the title as the referee had since woken up.
The fourth match was the Last Man Standing match between John Cena and Umaga for the WWE Championship. Umaga dominated Cena, gaining the advantage by using powerful moves, and attacking Cena's bandaged ribs. Cena tried to fight back using the steel steps, but Umaga quickly recovered, and continued the beat down. Cena managed to hit a low blow, a bulldog onto the steel steps, a spin-out powerbomb, and the Five Knuckle Shuffle all onto Umaga. Umaga regained control when Cena attempted an FU onto the steps, and collapsed, hitting his head on the steps. Cena avoided a running headbutt drop, and hit Umaga in the head with a television monitor. Umaga got up, but missed a running splash through the announce table. Umaga got up again as his manager, Armando Alejandro Estrada, detached one of the top turnbuckles for Umaga to use. Cena avoided the attack, hit an FU, and choked Umaga using the loose ring rope. Umaga failed to answer the referee's count of ten, and Cena retained the title.
The final match was the Royal Rumble match. Kane, the tenth entrant, dominated the match upon entering, and eliminated Tommy Dreamer and Sabu, hitting the latter with a chokeslam through a table Sabu had earlier set up. The Sandman, entering fifteen, used his signature Singapore Cane in the match before being quickly eliminated by King Booker. Randy Orton and Edge worked together to eliminate the Hardys. After Booker was eliminated by Kane, he returned to the ring, eliminated Kane, and continued to beat him down. It took the combined effort of eight men to eliminate Viscera after Shawn Michaels hit him with a superkick. The Great Khali, entering twenty-eighth, dominated upon entering the match, and eliminated seven men. Entering last was The Undertaker, who immediately fought with, and eliminated Khali. He then eliminated Montel Vontavious Porter, leaving four in the match: Edge, Orton, Michaels, and The Undertaker. Orton caught Edge trying to attack him, but the two soon reconciled, and worked together on The Undertaker. Michaels, who was outside of the ring, came back in, and eliminated both Orton and Edge. The remaining two exchanged attacks until the end, when The Undertaker hit a chokeslam, but Michaels came back with a superkick. Michaels went for another superkick, but The Undertaker avoided it, and eliminated Michaels to win the match. The Undertaker is the first competitor to win the Rumble match from slot 30 (what is considered to be the "easiest" spot to win from, despite no one having done so in any previous match).
The shows following the Royal Rumble surrounded The Undertaker's choice of which champion to face at WrestleMania 23. The Undertaker appeared on all three brands, and stared down the champions. Finally, on the February 5 episode of Raw, The Undertaker chose to face Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship, and performed a chokeslam on him, starting their rivalry. The Undertaker won the title at WrestleMania, and their feud continued until the May 11 episode of SmackDown!, when The Undertaker lost the title to Edge, who cashed in the Money in the Bank, that he won from Mr. Kennedy, earlier that week on Raw.
After The Undertaker made his choice on February 5, Shawn Michaels, Edge, and Randy Orton all wanted to face Cena for his title at WrestleMania. A Triple Threat match was made between the three for the title shot, which Michaels won after pinning Orton. Cena successfully retained his title against Michaels at WrestleMania. They continued to feud over the title with the addition of Orton and Edge, but Cena remained champion. Soon after the Royal Rumble, Umaga and Bobby Lashley joined the feud between Mr. McMahon and Donald Trump in the "Battle of the Billionaires" as their representatives respectively for the Hair vs. Hair match at WrestleMania.
His Royal Rumble match marked the start of Mr. Kennedy's push to main-event status. He went on to face Bobby Lashley for the ECW Championship at No Way Out, which he won via disqualification, thus failing to win the title. Kennedy won the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania, which gave him a world title shot at any time of his choosing for the year following. Kennedy sustained an injury at a house show, however, that would leave him sidelined for five to seven months, and was booked to lose his title shot to Edge on the May 7 episode of Raw. Later results showed the injury to be much less severe, but Kennedy had already lost his title shot. He returned to mid-card status for the remainder of the year.
The AT&T Center has hosted many different events that have a variety of seating maximums. A Basketball event, which has a smaller set-up than a wrestling event, can hold a maximum of 18,797 fans. Due to the Royal Rumble's production, the maximum standard was lowered and the event drew 13,500 fans and received 491,000 pay-per-view buys. WWE made $15.8 million from pay-per-view revenues in their first quarter (which included the Royal Rumble, No Way Out, and WrestleMania) versus $17.1 million in 2006 for the same events, a $1.3 million difference. The 2006 Royal Rumble also resulted in 548,000 pay-per-view buys, 57,000 more than the 2007 Royal Rumble. Canadian Online Explorer's professional wrestling sub website, Slam! Wrestling, rated the entire event 7.5 out of 10 points, due to the event not lasting its entire three hours and many mishaps that occurred during the Royal Rumble match, which they also rated a 7.5. The Royal Rumble 2007 was released on DVD on February 27, 2007 and was distributed by WWE. The DVD debuted on Billboard's Top DVD sales chart at #3 on March 24, 2007. The DVD remained on the chart for 13 consecutive weeks until June 16, 2007 when its final rank was at #10.
Royal Rumble qualification matches
- Chavo Guerrero defeated Rob Conway - Raw, January 9
- Shelton Benjamin defeated Val Venis - Raw, January 9
- Kane defeated Snitsky - Raw, January 9
- Sylvan defeated Scotty 2 Hotty - Velocity, January 15 (aired January 21)
- Trevor Murdoch defeated Antonio Thomas - Heat, January 16 (aired January 20)
- Viscera defeated Lance Cade, Gregory Helms and Tyson Tomko in a battle royal - Heat, January 16 (aired January 20)
- Jonathan Coachman defeated Jerry Lawler - Raw, January 23
- The Mexicools (Psicosis and Super Crazy) defeated The Dicks (Chad and James) and The Full Blooded Italians (Nunzio and Vito) in a Triple Threat match - Friday Night SmackDown!, January 24 (aired January 27)
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: JTG defeated Lance Cade (15:27)
- The Hardys (Jeff & Matt Hardy) defeated MNM (Joey Mercury & Johnny Nitro) (15:27)
- Bobby Lashley defeated Test for the ECW Heavyweight Championship (7:18)
- Batista defeated Mr. Kennedy for the World Heavyweight Championship (10:29)
- John Cena (c) defeated Umaga in a Last Man Standing Match to retain the WWE Championship (23:09)
- The Undertaker won the Royal Rumble (56:18)
Royal Rumble entrances and eliminations
|12||King Booker||10||RVD & Kane||9:23|
|13||Super Crazy||7||Edge & Orton||4:32|
|18||Rob Van Dam||22||Khali||17:30|
|19||Viscera||13||RVD, Punk, Edge, Benoit,
Nitro, Benjamin, Holly & Thorn
|26||Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP)||26||Undertaker||7:31|
|28||The Great Khali||25||Undertaker||3:45|
- King Booker returned to the ring after being eliminated and eliminated Kane.
- This Royal Rumble set a new record for the most wrestlers involved in an elimination, taking 8 men to throw Viscera over the top rope. This beat the previous record set in the 1994 Royal Rumble when 7 men eliminated Viscera (known at the time as Mabel).
- Glen Jacobs (Kane) made his eleventh appearance in a Royal Rumble match, breaking his own and Solofa Fatu (Rikishi)'s record for most Royal Rumble appearances. It was also his ninth-consecutive appearance, also billed as a record for Kane.
Other on-screen talent
- Royal Rumble 2007 Official website
- Royal Rumble 2007 at CAGEMATCH.net
- Royal Rumble 2007 at Online World of Wrestling
- Royal Rumble 2007 on WWE Network
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