Royal Rumble 2020 was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event and WWE Network event produced by WWE for the Raw, SmackDown and NXT brands. It took place on January 26, 2020, at the Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. It is the thirty-third event under the Royal Rumble chronology.

Background

Royal Rumble featured professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing feuds, plots, and storylines that played out on WWE's primary television programs. Wrestlers portrayed villains or heroes as they followed a series of events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches.

Storylines

The card included matches that result from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portray heroes, villains, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches. Results are predetermined by WWE's writers on the Raw, SmackDown, and 205 Live brands, with storylines produced on WWE's weekly television shows, Monday Night Raw, SmackDown Live, and the cruiserweight-exclusive 205 Live.

Raw

While the WWE Championship is generally defended at every year's Royal Rumble pay-per-view, on the January 6 episode of Raw, it was revealed that there would not be a WWE Championship defense at 2020's event. Instead, as he felt that there was no one on any brand who deserved an opportunity, WWE Champion Brock Lesnar decided to enter himself into the Royal Rumble match as entrant number one. There were no changes to the rules of the match, despite Lesnar holding one of the two world championships that the winner can challenge for at WrestleMania 36.

At TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) defeated the team of Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match to retain the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship. In a backstage interview on the following Raw, Lynch stated that she had not been herself the past few months and felt that management had been putting her into tag team matches to protect her from facing Asuka alone and losing. She also stated that she had never defeated Asuka and needed to change that. The following week, Lynch challenged Asuka to a match with her Raw Women's Championship on the line which Asuka accepted. The match was scheduled for the Royal Rumble.

SmackDown

At Survivor Series, "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt defeated Daniel Bryan to retain the Universal Championship. On the following SmackDown, after Bryan accepted another rematch for the title at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, The Fiend appeared and attacked Bryan, ripping out his hair. The Miz, who had been intertwined in the feud, appeared the following week and said that Bryan had not been seen since The Fiend's attack and in turn became Wyatt's opponent in a non-title match at TLC, where Wyatt (as his Firefly Fun House character and not The Fiend) defeated Miz. Following the match, a hooded figure attacked Wyatt and then revealed himself as a returning Bryan, now with a buzz cut and shorter beard. On the following SmackDown, both Bryan and Miz stated their desire to take the Universal Championship from Wyatt due to their respective personal issues with him. They were then interrupted by King Corbin, who felt that he deserved an opportunity for the title due to his victory over Roman Reigns at TLC. On the December 27 episode, Bryan defeated Miz and Corbin in a triple threat match to earn another Universal Championship match against The Fiend at the Royal Rumble. On the January 17 episode, Bryan delivered a running knee to The Fiend and attacked him, only for The Fiend to retreat. Frustrated, Bryan decided to change the stipulation of their match to a strap match.

During the triple threat match to determine the number one contender for the Universal Championship, Roman Reigns attacked King Corbin, costing him the title opportunity. The following week, Reigns announced his participation in the Royal Rumble match. Later that night, Reigns teamed with Daniel Bryan to face Corbin and Dolph Ziggler which ended in a no-contest. Following the match, Corbin and Ziggler attacked Reigns only for The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) to return and aid Reigns by attacking both Corbin and Ziggler. On the January 10 episode, Corbin announced his participation in the Royal Rumble match and stated that Reigns was scared to face him again, hence why Reigns was also competing in the match. In response, Reigns challenged Corbin to a rematch at the event which Corbin accepted. On the January 17 episode, a tables match between Reigns and the returning Robert Roode was contested with the winner deciding the stipulation for their match at the event. Reigns won and chose a Falls Count Anywhere match.

On the SmackDown following Survivor Series, SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley and Team SmackDown women's captain Sasha Banks criticized their brand's women's division for letting them down at the event as both Bayley and Team SmackDown lost their respective matches. Team member Lacey Evans interrupted and performed a Women's Right on Banks, with Evans turning face. The following week, Evans questioned Bayley's leadership as champion. Later, Banks confronted Evans after the latter's match, after which, Bayley ambushed Evans. On the December 13 episode, Bayley dismissed Evans' comments and defeated Dana Brooke in a non-title match. After Bayley defeated Brooke in a rematch the following week, she and Banks taunted Brooke until Evans came out and challenged Banks to a match which ended in a double countout. On the December 27 episode, Bayley and Banks defeated Evans and Brooke in a tag team match. Evans and Brooke then won a triple threat tag team match the following week also involving Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross with Brooke pinning Banks. Evans was then scheduled to face Banks on the January 10 episode. Banks, however, no-showed and Bayley appeared on the TitanTron taunting Evans. In response, Evans went backstage where the two brawled. The following week, Evans was once again scheduled to face Banks, however, Banks was unable to compete due to her injured ankle. Bayley took her place in the match, but lost to Evans. Due to Evans' win, she earned herself a title match at the Royal Rumble.

After a seven-month hiatus, Sheamus appeared in a vignette on the November 29 episode of SmackDown, announcing that he would be returning to in-ring action. Over the next several weeks, more vignettes aired, with Sheamus claiming that SmackDown had become soft in his absence. On the January 3 episode, as Shorty G was attacked by The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder), Sheamus returned, seemingly to aid Shorty G. However, after The Revival cleared the ring, Sheamus delivered a Brogue Kick to Shorty G. Sheamus claimed that Shorty G embodied everything wrong with SmackDown and continued to target him over the next few weeks, and a match between Sheamus and Shorty G was scheduled for the Royal Rumble.

Match Preview

Shorty G vs. Sheamus Preview
Andrade vs. Humberto Carrillo Preview
Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin Preview
30-woman Royal Rumble match Preview
Bayley vs. Lacey Evans Preview
"The Fiend" Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan Preview
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Asuka Preview
30-man Royal Rumble match Preview

Results

Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
(c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.

Royal Rumble entrances and eliminations (Women)

Brand

     – Raw
     – SmackDown
     – NXT
     – NXT UK
     – Free agent
     – Winner
Draw Entrant Brand/Status Order Eliminated by Time Elimination(s)
1 Alexa Bliss SmackDown 15 Bianca Belair 26:34 3
2 Bianca Belair NXT 16 Charlotte Flair 33:20 8
3 Mighty Molly Free agent 3 Bianca Belair 10:21 0
4 Nikki Cross SmackDown 5 Bianca Belair 15:08 0
5 Lana Raw 1 Liv Morgan 02:29 0
6 Mercedes Martinez NXT 4 Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville 08:14 0
7 Liv Morgan Raw 2 Lana[1] 00:44 1
8 Mandy Rose SmackDown 6 Bianca Belair 08:49 1
9 Candice LeRae NXT 8 Bianca Belair 09:01 0
10 Sonya Deville SmackDown 7 Bianca Belair 05:31 1
11 Kairi Sane Raw 9 Alexa Bliss 05:22 0
12 Mia Yim NXT 11 Alexa Bliss 06:30 0
13 Dana Brooke SmackDown 14 Bianca Belair 05:26 0
14 Tamina SmackDown 10 Bianca Belair 00:39 0
15 Dakota Kai NXT 12 Chelsea Green 01:32 0
16 Chelsea Green NXT 13 Alexa Bliss 00:12 1
17 Charlotte Flair Raw Winner 26:19 4
18 Naomi Raw 26 Shayna Baszler 22:01 0
19 Beth Phoenix NXT 28 Shayna Baszler 23:05 1
20 Toni Storm NXT UK 25 Shayna Baszler 18:40 0
21 Kelly Kelly Free agent 18 Charlotte Flair 02:29 0
22 Sarah Logan Raw 17 Charlotte Flair 00:28 0
23 Natalya Raw 27 Beth Phoenix 14:43 0
24 Xia Li NXT 20 Shayna Baszler 10:49 0
25 Zelina Vega Raw 22 Shayna Baszler 09:31 0
26 Shotzi Blackheart NXT 23 Shayna Baszler 07:57 0
27 Carmella SmackDown 24 Shayna Baszler 06:36 0
28 Tegan Nox NXT 21 Shayna Baszler 03:50 0
29 Santina Marella Free agent 19 "Herself" 01:01 0
30 Shayna Baszler NXT 29 Charlotte Flair 04:27 8

(*) - Lana was already eliminated when she eliminated Liv Morgan.

Royal Rumble entrances and eliminations (Men)

    Raw
    SmackDown
    205 Live
    NXT
     – Unassigned
     – Legend

A new entrant came out approximately every 90 seconds.

Draw Entrant Brand/Status Order Eliminated by Time Elimination(s)
1 Brock Lesnar Raw 14 Drew McIntyre 26:24 13
2 Elias SmackDown 1 Brock Lesnar 01:00 0
3 Erick Rowan Raw 2 Brock Lesnar 00:08 0
4 Robert Roode SmackDown 3 Brock Lesnar 00:41 0
5 John Morrison SmackDown 4 Brock Lesnar 00:09 0
6 Kofi Kingston SmackDown 7 Brock Lesnar 05:06 0
7 Rey Mysterio Raw 5 Brock Lesnar 02:54 0
8 Big E SmackDown 6 Brock Lesnar 00:53 0
9 Cesaro SmackDown 8 Brock Lesnar 00:18 0
10 Shelton Benjamin Raw 9 Brock Lesnar 00:37 0
11 Shinsuke Nakamura SmackDown 10 Brock Lesnar 00:20 0
12 MVP Free agent 11 Brock Lesnar 00:24 0
13 Keith Lee NXT 12 Brock Lesnar 03:32 0
14 Braun Strowman SmackDown 13 Brock Lesnar 01:48 0
15 Ricochet Raw 15 Drew McIntyre 03:09 0
16 Drew McIntyre Raw Winner 34:11 6
17 The Miz SmackDown 16 Drew McIntyre 00:30 0
18 AJ Styles Raw 17 Edge 07:49 0
19 Dolph Ziggler SmackDown 22 Roman Reigns 12:20 0
20 Karl Anderson Raw 21 Randy Orton 09:46 0
21 Edge Free agent 28 Roman Reigns 23:43 3
22 King Corbin SmackDown 19 Drew McIntyre 04:06 1
23 Matt Riddle NXT 18 King Corbin 00:41 0
24 Luke Gallows Raw 20 Edge 02:00 0
25 Randy Orton Raw 27 Edge 14:37 1
26 Roman Reigns SmackDown 29 Drew McIntyre 16:01 2
27 Kevin Owens Raw 24 Seth Rollins, Akam and Rezar 06:59 0
28 Aleister Black Raw 23 Seth Rollins 05:06 0
29 Samoa Joe Raw 25 Seth Rollins 04:25 0
30 Seth Rollins Raw 26 Drew McIntyre 04:01 3

Other on-screen talent

Commentators
Interviewers
Ring announcer
Pre-show Panel
Referees

See also

DVD release

External links

Royal Rumble 2020 previews

Men's Royal Rumble matchWoman's Royal Rumble match"The Fiend" Bray Wyatt v Daniel BryanBecky Lynch v AsukaRoman Reigns v King CorbinShorty G v SheamusBayley v Lacey EvansAndrade v Humberto Carrillo

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Royal Rumble
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