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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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|
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Pre-Show: Sheamus defeated Shorty G (12:38)
- Pre-Show: Andrade (c) (w/ Zelina Vega) defeated Humberto Carrillo to retain the WWE United States Championship (14:16)
- Roman Reigns defeated King Corbin in a Falls Count Anywhere match (21:20)
- Charlotte Flair won the Women's Royal Rumble match for a women's championship match at WrestleMania 36 (54:20)
- Bayley (c) defeated Lacey Evans to retain the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship (9:20)
- "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt (c) defeated Daniel Bryan in a Strap match to retain the WWE Universal Championship (17:35)
- Becky Lynch (c) defeated Asuka (w/ Kairi Sane) to retain the WWE Raw Women's Championship (16:25)
- Drew McIntyre won the Men's Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 36 (1:00:50)
Royal Rumble entrances and eliminations (Women)
|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|
|6||Mercedes Martinez||NXT||4||Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville||08:14||0|
|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|
|15||Dakota Kai||NXT||12||Chelsea Green||01:32||0|
|16||Chelsea Green||NXT||13||Alexa Bliss||00:12||1|
|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|
|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|
|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)
A new entrant came out approximately every 90 seconds.
|1||Brock Lesnar||Raw||14||Drew McIntyre||26:24||13|
|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|
|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|
|17||The Miz||SmackDown||16||Drew McIntyre||00:30||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|
|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
- List of WWE pay-per-view events
- World Wrestling Entertainment/Event history
- Event gallery
- Royal Rumble
- Royal Rumble 2020 Official website
- Royal Rumble 2020 kickoff show on WWE Network
- Royal Rumble 2020 on WWE Network
- Royal Rumble 2020 Kickoff show at CAGEMATCH.net
- Royal Rumble 2020 at CAGEMATCH.net
|Royal Rumble 2020 previews|
Men's Royal Rumble match • Woman's Royal Rumble match • "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt v Daniel Bryan • Becky Lynch v Asuka • Roman Reigns v King Corbin • Shorty G v Sheamus • Bayley v Lacey Evans • Andrade v Humberto Carrillo
|1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001|
|2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015|
|2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019 • 2020 • 2021|
|2020 World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-views|
TakeOver: Blackpool II • Worlds Collide • Royal Rumble • Takeover: Portland • Super ShowDown • Elimination Chamber • WrestleMania 36 • Money in the Bank • TakeOver: In Your House • Backlash • Extreme Rules • TakeOver: XXX • SummerSlam • Payback • Clash of Champions • TakeOver 31 • Hell in a Cell • Survivor Series • WarGames 2020 • TLC: Tables, Ladders, & Chairs