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Royal Rumble 2021 is an upcoming professional wrestling pay-per-view and WWE Network event produced by WWE for their Raw and SmackDown brand divisions. It will take place on January 31, 2021 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. It will be the thirty-fourth event under the Royal Rumble chronology and feature WWE's virtual fan viewing experience called ThunderDome.

Production

Background

Royal Rumble will feature 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.

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, WWE presented the majority of its programming from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida since mid-March with no fans in attendance, although in late May, the promotion began using Performance Center trainees to serve as the live audience, which was further expanded to friends and family members of the wrestlers in mid-June. On August 17, WWE announced that all future shows and pay-per-views would be held at the Amway Center, a larger venue also located in Orlando, for the "foreseeable future", beginning with the August 21 episode of SmackDown. Furthermore, the shows now feature a new fan viewing experience called the "ThunderDome", which utilizes drones, lasers, pyro, smoke, and projections. Approximately 1,000 LED boards were installed in the Amway Center to allow fans to virtually attend the events for free and be seen on the rows and rows of LED boards. Arena audio is also mixed with that of the virtual fans so that chants from the fans can be heard. WWE's initial agreement with the Amway Center expired on October 31, but with the option to extend the contract with a two weeks notice. On October 12, PWInsider reported that the contract had been extended, with Fightful revealing the amended contract's expiration date as November 24. On November 19, WWE announced that they would relocate the ThunderDome to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, beginning with the December 11 episode of SmackDown. This move was also done due to the start of the 2020–21 ECHL and NBA seasons as the Amway Center is the shared home of the Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL) and the Orlando Magic (NBA). TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs was the first WWE pay-per-view presented from the ThunderDome at Tropicana Field.

Storylines

The card will include 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.

On the January 8 episode of SmackDown, Universal Champion Roman Reigns took issue with the recent booking decisions made by WWE official Adam Pearce, including a gauntlet match that Pearce had scheduled for that night to determine Reigns' challenger for his title at the Royal Rumble. Reigns questioned if Pearce booked himself for the match, to which Pearce responded that would have been a conflict of interest. Later, Reigns' special counsel, Paul Heyman, confronted Pearce backstage and stated that he was able to pull some strings and that Pearce would also be competing in the gauntlet match along with Rey Mysterio, Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura, King Corbin, and Daniel Bryan. Nakamura survived the gauntlet to face final entrant Pearce; however, before the final round began, Jey Uso taunted Nakamura, which led to Reigns and Jey attacking both Nakamura and Pearce. Jey placed Pearce on top of Nakamura for the pinfall, thus Pearce won the match to become Reigns' opponent for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble.

Following Drew McIntyre's successful WWE Championship defense during the special "Legends Night" episode of Raw on January 4, WWE Hall of Famer Goldberg, in his first appearance since WrestleMania 36 in 2020, appeared to confront McIntyre. After Goldberg praised McIntyre's work and abilities, he stated that McIntyre did not have respect, claiming that McIntyre viewed the legends as being "washed up" and that McIntyre felt he was better than any of them when they were in their prime. Goldberg then formally challenged McIntyre for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. McIntyre responded that Goldberg was not the man he used to be and that facing him would be like facing his own dad. Goldberg then taunted and shoved McIntyre, who rose to his feet and stared down Goldberg. The following week, McIntyre refuted Goldberg's claim and said that he actually did have respect, but said he was going to reject Goldberg's challenge until Goldberg pushed him, thus prompting him to accept the challenge and make the match official.

Match Preview

30-woman Royal Rumble match Preview
30-man Royal Rumble match Preview
Roman Reigns vs. Adam Pearce Preview
Drew McIntyre vs. Goldberg Preview

Matches

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

Announced competitors in the Men's Royal Rumble match

1 of the 30 entrants has been announced as of January 22, 2021.

Brand
     – Raw
     – SmackDown
     – Free agent
Wrestler Date Notes
Daniel Bryan December 25, 2020 Announced on SmackDown
Bobby Lashley December 28, 2020 Announced on Raw
AJ Styles January 4, 2021 Announced on Twitter
Randy Orton Announced on Raw
Otis January 8, 2021 Announced on WWE.com

Announced competitors in the Women’s Royal Rumble match

2 of the 30 entrants have been announced as of January 22, 2021.

Brand
    Raw
    SmackDown
     – Free agent
Wrestler Date Notes
Nia Jax December 28, 2020 Announced on Raw
Charlotte Flair January 4, 2021 Announced on WWE.com
Bianca Belair January 8, 2021 Announced on SmackDown
Bayley
Mandy Rose January 11, 2021 Announced on Raw
Dana Brooke

Royal Rumble entrances and eliminations (Women)

Brand

     – Raw
     – SmackDown
     – NXT
     – NXT UK
     – Free agent
     – Winner

Royal Rumble entrances and eliminations (Men)

    Raw
    SmackDown
    205 Live
    NXT
     – Unassigned
     – Legend

Other on-screen talent

Commentators
Interviewers
Ring announcer
Pre-show Panel
Referees

See also

DVD release

  • Amazon.jpg [ Royal Rumble 2021 on DVD]

External links

  • Wwe2014.png Royal Rumble 2021 Official website
  • WWE Network New Logo.jpg [ Royal Rumble 2021 kickoff show on WWE Network]
  • WWE Network New Logo.jpg [ Royal Rumble 2021 on WWE Network]
  • Cm logo.jpg [ Royal Rumble 2021 Kickoff show at CAGEMATCH.net]
  • Cm logo.jpg [ Royal Rumble 2021 at CAGEMATCH.net]
Royal Rumble 2021 previews

Men's Royal Rumble matchWoman's Royal Rumble matchRoman Reigns v Kevin OwensDrew McIntyre v Goldberg

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Royal Rumble
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2021 World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-views

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