The 2016 Royal Rumble ended the way many fans expected it would when Triple H won the 30-man battle royal and became the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. The WWE COO won his 14th world title and the second Royal Rumble match of his career.
Triple H was the 30th and final entrant in the Royal Rumble, appearing on WWE TV for the first time since TLC on Dec. 13. He eliminated four wrestlers, including Roman Reigns, who entered the match as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Triple H tossed Dean Ambrose over the top rope to end the main event.
Triple H was one of the few surprise entrants in Sunday’s match. While the Royal Rumble usually includes one or two WWE legends, none appeared in the battle royal. Aside from Triple H, two wrestlers that competed for the title on Sunday could be considered surprise entrants.
The first came at No.3 when AJ Styles made his way to the ring. Styles had a few matches in WWE in 2002, but he never appeared on “Monday Night Raw” or any pay-per-views. He became a star in TNA and New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and rumors have been swirling for weeks that he would soon join WWE. After making his debut in the Royal Rumble, it looks like Styles will find his way onto the WrestleMania 32 card.
Styles had two eliminations and lasted longer in the match than the other surprise entrant. Sami Zayn entered the match at No.20 to one of the loudest cheers of the night. While there had been speculation that Triple H and Styles would be in the match, there wasn’t much reason to believe that Zayn would be a part of the PPV.
Zayn is one of the biggest superstars in NXT, and he recently returned to the ring after recovering from a shoulder injury. It’s unknown if he’ll join the main roster, but WWE set the stage for a potential match between Zayn and Kevin Owens at WrestleMania 32. Owens took the NXT title from Zayn nearly one year ago, and Zayn eliminated his rival from Sunday’s battle royal.
There was hope among many fans that Daniel Bryan would return to the ring and be a surprise entrant, but he still isn’t medically cleared by WWE to wrestle.