Royal Rumble (2013) was the twenty-sixth annual Royal Rumble professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by WWE on January 27, 2013 at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
According to new data from WWE, this year's Royal Rumble garnered 512,000 buys, up 69,000 from last year's 443,000 buys the previous year, This is the highest buyrate the Royal Rumble has scored since 2008, where the event was bought by roughly 533,000 people worldwide.
The pre-show match featured reigning United States Champion Antonio Cesaro defending his title against The Miz. During the match, Miz attempted a diving attack and injured his leg. Shortly after, Cesaro won after landing the Neutralizer.
As the PPV portion of the show began, a backstage segment was shown with Bret Hart wishing Alberto Del Rio good luck in his match. He then gave Ricardo Rodriguez a pair of his signature sunglasses.
The opening match on the PPV telecast (and second on the card overall) featured reigning World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio defending his title against Big Show in a Last Man Standing match, who invoked his rematch clause after losing the title to Del Rio on SmackDown two weeks previous in the same style match. After Del Rio managed to beat the count after being chokeslammed through a table from an elevated position on the entrance stage, he managed to win when he locked in the Cross Armbreaker while Rodriguez duct taped Show's legs to the bottom rope. Show was unable to free himself in time and was counted out.
Next, reigning WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane) defended their titles against Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow). The match ended when Bryan applied the No! Lock on Sandow, forcing him to tap out.
After that was the annual Royal Rumble match. Dolph Ziggler (as per the "Beat The Clock" stipulations from Raw) chose to enter first, followed by the surprise return of Chris Jericho at #2. Another surprise entry, Goldust returned at #8, and spent most of his time battling with his half brother Cody Rhodes (entrant #3), who eventually eliminated him. Sheamus entered at #11, trying to become the fourth man to win back-to-back Rumbles, joining Hulk Hogan ('90-'91), Shawn Michaels ('95-'96), and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin ('97-'98). Kofi Kingston (the #4 entrant) provided a highlight, for when he was about to be eliminated, he jumped onto the back of recently eliminated Tensai, who put him on the Spanish announce table. Kingston made it back onto the apron using a chair like a pogo stick, but was quickly eliminated by Rhodes before reentering the ring. Following this, The Godfather made a surprise appearance at #17, only to be immediately eliminated by Ziggler. John Cena entered at #19, quickly eliminating Rhodes and #10 entrant Heath Slater. Daniel Bryan (#21) and Kane (#24) teamed up to eliminate #23 The Great Khali, but Bryan then eliminated Kane. When #22 Antonio Cesaro sent Bryan over the top rope, Kane caught him, only to drop him on the floor, eliminating him from the match. Later, NXT tournament winner (and #16 entrant) Bo Dallas managed to eliminate Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett (#18), leading to Barrett reaching up and pulling Dallas over the top rope to eliminate him and hitting him with the Bullhammer Elbow, despite having already been eliminated. Ryback entered at #30 and eliminated three wrestlers in quick fashion. Ziggler finally eliminated Jericho after nearly 48 minutes. The final four consisted of Ziggler, Sheamus, Cena and Ryback. Sheamus eliminated Ziggler (who lasted nearly 50 minutes) and hit Ryback with White Noise, but Ryback managed to eliminate him. After a few minutes of going back and forth, Cena then eliminated Ryback to win the Rumble, making him the fourth wrestler to win multiple Rumble matches (as he won the match in 2008 as well).
The main event and fifth match on the card featured reigning WWE Champion CM Punk defending his title against The Rock. During the match, Rock attempted to Rock Bottom Punk through the Spanish announce table, but the table collapsed beneath them. Rock quickly landed another Rock Bottom successfully outside the ring, but Punk kicked out after being rolled into the ring and covered. When Rock attempted a People's Elbow the arena went dark and Rock was attacked by an unknown entity, believed by the commentators to be The Shield. When the lights came back, the assailant(s) were nowhere to be found, and Rock had been driven through the English announce table, allowing Punk to roll him into the ring and get the winning pin. As he celebrated with the title, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon came out and reminded Punk that if the Shield interfered (which while McMahon said he couldn't see it, he knew enough to realize what had happened) he would strip him of the title. Before he could however, the Rock said he wanted to take the title from Punk and told McMahon to instead restart the match. Vince did so, and Rock won the match with a spinebuster followed by The People's Elbow, winning the WWE Title for the eighth time and ending Punk's historic reign at 434 days.