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Was there a 40 man Royal Rumble? Yes and it was terrible

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In the annals of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the 2011 Royal Rumble stands out for its unique format and the controversies it sparked.

Held on January 30, 2011, at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, this event marked the 24th annual Royal Rumble professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event. It was notable for featuring a 40-man match, a significant increase from the traditional 30-man format. This change, intended to add more excitement to the event, received mixed reactions from fans and critics alike.

The 2011 iteration was the last one held under WWE’s first brand extension, which ended in August of the same year but was later reinstated in July 2016.

The event featured wrestlers from both the Raw and SmackDown brand divisions, with the winner promised a world championship match at WrestleMania XXVII.

Main Event: The 40-Man Royal Rumble Match

The main event, a 40-man match, was the highlight of the evening. This match saw Alberto Del Rio from SmackDown emerge victorious, last eliminating Santino Marella from Raw.

Del Rio’s win was a significant moment in his career, as it guaranteed him a championship match at WrestleMania XXVII.

Other Key Matches

Apart from the Royal Rumble match, the event featured several other key bouts. The Miz successfully defended his WWE Championship against Randy Orton, while Edge retained the World Heavyweight Championship against Dolph Ziggler.

Additionally, Eve Torres won the WWE Divas Championship in a fatal four-way match.

Returns and Surprises

The 2011 Royal Rumble was marked by the return of several wrestlers. Booker T, who had left WWE in 2007, made a comeback, as did Kevin Nash, making his first WWE appearance since 2003.

These returns added a layer of nostalgia and surprise to the event.

Reception and Legacy

The event received a mixed reception. While some praised the novelty of a 40-man match and the excitement it brought, others criticized it for being overdrawn and lacking in compelling storytelling.

Despite these criticisms, the 2011 iteration of the match remains a significant event in WWE history for its attempt to innovate one of the company’s most popular match types.

As you can tell from the headline of this article though, I was certainly not a fan.


  1. What made the 2011 Royal Rumble unique?
    • The 2011 match was unique due to its 40-man match format, an increase from the usual 30-man format.
  2. Who won the 2011 Royal Rumble?
    • Alberto Del Rio from SmackDown won the 2011 Royal Rumble.
  3. What was the prize for winning the match?
    • The winner was granted a world championship match at WrestleMania XXVII.
  4. Were there any significant returns at the 2011 iteration?
    • Yes, Booker T and Kevin Nash made their returns to WWE during this event.
  5. Did the 40-man format continue in subsequent Royal Rumbles?
    • No, WWE reverted to the traditional 30-man format in the following years.
  6. How was the reception to the 40-man Royal Rumble match?
    • The reception was mixed, with some praising the novelty and others criticizing its execution.
  7. What was the significance of the 2011 Royal Rumble in WWE history?
    • It marked an attempt to innovate a popular match type and was the last Royal Rumble under the first brand extension.
Jake Skudder
Written by
Jake Skudder
Jake is an SEO-minded Combat Sports, Gaming and Pro Wrestling writer and successful Editor in Chief. He has more than ten years of experience covering mixed martial arts, pro wrestling and gaming across a number of publications, starting at SEScoops in 2012 under the name Jake Jeremy.