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Triple H wins Royal Rumble, becomes new WWE champ

By Ivan Saldajeno

ORLANDO--Paul "Triple H" Levesque made a successful comeback as a pro wrestler and won the Royal Rumble at the Amway Center on Monday (Philippine Time).

Effectively, Levesque took home the WWE World Heavyweight Title, eliminating erstwhile champion Roman Reigns in the first-ever Rumble where the WWE belt was on the line. In previous editions, the winner only secured a world title fight at Wrestlemania.

Levesque entered the squared circle as the 30th and the last entrant. His entrance was already a surprise as he has been busy doing his real-life and storyline job as the pro wrestling outfit's chief operating officer.

Reigns, Joe Anoa'i in real life, had to be the first Royal Rumble as part of the stipulation that the belt was at stake.

After easily eliminating Rusev, the second entrant, in just 90 seconds, Reigns and the WWE fans got a huge surprise when A.J. Styles entered the ring as the third entrant, confirming circulating online rumors that he indeed left TNA for WWE.

Styles survived for nearly 28 minutes in his first WWE stint before rising star Kevin Owens took him out.

Brock Lesnar, another fan favorite to claim the WWE belt at Royal Rumble, came in 23rd but was ousted by the Wyatt Family just after the entire stable was eliminated by Lesnar and Sheamus.

But the highlight came from Triple H, who dethroned Reigns while eliminating Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose to claim the WWE title, his 14th time to win the top prize.

The result could lead to a potential showdown with Lesnar at Wrestlemania in April. In the current storyline, Lesnar's real-life and storyline manager Paul Heyman is "negotiating" with WWE owner Vince McMahon to have Lesnar at the Wrestlemania main event.

Ambrose, however, did not go home empty handed as he successfully defended his intercontinental title against Kevin Owens earlier in the card.

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