It is Royal Rumble Week! We all know what that means, Wrestlemania season has begun. This year’s Royal Rumble takes place Sunday, January 28th from Philadelphia. This is the thirty-first annual event that kicks off the Wrestlemania season. This will be a historical Rumble with the first ever women’s Royal Rumble. But before this Sunday, let’s take a look at the Top 5 Rumble matches of all time.
Winner: Hulk Hogan (entered at 25)
Most Eliminated: Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior (6)
Longest Entrant: Ted DiBiase (44:47)
Final Four: Hulk Hogan, Mr. Perfect, Rick Rude, and Hercules
Memorable Moment: Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior stare down in the middle of the ring
In 1990, the Royal Rumble was still just for bragging rights and prestige. The winner didn’t get to automatically headline Wrestlemania like it is today. The Rumble was still important in setting up storylines or making new stars. This Royal Rumble set up the Wrestlemania match between Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior. They had a confrontation in the middle of the ring and Hogan helped eliminate Warrior.
Ted DiBiase was the workhouse of this Rumble coming in at number 1 and lasting nearly 45 minutes. Also, the Rowdy Roddy Piper and Bad News Brown match was set-up in the Rumble when Piper eliminated Brown. The mixed tag match of Dusty Rhodes, Sapphire, The Macho King Randy Savage and Queen Sherri was set up with Rhodes eliminating Savage in the Rumble.
The final four put three heels (Rick Rude, Hercules, and Mr. Perfect) against the face of the company Hulk Hogan. Nothing for the Immortal Hulk Hogan to overcome, Rude would eliminate Hercules, and Mr. Perfect and Hogan eliminated Rude. Finally, Hogan would eliminate Mr. Perfect to win his second Rumble. The Royal Rumble would finish with Hogan posing in the middle of the ring which never gets old.
Wrestlemania VI Main Event: Ultimate Warrior (Intercontinental Champion) vs Hulk Hogan (World Heavyweight Champion)
Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin (entered at 5)
Most Eliminated: Stone Cold Steve Austin (10)
Longest Entrant: Stone Cold Steve Austin (44:07)
Final Four: Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bret Hart, Fake “Diesel”, and Undertaker
Memorable Moment: Stone Cold sitting on the top turnbuckle checking his fake watch on his wrist waiting for the next person to enter the ring.
This Rumble was all about Stone Cold. He eliminated the most people, lasted the longest and won. Stone Cold had two separate occasions where he eliminated wrestlers one by one and had the ring to himself. The last five wrestlers were Austin, Hart, Vader, Undertaker, and Fake “Diesel.”
Austin was eliminated first by Hart but was able to come back in because the refs were occupied by Mankind and Terry Funk. Because no referee saw him eliminated, Austin was able to eliminate both Vader and the Undertaker. Hart eliminated “Diesel.” While Hart was celebrating, Austin came from behind and tossed him out.
This continued the feud between Austin and Hart where they had a match at Wrestlemania XXIII. Stone Cold wouldn’t get a title shot at Wrestlemania because of his shady tactics and Shawn Michaels losing his smile. This Rumble cemented Stone Cold as a future star of the company and in due time he would headline a Wrestlemania.
Wrestlemania XVII Main Event: Undertaker vs Sycho Sid (World Heavyweight Champion)
Winner: Edge (entered at 29)
Most Eliminated: Shawn Michaels (6)
Longest Entrant: John Cena (27:11)
Final Four: Edge, John Cena, Batista, and Shawn Michaels
Memorable Moment: Early in the Rumble, CM Punk was trying to convert superstars to become straightedge before he eliminated them. With a mic in his hands, he will always give a memorable moment.
Edge made a surprising return at number 29 to win the 2010 Royal Rumble. Coming off a torn Achilles tendon, The Rated R superstar received a thunderous ovation when his music hit.
In another story being told, Shawn Michaels wanted to win to face the Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXVI to avenge his Wrestlemania XXV loss to him. At the time, the Undertaker was World Heavyweight Champion. Michaels showed a lot of desperation trying to eliminate and survive. When Batista eliminated him, the crowd went silent and Michaels was shocked. So disappointed, poor referee Charles Robinson got a superkick from the Heartbreak Kid.
Cena would eliminate Batista and while waiting in the wings Edge came from behind and eliminated Cena. Cena and Batista would face at Wrestlemania. Edge would get his title shot by facing Chris Jericho. Ultimately, Michaels would get his wish and face Undertaker at Wrestlemania. What fans didn’t know at the time that this would be Michaels last Rumble, The Showstopper saved his best for last.
Wrestlemania XXVI Main Event: Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (No Disqualification Streak vs. Career match)
Winner: Undertaker (entered at 30)
Most Eliminated: The Great Khali (7)
Longest Entrant: Edge (44:02)
Final Four: Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, Edge
Memorable Moment: Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels
The final sequences of Undertaker vs. Michaels made this Royal Rumble. The Heartbreak Kid was in his hometown looking for his third Rumble win and the Undertaker came in at number 30. They had a match to finish the Rumble.
Edge, who lasted the longest made it to the final four with Michaels, Undertaker, and Randy Orton. At the time, Orton and Edge were tag team partners “Rated RKO”. Michaels eliminated both of them. This set up the showdown between Michaels and the Undertaker. They had a match between themselves. Both wrestlers hit their finishers. Finally, the Undertaker was able to eliminate the Heartbreak Kid. The silver lining is both wrestlers got a title shot at Wrestlemania. The Undertaker would chose to face Batista from Smackdown and Michaels would get to face John Cena for the WWE Championship.
Wrestlemania XXIII main event: Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena (WWE Champion)
Winner: Ric Flair (entered at number 3)
Most Eliminated: Sid Justice (6)
Longest Entrant: Ric Flair (1:00:02)
Final Four: Ric Flair, Sid Justice, Hulk Hogan, and Randy Savage
Memorable Moment: Bobby Heenan’s play by play
The 1992 Royal Rumble was the first year that the winner actually won something. The vacant WWF World Heavyweight Championship was up for grabs for the winner. Ric Flair was the first heel and early entrant to win the Rumble.
With Bobby “the Brain” Heenan on commentary, he was pleading for Flair to stay in everytime he was almost eliminated. This Rumble was packed with stars, Piper, Jake the Snake, Undertaker, and Randy Savage were among the many superstars vying for the title. The WWE did a great job of making you think anyone could win the Rumble.
It is funny that the Final Four would go on to co-main event Wrestlemania VIII. Sid and Flair would eliminate Savage than it was down to Sid, Flair, and Hogan. Everyone thought Hogan would win another rumble, but Sid would eliminate Hogan which shocked everyone. Hogan would go to shake Sid’s hand, but with the help of Flair, he pulled Sid out the ring. That would leave Flair the last man standing and new WWF World Heavyweight Champion. In the early years of the Royal Rumble, this was by far the least predictable and stands the test of time.
Wrestlemania VIII Co-Main Event:
Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair ( World Heavyweight Champion)
Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice
Leave a comment below if your favourite Rumble if off the list, let the debate begin.