Top 5 Royal Rumble Moments
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Since 1988 the Royal Rumble has been one of the four significant premium live events the WWE produces every year, next to Summerslam, Survivor Series and Wrestlemania. The Royal Rumble match is a fan favourite to WWE fans because every year, we get a debut or a return.
The match builds the next generation of superstars as the winner of the Royal Rumble goes to Wrestlemania to face off against the WWE Champion.
This year the Royal Rumble takes place on Saturday, January 28th, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Today, I will look at the top 5 moments in the Royal Rumble match.
Professional wrestling will never reach the popular heights it once did during the Attitude Era in the late 90s and early 2000s. The 2001 Royal Rumble was stacked heading into the 30-man match with wrestlers such as The Undertaker, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Kane, to name a few. Kane was a man on a mission when he entered the match. The Big Red Machine eliminated a then-record 11 men. Kane was a force as he tossed guys over the top rope left and right, and even used weapons brought into the match. Kane would be one of the final two men left as Stone Cold Steve Austin eliminated him, but Kane did not go down easy as it took multiple chair shots to take down the monster. From that night on, Kane got the respect he deserved from the WWE fans. The record would be broken until 2015, when Roman Reigns eliminated 12 men.
Continuing with the 2001 Royal Rumble, another record was achieved that night as Stone Cold Steve Austin became the first WWE superstar to win three Royal Rumble matches. Austin won the match previously in 1997 and 1998. Austin went to hell and back that night as he did double duty, wrestling Triple H and being in the Rumble match. Triple H also attacked Austin while he was making his entrance. However, this did not stop the Texas Rattle Snake as he eliminated Kane and went onto Wrestlemania X-7 to have one of the most incredible main events with The Rock. This would be the final time Stone Cold won the Royal Rumble match.
The 2002 Royal Rumble is one of my favourites. This match had a lot of star power. Triple H would go on to win the match after missing eight months with a torn quad in his left knee. However, another thing that fans remember was when Maven eliminated The Undertaker from the match, which was a shock as they thought Taker would be one of the final men in the match because he was a favourite to win, but that was not in the cards. The Undertaker entered the match as the eighth entrant. He proceeded to eliminate Rikishi, Goldust, Al Snow and Billy Gun. Matt and Jeff Hardy were the following two entries; at that time, they were in a storyline with Taker. He wasted no time eliminating both brothers. At the number 11 spot was the newly crowned season one winner of Tough Enough Maven.
Maven entered the ring and received a boot to the face from Undertaker. Lita, who was still out there as she accompanied The Hardy Boyz to the ring, got on the apron and got Taker's attention. He threw her to the floor, where Matt and Jeff came back into the ring, only to get beat down again. As Undertaker's back was turned to focusing on Lita, Maven drop kicked The Undertaker over the ropes eliminating him from the bout, the crowd went crazy, and the looks on both Maven and Undertaker's faces told a story Undertaker went back into the ring, eliminated Maven and brutally attacked him with a chair. Both men ended up in the concourse area, where Taker threw him headfirst into a popcorn machine.
After this, both men feuded, and Maven won the Hardcore Championship off Big Evil. A year later, in the 2003 Royal Rumble match, Maven tried the same thing again but could not eliminate Undertaker as he had none of it and got eliminated again.
This moment would go down as one of the biggest eliminates in Royal Rumble history.
Shawn Michaels was the biggest superstar in the mid-'90s for the WWE. HBK was at his best during this time, and not only did he make history once, but he did it twice. In 1995, Michaels and the British Bulldog were the first wrestlers in the match and the last two men left to battle to see who would win. Michaels would be hit over the top rope, but he hung on the ropes, and only one of his feet touched the floor. Michaels managed to get back in the ring and knock the Bulldog over the top rope and onto the floor.
One year later, in 1996, Michaels entered the Rumble at number 18. He once again had an incredible showing. HBK once again eliminated the British Bulldog and then eliminated his best friend Diesel to go back-to-back and become the first superstar to do so. Michaels went onto Wrestlemania 12 for a classic Iron Man match with Bret Hart. Shawn won the match to win his first WWE Championship, and the boyhood dream came true.
Was this a shock to anyone that this would be number one? This is the greatest return in Royal Rumble history. John Cena had been out of action in late 2007 due to an injury, and no one knew when he would return. Nevertheless, that changed in Madison Square Garden in New York City this night on January 27th, 2008. The countdown began to who would be the 30th entry in the Rumble, the buzzer went off, and the crowd erupted when John Cena's theme song hit.
Everyone in attendance was shocked, including the commentary team and superstars. JR had a memorable call "OH MY GOD, IT'S JOHN CENA." Cena entered the match, and looked like he did not miss a beat. But, it came down to him, and Triple H. Cena got the upper hand by eliminating Triple H with an Attitude Adjustment to the floor. This was Cena's first Royal Rumble win. On this night, Cena's return showed what the Royal Rumble represents and why it is one of the best match concepts in WWE history.
Photo Credits: WWE