Royal Rumble: A Look Back Part I
The Royal Rumble is just under three weeks away live from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI.
The Rumble is considered one of the WWE's "big four" and is one of my favorite pay-per-views of the year.
This year's Royal Rumble will be the 22nd edition of the battle royal and over the years have contributed to some historic moments in WWE history.
In part one taking a look back at the history of this great event we will look at 10 of the best Royal Rumbles of all-time.
Royal Rumble 1988
Winner: Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Ironman: Bret "Hitman" Hart (25:42)
Of course the very first Rumble had to make the list. What I found interesting about this Royal Rumble is that the Rumble match was not the main event. The main event was a best two out of three falls match between The Islanders and The Young Stallions. Another interesting fact was that Hulk Hogan did not participate in this event at all. Jim Duggan will always be remembered as the first man to ever win a Royal Rumble.
Royal Rumble 1991
Winner: Hulk Hogan
Ironman: Rick Martel (52:17)
Royal Rumble 91' rocked Miami, Florida and was the first Rumble to have a WWF Championship match. In that match Sgt. Slaughter defeated Ultimate Warrior in what has to be considered one of the biggest upsets in the history of the title. Slaughter received some help from the "Macho King" Randy Savage who subsequently did not participate in the Rumble because he was "chased" out of the arena by the Warrior.
Hulk Hogan won the Rumble for the second year in a row and went on to defeat Slaughter at Wrestlemania VII in what would become a feud centered around the Gulf War.
Royal Rumble 1992
Winner: Ric Flair (Also became WWF Champion)
Ironman: Ric Flair (59:26)
This may be considered the best Royal Rumble ever. It definitely had the most at stake as it was the only Rumble to award the winner the WWF/E Champion. The card top to bottom was pretty good. Roddy Piper won his first Intercontinental Championship by defeating The Mountie.
The Rumble match however was the main attraction. The WWF title had been vacated due to the controversial finish of the WWF Title match between The Undertaker and Hulk Hogan at the PPV "This Tuesday in Texas." Ric Flair entered at No. 3, lasted nearly an hour and elminated Sid Justice to become WWF Champion.
Royal Rumble 1995
Winner: Shawn Michaels
Ironman: Shawn Michaels (38:41)
On paper this probably is not the greatest of Royal Rumble's but you have to give HBK a nod for being the first person to enter No. 1 and win the whole thing. In fact the last person eliminated was The British Bulldog who entered at No. 2. The reason Michaels won the match in 38:41 was because the WWE switched the format and had entrants enter the Rumble every 60 seconds instead of every 120 seconds. This turned out to be bad and the WWE eventually went back to the two minute format.
Royal Rumble 1999
Winner: Vince McMahon
Ironman: Vince McMahon (56:38)
This Rumble took place at the height of the McMahon/Austin feud. Don't be fooled by Vince's impressive 56 minute showing. Half of that he spent running from Stone Cold and even sitting down to commentate some of the match! This Rumble makes the list because everyone was shocked to see Vince win. Another highlight of this event was the "I Quit" match between The Rock and Mankind for the WWE Championship.
Royal Rumble 2000
Winner: The Rock
Ironman: Test (26:17)
This Rumble made the list more so for the undercard then for the actual Rumble match. The Rock did go on to win his first and only Royal Rumble match. Triple H vs. Cactus Jack in a street fight was a brutal match that added to this great feud. To me though the most memorable moment was Kurt Angle's match vs. a mystery opponent. That opponent turned out to be Tazz who made his WWE debut. The roof blew off of Madison Square Garden and Tazz ended Angle's undefeated streak.
Royal Rumble 2001
Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin
Ironman: Kane (54:49)
This Royal Rumble top to bottom may have had the best card of any Rumble in history. In addition to the Rumble match you had Kurt Angle vs. Triple H for the WWE Championship, The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge and Christian for the Tag Team Titles and Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit in a ladder match for the Intercontinential Championship. Stone Cold Steve Austin won the Rumble match and became the first and only man to date to win three Royal Rumbles.
Royal Rumble 2004
Winner: Chris Benoit
Ironman: Chris Benoit (1:01:30)
Chris Benoit took the word ironman to a whole new level after entering the Royal Rumble No. 1, lasting for over an hour and winning the whole thing. Benoit was the second man ever to enter No. 1 and win the Rumble. He would eventually defeat Triple H at Wrestlemania XX for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Royal Rumble 2006
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Ironman: Rey Mysterio (1:02:12)
Miami must have a thing for hosting historic Royal Rumble's. 2006 was no different as Rey Mysterio became the first man under 200 pounds to win the Rumble and he also broke the Ironman record previously held by Chris Benoit. History was also made during the World Heavyweight Championship match between Kurt Angle and Mark Henry. It was the first time two former olympians fought for the world title.
Royal Rumble 2008
Winner: John Cena
Ironman: Batista (37:42)
The look on Triple H's face said it all when John Cena's music hit in the arena and he entered the Rumble at No. 30. Cena who was sidelined with an injury was not expected to return as quickly as he did. He went on to win the Rumble and would eventually main event Wrestlemania XXIV with Triple H and Randy Orton.
That completes the list of the 10 best Royal Rumbles of all-time. Were there any memorable Rumbles I may have missed? Feel free to comment.
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