As the Royal Rumble draws near, it bears mentioning that the event has always provided many great moments.
Whether legends surprise the fans for one night only or wrestlers make their WWE debut, it has proven to be unpredictable.
With 30 superstars entering the rumble, it’s hard to foretell who will go on to WrestleMania.
The following moments prove just how shocking and surprising the Royal Rumble can be. Here are the seven craziest eliminations in the history of the Royal Rumble match.
Shawn Michaels told The Undertaker he was winning the Royal Rumble and would challenge the Deadman for his World Heavyweight title. He was close.
Michaels entered at No. 18, eliminating all who stood in his way. He even superkicked Triple H out of the Rumble. With so much pressure, many fans believed Michaels was the odds-on favorite.
Michaels was part of the final four with John Cena, Edge and Batista. Michaels and Edge were on the apron when Michaels kicked Edge back in the ring. Batista then knocked Michaels’ hands loose from the ropes and pushed him off. Shawn Michaels’ night was done.
His elimination proves that momentum doesn’t mean anything in a match like this.
As Michael Cole said on that night, “Mr. McMahon has won the Royal Rumble match.” Those are words we’d never thought we would hear.
During the McMahon/Austin feud, both men entered as the first two men in the match. It ended with both men, as Austin—who came back after being lured out of the ring by McMahon’s Corporation faction—dragged McMahon back in the ring.
Austin was well into winning his third Rumble match until The Rock appeared and distracted Austin. It was all McMahon needed, as he pushed Austin over the top rope.
McMahon proved it’s not always about skill because sometimes you can win by hook or crook. And on that night, he stole one from the Rattlesnake.
Mysterio dedicated his performance to his late friend Eddie Guerrero. Ironically, no one predicted he would win—let alone the way he did.
After outlasting 26 superstars, he was left with Rob Van Dam (his former tag team partner), Triple H and Randy Orton. Van Dam and Orton were fresh as the No. 20 and 30 entrants, respectively. Triple H and Mysterio came in at Nos. 1 and 2.
Mysterio was tossed towards Van Dam, which knocked Van Dam off the turnbuckle and out of the match. Mysterio then eliminated Triple H with a headscissors. After Orton took control, Mysterio shocked the world by giving Orton a hurricanrana over the top rope.
Mysterio became the only man to win the Rumble match as the No. 2 entrant. His victory proved it doesn’t matter where you start in the match, it’s where you finish.
The 1994 Royal Rumble arguably became the most controversial finish ever.
The final two wrestlers were Bret Hart and Lex Luger, who fought hard to win until both eliminated each other simultaneously to end the match.
Two men argued which man won until then-WWE president Jack Tunney came down and made the decision that both men would go on to face the WWE champion at WrestleMania X.
Luger and Hart went on to fight then-champion Yokozuna. Luger was disqualified, while Hart defeated Yokozuna to become champion.
It would become the first of two Royal Rumble draw finishes. The second came in 2005, when John Cena and Batista eliminated each other and were the final two men. Vince McMahon demanded overtime, where Batista won and eliminated Cena.
The year was 1997. The Royal Rumble became a turning point not just for the WWE but also for two men: Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret Hart.
Both men were embroiled in their feud and the 1997 Royal Rumble added fuel to the fire.
Austin was dominant as the fifth man to enter until Hart entered at No. 21. Hart went on to eliminate Austin, but the refs didn’t see it. They were stopping a brawl between Terry Funk and Mankind.
Austin went back in and eliminated Vader, The Undertaker and Hart last, stealing his first Royal Rumble victory.
More controversy would arise later, with all four men vying for the WWE title in February. It resulted in Austin losing his title shot at WrestleMania 13. As history showed, it only made Austin a stronger presence amongst fans and in the WWE.
This match resulted in a slew of shocks, but nothing that night could have topped the stunning elimination that occurred.
The Undertaker entered at No. 8 and cleaned house. He even eliminated the Hardy Boyz despite their best efforts to enact their revenge for putting them out of action for a few weeks. Then, Maven entered at No.12.
Maven was cautious and took his time getting in the ring as The Undertaker looked forward to implementing punishment.
The Hardys and Lita came back and were tossed around by Taker again. Maven’s moment came, and he took it. He dropkicked The Undertaker’s back and sent him over the top. Maven, the reality star and first winner of Tough Enough, eliminated arguably the biggest superstar in the WWE.
Maven tried to eliminate The Undertaker again with the same dropkick the next year. Taker would get his revenge and toss Maven.
This elimination would prove anyone can be eliminated. Nearly 11 years ago, Maven made sure of that.
What could be crazier than a reality star eliminating the WWE’s phenom? Try winning it at No. 1 and having a rule named after you.
Shawn Michaels and Davey Boy Smith, aka the British Bulldog, entered the 1995 Royal Rumble as the first two men. They were also the last two men in the match.
Smith tried everything he could to eliminate Michaels, but to no avail. Smith clotheslined Michaels over the top rope, and it was over. He won and celebrated in the ring. His music played until Michaels knocked him off the turnbuckle and over the top rope.
What just happened? Didn’t the British Bulldog win the match?
He didn’t, as Michaels hung on with one foot on the floor, not two. Michaels made history by becoming the first man to win at No.1. His clutch play would also be dubbed the “Shawn Michaels rule” in fans’ minds.
Others avoided their feet touching the floor during the match. Two years ago, John Morrison landed on the barricade and not on the floor. He leaped on the steps and stayed in it. This past Rumble match saw Kofi Kingston using his hands to avoid elimination.
Michaels’s performance and that very last elimination showed the Royal Rumble’s unpredictability. In addition to demonstrating that every entrant from Nos. 1-30 is a threat, it made wrestlers sure to actually eliminate their opponents.