There is no doubt that the Royal Rumble is routinely one of the year's most exciting pay-per-view, and a big part of that is its uniqueness. There is no other match that compares to the Royal Rumble, and that fact has naturally led to some pretty entertaining and interesting moments over the years.
The Rumble is much different from a normal match in that there are no pinfalls or submissions. The only goal is to avoid getting thrown over the top rope with both feet touching the floor. With that in mind, there have been tons of creative ways to avoid elimination over the course of Rumble history.
Also, the Royal Rumble tends to create strange bedfellows in terms of alliances while also tearing apart those who are normally friends. On top of that, the Rumble match almost always exceeds one hour in length, so there is plenty of time for comedy, and many of the coolest Rumble spots have derived from funny moments.
Here are the 10 best spots in Royal Rumble history that fans will likely be talking about for as long as the Rumble match is in existence.
The 2001 Royal Rumble holds a special place in the hearts of many, and two of the biggest reasons for that are the hardcore aspect and Kane's total dominance. The Big Red Monster eliminated 11 men in the match, which is a record that still stands today. He came up short in his bid to win, as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin eliminated him to prevail, but Kane certainly made his mark.
Kane was great throughout the match with his use of weapons, but the most memorable moment was probably his showdown with The Honky Tonk Man. Honky Tonk hadn't been seen in the WWE since 1998, so it was definitely a surprise for the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time to be in the Royal Rumble.
Rather than fighting Kane, Honky Tonk decided to sing his theme song, but Kane proceeded to grab The Honky Tonk Man's guitar and obliterate it over his head. He then eliminated the Elvis impersonator and continued to control the match. Kane did a lot of entertaining things in the 2001 Rumble, but his silencing of The Honky Tonk Man topped them all.
The 1999 Royal Rumble is best known as one that had very few possible winners, so it wasn't a big surprise when things came down to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Vince McMahon. That particular match also began with Austin and McMahon being the first two competitors in the ring, however, and it made for some great moments.
McMahon attempted to escape early in the match, but Austin chased him down outside the ring, and they ended up battling into the crowd. They even ended up in the arena halls before going into a bathroom. Austin was then jumped by The Corporation, and it looked like his night was over. He would return, though, and eventually eliminate everyone except McMahon.
This led to the longtime rivals brawling outside the ring once again, as Austin retrieved McMahon from the announce table. Just when Austin seemed poised to win, The Rock distracted him, and McMahon dumped him over the top rope to win the match. The 1999 Rumble was strange for a lot of reasons, but the extracurricular activities between Austin and McMahon outside the ring were great.
Mick Foley and Terry Funk certainly have a very strange relationship. They have faced each other hundreds of times in some of the most brutal and sadistic matches of all time, but they have profound respect for one another. That respect eventually led to them teaming up in WWE as Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie, respectively, but they proved that they weren't against mixing it up every once in a while.
Jack and Charlie were the first two entrants in the 1998 Royal Rumble, and instead of teaming up against other combatants, they decided to go head to head. Cactus Jack brought a trash can to the ring, while Charlie chased him off with his chainsaw. Jack threw chairs into the ring, and things got crazy when the match officially began as the hardcore legends brawled back and forth.
They were interrupted momentarily by Tom Brandi, but they joined forces briefly to toss him out. Their battle continued until The Rock intervened and Charlie eventually eliminated Jack. Foley would get his revenge, as he later entered as Mankind and then again later as Dude Love. You never know what you're going to see in the Royal Rumble, and Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie proved that to be true.
I'd be remiss if I didn't include the lovable trio known as Too Cool in a list ranking the coolest spots in Royal Rumble history. Too Cool was an odd alliance to say the least, as Scotty 2 Hotty and Grand Master Sexay joined forces with Rikishi, but the fans loved it, and they were definitely entertaining. Perhaps their signature moment as a faction occurred during the 2000 Royal Rumble when they were the only ones in the ring.
Rikishi had been dominating the match to the point where only he and Grand Master Sexay were left in the ring. It appeared as though Rikishi was ready to eliminate Grand Master, but Scotty 2 Hotty was the next entrant and played peacemaker. He rallied the troops and got the crowd excited before giving Rikishi his sunglasses. The lights suddenly went out, and Too Cool did their signature dance in the middle of the Rumble.
To make the moment even better, Rikishi double clotheslined his friends and eliminated both of them once the dance number was over. Not only was it one of the most lighthearted moments in the history of the Royal Rumble, but the manner in which Rikishi turned on his partners was well executed as well. I can't imagine we'll see something like this in the Rumble ever again.
The Royal Rumble's tagline has always been "every man for himself," but more often than not, that isn't the case. When tag-team partners or stablemates are in the ring at the same time, they almost always help each other, but that wasn't the case in 1989. Demolition Ax and Demolition Smash were the first two entrants in the 1989 Royal Rumble, but you never would have known that they were three-time WWE Tag Team Champions.
Instead of just conserving their energy and waiting for No. 3 to enter, the ruthless brawlers traded punches and attempted to eliminate each other. It was really the first time that "every man for himself" proved to be true, and while there have been several other instances since, none of them reached the same level as an elite tag team like Demolition trying to destroy each other.
Their rivalry was short-lived, as Andre the Giant entered third, which caused them to team back up and focus their attention on the big man. That was a fun spot in and of itself, but many fans probably would have loved to see Demolition go at it for a couple more minutes. Perhaps the best part of it all was that Demolition was stronger than ever after the Rumble match, as their encounter didn't hurt their partnership one iota.
The 1994 Royal Rumble was just the second in WWE history to award an automatic title shot at WrestleMania to the winner, and things came down to the two obvious favorites. Yokozuna was the WWE Champion at the time and had history with both Bret Hart and Lex Luger, so there was plenty of drama when they were the final two, but few could have predicted what would happen next.
Luger had The Hitman in a body slam position, but when he tried to toss Hart over the top rope, The Excellence of Execution reversed momentum, and both men went tumbling over. It appeared as though their feet hit at the exact same time, and there was plenty of confusion with one referee declaring Hart the winner, while the other maintained that Luger had won.
This prompted WWE president Jack Tunney to come to the ring and declare Hart and Luger co-winners. Both men received title shots at WrestleMania ,with Luger losing via disqualification and Hart winning the WWE Championship in the main event. Nothing like that had ever been seen before in the Royal Rumble, and while it happened again with Batista and John Cena in 2005, the original earns a spot on this list.
There have certainly been many innovations in the Royal Rumble since its inception, but over the past couple years specifically, some superstars have found wild new ways of remaining in the match. One such superstar was Kofi Kingston in last year's edition of the match. The Miz appeared to throw Kingston out, but his feet remained on the apron, so Miz threw them off as well, but Kofi proceeded to do something that had never been done before.
Rather than simply having his feet touch the floor, Kingston managed to perform a handstand and walk to the steps while using his hands. Kofi's feet never touched the floor, so he was allowed to reenter the match despite technically being thrown out and to the floor. This marked one of the first times that the "both feet must touch the floor" rule was taken so literally.
Kofi had done plenty of creative things in matches before, but this was something special even for him. There are a lot of ways to potentially circumvent the Royal Rumble rules, and Kingston showed us a great one in 2012. Now I'm eagerly awaiting the time when someone hops around on one foot outside the ring in order to avoid an elimination. The possibilities are suddenly endless.
One thing that we usually see at least 10 times per Royal Rumble these days is a wrestler appearing to be thrown out, only to hang onto the ropes and pull himself back in. This has become known as a skin-the-cat moment, and it has almost become second nature to wrestling fans due to the sheer number of times it has been performed. When Shawn Michaels did it to win the Rumble in 1995, however, it was something special.
HBK entered the 1995 Rumble at No. 1, so the odds were certainly stacked against him. "British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith was No. 2 as well, but both he and Michaels managed to stay alive for the duration of the match. With Lex Luger and Crush being thrown out in the latter stages, Davey Boy took it to Michaels and clotheslined him over the top rope. Smith's music played, Vince McMahon declared that he was going to WrestleMania and the Brit celebrated on the top rope.
In the background, Michaels could be seen clinging to the ropes and struggling to get back into the ring, which he eventually did. HBK then attacked Bulldog from behind and tossed him over the top rope. The crowd appeared to be confused, but Michaels was declared the winner. Upon further review, only one of Michaels' feet hit the floor, so he was never actually eliminated. HBK became the first man to win from No. 1 and revolutionized the way Rumble eliminations are made.
Most wrestling fans are well-aware of the showdown between Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI. Hogan was the WWE Champion at the time while Warrior was Intercontinental Champion, and they were clearly the two biggest stars in the company. Warrior went over in a pass-the-torch moment, but there was one encounter that set the stage for their epic WrestleMania battle.
That encounter, of course, took place in the 1990 Royal Rumble match. Hogan and Warrior were the two favorites to win, and at one point, they were the only two competitors left in the ring. They cleaned house and had a good minute or so before the next entrant came to the ring. They stared each other down and did their signature taunts before running the ropes and ultimately double clotheslining each other.
It was only a brief interaction over the course of a long Royal Rumble, but it had lasting implications that led to one of the biggest WrestleMania matches of all time. It was extremely rare during that time period for two top-notch faces to go at it, so Hogan vs. Warrior was a big deal then, and it remains one of the coolest moments in Rumble history.
The previous nine entries on this list have all been great for one reason or another, but none of them can match the athletic feat that John Morrison accomplished in the 2011 Royal Rumble. I'm admittedly not a big fan of Morrison and wasn't particularly broken up when his contract wasn't renewed, but I never questioned agility and creativity, and both of those qualities were on display during the 2011 Rumble match.
Morrison was considered one of a handful of participants with a great chance of winning the largest Royal Rumble ever, but he appeared to be eliminated as William Regal knocked him off the apron. Miraculously, Morrison managed to leap from the apron to the crowd barrier and hang onto it as if he was Spiderman. The Prince of Parkour put his training techniques to the test as he climbed to the top of the barrier, walked the tight rope and jumped onto the steps before reentering the ring.
It was unquestionably the coolest and most impressive thing I have ever seen in a Rumble match and one of the best spots in any match, for that matter. Morrison ultimately fell well short of expectations as he didn't win the Rumble, but he did provide the fans with a long-lasting memory. Morrison's impressive leap also likely inspired Kofi Kingston's handstand, and it may do the same for many other superstars in the near future.