In years past, the winner of the Royal Rumble has rarely been a surprise. Fans can simply watch the product, get a feel for who is on the receiving end of a push, gain an understanding of which direction the company wants to go in for WrestleMania and make an educated guess from there.
Despite the winner being known ahead of time, there have been a number of instances in which a dark-horse candidate has come along and stolen the show from the victor, thanks to a particularly impressive performance featuring great endurance or sheer dominance, regardless of whether or not they leave with their arms raised in victory.
Who can forget Bob Backlund's hour-long run in 1993 or Diesel's dominance in 1994? How about Shawn Michaels entering at No. 1 and winning the match in 1995 or Kane lasting an hour and eliminating 11 Superstars six years later?
The five men you are going to read about may not be dark-horse candidates to actually leave Pittsburgh with a guaranteed shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but they most certainly are dark-horse candidates to steal the show out from underneath the top stars in the industry.
Who are these Superstars, and what role may they play when the biggest Battle Royal in wrestling kicks off?
Let's take a look.