WWE Royal Rumble 2014: Most Shocking Returns in Battle Royal History
A traditional returning Superstar is one of the most common things you are likely to see at the Royal Rumble.
With the 27th edition just around the corner, there are certain to be returns that will make the crowd delirious—be it a Superstar returning from injury or a legendary figure making a one-off appearance.
With rumors aplenty in the coming weeks as to who will appear at the Royal Rumble, it's a good time to look back at the previous 26 Royal Rumble matches and relive some of the most shocking returns in the history of the event.
8. RVD (2009)
We start with the 2009 edition of the Royal Rumble, and a real return that took everyone by surprise.
Rob Van Dam hadn't appeared in a WWE ring since December 2007, when he made an announced appearance on the 15th anniversary of Raw. He had been wrestling on the independent circuit for a lengthy period of time since his departure from the company, and it almost felt like he was wasting himself.
The reaction he got when he entered in the 2009 Royal Rumble was huge. RVD's music hit to a huge pop, and he put some smart spots on during his stay in the Royal Rumble match.
Despite entering at No. 25, he couldn't pick up the victory, as he was eliminated by Chris Jericho.
With RVD currently away from the company again, could he have an unannounced return in 2014?
7. Mr. Perfect (2002)
WWE often brings a legend back in the Royal Rumble, purely to add a touch of excitement and nostalgia to the event.
However, it is rare that a legend comes back and comes close to actually winning the event. That is exactly what happened in 2002, when Mr. Perfect returned to the Royal Rumble.
The late, great Curt Hennig was actually one of the final three competitors in the Rumble that year, before being eliminated by eventual winner Triple H.
In fact, Hennig's performance was so good—coupled with the positive reaction from the crowd—it actually earned him a contract with the company before he was released later in 2002.
6. Goldust (2013)
2013 has been a pretty impressive year in the career of Goldust. He finished it as co-holder of the Tag Team titles with brother Cody Rhodes, and he started it by making a shock return to the WWE.
At the time, it was just a one-off appearance, but he has once again become a permanent part of the roster with the company—perhaps due to this impressive showing in the Royal Rumble.
The pop he received from the crowd was impressive enough, but the fact he went at it with Cody in the middle of the Rumble match was even more enjoyable viewing.
It was certainly a return that not many people anticipated, giving him a spot on this list.
5. Diesel (2011)
In 2011, the Royal Rumble was extended to 40 men for a one-off occasion. It naturally bumped up the possibility of some surprising returns, and the biggest one of those was arguably Diesel.
Big Daddy Cool stunned the crowd when he emerged at No. 32, and some of the faces on the Superstars in the ring were absolutely priceless.
It was Diesel's first appearance since 1996, and it led to a run with the company throughout 2011 under his Kevin Nash guise.
Absolutely nobody saw the return of Diesel at the Rumble, though, and for that, WWE must be patted on the back.
4. Chris Jericho (2013)
As returns to the Royal Rumble go in terms of longevity, Chris Jericho's is up there with the best.
Y2J ended a six-month hiatus from the WWE at last year's Royal Rumble by entering at No. 2. The Canadian lasted a stunning 47 minutes before being eliminated by rival Dolph Ziggler.
Many people will have felt that a return for Jericho at the Royal Rumble was far from shocking. However, the reaction when his music hit certainly suggests otherwise.
3. Edge (2010)
Another man who ended a six-month hiatus to return at the Royal Rumble was Edge, way back in 2010.
Perhaps the fact the WWE left Edge's return to much, much later in the Rumble—he didn't enter until No. 29—made it more of a shocking return. Perhaps people had forgotten about Edge and ruled out any possibility of him appearing in the event.
However, Edge did appear, and he went on to actually win the event, eliminating John Cena last to win his first Royal Rumble and a WrestleMania main event match.
Edge was a guy who could always generate a reaction from the crowd, and when he appeared in such shocking circumstances, it made for an electric moment.
2. John Cena (2008)
The 2008 Royal Rumble from Madison Square Garden was a superb Rumble, it has to be said.
It was made even better with an absolutely shocking appearance from John Cena, who returned earlier than expected from injury to enter the Royal Rumble.
He generated a massive reaction from the crowd and cleaned up to actually go on and win the event. The fact that everyone had dismissed the potential of a Cena return is the reason it ranks so high up on this list, as everyone assumed it was just too soon for the Cenation leader to return from injury.
That night must rank as one of the best in John Cena's career.
1. Triple H (2002)
Continuing the theme of men who have returned at the Royal Rumble to actually win the event, we finish with the 2002 edition.
Triple H had been out of action for over eight months, leading him to completely miss The Invasion storyline, one of the most compelling of recent years.
He had been through rigorous rehabilitation to make it back in time for WrestleMania season, although many did not expect him to make the Rumble.
This was a shocking return, especially considering The Game returned to win the Rumble at Madison Square Garden.