WWE Royal Rumble 2014: Power Ranking the 5 Worst Rumble Matches
Throughout the 26-year history of the Royal Rumble match, fans have witnessed some truly great bouts. Whether it was Ric Flair outlasting some of the biggest stars in WWE history to capture the WWE title in 1992 or Chris Benoit going the distance and dumping the massive Big Show to win in 2004, the Rumble has been responsible for some of the best, most competitive and well-booked matches in the long and illustrious history of WWE.
But not every Rumble can be a great one.
For whatever reason, some fail to make the most of the concept and instead come off more like overhyped Battle Royals.
The star power does not live up to the standards of those that came before them or there's very little in the way of spots for fans to sink their teeth into.
Whatever the case may be, they are major disappointments to those fans eagerly anticipating them.
With high hopes that the 2014 Royal Rumble does not one day land on a revised version of this list, here is a look back at the five worst Rumble matches in WWE history.
5. Royal Rumble 2012
There is room in any Royal Rumble for comedy.
When done correctly, such as the Kane-Honky Tonk Man interaction in 2001, it can create a memorable moment that is played in video packages every year leading into the annual January event.
When done incorrectly or too much, however, it can bring down the entire match.
That was the case in 2012 when, despite a very good closing segment between Sheamus and Chris Jericho, the match was adversely affected by too many comedy spots that took away the importance of the match.
Ricardo Rodriguez drove to the ring like friend and employer Alberto Del Rio. Commentators Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Booker T all entered the match at the expense of talented individuals not granted the opportunity to compete.
Even Kharma's appearance felt forced. While Beth Phoenix's appearance in 2010 felt fresh and unique and exciting, Kharma's generated a big pop, and Dolph Ziggler bumped around for her, but it felt largely like a novelty in a match already overflowing with them.
The wrestling itself was good, even above average. But it could not make up for a total overuse of comedy and overbooking.
4. Royal Rumble 1993
1993 was interesting in that WWE was heading in a new direction. Gone were promotion staples such as Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior and in their place were a mix of legitimate in-ring greats, young up-and-comers and silly, stupid gimmicks that had no chance of actually succeeding.
It was against that backdrop that the Royal Rumble match commenced on January 24, with "Nature Boy" Ric Flair and Bob Backlund drawing Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.
There are not many better ways to start a Rumble than with two outstanding ring workers, but the match falls off significantly after that. With "star" power such as Papa Shango, Skinner, Virgil, Damien Demento, Max Moon, Tenryu and Carlos Colon making up the field, there was very little for fans to sink their teeth into.
The Undertaker, a favorite, was assaulted by newcomer Giant Gonzalez in a spot that really drug down the Rumble match and brought it to a bit of a halt.
The arrival of Yokozuna and Randy Savage late in the match, coupled with Backlund's amazing hour-long performance and Mr. Perfect and Flair's interactions, helped save it from becoming the very worst of the Rumble matches, but it still was not enough to prevent inclusion on this list.
3. Royal Rumble 1999
Given that it took place during the hottest period in wrestling history, with some of the most enduring characters in WWE lore on the card, one would think the 1999 Royal Rumble match would be better than it was.
Unfortunately, that is not the case.
The storyline involving Steve Austin and Vince McMahon, who drew Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and spent the majority of the match out of the ring, overpowered the match from the very get-go, making the remaining majority of the match inconsequential.
The middle portion of the match, featuring competitors such as Steve Blackman, Droz, Tiger Ali Singh and the Blue Meanie, was a downright chore to watch. Undertaker recruiting Mabel to join the Ministry of Darkness once again overshadowed the match, and the last few minutes, which were far more star-studded than the early portions of the match, never really kicked into the next gear.
2. Royal Rumble 1996
Poor Shawn Michaels.
One year after winning his first Royal Rumble, arguably the worst Rumble match in history, he once again earned a WrestleMania title show by winning a lackluster bout.
The 1996 Royal Rumble featured an improved field of competitors, thanks to the likes of Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Steve Austin, Vader and Diesel. Yet the action involved was substandard and lethargic, making it one of the least exciting or enthralling Rumbles in WWE history.
The fact that everyone knew Michaels was winning the match did it no favors.
Traditionally, there are one or two Superstars pegged to win the Rumble match. They become favorites based on booking tendencies and rumored WrestleMania matches. Despite the aura of surprise being fairly nonexistent most of the time, the fans stay captivated thanks to a mix of stories, teased eliminations, innovative spots and interactions that may not be seen any other time of the year.
Those things were missing from the '96 match, making it a near hour-long exhibition until Michaels super-kicked Diesel over the top rope and scored the win.
1. Royal Rumble 1995
The absolute worst Royal Rumble in WWE history came in 1995, when Shawn Michaels and the British Bulldog were tasked with carrying the entire match from start to finish, surviving the worst Rumble field of all time.
With Bret Hart, Diesel, Razor Ramon, Jeff Jarrett and the Undertaker busy elsewhere on the card, Lex Luger and Crush were really the only other two stars with any chance of winning the annual January extravaganza.
The remainder of the match was made up of C-level tag teams and undercard stars who had no business competing in a match of the Rumble's magnitude.
There was also a decided lack of stories to be told, as it was more or less a handful of guys kicking and punching each other for more than 30 minutes.
Speaking of time, the intervals between entries was lowered to one minute, meaning that the match's length would be cut in half. While that severely hurt the quality, it may have been best for fans given the lack of interesting or exciting Superstars in the bout.
Michaels would win the match in a moment that is replayed and relived every January, but there is a reason that the 1995 Rumble goes largely unspoken of otherwise.