The Royal Rumble. The January Tradition. Quite possibly the most innovative match in WWE history (all thanks to the mind of WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson).
There have only been three Royal Rumble matches that have not included a member of the current WWE Hall of Fame (including the already announced 2011 inductee, Shawn Michaels).
Let’s see which one had the most.
(Note: This only refers to those who participated in the Royal Rumble match, not the entire event itself.)
At present, only the Royal Rumble matches for 2000, 2004, and 2009 do not include a current WWE HOFer, though who knows what the coming weeks might bring us.
Royal Rumbles 1995, 1999, 2001, and 2010 only had one current inductee, and that’s only because Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin were fairly early entrants into the Hall.
Royal Rumbles 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007 each had 2 HOF participants, some combination of Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Eddie Guerrero, Steve Austin, Mr. Perfect, and Terry Funk.
Royal Rumbles 1994, 2005, and 2008 each included three inductees, Shawn Michaels being the common participant in all three.
Royal Rumbles 1996 and 1997. This time, Steve Austin and Jerry “The King” Lawler are the common threads.
While you might think a PPV this old would have plenty more HOF inductees in it, there was a new dawn in the WWE in 1993, and much of the veteran talent currently in the Hall had left the company (voluntarily or otherwise).
The 1993 HOF rumblers (in order of appearance) were Ric Flair (the previous year’s winner), Ted DiBiase, Jerry “The King” Lawler (his first), Mr. Perfect, Koko B. Ware, and Tito Santana.
The inaugural event only had 20 participants but six of them are current members of the WWE Hall of Fame.
The 1988 HOF rumblers were Bret Hart, Tito Santana (Arriba!), Harley Race, Don Muraco, Nikolai Volkoff, and the Junkyard Dog. The victor, one Hacksaw Jim Duggan, remains conspicuous by his absence in the Hall.
The Immortal Hulk Hogan fought off 29 other men (well, not quite- he was the 24th entrant) to win his second rumble match, eliminating a then-record seven participants.
The 1991 HOF rumblers were Bret Hart, Greg Valentine, Kerry Von Erich, Tony Atlas (as Saba Simba- yes, that Saba Simba), Tito Santana, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Mr. Perfect, and Hogan.
The first event to feature 30 superstars AND to be on pay-per-view, the 1989 Royal Rumble match was won by the “true giant” (according to him) of the WWE, Big John Studd.
The 1989 HOF rumblers included Andre the (actual) Giant, Mr. Perfect, Greg Valentine, the soon-to-be inducted Shawn Michaels (in his first rumble), Tito Santana (Arriba!), Hulk Hogan, Koko B. Ware, Studd, and Ted DiBiase.
Then-WWE Champion (and all-around good guy) Hulk “the Hulkster” Hogan would claim his first Rumble victory in 1990 (and I thought for sure it was going to be Shane Douglas).
The 1990 HOF rumblers included Ted DiBiase, Koko B. Ware, “Hot Rod” Rowdy Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Dusty Rhodes, Andre the Giant, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Tito Santana, Hogan, Shawn Michaels (who lasted a whole 12 seconds...not exactly a HOF performance), and Mr. Perfect (the last person eliminated from this year's event).
That’s right. Forty percent of the 1992 Royal Rumble participants are now (or soon will be) in the WWE Hall of Fame. That probably goes a long way as to why it is nearly always considered the best rumble (not to mention that the victor truly got spoiled with the WWE Championship).
The Nature Boy (Ric Flair, not Buddy Rogers) would claim victory in his first rumble match and finally they could stop censoring out the WCW World Title he’d brought over with him. Wooooo!
The 1992 HOF rumblers included DiBiase, Flair, Shawn Michaels, Tito Santana (one more, Arriba!), Kerry Von Erich, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Nikolai Volkoff, Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka, Iron Sheik (in his only rumble appearance and as Col. Mustafa following his promotion in the Iraqi (?) military), Hulk Hogan, and Sgt. Slaughter (his only appearance, also).
Well, there you have it. All of the Hall of Famers in all of the Royal Rumbles. Hope I didn't miss anyone.
I don’t know what it all means, but it will be interesting to see how many make it into this year’s 40-man field. Any guesses?