WWE: The Ultimate Royal Rumble Lineup

Richard HurdContributor IJanuary 28, 2011

WWE: The Ultimate Royal Rumble Lineup

0 of 30

    With the yearly WWE Royal Rumble on its way this Sunday, I thought it would be fun to create a lineup of "superstars" that would make up the Ultimate Royal Rumble.

    Simple Outline

    - This is of course all subjective, and my opinion. If you disagree with any of my choices please comment on why you don't think he belongs, and whom you’d replace him with. If I get enough comments for a certain "superstar", consider him added to the list.

    - All former Rumble winners are automatically included on this list.

    - There will be 30 selections, since technically a 40 man Rumble has still never happened

    - This is only a list of "superstars" who'd be in it, not some 'fantasy booking" thing where I tell you what number they come out at, and who wins the whole thing (Hulk Hogan would).

    Enjoy! 

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin

1 of 30

    Appearances - 6

    Wins - 1997, 1998, 2001 (Only 3 time winner)

    Final Four - 1999, 2002

    Runner Up - 1999

    The "Texas Rattlesnake" is the King of the Royal Rumble, if you take away his first Rumble appearance in 1996 as the Ringmaster, "Stone Cold" has made the final four or better in every Rumble match he appeared in.

    His first Rumble win came in 1997, entering at number 5, Austin tied the record (at that time) of eliminations with 10. Even though Bret Hart eliminated him, no ref saw it, and Austin was able to re-enter the Rumble, eliminate Vader, Undertaker, and Hart to win.

    He followed that up the next year by becoming the third man to win back-to-back Rumble matches. Entering at number 24, with a target on his head, Austin survived an initial onslaught to win in 1998.

    In 1999, looking to become the first three-time winner of the Rumble, but the odds were stacked against him. Entering first with Vince McMahon second, Austin would fight the Chairman to the back where he'd be attacked by the "Corporation."

    Returning half way during the match, it would come down to Austin and McMahon. As Austin seemed prepared to eliminate McMahon, The Rock would come out to distract Austin, allowing McMahon to sneak up and eliminate Austin.

    When Austin next appeared in a Rumble in 2001, he'd return to his winning ways. The 27th entrant, Austin would eliminate Kane to win. His final Rumble appearance the following year would see him make the final four, but not leave as the winner.

Shawn Michaels

2 of 30

    Appearances - 12

    Wins - 1995, 1996

    Final Fours - 1994, 2007, 2010

    Runner Up - 2007

    The Showstopper, The Main Event, The Icon, Mr. WrestleMania, and if it wasn't for Steve Austin, Mr. Royal Rumble, The Heart Break Kid, Shawn Michaels. What hasn't Michaels accomplished in the Rumble?

    Let's take a look at some of them. Appeared in the second Rumble and the 23rd, a gap of over two decades. He holds the record for total eliminations in Rumble history with 39, and he's one of only three men to win back to back or multiple Rumble matches.

    During his "Rockers" day, Michaels didn't fare so well in the Rumble, but by '94, now on his own he'd make his first final four, as clichéd as it is, "the best was yet to come. In 1995, Michaels became the first and only man to enter the Royal Rumble number 1, and win the entire thing.

    As Michaels, and the number 2 entrant the British Bulldog were the final two, with the Bulldog appearing to eliminate Michaels, only for Michaels to famously "skin the cat" on the ropes, come back and eliminate the Bulldog to win. Michaels would repeat the next year in 96', eliminating Diesel to take his second in a row.

    Michaels wouldn't play another significant role in a Rumble until 2007, when he and the Undertaker dueled as the final two entrants. The Undertaker would prevail, leaving Michaels to have to settle for second place. In his last Rumble appearance last year, Michaels would make the final four for a record tying fifth time, but was unable to win the match. 

Hulk Hogan

3 of 30

    Appearances - 4

    Wins - 1990, 1991

    Final Four - 1992

    The Hulkster appeared in four straight Rumble matches beginning in 1989. In his first Rumble appearance, he wouldn't be the winner being eliminated by the "Twin Towers," but would set a record for most eliminations with 10, that would stand until 2001 (Kane).

    He followed that up by being the first "superstar" to win back to back rumble matches, accomplishing it in 1990 and 1991.

    In the '91 Rumble, Hogan would become the only World Champion to win the Rumble, entering at number 25, and eliminating Rick Rude, and Mr. Perfect to get the win. The next year he'd enter one spot earlier, but to the same result, taking down the mighty Earthquake to win his second Rumble in a row.

    1992 would prove to be the "Immortal" ones last Rumble entrance, finishing in the final four when Sid Justice eliminated him. Hogan not liking the manner in which Sid did it, grabbed Sid by the arm, allowing Ric Flair to toss Sid out of the ring. 

Ric Flair

4 of 30

    Appearances - 5

    Wins - 1992

    In what was arguably the greatest Rumble ever, the "Nature Boy" made his debut. In a Rumble that included the likes of Hogan, Savage, Undertaker, Piper, Sid, Michaels, and so many more, Flair would enter at number 3; nearly one hour later Flair would be the last man in the ring (eliminating Sid Justice with the help of Hulk Hogan), not only the Rumble winner, Flair also won the vacant WWF World Heavyweight Championship.

    He became the first man to draw a top 5 number and win the Rumble; setting a longevity record in the process.

    Flair would appear in the four more Rumbles, with the last coming in '07. In those four appearances, Flair's combined ring time didn't equal the amount he spent in '92. 

Bret "The Hitman" Hart

5 of 30

    Appearances - 5

    Wins - 1994 (Co-Winner)

    Final Four - 1997

    Runner Up - 1997

    "The Hitman" holds the distinction of being the first man to ever enter a Royal Rumble, as he and Tito Santana began the first Rumble in 1988.  He wouldn't be victorious that night or in any other of his first three Rumble matches.

    Heading into his fourth Rumble match in 1994, Bret would first take a shot with his brother Owen at the Tag Team Titles; Bret would badly injure his knee putting serious doubts on his prospects at winning the Rumble later that night.

    Entering at number 27 on his hobbled leg, Bret was able to survive to a showdown with Lex Luger as the final two men. When Luger went to dump Hart their momentum carried them both over the top, and it was determined that the two were co-winners. They would both get title shots at WrestleMania X; with Hart ending the night Champ.

    In his final Rumble appearance, Hart came out at 21, and would appear to be in control after eliminating Steve Austin, creating a final four of Undertaker, Vader, Fake Diesel, and Hart.

    What he didn't know was no ref saw Austin hit the ground, and while Hart was eliminating Fake Diesel, Austin had returned and would eliminate the remaining three competitors, Hart the last, making him the runner up. 

The Undertaker

6 of 30

    Appearances - 10

    Wins - 2007

    Final Four - 1997, 2003

    Runner Up - 2003

    For all the success that The Undertaker has had at WrestleMania, the same cannot be said about his experiences in the Royal Rumble. In his first incarnation the "Deadman" was a disappointment in 91' and 92', he was off to a good start in 93', when a debuting Giant Gonzalez dismantled Taker. 1997 saw his first success finishing in the final four before Steve Austin was able to get back in the ring, and eliminate Taker.

    The "American Badass" Undertaker saw a slight improvement, with the exception of being on the wrong end of one of the most shocking Rumble moments when a dominant Taker, who'd already eliminated 7 men was himself eliminated by Maven in 02'.

    The American Badass' last Rumble would be his best finish as entering at No. 30; Taker was runner up to Brock Lesnar in 03'

    In his first Rumble after returning to the "Deadman", The Undertaker would win his first Royal Rumble. Entering at number 30 (for the third different time), becoming the first man to win the Rumble entering at what logically should be the best position to win.

    Of note was Taker eliminating Shawn Michaels to win the Rumble, and the beginning of their great feud. 

John Cena

7 of 30

    Appearances - 5

    Wins - 2008

    Final Four - 2005, 2010

    Runner Up - 2005, 2010

    After two solid if not unspectacular appearances in the Rumble, John Cena had a break out year in 2005. The No. 25 entrant, it would come down to Cena and Batista.

    After both men appeared to go out at the same, Vince McMahon would march down to the ring (blowing out both of his quads in the process), and restart the match. In the ensuing restart, Cena would come up short being eliminated by Batista, and having to settle for runner up.

    Heading into the 2008 Royal Rumble, John Cena as a contender was the farthest from anyone’s mind. Thought to be out until maybe even after Wrestlemania, Cena became a surprise entrant in the Rumble. Getting the luck of draw with No. 30, he lasted to the end, eliminating HHH to win the Rumble.

    In last year's Rumble, Cena for the second time came up short as the runner up to Edge. 

Batista

8 of 30

    Appearances - 4

    Wins - 2005

    Final Four - 2008, 2010

    Batista made his first Rumble appearance in 2003, to a rather disappointing result. His next Rumble would hold a much better ending.

    Just told in the John Cena slide, after a double elimination was reversed to a restart of the match, Batista would be the one standing tall at the end of the 2005 Royal Rumble.

    Batista appeared in two Rumbles since his triumphant 05' victory. He would make the final four in both 2008 and 2010, but would come up short in both efforts, with 10' appearing to be his last Rumble. 

Brock Lesnar

9 of 30

    Appearances - 1 (2003)

    Wins - 1

    In less than a year in the WWE, Brock Lesnar had already won the King of the Ring, and turned that into his first Heavyweight Championship by defeating the Rock at SummerSlam of 02'.

    As the "Lesnar experience" headed into 03', Lesnar made his one and only appearance in the Royal Rumble, drawing No. 29 and surviving the "Brothers of Destruction" to come out victorious.

    Lesnar was of course not long for the wrestling world, as just over a year after his Rumble victory he abruptly left WWE, never to be heard of again. Some MMA thing or something. 

The Rock

10 of 30

    Appearances - 4

    Wins - 2000

    Final Four - 1998, 2001

    Runner Up - 1998

    Rocky Maivia made his Rumble debut in 97', coming out at number 25, and being the 23rd man eliminated. The following year Maivia was gone; enter The Rock, and the 98' runner up, lasting over 50 minutes before being tossed by Steve Austin.

    In the first Royal Rumble of the new Millennium, The Rock emerged the winner when at the end, with him and the Big Show the final two men, Show would attempt a running slam to eliminate Rock, only for The Rock to hold on.

    As both men tumbled out of the ring, Big Show hit the floor, The Rock held on to the ropes, and hit the apron, the 00' Rumble winner.

    The Rock appeared in one more Rumble the following year in 01', lasting to the final four before being eliminated by Kane. 

"Big" John Studd

11 of 30

    Appearances - 1

    Wins - 1989

    A year after its inception, the Rumble would become a Pay Per View, and go from 20 competitors to 30. The "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase couldn't buy himself the Rumble, even though he'd purchased the number 30 entrant.

    The man who prevented this was "Big" John Studd, who entered at No. 27, and would eliminate Akeem, leaving him and DiBiase as the final two where Studd would come out the last man standing in the ring.

    This was Studd's only Rumble appearance, he left a lasting impact. 

Triple H

12 of 30

    Appearances - 8

    Wins - 2002

    Final Four - 2006, 2008, 2009

    Runner Up - 2008, 2009

    "The Game" has had a good track record in Rumble matches. In his first three Rumble matches (2 as the blue blood, 1 as DX), HHH had come away with nothing. In 2002, as "The Game" made his return from a blown out quad, a possessed HHH entered at 22, and marched through the competition to his first Royal Rumble victory.

    In 2006, HHH entered at No. 1 to Rey Mysterio's No. 2, and lasted almost as long as the luchador, making it to the final four, before Mysterio eliminated him.

    HHH would have to be up for a hard luck award as he is the only man to be runner up in consecutive Rumble matches. In 08', the returning John Cena bested "The Game", and in 09', HHH couldn't overcome the odds against Legacy.

    While not seen in month, odds are good "The Game" will be making his return this Sunday. 

Randy Orton

13 of 30

    Appearances - 4

    Wins - 2009

    Final Four - 2006, 2007

    Runner Up - 2006

    In 2004, Orton appeared in his first Rumble, second into the match; he gave a good performance before a surprise Mick Foley return ended his night.

    Two years later, Orton drew nearly the opposite getting No. 30, but Rey Mysterio played the spoiler for Orton that night, making him the runner up. The next year, Orton would make the final four again only for the scenario to play out in a similar fashion.

    2009 was Orton's breakthrough year, entering at number 8, Orton saw luck come his way as the final four came down to Orton with "Legacy", and HHH. After HHH was able to take out "Legacy", Orton was able to immediately eliminate "The Game" to win. 

Edge

14 of 30

    Appearances - 6

    Wins - 2010

    Final Four - 2005, 2007

    Last year, Edge made his return from injury at the Royal Rumble. Entering at number 29, Edge eliminated John Cena to capture his first Rumble victory.

    Making his Rumble debut in 99', Edge had enjoyed little success in his initial Rumble appearances. In both 2005 and 2007, Edge would make the final four, but was unsuccessful in both attempts at winning.

"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan

15 of 30

    Appearances - 4

    Winner - 1988

    The original Rumble winner, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan drew No. 13 in the inaugural Royal Rumble held in 1988, The first Rumble wasn't a Pay Per View, but a TV special on the USA Network, and the first Rumble would see its smallest field as their were only 20 competitors.

    As the match came to a close, "Hacksaw" would find himself at a disadvantage as he along with Dino Bravo and The One Man Gang were the final 3. "Hacksaw" survived the double team, and would capitalize on a mistake (Gang accidentally eliminated Bravo) to eliminate OMG, and be crowned the first Rumble winner.

    That would be "Hacksaw's" greatest Rumble success as 91' and 92' saw little positives. Duggan wouldn't appear in another Rumble until 17 years later in 09’ that too didn’t end well for “Hacksaw” 

Lex Luger

16 of 30

    Appearances - 2

    Wins - 1994 (Co-Winner)

    Final Four - 1995

    The "Lex Express" rolled into the 94' Royal Rumble a favorite to win, but after a backstage attack by Mr. Fuji's stable, Luger's status was thrown into disarray. Luger would make it to the Rumble, entering at number 23; Luger and Bret Hart would be the final two contestants.

    In the first and only time there was co-winners of the Royal Rumble, when the two went out at the same time. They'd both receive title shots at Wrestlemania, with Luger failing in his efforts.

    Looking to be the sole winner the next year, Luger entered at number 19, and made his way to the final four again, but that was the end of it as he was eliminated by Shawn Michaels and Crush. 

Vince McMahon

17 of 30

    Appearances - 1

    Wins - 1999

    The "Chairman of the Board" made only one Rumble appearance, in 1999. His goal was to prevent Steve Austin from winning, and he did.

    The least impressive Rumble winner spent most of the match outside of the ring, and what time he did spend it saw him on the wrong side of a beating.

    But seizing an opportunity due to a distraction by the Rock, McMahon was able to eliminate Austin to become the Rumble winner. 

Rey Mysterio

18 of 30

    Appearances - 4

    Winner - 2006

    Final Four - 2005

    If where going strictly on size no one has accomplished more with less than Rey Mysterio. In his first Rumble (03') he laid a dud. In his next appearance in 05' he made the final four, and in his third he kept on getting better.

    Mysterio entered the 2006 Royal Rumble number 2, he would go on to set a longevity record (still standing) by lasting an hour and two minutes (1:02:12 official), and eliminated 6 competitors in route to becoming the smallest "superstar" ever to win the Rumble. 

Yokozuna

19 of 30

    Appearances - 2

    Wins - 1993

    Enter the most dominant Royal Rumble debut in history. In the first Rumble where the winner was guaranteed a title match, Yokozuna entered at No. 27, eliminated 6 men, was never in any danger, and came away victorious.

    He'd carry the Rumble momentum to Mania', where he'd defeat Bret Hart for the title (then lost it immediately to Hulk Hogan).

Chris Benoit

20 of 30

    Appearances - 4

    Wins - 2004

    The only reason Benoit makes this list is because he won a Rumble.

Diesel (Kevin Nash)

21 of 30

    Appearances - 2

    Final Four - 1996

    Runner Up - 1996

    While he only appeared in two Rumbles they both had a lasting impact. In his Rumble debut in 94', Diesel entered at number 7, and then proceeded to eliminate 7 opponents (truly one of the first "wow" moments of dominance) in minutes, before he was eliminated by nearly a half-dozen foes.

    When he made his next (and final) Rumble appearance in 96', he would be the last man eliminated as Shawn Michaels would knock "Big Daddy Cool" out of the ring with Sweet Chin Music to win the Rumble. 

    "Diesel" would make another appearance in the 97' Rumble, as the fake Diesel (Glenn Jacobs, AKA Kane) would actually give forth a good effort, but we've all agreed this never happened, so let's move on.

Kane

22 of 30

    Appearances - 14 ( Most all-time, 12 as Kane 99'- )

    Final Four - 2000, 2001, 2003

    Runner Up - 2001

    The man appeared in every Rumble of the last decade, although not with much success in the last seven. He first entered the 96' Rumble as Dr. Isaac Yankem, then as the fake Diesel in 97' (wait didn't we just say that never happened), but since 99', it's been Kane.

    In his first Rumble he eliminated himself. The next year he'd make it to the final four, but his next year would be his best.

    Inarguably the best performance of any non-winner, in 2001, Kane entered at number 6, and lasted to the end, the runner up to Steve Austin.

    During the match, Kane set a still standing Rumble record for eliminations with 11 (including 6 straight). Kane would make one more final four in 03', but his "brother" the Undertaker ended his night.

    As mentioned above, Kane hasn't fared so well in recent years. His best result was another near final four appearance in 2008. 

Kurt Angle

23 of 30

    Appearances - 3

    Final Four - 2002, 2004

    Runner Up - 2002

    Angle only had three appearances in the Rumble (3 other times he successfully defended his Heavyweight Championship instead of being in the Rumble). In his first Rumble in 02', Angle entered at number 26, and lasted to the end before being eliminated by the returning HHH.

    In 04' he made the final four, but was eliminated by the Big Show.

    In his last Rumble appearance (05') he was quickly eliminated by Shawn Michaels, which started their great feud of that year.

Mick Foley

24 of 30

    Appearances - 4

    Final Four - 1998

    Foley never had great success in the Rumble, but I gave him the nod for his memorable 1998 Rumble. In that match, Foley became the only man to enter the Rumble three times when he unleashed all three "Faces of Foley" (Mankind, Dude Love, Cactus Jack).

    From the beginning hardcore brawl with Terry Funk, to his third incarnation, Dude Love making the final four, it was by far his best showing in the Royal Rumble.

Big Show

25 of 30

    Appearances - 7

    Final Four - 2000, 2004

    Runner Up - 2000, 2004

    Kind of a disappointment considering "The World's Biggest Athlete" has never won a Rumble. He's been close twice, but as the saying goes that only matters in horseshoe and hand grenades.

    In his first Rumble in 00', Show was the last man over the top, when trying to eliminate the Rock, his momentum carried him over the top. Again, he was the last man to be eliminated in the 04' Rumble, when Chris Benoit dragged the big man over the ropes.

    Big Show has been relatively ineffective in his other five Rumble appearances, but maybe 2011 will be his year (doubtful). 

"Macho Man" Randy Savage

26 of 30

    Appearances - 5

    Final Four - 1992, 1993

    Runner Up - 1993

    One of the bigger names never to win the Rumble, Savage was not without his moments. He was the first World Champion to compete in a Rumble in 89', eliminated by Hulk Hogan in a move that brought the beginning of the end of the Mega Powers.

    He became the first man to no-show a Rumble, when after costing the Ultimate Warrior the title, during the Rumble no one came out at No. 18, in 91'.

    Savage would make his first final four in 1992, but was spent and easily eliminated by Sid Justice. Finally, he was the runner up in 1993. While getting number 30, Savage was no match when it came down to him and Yokozuna. 

Mr. Perfect

27 of 30

    Appearances - 5

    Final Four - 1990, 2002

    Runner Up - 1990

    Perfect's biggest success in the Royal Rumble came in 1990. Drawing the "Perfect Number", Perfect came in last at number 30, and would be the last man eliminated, coming up short to Hulk Hogan.

    Perfect's last Rumble appearance appeared to happen in 93', but to the surprise of everyone, Perfect returned at the 2002 Rumble.

    Showing he hadn't lost a step, he lasted to the final four before being eliminated by eventual winner HHH.

"The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith

28 of 30

    Appearances - 6

    Final Four - 1991, 1995, 1996

    Runner Up - 1995

    In the Bulldog's first Rumble in 91', he made the final four. After a good showing in 92', the Bulldog wouldn't be in the next two before returning for his greatest performance in 1995.

    Drawing number 2 to Shawn Michaels number 1, Davey Boy held every bit the pace of Michaels, lasting to the end, and even thinking he'd knocked Michaels out of the ring. His premature celebration allowed Michaels the time to get back in the ring and eliminated him.

    Looking to rebound the next year, the Bulldog entered at number 29, and made the final four for a second year, but like the year before, he'd be eliminated by Michaels. Smith appeared in two more Rumbles, with the last being 2000. 

Chris Jericho

29 of 30

    Appearances - 6

    Final Four - 2004

    Chosen more for name value than any real achievement he had in the Rumble match, Jericho has only made the final four in one Rumble, and has never been a runner up.

    In two Rumble matches, Jericho has lasted 35-plus minutes (2003, 2009). His best Rumble may have been 03', where he dominated the first half of the match, and had five eliminations.

Andre The Giant

30 of 30

    Appearances - 2

    Why pick a man who never won let alone came close to winning? Because he's Andre The Giant.

    Andre was unbeatable in battle royals for decades, and by the time the Rumble came along, he was well past his prime.

    Something tells me if the Rumble had been created 10 years earlier, Andre would have won a couple.