Ranking the Rumbles: A Comprehensive Countdown of Every Royal Rumble Match

Benjamin BenyaCorrespondent IIJanuary 29, 2011

Ranking The Rumbles: A Comprehensive Countdown Of Every Royal Rumble Match

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    As we cross the frontier into the 24th annual Royal Rumble match, many of us have stopped to ponder whether or not this first-time 40-man battle royal can live up to any of the 23 previous matches before it.

    Truth be told, the Rumble has consistently been one of the best matches to watch every year.

    This is not to say that there haven't been a few duds in the system as well. If anything, ranking the Rumbles is an arduous task that I feel needs to be taken on with particular tact and grace.

    Since I have both (and sometimes neither), I present to you a comprehensive countdown on the Royal Rumble.

    Time to go from worst to first and see where it leaves us.

23. 2003

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    Winner: Brock Lesnar

    Three Studs:
    1. Chris Jericho
    2. Undertaker
    3. Rob Van Dam

    Three Duds:
    1. B-2
    2. Tommy Dreamer
    3. Goldust

    Where it Hit: The rivalry of Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho hit new levels on this night when Jericho duped Michaels into a malicious assault and quickly eliminated him. But Michaels got revenge later in the evening and then again during a fantastic WrestleMania match later in the year.

    Where it Missed: Too many men were coming in and not getting eliminated by their dominant foes, not to mention the inclusion of the bottom of the barrel in regards to talent. Bill DeMott and B-2 (the ridiculously out-of-place Bull Buchanan) left a little to be desired from what could have been bigger talents.

    Big Show and the Dudley Boys were both kept out of the Rumble, and only Show was given a storyline reason for why.

    Where We Stand: The Attitude Era provided wrestling with the biggest mainstream explosion since Hulkamania, but the nuclear fallout from such a big boom wasn't felt fully until the 2003 Royal Rumble match. A sea of mid-card talents with just a few actual threats left this Rumble staggering out of the gate.

    By the time Brock Lesnar actually made his appearance in the Rumble at 29 (and the Undertaker followed dead last), fans were tiring of seeing so little talent that Lesnar's predictable win did little to motivate them. The Rumble had no story to it and was put together pretty lazily.

22. 1999

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    Winner: Vince McMahon

    Three Studs:
    1. Stone Cold Steve Austin
    2. Mabel
    3. Kane

    Three Duds:
    1. Gillberg
    2. Golga
    3. Gangrel

    Where it Hit: The continued story of Austin and McMahon was on full display for an hour during this Royal Rumble match. Seeing the lengths that McMahon and the Corporation would go to to get Austin out of the Rumble was truly enjoyable and felt perfect for the Attitude Era. Further advancement on Kane's face turn and the reintroduction of Mabel kept things moving nicely.

    Where it Missed: Having Vince McMahon win the match took away a lot of legitimacy from the event, and rightfully so. McMahon's character overshadowing the perfect opportunity to build a new star (by having them eliminate Austin and win) was a critical miss on the road to more shows that were filled with inconclusive action.

    Where We Stand: While it was a big time for professional wrestling, the 1999 Royal Rumble suffered from a lack of story development for anyone not directly involved in the Austin/McMahon feud. For that reason, compounded by a fundamental lack of endurance for any competitor and the seemingly underwhelming gimmick of having a woman participate in the Rumble, this one ranks pretty low.

    If anything, it was like watching a three-hour RAW. The same could be said for WrestleMania XV and several events that year.

21. 1993

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    Winner: Yokozuna

    Three Studs:
    1. Bob Backlund
    2. Yokozuna
    3. The Undertaker

    Three Duds:
    1. Terry Taylor
    2. Papa Shango
    3. Randy Savage

    Where it Hit: Early on, Ric Flair's epic war with Mr. Perfect was encapsulated quite well and setup for their big blow-off match the following evening. Yokozuna's standoff with Earthquake helped foreshadow things to come and two separate encounters for Money Inc. and the Nasty Boys kept the tag team title picture fresh. It also didn't hurt that Bob Backlund gave a stellar performance, competing for over an hour.

    Where it Missed: The introduction of Giant Gonzalez midway through the contest was not only bizarre, but completely baffling. While he was designed to take out the Undertaker, his appearance and in-ring work made for some shoddy performance overall.

    Where We Stand: With a depleted roster to work with, the 1993 Royal Rumble was heavy on tag teams, thus minimizing the legitimate threats the match had to offer. It also became readily apparent from the moment he entered that nobody could dethrone Yokozuna, not even the rule-forgetting Macho Man Randy Savage.

    In fairness, the match still got a great reaction from the crowd despite being mostly devoid of top-tier superstars. Savage's last-ditch effort to take out Yoko was especially memorable, but like the rest of the match, felt too weird and offbeat to really be good.

20. 2010

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    Winner: Edge

    Three Studs:
    1. Shawn Michaels
    2. C.M. Punk
    3. John Cena

    Three Duds:
    1. Matt Hardy
    2. JTG
    3. Chris Masters

    Where it Hit: In many ways, this Rumble did a great job of making you believe in a number of different competitors and their chances at victory. It also had definitive spotlights for those performers to show what they had. The build-up of Shawn Michaels' last chance at the Undertaker combined with the surprise return of Edge made for some emotional moments overall.

    Where it Missed: Too many men were eliminated with little fanfare or care. Case in point, R-Truth tossed out both Mark Henry and the Big Show at the same time, yet received almost no recognition for such an effort. Nearly 15 years earlier, HBK's herculean effort to toss Vader and Yokozuna was incredibly memorable. Almost all eliminations in this match lacked any of that passion.

    Where We Stand: Whether they were short on time or ideas, the 2010 Royal Rumble was, at least, uniquely different from any previous affair. It had a lot of men coming in and out and very few in the ring at one time. The ring only partially filled once, and the rest of the time, we were showcasing just a few stars.

    If anything, this one was mapped out way too much, leaving little margin for exciting clashes as it all read like stereo instructions.

19. 1995

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    Winner: Shawn Michaels

    Three Studs:
    1. Shawn Michaels
    2. British Bulldog
    3. Lex Luger

    Three Duds:
    1. Mo
    2. Owen Hart
    3. Bushwhacker Luke

    Where it Hit: The 1995 Royal Rumble match may have been the shortest one in the history of the 30-man format, but it also provided what is arguably the most memorable moment in any Rumble.

    Coming in with a match devoid of any big stories or rivalries, Shawn Michaels and the British Bulldog went coast-to-coast in amazing fashion until a clouded finish led to fans forever echoing that "both feet" must touch the floor.

    Where it Missed: A lack of stars, story, and ability were all covered up laughably when the WWF changed the format of the Rumble to have entries come in every 60 seconds. What followed was a fairly pedestrian battle royal that had been jumping sporadically from space to space with seemingly no direction. Hopefully, the 2011 Rumble doesn't repeat in suit.

    Where We Stand: Though the 1995 Royal Rumble is most remembered for Michaels, Bulldog, and the fake ending that setup the legacy of the Heartbreak Kid, it was a fairly unimpressive affair that featured less stars than any Rumble to date.

    Entering in, only one of the 30 entrants had ever been WWF Champion. Now, some 16 years later, that number is up to two. The wrestlers involved in this match were saddled (mostly) with bad gimmicks or bad storylines, leaving little room to make waves during the match.

18. 1988

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    Winner: Hacksaw Jim Duggan

    Three Studs:
    1. One Man Gang
    2. Bret Hart
    3. Jake Roberts

    Three Duds:
    1. Junkyard Dog
    2. Boris Zhukov
    3. Ultimate Warrior

    Where it Hit: As the inaugural Rumble, there wasn't too much to prove other than to establish this contest as a good idea. The wrestlers involved in the 1988 Royal Rumble did just that, illustrating great competition in a fast-paced format with an eventual prize to be reached. It even showed that underdogs could achieve as well as titans.

    Where it Missed: Certain stars, like The Ultimate Warrior, were buried before ever hitting their stride in this affair. Though Warrior would very soon blow up to be one of the biggest stars in the company, he was little more than an afterthought when he lasted less than four minutes during this match.

    Where We Stand: A solid affair, the 1988 Royal Rumble is only ranked so low because all of the other matches have simply been better. It was the prototype for what the match should be and did a fantastic job of solidifying the battle royal as commonplace.

    Concept matches come and go, but the 1988 Royal Rumble helped remind people that his concept could be fresh with the right spin.

17. 1989

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    Winner: Big John Studd

    Three Studs:
    1. Hulk Hogan
    2. Mr. Perfect
    3. Ted DiBiase

    Three Duds:
    1. The Warlord
    2. Koko B. Ware
    3. Ronnie Garvin

    Where it Hit: A lot of new things were tried out with this Rumble, including the introduction of the "every man for himself" mentality when Ax and Smash of Demolition entered first and second, respectively.

    When Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage began to disintegrate, the warfare really elevated to the next level and gave the Rumble that unpredictable vibe. Incorporate Ted DiBiase purchasing the 30th entry and you've got a winner.

    Where it Missed: Despite the idea that the Mega Powers were equals, the Rumble was unequivocally lopsided in favor of Hulkamania. Setting a record for eliminations at the time with 10, his partner Randy Savage couldn't even half that performance. And needless to say, Savage was also eliminated by Hogan.

    Where We Stand: If the 1988 Royal Rumble created the mold, then the 1989 Rumble added character to it. This Rumble was well booked and well executed with several stories heading into the match, the largest of which was the impending split of the Mega Powers.

    But there were still some elements that held this one back from being higher, particularly the fact that Big John Studd won the match and did nothing with it afterward.

16. 1991

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    Winner: Hulk Hogan

    Three Studs:
    1. Hulk Hogan
    2. Earthquake
    3. Rick Martel

    Three Duds:
    1. Randy Savage
    2. Bushwhacker Luke
    3. The Warlord

    Where it Hit: After losing all hope earlier in the evening with Iraqi-turncoat Sgt. Slaughter winning the WWF Championship, fans turned to Hulk Hogan to save the day. Hogan didn't disappoint.

    He came back from an odd-man disadvantage to win his second consecutive Royal Rumble match, waving the American flag all the way to WrestleMania VII.

    Where it Missed: No less than 11 participants in this Royal Rumble were members of a tag team when they entered, a fact that was well-disguised by just how established these teams were. Outside of that (and Macho Man no-showing), there wasn't too much to complain about here. Maybe that this Rumble was too patriotic?

    Where We Stand: During a time where the United States was in the turmoil of Desert Storm and the public was searching for a new sense of patriotism, it felt only right that Hulk Hogan walked away as the top guy ready to wreak havoc on his enemies.

    This Royal Rumble match served as a testament to the technical wrestler thanks to the amount of stamina and endurance on display, but moreover, it was a big win for the structure of the Rumble match.

    New dimensions were being added every year and the '91 Rumble was a great example of the "feel good" win, one that was often felt throughout Rumble history.

15. 2009

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    Winner: Randy Orton

    Three Studs:
    1. Triple H
    2. Randy Orton
    3. Big Show

    Three Duds:
    1. Santino Marella
    2. The Brian Kendrick
    3. Dolph Ziggler

    Where it Hit: We're always sold a bill of goods about how the Royal Rumble is the luck of the draw and that men will enter at random. 2009 actually had that random feel for once, with the biggest stars entering as frequently as the low lights and pretty much anyone could come out at any time. Incorporate great wrestling and more close calls than any Rumble ever, and you've got a decent match.

    Where it Missed: Assuming you watched this Rumble from start to finish, you realized that despite the supposed help Legacy would provide for Randy Orton, they pretty much didn't do anything at all. Rhodes and DiBiase were only responsible for helping eliminate Kane, but not necessarily Triple H.

    Where We Stand: This one wasn't one to write home about, but it wasn't bad, either. If anything, there was an even balance of stars and action that kept you intrigued for a pretty good while. The big issue here was that it was way too predictable.

14. 1990

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    Winner: Hulk Hogan

    Three Studs:
    1. Ted DiBiase
    2. Hulk Hogan
    3. Ultimate Warrior

    Three Duds:
    1. Shawn Michaels
    2. Marty Jannetty
    3. Koko B. Ware

    Where it Hit: Punishing Ted DiBiase for his illegal purchase of the number 30 one year earlier was a stroke of genius by WWF Creative made even better by the fact that DiBiase lasted 45 minutes from the first position. Other highlights happened, too; most notably the first showdown between the Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan.

    Where it Missed: Getting to said showdown, however, was rough if you were a Rumble combatant coming in around these two giants. Men like Rick Rude and Shawn Michaels had an awful hard time convincing the fans they were legit when one showed up too early and one was eliminated in a flash.

    Where We Stand: We're talking about the big encounter that set up the Ultimate Challenge. We're talking about an event that actually setup a number of matches for WrestleMania, a trend that would become quite nifty in the years to come for the Royal Rumble match.

13. 1998

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    Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin

    Three Studs:
    1. Steve Austin
    2. The Rock
    3. Mick Foley

    Three Duds:
    1. Skull
    2. Tom Brandi
    3. Jeff Jarrett

    Where it Hit: In a Rumble once again focused on Stone Cold Steve Austin, this one was done right. Austin was followed by nearly every superstar, but each of them also had their own scores and vendettas to settle. Combine the honest hilarity of Mick Foley appearing as each of his three characters and the breakdown of the Nation of Domination, and you're in for a pretty good battle royal. 

    Where it Missed: Because the match was all about Austin, several stars and factions had to split time with one another. The D.O.A., Nation of Domination, and Los Boricuas were especially vocal in their Rumble outings this year, sometimes overshadowing the singles competitors like Owen Hart or the aforementioned Jeff Jarrett.

    Where We Stand: Perhaps the best Rumble of the Attitude Era. At least, during the prime of the Attitude Era in which WCW was still a factor.

12. 2008

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    Winner: John Cena

    Three Studs:
    1. Batista
    2. John Cena
    3. Triple H

    Three Duds:
    1. Finlay
    2. Shelton Benjamin
    3. Santino Marella

    Where it Hit: The 2008 Royal Rumble took place in Madison Square Garden and had all the buzz and attention of a big match. The atmosphere was electric and the wrestlers really applied themselves on this evening to the New York audience.

    John Cena's incredible turnaround and surprise victory were testaments to the unpredictability of wrestling during the Internet age.

    Where it Missed: A laughable gimmick in which the pint-sized Hornswoggle, at the time billed as Mr. McMahon's illegitimate son, took a turn for the worst when he was entered into the Royal Rumble. Hornswoggle hid under the ring for almost the entire match until he was put into a sticky situation with titans Big Daddy V and Mark Henry.

    The whole fiasco concluded with him never being eliminated and Finlay getting himself disqualified...in a battle royal.

    Where We Stand: Between authentic surprise and a big match atmosphere, the 2008 Royal Rumble was just very good up and down. It was stocked with stars, legends, and decent enough wrestlers that it kept you interest with little downtime.

11. 1996

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    Winner: Shawn Michaels

    Three Studs:
    1. Shawn Michaels
    2. Diesel
    3. Hunter Hearst Helmsley

    Three Duds:
    1. Squat Team Member #2
    2. Squat Team Member #1
    3. Duke "the Dumpster" Droese

    Where it Hit: The comeback special! Shawn Michaels' evolution from his 1995 to 1996 Royal Rumble wins shows through here as the Heartbreak Kid becomes the Showstopper on an evening where he had to tackle his former enemies (Owen Hart) and his best friends (Diesel). He even made new enemies, like the debuting Vader, along the way.

    Where it Missed: Too many "around the world" entrants took away from this being a WWF event and left us with a lot of wasted spaces. The Squat Team was just pitiful, as were entrants Takao Omori, Doug Gilbert, and Dory Funk, Jr. To think that Barry Horowitz wasn't even in the bottom five of bad entrants is saying something.

    Where We Stand: Look at the three studs listed above. Onscreen, the WWF was recognizing the new generation of talents greatly and looked to propel themselves ahead of WCW. But behind the curtain, this was obviously a Kliq-run event that showcased the leader, Michaels, at the top. It was a great event overall, but that backstage shadow casts it in a poor light.

10. 2005

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    Winner: Batista

    Three Studs:
    1. Edge
    2. Batista
    3. Chris Benoit

    Three Duds:
    1. Scotty 2 Hotty
    2. Simon Dean
    3. Kurt Angle

    Where it Hit: During a time where the WWE was still trying to have brand identities, they did a spectacular job of clearly defining the lines during this match. A showdown midway through as well as a confrontation late between the two fastest rising stars on their brands were just the tipping point. Another high point was the reasonable and logical conclusion of Muhammad Hassan's Royal Rumble career, ousted by both brands within minutes.

    Where it Missed: One of the biggest fumbles in Rumble history occurred when Batista and John Cena botched the ending of the match and both were eliminated. Despite the accident, WWE cleverly attempted to redo the ending with the Animal reigning supreme. It wasn't without consequence, however, as Vince McMahon's sprint into the ring caused him to tear both his quadriceps in one fell swoop.

    Where We Stand: If ever there was a Rumble to build stars, this was it. The final four participants were Edge, John Cena, Batista, and Rey Mysterio. All four would go on to win World Championships and Royal Rumbles in the next five years. They have all headlined WrestleMania as well.

    Looking back, the 2005 evolution was the beginning of the next wave of talent for WWE and really helped us learn what would define this era.

9. 2000

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    Winner: The Rock

    Three Studs:
    1. Rikishi
    2. The Rock
    3. Big Show

    Three Duds:
    1. Faarooq
    2. Bradshaw
    3. Chyna

    Where it Hit: So, so many things were going right at this Royal Rumble. Even an accident involving Taka Michinoku giving himself a concussion became great fodder for this contest. The Rock's controversial victory over the Big Show was just the start of a greater rivalry and the pace of the match was just right, perhaps one of the best, in Rumble history.

    Where it Missed: As the 30th entrant, X-Pac was one of the weakest last men in ever, but his fake-out elimination just felt tired and was pretty unbelievable when he came back in and took out Kane. It was another symbol that the whole DX thing was wearing thin and these antics were just for show.

    Where We Stand: Back in Madison Square Garden, this Rumble had a lot of great "action" if not a lot of great "wrestling." The card overall was great, but since we're judging Rumbles alone, it exceeded expectations on many levels.

    Even the open-ended finish allowed for us to really enjoy this Rumble over the course of the next few months. Now, can we see that footage of Taka Michinoku one more time?

8. 2004

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    Winner: Chris Benoit

    Three Studs:
    1. Chris Benoit
    2. Big Show
    3. Randy Orton

    Three Duds:
    1. Spike Dudley
    2. The Hurricane
    3. Rene Dupree

    Where it Hit: Two stories unfolded from the start of the Rumble that were compelling enough to keep you motivated the entire match. The first story, that of Chris Benoit, was an Iron Man performance that saw a more legitimate 1-to-30 victory than HBK's in 1995. The other story, in which Randy Orton anticipated an all-out assault from Mick Foley for over 30 minutes, delivered perfectly.

    Where it Missed: Due to the aforementioned stories, a lot of wrestlers received very little face time in this Rumble. Shelton Benjamin, Kane, and A-Train were among the most credible stars who lasted each less than two minutes.

    Where We Stand: If you were going to do the coast-to-coast Rumble, this was how to do it right. The overall competitors and even the inclusion of Bill Goldberg's feud with Brock Lesnar left us with a great WrestleMania setup.

7. 1994

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    Winner: Bret Hart and Lex Luger

    Three Studs:
    1. Diesel
    2. Bam Bam Bigelow
    3. Lex Luger

    Three Duds:
    1. Bastion Booger
    2. Billy Gunn
    3. Bob Backlund

    Where it Hit: In a year of massive superstars taking on the Rumble, nearly all of them showed their dominance throughout the match. Diesel's early battling along with the efforts from Mabel and Bam Bam Bigelow made this a true year of big men in the Rumble dominating things as best they could.

    Where it Missed: The tie ending, though memorable, was a complete and total cop out creatively. To basically have a contest of who was more popular showed that WWE had lost the faith on Lex Luger and was trying to regain Bret Hart's favor. It worked in the long run, but the short term results were confusing and convoluted.

    Where We Stand: A big step up from 1993, the '94 Rumble did a magnificent job of building superstar legacies for the immediate future and long distance as well. Diesel, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, and Lex Luger all had their status permanently elevated within the company and would become four prominent figures in the next evolution of the WWF Championship.

6. 2007

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    Winner: The Undertaker

    Three Studs:
    1. The Undertaker
    2. Shawn Michaels
    3. The Great Khali

    Three Duds:
    1. The Miz
    2. The Sandman
    3. Carlito

    Where it Hit: In the most "star-studded" Royal Rumble of all time, the competitors were really given a chance to shine in their own ways. So many stars had spotlight moments and the overall flow of the Rumble was just right. The ending, with Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker going at it for nearly 10 minutes, was just incredible.

    Where it Missed: The Great Khali's use of the side headbutt may well be the most horrible spot in this match. So they used it a dozen times to show how he could be dominant, when only a week earlier on RAW, Khali's best traits of throwing folks over the ropes was better illuminated.

    Where We Stand: Almost everything about this match went according to plan. A lot of established guys got the chance to shine and a few big stars were thrust into the picture once again. Wrestling wise, this Rumble had some of the best "wrestling," a surprise considering a battle royal can mask the abilities in the ring and, often times, does just that.

5. 1997

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    Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin

    Three Studs:
    1. Stone Cold Steve Austin
    2. Bret Hart
    3. Mankind

    Three Duds:
    1. Razor Ramon
    2. Bart Gunn
    3. Savio Vega

    Where it Hit: Amidst a sea of unorthodox events, Stone Cold Steve Austin's performance as a one-on-one bad ass really helped to create a star for the next decade. Austin was presented in a way that showed he would take no prisoners and ask few questions en route to doing anything to win.

    On a side note, Jerry Lawler's cowardly antics of hiding underneath kept him off the dud list for entertainment value.

    Where it Missed: The continued story of Ahmed Johnson and the Nation of Domination was completely thrown out the window during this match. Despite a huge feud that was building towards WrestleMania, Ahmed Johnson idiotically threw himself out to chase Faarooq, and then returned later a la Jim Duggan with lumber in his hands. The whole thing served no purpose.

    Where We Stand: Launching the biggest feud of the Attitude Era is no small feat.

4. 2006

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    Winner: Rey Mysterio

    Three Studs:
    1. Rey Mysterio
    2. Triple H
    3. Rob Van Dam

    Three Duds:
    1. Booker T
    2. Jonathan Coachman
    3. Sylvan

    Where it Hit: The improbable run of Rey Mysterio was so fun and emotional to watch that you actually felt like this was real. Always an unlikely choice, Mysterio's amazing run finished with the eliminations of both Triple H and Randy Orton, each of which tore the roof off the arena in Miami. Other minor stories, like the rivalry between Chris Benoit and Booker T and the brewing issues with Carlito and Chris Masters, got their time as well.

    Where it Missed: Bobby Lashley could have benefited from a Diesel-esque push in this match had he been allowed to throw out someone not named "Sylvan."

    While wrestling in the same ring with Big Show and Kane, Lashley had the perfect opportunity but was instead overwhelmed by the two men. Then, they were dropped at the same time by Triple H, who could gain no momentum in doing so.

    Where We Stand: With the Royal Rumble currently looking for new directions, maybe they could take notes on how to do it in the new era. This match was truly a great one from all points and was only hampered by the fact that it didn't go on last. Mark Henry did instead.

3. 2001

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    Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin

    Three Studs:
    1. Kane
    2. Stone Cold Steve Austin
    3. The Rock

    Three Duds:
    1. Tazz
    2. The Goodfather
    3. Faarooq

    Where it Hit: The Big Red Machine was so awesome, so enthralling that his performance may be the greatest for anyone who didn't win the Rumble in history.

    Kane was booked as the monster he always could be and has been coasting for a decade on this single performance, a night where he eliminated 11 men and lasted to the final two.

    Where it Missed: The inclusion of the Right to Censor faction would have been good had they had any momentum left to produce. Bull Buchanan, The Goodfather, and Val Venis all felt like throwaway entries that were thrown away quite quickly.

    Where We Stand: This Rumble was loaded with action, dominance, surprise, and the inevitably obvious conclusion that Stone Cold was walking out on top. So many great things were taking place here at the height of the WWF's stranglehold on the wrestling world, not the least of which was a cameo by comedian Drew Carey.

2. 2002

22 of 23

    Winner: Triple H

    Three Studs:
    1. Triple H
    2. Stone Cold Steve Austin
    3. The Undertaker

    Three Duds:
    1. Booker T
    2. Faarooq
    3. The Hurricane

    Where it Hit: In the biggest upset at a Royal Rumble, Tough Enough winner Maven eliminated the Undertaker early on.

    He was decimated shortly thereafter, but the spectacular execution of the elimination left fans wondering what surprises the future Rumbles could hold. The returns of Mr. Perfect, Val Venis, Goldust, and the Godfather were also quite welcomed.

    Where it Missed: If anything, this Rumble was too back-loaded and saw a lot of the late entries (Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Big Show, and Kane) suffer from lack of time to operate. Van Dam and Booker were especially short on their time thanks to the efforts of Triple H and Steve Austin.

    Where We Stand: In many ways, the 2002 Royal Rumble was the last complete package of Rumbles. It was the longest Rumble yet didn't drag in any way. It had star power, surprise, and great intrigue. In the end, it gave you the logical conclusion that was perfectly tailored for the entire match.

    This Rumble was near perfect in many ways. The only way that you could fault it would be by saying that Triple H was always going to win and therefore the match only had so many dimensions until it ended. Almost perfect.

1. 1992

23 of 23

    Winner: Ric Flair

    Three Studs:
    1. Ric Flair
    2. Sid Justice
    3. British Bulldog

    Three Duds:
    1. Hercules
    2. Nikolai Volkoff
    3. Jerry Sags

    Where it Hit: Everything was drawn together so perfectly here that it is hard to pick out just one detail. But if we have to, we'll take the commentary of Bobby "the Brain" Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon fueling the outrageous action in the ring and the speculation that Ric Flair can't possibly make it to the end. Monsoon and Heenan remain wrestling's best commentating tandem ever.

    Where it Missed: With the exception of Macho Man Randy Savage eliminating himself and being allowed back in, there wasn't a single other miss in the match.

    Where We Stand: If you've never seen a Royal Rumble match, this is the perfect example of what the match is and always should be.

    With Ric Flair showing endurance, the rivalry of Hulk Hogan and the Undertaker spilling into Hogan's new feud against Sid Justice, the chances of Roddy Piper becoming a double champion, and the Randy Savage/Jake Roberts brawl, there is just so much to watch.

    Then incorporate some of the best wrestlers on the planet at that time rounding out the overall roster and you're looking at a Rumble with more prestige (since it was for the WWF Title) and more resonating love than any other.