Most Memorable WWE Royal Rumble Spots of the Last 10 Years

Erik BeastonJanuary 16, 2023

Most Memorable WWE Royal Rumble Spots of the Last 10 Years

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    Kofi Kingston has repeatedly stolen the show in the men's Royal Rumble match.
    Kofi Kingston has repeatedly stolen the show in the men's Royal Rumble match.Credit:

    The Royal Rumble matches are home to unforgettable spots that captivate audiences and keep them invested in what is typically an hour-long spectacle of punches and kicks.

    The near-eliminations, the confrontation of characters and the intersection of storylines have helped elevate the men's and women's contests beyond that of a traditional Battle Royal.

    Ahead of the 2023 edition of the pay-per-view, relive the spots that have left an impression on fans, both as one-offs and callbacks, over the last decade.

    Note: Surprise entries and returns did not qualify for the countdown. This was intended more for actual spots that took place within the context of the match.

10. Then vs. Now (2018)

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    The 2018 Royal Rumble marked the first year for the women's match, which provided fans with an unforgettable moment in the form of a staredown between Sasha Banks and Trish Stratus.

    The little tease of a match that never came to fruition wasn't the first showdown between generational stars, though.

    In the men's match, Ruthless Aggression stars John Cena, Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton went head-to-head with the current generation's Shinsuke Nakamura, Finn BΓ‘lor and Roman Reigns.

    The crowd in Philadelphia erupted for the brief face-to-face, which led to a hot final stretch and an eventual win for Nakamura.

    Both confrontations proved there was an appetite for then-vs.-now dream matches, but WWE never really capitalized on it.

9. Brie's Revenge (2022)

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    Speaking of that first women's Rumble in 2018, it was there that Nikki Bella stunned sister Brie by catching her with a forearm to eliminate her from the match.

    Still bitter about her sister's betrayal, Brie got a measure of revenge four years later.

    Amid the chaos of Ronda Rousey's return to WWE, Brie blasted Nikki with a forearm of her own, sending her crashing to the mat below.

    It was a nice little callback spot and one that proved either The Bella Twins or those in charge of putting the match together had been paying attention.

8. Cody Rhodes Eliminates His Brother (2013)

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    Goldust returned to the 2013 men's Rumble match as a surprise entrant and received a thunderous ovation from the fans.

    They genuinely wanted to see him do well, which is why they reacted so loudly and with anger when Cody Rhodes eliminated him.

    It was a brief glimpse at the hotly anticipated showdown between Cody and his brother, Dustin, and it proved fans did care about a match between the siblings.

    Instead of capitalizing on the sentiment, though, Vince McMahon failed to present the match, and Tony Khan and All Elite Wrestling did it six years later. The result? A defining match in AEW's short history to date and a genuine Match of the Year candidate.

7. Bad Bunny Eats an F5 (2022)

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    Bad Bunny's entry into the 2022 Royal Rumble was cute.

    Here was a worldwide pop star following up on his better-than-expected WrestleMania 37 performance with a surprise Rumble showing. It made sense, and the fans already knew who he was and responded accordingly.

    The cuteness ended when he got a surprisingly long run in the match and was treated like an actual competitor. Perhaps that is why his decimation at the hands of Brock Lesnar stands out that much more.

    Biting off more than he could chew, the singer confronted The Beast Incarnate and was unceremoniously F-5'd and sent packing, as he probably should have been before eliminating former world champions Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus.

6. R-Truth is Confused (2016)

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    Confused R-Truth was a great character and the fact that the man behind it went all-in on the comedy spots he was a part of during that run made it even better.

    A case in point being the 2016 men's Royal Rumble.

    Thinking the bout was the Money in the Bank ladder match and not the 30-man extravaganza, Truth pulled out a ladder and proceeded to set it up in the middle of the ring. He climbed it and quickly realised there was no briefcase waiting for him.

    Truth was eliminated in short order by Kane, but not before generating some genuine laughter from fans and some of the guys in the ring at the time.

    It remains one of the great spots in recent Rumble memory and one of the reasons the 50-year-old belongs in the WWE Hall of Fame.

5. Becky Lynch Steals Lana's Spot (2019)

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    Becky Lynch was the most over wrestler in WWE by the time the 2019 Royal Rumble rolled around, and many expected her to defeat Asuka to win the SmackDown Women's Championship at the top of the show.

    When that didn't happen, though, fans were left wondering how The Man would find her way into the WrestleMania 35 main event.

    They got their answer when she made her way down the aisle, took the spot of an injured Lana and proceeded to win the second-ever women's Rumble match.

    The crowd's response to Lynch's appearance and approval by WWE official Fit Finlay to enter the match was deafening as the fans realized she would have her shot at immortality if she could pull off the win.

    Lynch did just that after eliminating Charlotte Flair for the victory, but that entrance and attitude-driven stomp toward the squared circle was everything.

4. Randy Orton RKOs Nia Jax (2019)

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    Taking a page out of Lynch's book, Nia Jax attacked R-Truth during the 2019 Rumble broadcast and took his place in the men's match, joining Chyna, Beth Phoenix and Kharma as the only women to take part in the men's bout.

    She trash-talked a bit too much, though, and paid for it in the form of a 619 from Rey Mysterio and an RKO from Randy Orton. The latter move by The Viper drew a huge ovation from the fans, who were happy to see the loudmouth villain dumped to the floor.

    The rarity of intergender competition in WWE made the spot that much more unforgettable. Jax won several titles during her time with the company, but that moment may well rank as her most memorable.

3. The Elimination of Daniel Bryan (2015)

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    It's impossible to overstate how popular Daniel Bryan was with the WWE Universe by 2015.

    A year earlier, the wrestling world joined the YES! Movement and watched as he realized his boyhood dream at WrestleMania 30. A neck injury cut that short so, naturally, they hoped to see him run it back in 2015.

    Except, he didn't.

    Instead, Bray Wyatt eliminated Bryan midway through the men's Rumble match, drawing a venomous reaction from the audience. The fans booed everything that happened from then on.

    By the time Roman Reigns won the bout, the reaction was as furious as it could get. Even a surprise appearance from The Rock could not shield the victor from the jeers, heightening the importance of Bryan's elimination spot to the failure of that year's match.

2. Kofi Kingston and Naomi's Near-Eliminations

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    Realistically, there is an entire list to be made of Kofi Kingston and Naomi's near-eliminations in the Royal Rumble matches.

    Their athleticism and creativity has led to a handful of memorable spots that have seen them stave off elimination in the men's and women's contests.

    From Kingston utilizing an office chair as a pogo stick to Naomi walking on the security barrier before jumping back into the ring, they have set the standard for jaw-dropping spots in the famed contests.

    Of course, when one does not go according to plan, as was the case with Kingston in 2022, it also piques the interest of fans.

    Hopefully this year brings more of the same, including a surprise return from Naomi, without whom the Rumble just would not be the same.

1. Drew McIntyre Eliminates Brock Lesnar (2020)

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    WWE champion Brock Lesnar entered the 2020 men's Rumble match intent on making history, not only by winning the bout but also by eliminating every one of his 29 opponents.

    Midway through, he had started to make good on that promise, dumping 13 wrestlers to the arena floor.

    Just as the narrative grew stale, though, Drew McIntyre entered at No. 15 and with a little help from Ricochet, he did the unthinkable by delivering a Claymore kick that sent The Beast tumbling over the top rope and to the arena floor.

    The reaction for The Scottish Warrior was loud and joyous, with the fans in Houston thankful that he had put an end to Lesnar's dominance.

    It was proof that WWE had big plans for McIntyre, and another showdown with The Beast was set in motion for a few weeks later...