5 Best Royal Rumbles in History
'Tis the season to get rumbling!
Royal Rumble fever is slowly starting to grip the B/R WWE page as the company's most exciting pay-per-view slowly creeps closer.
I thought it would be a fun idea to list my personal top five Rumble matches throughout history, and give a little run-down as to why they were such awesome affairs.
Remember this is just my list, if you disagree then tell me what matches were your favorites over the years!
1988: The first Rumble deserves a mention purely for the fact that it started off this wonderful PPV. Ironically though, the '88 Rumble was the one and only event of the name not requiring the audience to pay for it. It was shown on the USA Network as a special, with the 89' addition being the first time audiences had to cough up the cash to see the 30-man spectacle. This Rumble only contained 20 men and was eventually won by Hacksaw Jim Duggan.
1991: The Hulkster became the first ever wrestler to win more than one Rumble match, as well as the first to win back-to-back matches, having also picked up the win in Orlando in 1990. Hogan eliminated the monster Earthquake to pick up the victory, having spent just under 20 minutes in the match. He would also go on to eliminate a whopping seven of his competitors.
1998: The '98 Rumble saw Stone Cold Steven Austin pick up his second victory in the event. The show had Mike Tyson in attendance, setting up the classic feud between he and the Rattlesnake. Vince McMahon placed a bounty on Austin's head; for any man who could eliminate him from the Rumble match. Naturally, nobody was able to and the Texan brawler eventually managed to eliminate the Rock for the victory.
2007: This year was the first time that somebody entering at the No. 30 slot had managed to go on and win the big one itself. The Undertaker would be the first man to break the curse of the No. 30 position, by eliminating Shawn Michaels last to win his first ever Rumble. This one will probably go down in history as having the best ever head-to-head final duel between the last two competitors. Nobody had any idea who was going to win the match. The fight, lasting nearly eight minutes, the two legends pulled off in the ring was an all-time Rumble highlight.
The 1992 Rumble marked the dawning of the modern event.
Ric Flair did what most people deemed impossible: he won the match from entering in at the No. 3 slot.
Having spent a staggering 59:26 in the brawl, Flair would go on to eliminate five men before winning the contest.
In the build-up to the Rumble the title belt had been stripped from Hulk Hogan after a set of "controversies" had led some of the less favorable WWE Superstars to complain about Hogan's validity of holding the championship.
As such, this was the first, and to this date, only time that the 30-man Royal Rumble would decide who would become the new world champion.
In his autobiography, To Be The Man, Flair states that he had no idea he would be winning the Rumble, his first ever WWE title, until the morning of the event.
That little touch of magic is the kind of thing that makes the Rumble the special event we all know and love.
Highlights of this match included Sid Justice who, having spent just a total of 5:55 in the ring, managed to set the record for most eliminations in the match, dumping out six opponents before eventually finishing as runner-up.
This Rumble would also be the second that the Undertaker ever took part in following his debut in 1991. He lasted just over 13 minutes before being eliminated by no less than the Hulkster himself.
The 2003 edition of the match wasn't so much an iconic occasion as it was a well put together show.
The Rumble was aided from the get-go by the first two entrants being the Heart Break Kid, Shawn Michaels, and Chris Jericho.
The two seasoned pros and crowd pleasers had been in a heated rivalry for the better part for two months going into the match. On RAW, Y2J had a won a 4-man battle royal, which allowed him the option to choose his number of entry into the Rumble.
Knowing that HBK would be the No. 1 entrant, he sacrificed his chances by choosing the No. 2 position.
Using Christian as a foil to the start of the match, Jericho was able to sneak up behind Michaels and ferociously beat him down for three minutes before eventually eliminating him.
The match would eventually go on to be won by Brock Lesnar, dumping out the Undertaker and teasing at a potential future feud between the two.
Lesnar had won a contest earlier in the night against the Big Show, where the winner would qualify for the Rumble. It was perfect putting over of Lesnar's character, who faced off against the world's largest athlete before winning the world's largest and longest wrestling match.
The Undertaker, who entered at No. 30 like he did in his 2007 victory, would hold the record for most eliminations in 2003, tossing out Kane, Jamal, Maven and even a young Batista and John Cena before the night was over.
Many fans could have predicted the outcome to this one the moment that they saw Rey Mysterio walk down to the ring as the No. 2 entrant.
Following the tragic death of the legendary Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio had announced that he would go out and win the Rumble in Latino Heat's memory.
When the man famous for the 619 came down to the ring second (having to, amazingly, face off against the No. 1 entrant Triple H) most fans could probably see right through the spectacle...but the beautiful thing was that nobody cared.
It was a fitting tribute to Eddie's memory and was probably one of the most popular decisions in the history of professional wrestling.
The match itself was also, as an added bonus, a fairly good affair.
Rumbles have a tendency to drag at times. What the majority of matches on this list managed to avoid was that boring middle period where not a whole lot happened as the ring managed to fill up.
With Triple H and Mytserio in the ring from the beginning and both men surviving until the final three, it meant that there was never a shortage of top class talent to go at one another throughout the match.
The match also had your classic "McMahon interference"—a staple of any good Rumble—when Shane ran down to the ring to eliminate HBK, thus continuing his personal battle with the two-time winner.
The 2000 edition of the Royal Rumble was what got me into wrestling and therefore it will always have a special place in my heart.
This will probably go down as the great overall Rumble PPV in the history of the show. While the 30-man Rumble was as good as any other year, it was really the fights lower down the card that made this spectacle what it was.
A ferocious elimination tables match between the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz, a "Diva" bikini contest, a triple threat match between Y2J, Chyna and Hardcore Holly for the Intercontinental title and a street fight for the WWF championship between Mick Foley (Cactus Jack) and Triple H was quite possibly the best undercard in the history of the WWE.
All of the matches on the billing were amazing, and the Rumble itself also didn't disappoint, with the Rock eventually picking up the victory against the Big Show.
Highlights of the match included X-pac pulling off a Stone Cold-esque re-entry into the match after referees had missed his elimination while dealing with a dispute between several other members of DX.
Farooq and Bradshaw, then as members of the Acolytes, both also provided a shock-comedic factor by lasting only 18 and 25 seconds in the main event, respectively, having been billed earlier in the night as potential contenders.
Chyna entered into her second Rumble match, even managing to eliminate Y2J before the Big Boss Man dumped her out.
Just watch the video above and you'll see the carnage that the clean-up team had to deal with following the epic street fight for the WWF title before the Rumble could even get underway.
To top it all off, the event was held at Madison Square Garden in New York and was given one of the most creative set designs ever: a New York taxi appearing to be crashing out of the building itself.
This tops the list as my greatest Rumble ever because it was a match that really had it all.
Prior to the Rumble itself, the WWE had made it very apparent that there were only five Superstars in contention to realistically win the match: Rikishi, The Rock, Stone Cold, The Undertaker and Kane.
That probably doesn't sound great, but in reality, when was the last time you looked at a modern Rumble and really believed that more than two or three guys had a shot at winning it?
While this narrowing of potential winners from 30 to 5 seemed on paper like a restrictive move, in reality it made choosing the winner of the 2001 edition one of the most intriguing in history.
After a slow paced start that saw a lot of lower and mid-tier carders enter the ring, we were suddenly blown away by the No. 6 entrant, Kane.
The Big Red Machine would famously go on to eliminate a mind boggling 11 opponents, before eventually falling just short at the hands of Stone Cold.
The win for Austin also meant that he became the first, and currently only, Superstar to have won three separate Rumbles.
All this was following a brutal attack at the hands of the Game before Stone Cold could even make it to the ring. By the time he did so, he was battered, bruised and bleeding like crazy.
Somehow the Texas Rattlesnake managed to battle through the pain and pick up his his No. 1 contender spot at Wrestlemania.
A shock return from the Big Show, as well as cameos from The Honky Tonk man, Haku and, weirdly enough, talk show host Drew Carey all added to the occasion.
Another theme the WWE had been running with prior to the event was whether or not Kane and the Undertaker would be on the same page. To the horror of the 28 other men in the ring, the brothers of destruction did, in fact, team up and managed to eliminate about nine guys between the two of them in less than a minute.
This Rumble epitomized the golden Attitude era of the WWE; with fantastic storylines, incredibly violent scenes and amazing pops from the crowd.
It will be a long time before anything lives up to the 2001 edition of the Royal Rumble. At least, in my opinion anyway.