WWE Royal Rumble 2019: Ranking the 7 Most Memorable Moments in PPV History
It is one of the most important and exciting pay-per-views of the year, and with that in mind, it's inevitable that WWE Royal Rumble has had its fair share of memorable and unforgettable moments.
Naturally, most of those moments revolve around the traditional 30-man bout that earns the winner a one-way ticket to the main event of WrestleMania later in the year.
From the first Rumble match in 1988 right the way through to last year's 30th anniversary, the Rumble has traditionally thrown up twists, surprises and shocks.
Some of the biggest stars in WWE history have solidified their legacy as wrestling legends at the event, courtesy of some of the following moments on this list.
7. Mr. McMahon Wins the Rumble (1999)
At the height of the Attitude Era, WWE was rarely afraid to shock and surprise its ever-growing fanbase, a trait underlined by the result of the 1999 Royal Rumble match.
Vince McMahon's rivalry with Steve Austin was beginning to gather serious momentum as the final year of the millennium began, and it arguably peaked at the 1999 Rumble. With Austin and Vince entering at numbers one and two, it didn't take long for the action to spill out of the ring.
Eventually, The Corporation helped Mr. McMahon out and attacked Austin in the back, before eventually, the two made their way back to the ring to compete in the Rumble match, with both having not gone over the top rope.
What happened next shocked the world.
Vince was brutally beaten by Austin right through to the closing stages of the match, and it looked as though there would be only one winner before The Rock distracted Austin and allowed Mr. McMahon to tip him over the top rope and win the Rumble match.
It was an incredible ending to arguably one of the best Rumble pay-per-views in WWE history.
6. Roman Reigns' Elimination Record (2014)
Aside from the man (or woman) who is left standing at the end of each year's Royal Rumble match, one of the more interesting side-stories involves who racks up the most eliminations.
Kane's record of 11 eliminations looked as though it would never be beaten, but 13 years later, one of the company's new generation of rising talent eclipsed him.
2014 was Roman Reigns' debut in the Royal Rumble, and he marked the occasion in a big way, throwing out 12 opponents to set an all-time Rumble record for eliminations.
Most notably among those eliminations were Reigns' brothers in The Shield, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose.
However, it would prove to be a record-setting venture that ultimately ended in failure, after Batista eliminated Reigns right at the conclusion of the match to book his ticket to WrestleMania.
The following year, Reigns returned to actually win the Rumble, but this time he was met with a chorus of boos despite the best attempts of The Rock to put him over post-match.
5. Mankind and The Rock Go To War (1999)
The greatest non-Rumble match in Royal Rumble history?
While most of the focus going into the 1999 Royal Rumble was on the main 30-man bout itself, Mankind's rivalry with The Rock for the WWE Championship certainly did its best to grab a share of the headlines by the end of the show.
A brutal, bloody and barbaric "I Quit" match between the two will almost certainly be regarded as one of the best bouts of the Attitude Era, as the two men waged war on one another in and around the ring.
On more than one occasion, the action spilled into the stands, with the bout arguably most fondly remembered for the sickening chair shots Mankind took time and time again.
Eventually, it was The Rock who defeated Mankind via a screw job, after The Corporation played an audio recording of Mankind saying "I quit."
4. 'Maven from Tough Enough!' (2002)
Nothing sticks in the memory when it comes to the Royal Rumble more than a surprise elimination, and the 2002 bout featured arguably the most shocking elimination in history.
Maven arrived in WWE via his victory in Tough Enough expected to achieve some good things in the company, but nothing could have prepared fans for what he did in the 2002 Rumble match, when he eliminated one of the strong contenders to win the match, The Undertaker.
When Taker arrived into the pitch as the No. 8 pick, it didn't take long for the rookie Maven to strike, eliminating The American Badass with minimal fuss to send the crowd into shock.
Unfortunately for Maven, Taker wasn't done, and he promptly destroyed Maven in and around the arena. However, in terms of a magical, unforgettable Royal Rumble moment, it was impossible to forget what he did to one of the biggest names in wrestling history.
3. John Cena's Surprise Comeback
This was one nobody saw coming.
When John Cena suffered a torn pectoral muscle in the months prior to the 2008 Royal Rumble, it seemed a formality he would be missing for at least the Rumble, and perhaps even WrestleMania.
However, when the final entrant in the 2008 Rumble match was revealed, and Cena's music hit, the fans in Madison Square Garden went crazy.
It was one of those rare moments of real shock which are few and far between these days, and it was undoubtedly one of the most memorable in Rumble history.
It was inevitably further enshrined into history by the fact that Cena was the last man standing in the Rumble, eliminating Triple H last to book his ticket to WrestleMania.
2. Shawn Michaels Goes the Distance (1995)
It was simply impossible to not have this moment near the top of the list.
Shawn Michaels has had a knack of creating history throughout his stellar career, but arguably his most historic, magical moment came in the 1995 Royal Rumble, when he became the first competitor to enter from the beginning and go the distance.
It wasn't without its nerve-wracking moments for The Heartbreak Kid, though, not least at the end of the bout, when Michaels went over the top rope, only for one of his feet to touch the floor, rather than two.
That laid the platform for him to eventually become the last man standing and become the first man in history to enter at the beginning of the Rumble match and emerge as the winner.
1. Ric Flair Creates Rumble History (1992)
"With a tear in my eye..."
The Royal Rumble match is always one of the most important bouts of the year, but in 1992, the stakes were raised even higher when it was deemed that the winner would claim the WWE Championship.
Inevitably, it led to a stacked Rumble lineup that year, with guys like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and The Undertaker all taking their place in the match.
However, it was the legendary Ric Flair who created history, outlasting the field to win his first world title in WWE, following all his success elsewhere in the NWA and other promotions.
What was more memorable, however, was Flair's post-match promo where he declared it the greatest night of his life, looking straight down the camera in the process. The emotion was raw and incredibly real, and it undoubtedly must be regarded as the most significant moment in Royal Rumble history.