Ringside Remembrances: The Royal Rumble
Jay Shannon draws upon five decades as a devout wrestling fan to look at the past, present and future of professional wrestling.
“Who overcomes by force hath overcome but half his foe” — John Milton
Well, it’s that time of year, once again. Sunday is the Royal Rumble. Unfortunately, my job has me scheduled so I will have to wait til the DVD release hits the streets to see it. Of course, I will log onto our wonderful site, after workk, to check out all the results. I thought I’d take a quick look back at the 25 Royal Rumbles leading into Sunday’s big show.
I. January 24,1988
This first event was held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The first Rumble had only 20 entrants. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan came in at what would seem like an unlucky number, 13. It came down to Duggan and the One Man Gang. As often happens in Rumbles, the smaller man prevailed.
Your Winner: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
II. January 15, 1989
Houston, TX hosted the second Rumble. Big John Studd became the first person to win with the lucky number, 27. Studd pitched out the final two opponents, Akeem and Ted DiBiase, Sr. Hulk Hogan also set a long-standing record of “Quickest Elimination”, when he used a La Bandera Clothesline to get rid of The Warlord in only 2 seconds.
Your Winner: Big John Studd
III. January 21, 1990
The third Rumble moved to Orlando, Florida. Hulk Hogan came in at number 25 and fought on to victory. The ending was a chain reaction. Hercules tossed out The Barbarian. Rick Rude then, quickly, ousted Hernandez. Mr. Perfect (Curt Hennig) then sent Rude sailing over the ropes. Hogan then scored the win when he sent Perfect up and over.
Your Winner: Hulk Hogan
IV: January 19,1991
Despite what WWE programming would have you believe, someone has won back to back Rumbles. Hulk Hogan came in at 24 for the event, held in Miami, FL. Randy Savage was set to enter at Number 18 but didn’t show. Hogan got rid of Greg Valentine, Smash, Crush, Warlord, Brian Knobs and, finally, Earthquake. This was also the first Rumble to have a Dark March (Jerry Sags d Sam Houston)
Your Winner: Hulk Hogan
V. January 19, 1992
Albany, NY hosted the fifth Rumble. This time around, the WWF title belt was on the line. The winner of the match would score the vacated WWF title. Ric Flair seemed to have an impossible road to travel, as he came in at number 3. He would eliminate fhe following: The British Bulldog (Davey Boy Smith), Texas Tornado (Kerry Von Erich) and Big Bossman, by himself. The ending saw Flair working with Sid Justice to eliminate Randy Savage. Hulk Hogan then joined forces with Flair to pitch out Sid. Sid got his revenge by reaching up and pulling out Hogan.
Your Winner: Ric Flair
VI. January 24, 1993
The match started with Ric Flair and Bob Backlund. Backlund would last for more than an hour before he met up with the gigantic Yokozuna. Yokozuna drew lucky 27 and took full advantage of it. In addition to Backlund, Yokozuna got rid of Tatanka, Earthquake, Carlos Colon, Tito Santana and Owen Hart. It came down to Randy Savage and Yokozuna. Savage took down the behemoth and nailed the Savage Elbow. When Savage went to cover Yokozuna, the big Samoan used his incredible strength to push Savage up and over the ropes! The event was held in Sacramento, CA.
Your Winner: Yokozuna
VII. January 22, 1994
Providence, RI was the home of the 7th Rumble. The co-main event of this Rumble saw Yokozuna defeat Undertaker in a Casket Match. This was the only Rumble where two men shared the win at a Royal Rumble. Lex Luger came in at 23 and Bret Hart got 27. Diesel (Kevin Nash) looked on his way to winning after sending 7 men to the back. However, Mabel, Crush, Shawn Michaels, Sparky Plugg (Bob “Hardcore” Holly), and Bam Bam Bigelow worked together to send Big Daddy Cool to the showers. Later on, Hart and Luger would work together to eliminate Genichiro Tenryu. Hart would then get rid of Fatu. Luger endedthe run of Shawn Michaels. Hart and Luger then took each other over the ropes. Both men landed on the arena floor, at the very same time. It was decided that both men would get a title shot at Mania, that year.
Your Winners: Bret Hart and Lex Luger
VIII: January 22, 1995
The Rumble went back to Florida. Tampa got the nod, this time around. Shawn Michaels drew the worst possible number…1. British Bulldog would pull number 2. This was one of the shortest Rumbles on record…lasting only 38:41. The same two who started the match, also ended it. Shawn looked to be eliminated, but only one foot actually hit the floor. Shawn came back and knocked Davey Boy Smith off the ropes and won his first rumble.
Your Winner: Shawn Michaels
IX. January 21, 1996
Frsno, CA hosted the event. Shawn Michaels got a much better draw, this time. He came in at number 18. The final four ended up Michaels, Diesel, British Bulldog and Kama (The Godfather). Michaels got rid of the Bulldog. Diesel then ended Kama’s chance at glory. Diesel then fell victim to the repeating Shawn Michaels.
Your Winner: Shawn Michaels
X. January 19, 1997
San Antonio, TX was the location for the 10th anniversary edition of the Royal Rumble. This event had a heavy Lucha influence, including the Free For All match between the Minis tag teams of Masscarita Sagrada and La Parkita vs Mini Mankind and Mini Vader. Also, Jose Lothario was with Shawn Michaels as he defeated Sycho Sid for the WWF Title. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin drew number 5 in the Rumble. Austin took out 10 men during the match. The final eliminations were: Vader and Undertaker…by Austin. Diesel by Bret Hart. Austin then dumped Bret Hart to take the win.
Your Winner: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
XI. January 18, 1998
The Golden State got the Rumble back, as the event was held in San Jose, CA. Steve Austin was the focus of the event poster. Chyna and Triple H were at ringside as Shawn Michaels battle Undertaker in a Casket Match. This was the match that would injure Michaels’ back to the point of forcing a four-year retirement from the business. Austin drew 24 in the Rumble Lottery. The Rumble match came down to Austin and The Rock. Austin prevailed to become the third man to repeat as a winner. (Check your facts WWE Announcers.)
Your Winner: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
XII: January 24, 1999
The Magic Kingdom hometown of Anaheim, CA got the show, in ’99. The Rock beat Mankind in an “I Quit” match to take the WWF title. Steve Austin drew number one and the surprise second entrant was…Vince McMahon! Vinny Mac basically scooted around the ring, as much as possible, to stay out of anyone’s sights. This was the first Royal Rumble to have a female competitor, Chyna. She fell to Austin. This was also the first Rumble to feature Kane. Kane took himself out. It all came down to Austin and McMahon. McMahon shocked the world when he dumped Austin to win the Rumble!
Your Winner: Vince McMahon
XIII. January 23, 2000
Madison Square Gardens in NYC hosted the century turning event. Mae Young would win Miss Rumble 2000. Rock drew 24. Big Show drew 26. Show cleared house of just about everyone left in the ring. However, he couldn’t get rid of The Rock. Rock would dump Show to win the Rumble.
Your Winner: The Rock
XIV: January 21, 2001
The Rumble moved to New Orleans, LA. Steve Austin got lucky number 27. Drew Carey made an appearance and quickly eliminated himself, when he heard Kane was coming to the ring. That was the event that got Carey in the Hall of Fame? Really? This was the event where Kane set the record for most eliminations at 11. Kane eliminated: Raven, Al Snow, Perry Saturn, Steve Blackman, Grand Master Sexay (Brian Christopher), Honky Tonk Man, The Rock, Tazz, Albert, Scotty 2 Hotty and Crash Holly. That left Kane vs Austin. Austin beat the odds to three-peat as the Rumble winner.
Your Winner: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
XV: January 20,2002
The Rumble went to Atlanta, GA. Ric Flair forced Vince McMahon to tap out in their Street Fight. Triple H came into the Rumble at position 22. The final four were Kurt Angle, Steve Austin, Triple H and Mr. Perfect (Curt Hennig). Kurt got rid of Austin and Triple H elimnated Mr. Perfect. Triple H would eventually stand alone in the ring, after dumping Angle over the top.
Your Winner: Triple H
XVI: January 19, 2003
Boston, MA was the destination for the 2003 Rumble. Brock Lesnar had to beat Big Show to even get into the Rumble. This was the first Rumble where the competitors were divided into Raw and Smackdown Superstars. Lesnar came in at 29. He threw out a few people and ended up facing Undertaker, as the final two. Lesnar surprised everyone by getting rid of The Dead Man.
Your Winner: Brock Lesnar
XVII: Januray 25, 1994
The event moved to Philadelphia, PA. Chris Benoit drew number one. The match came down to Benoit and Big Show. Benoit defied the odds to bring Big Show over the ropes and to the floor. Benoit would go on to Wrestlemania XX to win a Triple Threat match. That win was hugely downplayed after the Benoit tragedy. The WWE had it listed as “Triple H lost his title” as the result of the Triple Threat Match.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit
XVIII: January 30, 2005
This Rumble was held in Fresno, CA. John Cena came in at 25. Batista drew 29. Batista and Cena worked together and individually to send 7 men to the back. That left The Animal to face Cena. Batista over-powered Cena and earned himself a ticket to Wrestlemania.
Your Winner: Batista
XIX: January 29, 2006
The Rumble returned to Miami, Florida. Rey Mysterio was on a mission to win the World title to honor his friend, Eddie Guerrero, who had died just a few months earlier. His goal seemed impossible, when he drew number 2. Rey would set the record by lasting 1:02:12. Rey eliminated the final three: Triple H (who had drawn #1), Rob Van Dam and then Randy Orton (#30 entrant).
Your Winner: Rey Mysterio
XX: January 28, 2007
No one had ever won the Rumble from the #30 spot. Randy Orton came close, the previous year, by being one of the final two. When Undertaker drew #30, most fans wrote him off as a definite lsoer. San Antonio, TX got to see history made as The Dead Man survived several close calls to eliminate Shawn Michaels. This would kick start their Wrestlemania feud. This was the first Rumble to include ECW Stars.
Your Winner: The Undertaker
XXI: Januray 27, 2008
MSG in NYC got the Rumble back. John Cena made a surprise return, after many months off, due to injury. He drew #30. The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels feud escalated, as Michaels eliminated Taker. It all came down to John Cena, Batista, Triple H and Kane. Batista and Triple H double teamed Kane to get rid of him. Triple H then turned on Batista and threw him out. That left HHH and Cena. Cena sent HHH to the floor to take the win.
Your Winner: John Cena
XXII: January 25, 2009
The “Motor City” of Detroit, MI hosted the event. This was the first Rumble to include competitors under the category of “Legend”. Jim Duggan and Rob Van Dam got that distinction. Santino Marella set the new “Quickest Elimination” record as Kane sent him out in 1 second! It came down to Legacy (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, Jr.) vs Triple H. HHH pitched out Rhodes and DiBiase. Orton, who was entrant #8, then Pearl Harbored HHH and dumped him to the floor.
Your Winner: Randy Orton
XXIII: January 31, 2010
This Rumble was held later in the year than any other. The Rumble returned to Atlanta, GA. Edge drew number #29 and only needed 7:19 to win the Rumble. He got rid of Chris Jericho and then John Cena to win the Rumble. This was the last Rumble to feature ECW Superstars. Beth Phoenix became the second female to compete in a Rumble.
Your Winner: Edge
XXIV: January 30,2011
Boston hosted the first 40-man Royal Rumble. C.M. Punk and his Nexus force eliminated numerous people and seemed to have it sewn up for themselves. Then they ran into John Cena. Cena eliminated Mason Ryan, Heath Slater, Michael McGuillicutty and C.M. Punk. Cena was well on his way to victory, until he was eliminated by The Miz. Alberto Del Rio came in, late, at # 38. Santino Marella had gone out earlier, under the ropes. He was still legal and waited on the outside. Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton battled it out. Del Rio ousted Orton. Santino then rushed in to try and get the cheap win. His ploy failed, as he was tossed out by Alberto Del Rio.
Your Winner: Alberto Del Rio
XXV: January 29, 2012
St. Louis, MO got the Silver Anniversary Rumble. The Miz and his protege, Alex Riley, drew numbers 1 and 2, respectively. This Rumble did not break down the competitors by which brand they performed on. Kharma was the third women to compete in a Rumble. The returning Road Dogg and Mick Foley surprised the fans. Then the WWE took it to the next level by having announcers Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole compete! Sheamus came in at number 22. The final four were Big Show, Randy Orton, Sheamus and Chris Jericho. It was another Chain Reaction finish. Randy Orton eliminated Big Show. Chris Jericho then pitched out Orton. Sheamus then took the win by sending Jericho to the showers.
Your Winner: Sheamus
So, who will win it all, this year? The event is being held in Phoenix, AZ. C.M. Punk will face The Rock for hte WWE title. Alberto Del Rio will defend the World title against Big Show. The Rumble has tons of the regular roster. Will there be surprise entrants? Lesnar? Undertaker? Backlund? Duggan? Who knows? I can hardly wait to hear what happens…