As fans anticipate the 2018 Royal Rumble and speculate on who will be the one to win it and main event Wrestlemania 34, it is only fitting that we go back and visit some of the best Royal Rumble winners of the past.
The Royal Rumble has been one of the most exciting and most anticipated non-Wrestlemania events in history and some of the biggest names have gone on to win them. I have created a top ten list of my favorite winners of one of my favorite WWE PPV events.
So here it is, my top 10 list of the best Royal Rumble winners.
10. Triple H – Royal Rumble 2002
After tearing his quadriceps muscle back in May 2001, Triple H made his return in January 2002 and entered himself in the Royal Rumble match. The match was filled with surprises and returns such as Val Venis, Goldust, and Mr. Perfect. It was also the match that Maven eliminated The Undertaker, then got bloodied up by Taker. The Game would enter the Rumble at No. 22 and eliminate Kurt Angle to win the match.
Triple H would then go on to defeat the WWE Undisputed Champion Chris Jericho in the main event of Wrestlemania X8, making this one of the great comebacks in WWE.
9. Edge – Royal Rumble 2010
Another superstar that made a great and surprising comeback to win the Royal Rumble was WWE Hall of Famer Edge in 2010.
Edge suffered a torn Achilles tendon in July 2009 when he was teaming with Chris Jericho. He shocked everyone as a surprise entrant at No. 29 eliminating Chris Jericho then eliminating John Cena to win the match.
Edge would go on to challenge Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 26. He lost the match but gave the WWE fans a Royal Rumble surprise win to remember.
8. Ric Flair – Royal Rumble 1992
No one thought the #1 star of WCW would come to WWE with the WCW world title. Well, it happened.
After a falling out with WCW, Ric Flair made the jump from WCW to WWE and brought the WCW title with him in 1991. Flair entered the 1992 Royal Rumble at No. 3 where the winner would win the vacated WWE championship. Flair lasted throughout the entire match last eliminating Sid Vicious with help from Hulk Hogan to win the WWE championship.
Flair became the first man to win the WWE championship in a Royal Rumble. The commentary performed by Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan and the crowd throughout the match made this Rumble match one of the greatest.
7. Rey Mysterio – Royal Rumble 2006
Rey Mysterio is probably the greatest underdog performer in a Royal Rumble match.
After the passing of Eddie Guerrero, WWE launched Rey Mysterio into the world title picture in honor of the late WWE Hall of Famer. Rey entered the Royal Rumble in 2006 at No.2 and won the entire match after last eliminating Randy Orton.
Rey would go on to defeat Kurt Angle and Randy Orton at Wrestlemania 22 to win the World Heavyweight title. His Rumble win would make it the most emotional win in WWE history.
6. Shawn Michaels – Royal Rumble 1995
Shawn Michaels is considered one of the greatest Royal Rumble competitors in WWE history. He first established that moniker at the 1995 Royal Rumble.
Shawn Michaels entered the Royal Rumble at No. 1 along with The British Bulldog who entered at No. 2. Both men lasted throughout the entire match until Bulldog thought he won the Rumble but only one of Shawn’s feet hit the floor, having Shawn recover to eliminate Bulldog and win the match.
Shawn made history at this Royal Rumble becoming the first man to win the Royal Rumble as the No.1 entrant.
5. Stone Cold – Royal Rumble 1998
Another legendary Royal Rumble competitor is WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin.
After his Royal Rumble victory the previous year in 1997, the crowd was getting fully behind The Texas Rattlesnake as the WWE was about to usher in the Attitude Era. This change in direction was validated as Stone Cold would win the Rumble twice in a row in 1998.
Stone Cold would face Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 14 and win his first WWE championship from him, not only ushering in the Attitude Era, but the Austin Era as well.
4. Batista – Royal Rumble 2005
As the Royal Rumble 1998 helped validate the Attitude Era, Royal Rumble 2005 validated the new faces of WWE in the Ruthless Aggression Era.
Batista was one of those new faces as he entered the 2005 Royal Rumble as the odds-on favorite to win with the crowd fully behind him. He and John Cena were the final two as both of them went over the top rope having Vince Mcmahon come out to restart. Batista won the match after throwing John Cena over the top rope and getting the chance to main event Wrestlemania 21.
Batista fought his former friend and fellow Evolution member Triple H and defeated him, winning the World Heavyweight Championship for the first time in his career, cementing him as one of the top babyfaces in WWE.
3. John Cena – Royal Rumble 2008
Royal Rumble 2008 took place at Madison Square Garden and had a star-studded Royal Rumble match.
Participants such as Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Batista and Triple H all competed in this Rumble. There were also some surprise entrants such as Mick Foley, Jimmy Snuka, and Roddy Piper. However, there was no bigger surprise than the No. 30 entrant, John Cena. Cena made a surprise return from a torn pectoral muscle which blew the roof off of MSG at that night. Cena would last eliminate Triple H to win the Rumble.
This surprise return remains as one of the most memorable and greatest Rumble comebacks and wins in WWE history.
2. The Rock – Royal Rumble 2000
Before the 2008 Royal Rumble was held at Madison Square Garden, the 2000 Royal Rumble was there first. Before the face of WWE John Cena won the Rumble in 2008, the face of WWE in 2000 The Rock won this Rumble.
As Stone Cold was out with an injury, The Rock helped carry WWE into the 2000’s and he solidified his place as the top babyface by winning his first Royal Rumble. He last eliminated The Big Show after Show had him on his shoulders, but Rock reversed Show sending him over the top.
The MSG crowd went wild and The Rock would have a Royal Rumble win under his belt and solidify him as The People’s Champion.
And the #1 winner is…..
1. The Undertaker – Royal Rumble 2007
It was really shocking to some fans during this time that they realized that Undertaker never won a Royal Rumble. This all changed at the 2007 Royal Rumble.
After Undertaker was bloodied by Edge and Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels eliminated both of them leaving him and Undertaker as the final two. Both men gave the performance of a lifetime fighting to stay in the match and win it. The fans didn’t care who won at this point, they were just captivated by seeing these two legends go at it as the last two.
After minutes went by, Shawn Michaels hit a sweet chin music on Undertaker, he tried another one but Taker caught him and throws him over the top rope to win his first Royal Rumble.
The Undertaker finally proved to be the Phenom with a Rumble win in his career and would defeat Batista to win the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 23, becoming 15-0.
And that is my list. Do you agree? Disagree? Hate me? Love me? Leave a comment below.