Royal Rumble

The Royal Rumble is an annual professional wrestling pay-per-view event, produced by World Wrestling Entertainment. It takes place in January of each year. The main event is the actual Royal Rumble; however, other matches also take place at the event.

The eponymous Royal Rumble is a thirty-man event, which begins with two men in the ring, with twenty eight other wrestlers entering the ring at regular timed intervals. A wrestler is eliminated from the Rumble when they leave the ring over the top rope, with both feet touching the floor. An egress between the second and third rope or under the bottom rope is not a valid elimination. The winner of the event is the last wrestler remaining after all others have been eliminated.

Although the order of entry is supposed to be random, it is common to have storylines where wrestlers compete for the right to enter last, or ask for a low number in order to prove their stamina by outlasting all others. A wrestler may also be assigned a high or low number by a figure of authority as a reward or a punishment. In reality, the order of entrance and elimination is carefully planned by the booker in order to put on an entertaining match. For example, once a wrestler has quickly eliminated several other wrestlers, the next wrestler to approach the ring will often be an enemy of theirs.

Since the 1993 event, every winner (other than in 1997 and 1999) has gone on to challenge the WWE Champion or the World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania. This championship match is often the last event on the WrestleMania card. As the WWE also has a February pay-per-view event, the winner may have this privilege put on the line on that pay-per-view card. In 1999 at the February "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" event, Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Vince McMahon, the winner of the 1999 Royal Rumble, in a Steel Cage Match for his title shot.

With the brand extension, the thirty entrants consist of fifteen wrestlers from RAW and fifteen from SmackDown!. This is, therefore, the only event other than WrestleMania (and certain combined non-televised shows held around WrestleMania time) with inter-brand competition. Originally, the Rumble winner faced their brand's champion at Wrestlemania, but starting in 2004, due to a supposed "loophole" in the Rumble's stipulations, the Rumble winner had the option of challenging either champion (but not both at the same time). Because of this, storylines may ensue that pit the two brands against one another: for example, a champion may accuse the other brand's champion of an action disrespectful to the Rumble winner in order to ensure that the Rumble winner challenges the other champion, not them (although both champions would inevitably defend their titles at WrestleMania).

The first Royal Rumble took place on January 24, 1988 in Hamilton, Ontario. Jim Duggan was the winner, though he did not receive a title shot as a result of his victory.

Royal Rumble winners

Royal Rumble winners
Year: Winner(s):
1988 "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan
1989 Big John Studd
1990 Hulk Hogan
1991 Hulk Hogan
19921 Ric Flair
1993 Yokozuna


Bret Hart
Lex Luger
1995 Shawn Michaels
1996 Shawn Michaels
1997 Stone Cold Steve Austin
1998 Stone Cold Steve Austin
1999 Vince McMahon
2000 The Rock
2001 Stone Cold Steve Austin
2002 Triple H
2003 Brock Lesnar
2004 Chris Benoit
2005 Batista

1: Ric Flair becomes the new WWF Heavyweight Champion

2: Both Bret Hart and Lex Luger were declared winners when it was decided they both touched the floor at the exact same time.

Facts and trivia

  • The first Royal Rumble in 1988 aired on the USA Network.
  • While the #1 draw would appear to be the worst possible number of entry, the first entrant has twice won the Royal Rumble: Shawn Michaels in 1995, and Chris Benoit in 2004.
  • Despite being ostensibly the best draw possible, no wrestler has ever won the Royal Rumble from the #30 position. The closest was Brock Lesnar in 2003, who entered at number twenty nine.
  • There have been seventeen Royal Rumble matches and fourteen winners. Multiple winners include Steve Austin (three times - 1997, 1998 and 2001), Shawn Michaels (twice - 1995 and 1996) and Hulk Hogan (twice - 1990 and 1991).
  • The record for total eliminations by a single competitor is ten. This record is held jointly by Kane (in 2001), Chris Jericho (in 2003) and Randy Orton (in 2004).
  • The 1991 Royal Rumble was the first to have a WWF Heavyweight Championship Match on the card, featuring The Ultimate Warrior defending the title against Sgt. Slaughter.
  • Vince McMahon entered the 1999 Royal Rumble at number two and went on to win the event. He took the victory by rolling underneath the ropes early in the event to lure Stone Cold Steve Austin into an ambush, (a wrestler is eliminated only if they are thrown over the top rope; since McMahon rolled underneath the ropes, he was still alive in the match), joining the commentary team, and then returning to the ring to eliminate the last contestant (Austin) with help from The Rock.

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