The road to WrestleMania starts this Saturday night at the first Premium Live Event of the year, Royal Rumble. The WWE has been known to throw some shocking twists and turns in to kick the year off with mayhem, and Rushonrock has collated a list of some of the most memorable moments from years gone by.
12. Shawn Micheals sees off every contender to win (1995)
The odds of entering the Royal Rumble match as #1 and being the last one standing is slim, that’s how the luck of the draw goes. But that’s exactly what WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels did in 1995. Despite nearly being eliminated, with his feet dangling dangerously close to the floor, Michaels hung on miraculously to take the victory.
11. Ric Flair beats Hulk Hogan to win (1992)
With Hulk Hogan the favourite going into the 1992 Royal Rumble match, fans’ jaws hit the floor when heel Flair entered at number 3 and overcame the odds to end the match as winner.
10. The Undertaker wins his first Royal Rumble (2007)
For the first time in his illustrious career, The Undertaker won the Royal Rumble in 2007 against fellow iconic Superstar, Shawn Michaels.
With the winner earning the highly coveted ticket to Wrestlemania 23, The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels went head to head as the final two men left standing. A hard fought ten-minute brawl that was even exhausting to watch ensued between two of the greatest names of all time, before The Undertaker claimed victory, and tossed Michaels over the ropes to become the first man to enter the Rumble at number 30 and win the match.
9. Cactus Jack, Dude Love, and Mankind in the Same Night (1998)
It’s no surprise that one of the Royal Rumble’s most memorable moments is down to Mick Foley. Known for his plethora of incredible personas, the Superstar took things to new heights and sent fans hysterical in 1998 by entering the ring three different times as Cactus Jack, Dude Love, and Mankind.
Unfortunately the fun stopped there – despite having three opportunities to grab the win, the Superstar wasn’t able to get the job done and was eliminated by Chainsaw Charlie, Goldust, and Farooq, but it’s still widely remembered as one of the Royal Rumble’s wildest moments.
8. Maven eliminates The Undertaker (2002)
Rewind to 2002 to one of the most shocking upsets in WWE. A rookie compared to the other contenders, Maven burst into the ring looking to make a challenge.
After a scuffle with The Hardy Boyz, The Undertaker turned his back on Maven, who was still on the floor. From nowhere, Maven rose to deliver a mighty drop kick from behind and eliminated The Undertaker from the Royal Rumble match. This is still considered to be one of the biggest upsets seen at the show.
7. Beth Phoenix eliminates The Great Khali (2010)
In what is considered to be one of the most famous and shocking Royal Rumble entrants, Beth Phoenix became the second female to enter a men’s rumble match. The Glamazon stood toe to toe with The Great Khali despite his efforts to remove her, and tricked him into elimination with a kiss neither of them will likely forget.
6. Vince McMahon and Steve Austin collide (1999)
Rewind back to 1999, when the rivalry between Vince McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin was dominating the WWE Universe.
Entering at #2 into the match after Austin, McMahon shed his businessman sensibilities and managed to rattle The Rattlesnake himself. Fans were treated to a highly anticipated head to head encounter as Austin was finally able to get his hands on McMahon and take the boss to town.
As more entrants joined, Austin was still laser-focused on McMahon, giving him a beating that spanned the whole venue. After a quick trip to the hospital, Austin returned to the ring to make it to the end, before none other than The Rock appeared and distracted Austin. Taking what may have been his only opportunity to seize victory, McMahon used the distraction to eliminate Austin and steal the win in what may be one of the most chaotic Rumbles and shocking finales to date.
5. The Rock comes to Roman Reigns’ aid (2015)
Roman Reigns looked like he was about to make his exit from the ring in 2015’s Royal Rumble, as Kane and Big Show teamed up to deliver a string of eliminations and collaborated on a giant chokeslam.
In a shock entrance that sent fans wild, The Rock appeared out of nowhere and came to the aid of his cousin, helping him to victory.
To this day it remains one of the most memorable moments of the last decade.
4. Kane sets The Undertaker on FIRE (1998)
In one of the most ‘do not try this at home’ moments in WWE history, 1998’s Royal Rumble saw Kane not just betray his brother the Undertaker, but trap him in a casket and set him on fire.
3. Edge makes a comeback (2010 AND 2020)
The moment the entrance music of a shock return descends on an arena is like no other. Edge’s 2010 AND 2020 surprise Royal Rumble returns were two of those moments.
After being out from a brutal Achilles injury in 2009, no one expected The Rated R superstar to be back in time for Rumble. But he entered as #29 and managed to win his first Rumble.
But that wasn’t the final twist in the tale. An even more shocking comeback came at 2020’s Royal Rumble, when Edge came out of a nine year retirement to deliver some vicious Spears that left fans both nostalgic and delighted.
2. The Double Win
After eliminating Fatu and Shawn Michaels, Lex Luger and Bret Hart were the last two men standing in the 1994 Royal Rumble Match, going head to head for the ticket to WrestleMania X.
In one of the most unique situations in WWE history, both men went over the top rope and hit the floor at exactly the same time, leaving the referee’s, competitors and fans confused.
Eventually, BOTH men were declared winners and off to WrestleMania they went.
1. The return of Cena (2008)
How could the number one spot be anything but 2008 Cena? Expected to be out with an injury for at least another few months, fans had to blink twice when Cena appeared as the last entrant for the match. As the countdown for the #30 had the crowd fall silent, Madison Square Garden descended into meltdown at Cena’s entrance music blared.
As if the crowd’s electrifying reaction wasn’t enough to put this at the top spot, Cena went on to eliminate Triple H and win his ticket to WrestleMania 24.
If these epic moments are anything to go by, 2022’S Royal Rumble is set for more shocking moments. Fans can tune in to WWE Network at 1am 30th January to watch the drama unfold.