What’s a WWE show without a twist? If there’s one thing the WWE universe loves, it’s an iconic shock. And there’s no better time for one of these than January’s Royal Rumble… just when you thought the first Premium Live Event of the year couldn’t possibly squeeze in any more high-octane drama, a legend or debutant is thrown into the mix. 
From Cena’s shock return in 2008 to Edge’s comeback nine years after retiring, the Royal Rumble has been the ultimate setting for a phoenix to rise from the ashes. Speculation is running rampant around who will return at this year’s Royal Rumble, but in the meantime, join us as we take a look back at some of the most exciting comebacks in Rumble history… 

Edge (2020) 

Almost a decade after Edge checked out of the ring due to injury, the R Rated Superstar made an epic return that left the entire stadium emotional. Edge left the ring after 24 minutes, but the memory of his shocking return was imprinted in fans’ minds forever.

Speaking to ESPN, Edge famously said that when the music played and he made his long awaited return, he felt like he “could have beat King Kong’s a**”. 

Cena (2008) 

Bouncing back from a torn pectoral muscle injury (history repeating itself with Cody Rhodes in 2023), the legendary champ returned in 2008, to the shock of everyone in the WWE Universe. 

Arriving way ahead of schedule, the iconic Madison Square Garden erupted with noise as the Cenation leader’s music echoed through the rafters of the world’s most famous arena. Entering the ring at number 30, John Cena ran through those that remained in the ring – most notably Triple H – earning himself a ticket to Wrestlemania.

Rey Mysterio (2018) 

Rey Mysterio is the gift that keeps on giving. Just when you thought he was done, having waved goodbye to the universe four years prior, he stormed into the Rumble to dump out the Undisputed Era’s leader Adam Cole, marking a new dawn for the Ultimate Underdog.

Having gone the distance from the second entrant to winning the entire event in 2006, there seemed to be no better place for the master of the 619 to make his way back to WWE. 

The Women’s Rumble (2018)

2018 was a huge year for women’s wrestling in WWE. Full of first ever events, the year would forever go down as the first to lay on a women’s Royal Rumble match. To mark this momentous occasion, and bolster the roster of current female WWE stars, a slew of twists, turns and iconic comebacks kept the WWE Universe guessing from start to finish. 

Perhaps the most noteworthy was the return of wrestling legend Lita, who was asked to enter the ring just 24 hours before the match.

Rhea Ripley (2021)

Back in 2021, rising NXT star and now Raw Superstar Rhea Ripley emerged as a surprise entrant, with a performance that laid the ground for her rapid rise within the universe. She may have finished second to Bianca Belair on the night, but Ripley looked every bit the Superstar the company hoped she could be.  

Now part of the notorious Judgement Day, Rhea Ripley has made gains in both her character and brute strength, establishing herself as a true contender to win 2023’s Royal Rumble. 

WWE’s Royal Rumble will broadcast live from the Alamodome, San Antonio at 1 AM BST on Sunday, January 29, 2023.  Tune in on the WWE Network or on BT Sport. 

Main image used courtesy of WWE.