The Royal Rumble is one of the most anticipated events every year. The matches are generally memorable and provide everlasting moments.
We take a look at eight of the very best Royal Rumbles in WWE history.
2009 - Teamwork makes the dream work
The 09' Rumble is significant for having the trope of a team-up, but rather than turning on one another, it lasts until the end has resulted in the winner. Randy Orton had Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase flanking him, but they never turned on him. In these early days of the group Legacy, the two acted as extensions of Orton and thus were loyal.
Orton would go on to win the match, throwing out Triple H, just after he had just eliminated his lackeys. This Rumble was also memorable for filling up the ring with long periods of no eliminations. It had reached almost half of the entrants in the ring at once. And who could forget? Santino Marella being eliminated in just one second by Kane.
2018 - A new name reigns supreme
2018 marked the first time since 2012 that a new name had won the Royal Rumble, besides 2015. 2013-17, saw John Cena, Batista, Triple H and Randy Orton all win their second Rumbles, and 2015 saw Roman Reigns win, much to the dismay of the fans.
The 2018 match saw fan favourite Shinsuke Nakamura win the match, to the joy of almost all.
What made this match memorable was the final six competitors. Rey Mysterio, Orton, Cena, Finn Bálor, Reigns and Nakamura. It saw the first trio up against the latter in the clash of eras. Three of the biggest names from the Ruthless Aggression Era vs three big names of the current generation. Old verse new. The final four would be the "company picked supermen" vs "the internet darlings".
Nakamura would win by eliminating Cena and Reigns which is a big thing. It's just a shame that rather than this leading to his shining moment, this was his shining moment.
2010 - Blink and you'll miss it
The 2010 Royal Rumble goes by so quick that it is almost over by the entrances of the mid-20s. The match went for just under 50 minutes. What it does well is it spreads out the top names and the ring never really fills up either. By the time Batista enters at number 30, he was already in the final four.
The biggest story of the match was Shawn Michaels and his goal to face Undertaker at Wrestlemania once again. HBK wanted to win so he could challenge for Undertaker's World Heavyweight Championship, however, he falls short near the end. This was much more compelling than him winning and we saw the emotion he displayed from this loss. He was so desperate to win that he even eliminated his best friend and tag partner Triple H earlier in the match.
The winner was a surprise return in Edge, last eliminating John Cena. Another memorable moment in this match was CM Punk's run at the beginning, cutting promos as he eliminates everyone that joins the match.
1992 - It isn't fair to Flair
This Rumble finds itself atop many people's list, and that is for good reason. It was the first time of only two occasions thus far that the world title was on the line in the match. This meant everyone had a shot to win the title, which was ground-breaking.
This match was also star-studded and had over half a dozen possible winners. Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Sid and Jake Roberts were all likely winners. This isn't something we ever see as it's generally a few names that could possibly win these days.
1992 Royal Rumble match:
With a tear in his eye, Ric Flair enters the Rumble at #1 and goes all the way to win and become the new WWF Champion. pic.twitter.com/l0fkrsOMmx
— Italo Santana (@BulletClubIta) January 27, 2022
The match was won by Flair from entry number three, something that was thought impossible. It was the first time a heel won the match and the first winner from an early number. Bobby Heenan's work on commentary ranting about how unfair it was to Flair is the stuff of legend.
2020 - A star is born
The 2020 Royal Rumble can be split into two halves. The first was the Brock Lesnar show and the second was after his elimination. Lesnar entered at number one while being the WWE Champion for some reason. Lesnar would go on to eliminate 13 competitors in a row, breaking the record before running into Drew McIntyre.
McIntyre entered at number 16 and would eliminate Lesnar, and from then on, we knew this was the man winning the match. Drew would have quite the showing himself, with 6 eliminations, throwing Roman Reigns out to win. This night, he became a main event player.
— WWE Today In History 🌐 (@WWE__History) January 26, 2022
The match is also famous for having arguably the greatest return ever in Edge. The Hall of Famer surprise returned to the ring after retiring nine years to injury.
2008 - And his name is...
2008 saw John Cena return months ahead of schedule at number 30 to win the Royal Rumble. His return is considered one of the best of all time, and was a genuine surprise. No one thought he would return and there was literally no one that could be number 30.
Being at Madison Square Garden, the camera shot is also the stuff of legends, capturing the moment well.
The final three were Cena, Batista and Triple H, the three biggest names at the time, who had a cool showdown.
13 years ago today, John Cena returned from a torn pectoral at the 2008 Royal Rumble. Listen to that pop.pic.twitter.com/BYevd8c528
— Fightful Wrestling (@Fightful) January 27, 2021
The other memorable part of the match was the first two entrants, Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. A little rematch from the last year.
Undertaker had won the year prior from number 30, while the runner up was Michaels. More on that later.
2001 - The last Attitude Era Rumble goes out with a bang
2001 was one of the best years in pro-wrestling history. Especially the first part. This all starts at the Royal Rumble.
The rumble itself is most memorable for its MVP in Kane. Kane would last over 53 minutes and eliminate a then-record 11 people.
The match doesn't really have segments as they all evolve into the next part naturally.
A big story going into it was could Kane and Undertaker work together, which they would. Reuniting The Brothers of Destruction and laying waste to many names.
Today is the 21 YEAR ANNIVERSARY of this monster pop! Do you remember watching this back in 2001? Lost my mind hearing Austin's glass shatter!
— OSW Review (@OSWreview) January 21, 2022
The final three would be Kane, The Rock and 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin. All three were realistic shots at winning, and all had been through so much to make it compelling viewing. Kane (time in match and beating), Rock (put through a table by Big Show) and Austin (bloodied by an interfering Triple H).
Stone Cold would win after three chair shots to Kane's head before clotheslining him out of the ring. This would make Austin the only three-time winner to this day and had Kane, despite losing, still looking like a total badass.
2007 - A match in a match
As aforementioned, 2007 saw The Undertaker win the match from number 30, the first time someone had done so. The runner up was Shawn Michaels. At this point, the two were icons of pro-wrestling. Undertaker had surprisingly never won a rumble, while HBK looked to win his third. Fans did not know which one would win.
Prior to their little one on one showdown at the end, the other two to make up the final four were Rated RKO, Edge and Randy Orton.
Undertaker had to withstand a brutal assault from Rated RKO as well a battle that felt like an eternity in the end.
OTD in 2007:
The Undertaker won the Royal Rumble match. He would go onto defeat Batista to become World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania 23. pic.twitter.com/1dsXwMKf8W
— BODYSLAM.NET (@BodyslamNet) January 28, 2022
Besides the little match at the end, which starts with an iconic Undertaker sit up and HBK kip up at the same time, we see Kane eliminate Sabu by choke slamming him through a table, Sandman goes on a spree with his kendo stick for a few seconds, Great Khali lays waste to all and eliminates a bunch of names.
The visuals and choreography of this match is the best of any rumble