Awesome / Royal Rumble

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    The Royal Rumble match itself 
  • 1988: "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan becoming the first Royal Rumble winner is a crowning accomplishment in itself; there always has to be someone who's first, and Duggan can count this among his major career highlights. Also, in an era where wrestling matches in the WWF rarely went longer than 15 minutes, Bret Hart and Jake Roberts lasting more than 20, with Hart finally eliminated after 25 minutes and still looking like he could go a while longer. And, the fact this was the only one of the "Big Four" WWF events that paired Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura on commentary is pretty cool.
  • 1989: For Big John Studd, this was his crowning achievement. Even though he came in fairly late, his thorough domination of Ted DiBiase before eliminating him and the standing ovation he received resulted in a genuine smile on his face ... and it was the big moment in his career.
  • 1990: Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior find themselves the only two men in the ring. The entire damn arena are standing on their feet going wild as the two biggest stars of the time argue, shove each other and knock each other down with a double clothesline. Still epic to watch today.
  • Long before Ric Flair's retirement, his biggest WWE CMoA came at Royal Rumble 1992, when he entered the Rumble match at number three and outlasted everyone to win the vacant WWF Championship (This is the first time a winner came from one of the single-digit spots). Keep in mind, this was a Rumble match that boasted one of the WWF's most star-studded Rumble rosters (including Hulk Hogan, Randy "Macho Man" Savage Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Ted DiBiase, Sgt. Slaughter and Roddy Piper).
    • When Flair entered the 1992 Rumble at #3, Gorilla Monsoon took great delight in repeatedly (and annoyingly!) telling Bobby Heenan that no one had ever before entered from slots 1-5 and lasted until the final entrant (let alone won). Heenan delightedly crowed when Flair won.
      Bobby Heenan [many times during the match]: THIS IS NOT FAIR TO FLAIR!
    • This was also Bobby Heenan's hallmark performance as a commentator.
    • His post-match interview was an appropriate exclamation point.
  • One of the most dominating performances in Royal Rumble history took place at 1994's edition. Diesel came in at number 7, and completely cleaned house, dumping out all four of the current competitors, which included Scott Steiner, Kwang, a freshly turned Owen Hart, and Bart Gunn. From there, he would wait for participants to come out, and would eliminate the next three in very short order, which were Bob Backlund, Billy Gunn, and Virgil. It finally took a superstar the caliber of Randy Savage just to stop Diesel from eliminating each guy one at a time. Diesel came into this match as a heel sidekick to Shawn Michaels, and by the time he was finally eliminated (by four guys no less), the crowd was giving him a standing ovation and chanting his name. This was one of the first runs of this type in Rumble history, and most "dominating performances" in more recent Rumbles use this as a template (see Kane in 2001 or CM Punk in 2010). It was also one of the moments that led to the Clique's backstage takeover, eventually leading to the nWo, DeGeneration X, the Fingerpoke Of Doom and Triple H's push from hell.
    • To this day anyone who has this type of performance at the Rumble (clearing the ring and/or eliminating several wrestlers) is referred to as being given "the Diesel Push".
  • Shawn Michaels won the 1995 Rumble from the #1 spot (although to be fair, because that Rumble only had one-minute-apart entrances; it went a little over half an hour), but what really makes this Moment of Awesome can be summed up in nine words—Only ONE of Shawn Michaels' feet hit the floor.
  • Special shout-outs to Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, who won the Rumble two consecutive years.
  • Bradshaw hitting Mr. Ass with a Clothesline From Hell that made him do several rotations in the air in the 2000 Rumble.
  • In Royal Rumble 2001, Kane set a new standard for dominance in the titular match. Kane would eliminate 11 participants total, a record that stood until 2014, and in the process would...
    • Scare celebrity entrant Drew Carey into eliminating himself, which is not included in his body count.
    • Survive a weapons brawl with most of the Hardcore division.
    • In a Crowning Moment of Funny, the Honky Tonk Man would make a surprise entrance after Kane cleared the ring of the Hardcore guys. He would sing his entrance music, and Kane showed how much he enjoyed the performance by tuning his guitar over Honky's head and eliminating him. Kane would then shake his head, driving the point home.
    • Eliminate Tazz in 10 seconds.
    • Find himself on the brink of elimination by about seven guys, only for The Undertaker to enter next and re-unite the Brothers of Destruction. This of course, cleared the ring yet again of everyone except Kane and Undertaker.
    • Make it to the Runner Up position, surviving the likes of The Rock, Undertaker, and The Big Show. It took "Stone Cold" Steve Austin with magic number 27 and a steel chair to finally get the Big Red Monster out.
  • Maven eliminated The Undertaker in the 2002 Rumble — and ended up paying for it immediately.
    • He tried it again the next year and failed.
  • 2004:
    • Chris Benoit's performance was undoubtedly awesome, at least at the time, lasting 61 minutes, 30 seconds and surpassing Bob Backlund's 61 minute streak from 1993. WWE couldn't have booked him to look like a bigger badass if they'd tried; he eliminated all of the largest entrants in the match, including The Big Show at the end.
    • In Goldberg's first (and until 2017, only) Royal Rumble appearance, he came in at #30. He quickly proceeded to destroy everyone in the ring at the time — including Nunzio, who was on the receiving end of a Spear so powerful it nearly snapped him in two. Goldberg's in-ring dominance was short-lived, unfortunately, thanks to Brock Lesnar.
  • 2005: Referees from both Smackdown and Raw were on-hand to officiate that night, and the final two contestants - Batista and John Cena, eliminated each other at the same time, a feat not seen since the '94 Rumble. While it's now known as a botch, at the time it worked perfectly because the conflicting referees sided with their brand's wrestler, and everyone in the audience believed it was All Part of the Show, even when Vince McMahon came storming down the ramp to yell at everyone. The wrestlers then capitalized on the improvisation made by the referees, throwing each other out of the ring in turn while declaring himself the winner before McMahon ordered that they restart.
  • Rey Mysterio Jr. winning the 2006 Rumble from the #2 slot (which is equally impressive as from #1, since both #1 and #2 start the match at the same time) has to count; he lasted one hour, two minutes, and twelve seconds — the longest Royal Rumble performance to date and surpassing Benoit's two years earlier by 42 seconds— and even eliminated both Triple H (Number 1) and Randy Orton (Number 30) at the end! Especially impressive given that a small guy who specializes in high-flying moves is at an inherent disadvantage in this type of match. Most of his normal offense is not only worthless in a Royal Rumble, it's actively detrimental if he tries to use it.
    • Rey's entrance was almost a foreshadowing of the awesomeness to come. At number 2, the doors open and here we see Rey on a red convertible with an Eddie Guerrero shirt. That's how you make a Royal Rumble entrance.
  • The Undertaker winning the 2007 Rumble counts — both because he deserved it and he was the first #30 draw to ever win it.
  • 2008:
    • John Cena's legitimately shocking return in the 2008 Rumble is here for the sheer fact that absolutely nobody saw it coming. To explain, Cena was out due to surgery just before his big match against Orton at No Mercy. He was said to be out for at least six months (he showed up in a sling for the Tribute to the Troops) and pretty much made everyone believe he would be out past Wrestlemania. Then he comes out, and he's completely healed. Cue everyone in the ring getting their asses kicked.
    • That year's Rumble also had 65-year-old Jimmy Snuka enter, followed by fellow legend Roddy Piper. All the other Superstars stopped wrestling briefly to watch them re-ignite their twenty-year-old feud.
  • In 1989, Hulk Hogan eliminated The Warlord — who, in the process of being eliminated as soon as he stepped in the ring, set the record for the shortest appearance in a single Rumble (two whole seconds). That record stood until 2009 — when Santino Marella clocked in at just a few ticks over one second before getting eliminated by Kane.
  • 2011:
    • John Morrison is kicked off of the ring apron; it appears all of his hopes are lost. The Prince of Parkour, however, had other ideas — and in a move compared to Spider-Man, Morrison grabbed onto the ringside barricade and used it to get himself back to the ring steps so he could re-enter the ring. Morrison's acrobatic trickery didn't get him the Rumble victory, but that display of athletic ability damn near stole the whole show.
    • Santino Marella made it to the final two by having stayed out of the ring (legally) until Alberto Del Rio had eliminated what he thought was the last competitor. Although Santino lasted longer than one second this time around, his extended break period did nothing to help him win — but his surprise runner-up finish was a great Brick Joke for everyone who hadn't been paying attention and thought Santino had been eliminated.
  • 2012:
    • After being sent over, struggling to hold on, and going out head first, Kofi Kingston avoids elimination by walking on the floor and back to the ring steps. Backwards. ON HIS HANDS.
    • Kharma returns, making her only the third woman to enter the Rumble, slamming Dolph Ziggler with an Implant Buster, throwing Hunico out after catching him in mid-air.
    • "HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, the winner of the first Royal Rumble, returns for the Royal Rumble's silver anniversary.
    • OH, YOU DIDN'T KNOW?: Road Dogg returns to WWE. Made even better with everyone screaming "YOU STILL GOT IT!" in rhythm.
    • Sheamus and Chris Jericho as the final two tore down the house. Everyone expected Jericho to go over as the Royal Rumble winner to set up a WrestleMania feud with CM Punk, but in the end, it was Sheamus who prevailed, no doubt surprising many fans, fella.
    • Cody Rhodes entering at number 4, forming a makeshift team with number 1 entrant The Miz and lasting all the way until number 30, The Big Show, enters and eliminates both. To top off a great performance for someone who some people consider to be just a midcard guy, he gets the most eliminations of the match with 6. The list of people he eliminated is as follows: Mick Foley, Santino Marella, Jerry Lawler, The Great Khali and Booker T with help from Dolph Ziggler and, last but not least, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan.
  • 2013:
    • In a rare, legitimate surprise entrance, Chris Jericho reappeared in the number two slot and lasted well over 40 minutes until the final entrant had hit the ring before finally being eliminated. The fans were absolutely ecstatic (possibly moreso than for anything else that evening).
    • Kofi continues his string of amazing Rumble feats by using JBL's announcer chair to bunny hop himself back to the ring apron after ending up on the announce table, after discovering that jumping would be impossible. Sadly this would be a Shaggy Dog Story as he is immediately met with a kick to the face by Cody Rhodes upon climbing to the ring apron and is legitimately eliminated before he can even climb back in.
    • Goldust making his return.
    • For the first time, an NXT Rookie, Bo Dallas, who won the eight-man tournament Royal Rumble Fest, enters the ring at number 16. Amazingly, not only does he survive for nearly 20 minutes in the ring, but he even eliminates Wade Barrett, NXT season 1 winner and the current Intercontinental champion at that time. He may have lasted longer if it wasn't for Wade Barrett, as he was so upset that he returns to eliminate him. The next day at Raw, he and Wade Barrett have a match and again Bo Dallas gets an upset victory.
  • 2014:
    • Kofi Kingston gets his third consecutive miracle elimination dodge, this time with an assist from Alexander Rusev. He managed to land onto Rusev's back and make it onto the barricade, then jump back to the ring despite the bad position, much to the announcer's disbelief.
      • Not only that, but he managed to dodge another elimination by hanging on the bottom rope by just the tip of his toes... Literally.
    • Kane's 13-year-record finally falls as Roman Reigns eliminates 12 men, including three wrestlers (two of them being Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, his own teammates) at the same time, from the Royal Rumble to set a new record for most eliminations in a single Rumble. Then he managed to make it to the final two against Batista, he lost, but still doesn't make it any less awesome.
    • Since Kane is essentially The Dreaded in the Rumble, his entrance is usually very foreboding...until he was on the end of a curb-stomping by CM Punk (in what turned out to be his final WWE appearance) with little offense to his name and no eliminations! Kane did get revenge, however, by coming back out later and eliminating CM Punk anyway.
    • El Torito enters the Rumble, and even scores an elimination on Fandango.
    • This year's surprise entrant? None other than Kevin Nash.
  • 2015:
    • Bubba Ray Dudley, The Boogeyman and Diamond Dallas Page return.
    • He may not last long but The Boogeyman vs. Bray Wyatt is awesome.
    • Despite the crowd hating chant due to an expected result and fast fan favorite elimination, The Rock returns to save Roman Reigns from being eliminated and beaten up by the eliminated Big Show and Kane.
  • 2016:
  • 2017:
    • Tye Dillinger making his main roster debut. Guess which spot he went in at. Go ahead, guess.
    • Baron Corbin eliminating Braun Strowman.
    • Luke Harper fell victim to a Sister Abigail by Bray's hands on the go-home Smackdown after losing to Randy Orton. Harper, deciding he's had enough, immediately hits Bray with a discus clothesline as soon as he gets into the ring! And then sets him up for Sister Abigail later. Unfortunately for Harper, Randy Orton then intervened and stopped him from hitting it.
    • Goldberg once again proves he has Brock Lesnar's number by eliminating him with two spears shortly after entering the match. And then The Undertaker eliminating Goldberg shortly afterwards.

    Other matches on the card 
  • 1991's edition saw a particularly inspired, and very energetic, match between the Rockers and the Orient Expressnote . This match been cited as an all-time favorite by some critics, and it's almost certainly one of, if not the, best opening matches of any Royal Rumble event.
  • In 1994, The Undertaker, after being given basically the WWF version of a Rasputinian Death at the hands of Yokozuna and several other heel wrestlers (Undertaker not letting up against about ten other men until his urn was opened) and being locked in a casket, appeared on the titantron and made a chilling speech, proclaiming he would not rest in peace. He then "floated" up to the rafters, crossing over into the afterlife presumably. This seems to be very YMMV, though, as it has been inducted into WrestleCrap.
  • 2000:
    • Cactus Jack vs Triple H in Madison Square Garden, aka the match that made Triple H, and proved that he deserved to be Champion. Fans weren't very enthusiastic going in as Hunter had, to paraphrase Edge, "married his way" to the title, and Jack was all hype since while he was an extremely brutal performer in ECW, his WWF career under that persona was much more tame, and you can hear them chant "boring" at the 5-10 minute mark (which Jerry Lawler pretended was "Foley"). Then came the barbed-wire two-by-four. Then both men kept going after each getting hit by it. Then came the blood. Then came the thumbtacks. Then came the Pedigree onto the thumbtacks. And the rest is history....
    • You can see this on the DVD extras; after the match, Triple H is taken backstage onto a stretcher and is all bloody and messed up. And one of the first things he does is ask someone to find his parents, who are in the audience, and let them know he's okay.
    • Kurt Angle was in full-on Smug Snake mode and was yet to have been defeated in singles competition. He comes out at the opening of the PPV and delivers some backhanded comments about Patrick Ewing and the Knicks (it was Madison Square Garden and Angle's gimmick at the time was to obliviously insult the fans via their hometown sports stars). Then, his mystery opponent for the night appears: Tazznote . Debuting at the Rumble, Tazz proceeds to squash Angle with a number of suplexes and the Tazzmission, ending Angle's undefeated streak and delighting the New York crowd to no end.
    • The Dudleys vs the Hardys capped off their typical CMOA match with Jeff performing a Swanton Bomb from the balcony through Buh Buh and a table.
  • The 2003 Rumble saw Scott Steiner vs. Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship, in one of the worst matches in the company's history. Immediately after that, Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle battled for the WWE Championship that, not only took the piss out of the previous debacle, but was a Match of the Year candidate. As unintentional as it was, it was a huge apology, with HHH/Steiner bordering on Let Us Never Speak of This Again territory.
  • From the 2004 Royal Rumble event: Shawn Michaels and Triple H put on a classic Last Man Standing match. It's remembered for being not only a nail-biter of a match, but for its double-countout ending (Neither man could answer the 10 count) (in Philadelphia, of all places). It would have stolen the show had Benoit not put on such an amazing performance.
  • 2013 brings us The Rock and CM Punk for the WWE Championship. Marking over 10 years since The Rock has challenged for a WWE title and CM Punk enjoying the longest WWE Championship reign in the past 25 years (434 days), the stakes were high. The Rock swore that he would come to the event and take Punk's title with the added stipulation that any interference from rogue unit The Shield would cause Punk to be stripped of the championship. After an intense contest, the lights in the arena go black and The Rock is dragged outside and slammed through the announce table by an unseen Shield. Punk scores the pinfall from the interference but Vince McMahon declares that, despite being dark, The Shield interfered and he would strip Punk's championship. The Rock refuses to let the match end like this, demands a restart, and pins Punk with the People's Elbow to win the WWE Championship for the first time in a decade and ends Punk's historic reign as champion.
  • 2014 kicks off with a potential Match of the Year candidate with Daniel Bryan taking on Bray Wyatt.
  • 2015 gives us Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins. All candidates pulled their weight in the match and it shows. Highlights include Seth Rollins pulling off a Phoenix Splash on John Cena which hasn't been used since his ROH days.
  • The 2016 undercard had a couple of great matches:
    • The night kicked off with a brutal Last Man Standing match between Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental Championsip. Both men threw everything they had at each other, with Ambrose eventually retaining after Owens went through two stacked tables. And then they not only entered the Rumble anyway despite the punishment they'd given each other, but still managed to do well, with Owens even eliminating the debuting AJ Styles, and Ambrose being the last man eliminated to finish second overall.
    • Charlotte vs Becky Lynch was another great match, with Becky throwing everything she had at the Divas Champion, and looking like she would come out on top. Shame that Charlotte's Daddy had to get involved. After Charlotte beats down Becky after the match, Sasha Banks shows up, and makes it absolutely clear that she's after the belt too.
  • Just like at Summerslam 2016, match of the night in the 2017 event went to AJ Styles vs. John Cena. And it was arguably the best match of their entire feud, with the two seamlessly transitioning through submission holds on each other (including Cena busting out a figure-four leg lock), Cena using another Code Red, Styles trying to win like he did back in August but Cena scouting it, and capped it off with Cena hitting two consecutive Attitude Adjustments on Styles, transitioning smoothly between the two, to finally get the pinfall on AJ and secure his 16th WWE Championship victory, thus tying Ric Flair's record.
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