The Best of The Royal Rumble
The Royal Rumble is a fantastic creation, and really a feat of fluidity by the men involved. Thirty men have to go out one at a time, at a minute or a minute and a half at a time, and not bore the thousands of people in attendance, and the millions watching at home. My intent is to take you through the ten Royal Rumble matches most worth watching.
Royal Rumble 1994
I hesitated to put this Rumble so low on the list, because of how great the aftermath was at WrestleMania 10, but there are so many Rumbles to choose from. This was had an improbable ending, barely pulled off by two capable performers. The rest of the match featured a lot of the unbearable talents that populated the 1990’s airwaves, like Sparky Plugg, Bastion Booger, Bob Backlund, and Kwang.
Royal Rumble 2004
I’m going to get this one out of the way. Chris Benoit won the 2004 royal Rumble after working incredibly hard for years. He deserved the accomplishment. That’s all I will say about him. F—king Chris Benoit, man! He made so much amazing wrestling, impossible to f—king talk about. You cannot have a conversation where the name Chris Benoit is uttered without the conversation quickly turning away from his actual work. For instance, there’s this match. He entered number one, showing incredible endurance lasting until the end of the one hour and one minute long match, working every bit, including the hair-raising ending with Big Show.
None of that matters. It is a legacy that will be erased from existence, and with good reason, which sucks. Just had to murder your family, huh dude? F—king dick.
Royal Rumble 1996
First, I would like to start off by saying f—k The Godwinn’s and any other lame, stereotypical character like them. I appreciate the men who played them for working them for everything they were worth, but Goddamn I hate them. Characters like them are the reason people assume wrestling is for unintelligent people. Anyway, Shawn Michaels won this match, and went on to Main Event WrestleMania 12 with Bret Hart. Based off that, I thought I initially thought I would’ve rated it higher. Truth is, though, it’s pretty boring, and loaded with the lame characters that overloaded the mid-nineties WWE roster.
Royal Rumble 2014
This wouldn’t even be on the list if not for the fact that it led to the incredible Main Event of WrestleMania 30. Look, there are all kinds of stories out on the web about how Vince was convinced Randy Orton and Batista was going to be the greatest Main Event in the history of the company. That comes directly from CM Punk during his appearance on Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast. I don’t know any of these men personally. I don’t know what the deal was.
I do know that I was just as pissed as anyone else to see that Daniel Bryan wasn’t entered into the 2014 Royal Rumble. It almost caused a riot. As soon as the 30th entrant came out, and it wasn’t Goatface, the entire crowd turned. Batista won the match and the crowd could not have cared less.
Royal Rumble 1992
This match earns a fairly high place on the list for being the one where Ric Flair won the vacant WWF/E Championship. It led to one of my personal favorite WrestleMania WWE Championship matches, in Ric Flair vs. Macho Man. The level of talent in the company, at the time as well, created a stacked lineup. It breeds just the right amount of nostalgia for the old days of wrestling.
Royal Rumble 1997
This is another case of the match itself being boring. It earns its place at number five because of Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret Hart. This was the defining moment in their feud, which culminated at WrestleMania 13. In the match, Bret throws Stone Cold over the top rope, but the refs don’t see it. So Stone Cold jumps back in and eliminates Bret, which the refs do see. Bret tries to explain but the men in black and white stripes don’t care. The animosity created over this lost WrestleMania chance for Bret took precedence over Stone Cold’s inevitably negated Royal Rumble victory, eventually overshadowing the Main Event at 13.
Royal Rumble 2006
Rey Mysterio, in a stunning upset, would go on to win this match after starting it at number two. Number one was Triple H. Nobody expected Rey to win it, but he hung on for over sixty-two minutes. Some claim that Rey only got this opportunity because of the passing of Eddie Guerrero, which occurred not long before. Who gives a s—t? It’s not like he didn’t deserve it. Rey worked hard for years and always gave his best performance possible.
Royal Rumble 1995
This is just one of my personal favorite Rumbles. I always loved it as a kid, as a massive fan of HBK. I also just really loved the ending. British Bulldog and Shawn Michaels started the match, at numbers two and one, respectively. Then there they were, the final two competitors in the match. My heart was beating extra fast when it looked like the Bulldog eliminated The Heartbreak Kid. Then the sigh of relief when it turned out Shawn had held on, only allowing one of his feet to scrape the ground. With Bulldog distracted, The Showstopper had the upper hand and eliminated him, winning the opportunity for a Championship Title match at WrestleMania 11.
Royal Rumble 2007
This belongs firmly at number two, based solely on the work by Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. They’re the final two competitors in the match and they put on one hell of a show. It’s as an intense display of physical competition you’ll ever see.
Royal Rumble 1999
This is the best example of storytelling the Royal Rumble Pay-per-view has ever provided. It’s a blast from start to finish. Austin and McMahon had such incredible, in-ring chemistry. They’re always a joy to watch and it’s never more obvious than this match. They leave the ring quickly and McMahon leads Austin into a trap, where he is assaulted so bad that he has to leave in an ambulance.
So Mr. McMahon’s all cocksure arrogance and bravado after that, until Austin comes back, driving the ambulance he was taken out of the building in! It’s a great moment and my personal favorite in the history of the Rumble.
PS: I highly recommend doling out the ten dollars a month for the WWE Network, rather than suffering through whatever altered YouTube links I could actually get embedded onto the article. The altered audio tracks really ruin it. Even if you get the Network just for the upcoming Royal Rumble Pay-per-view on January 25th; you won’t regret it. I’m hoping Ambrose or Daniel Bryan manages to get the W, there.