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TJR: Top 25 Greatest WWE Royal Rumble Match Moments

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It’s WWE Royal Rumble week, so WWE decided to post a video of the 25 Greatest Royal Rumble match moments.

The list was put in order by WWE in a video on their Youtube channel. I have some complaints that I will address after presenting WWE’s list.

25. Otis Saves Mandy Rose (2020)

Fun moment with Otis laying on the floor and Rose landing on top of Otis. Mandy’s outfit choice was also a good Rumble moment on its own.

24. Snitsky Clotheslines Paul London (2005)

This was brutal with Snitsky doing a huge clothesline and London doing a flip bump and landing on his chest on the floor. London almost hit his head.

23. Bianca Belair Wins (2021)

Bianca Belair won the 2021 Royal Rumble (the one with no crowd) by eliminating Rhea Ripley. Belair hit Ripley with a clothesline over the top to the floor to win the match.

22. Kane Chokeslams Sabu Through a Table (2007)

Sabu tried to clothesline Kane out, but Kane did a back body drop to the apron and then Kane gave Sabu a Chokeslam through a table that was at ringside. Ouch.

21. Too Cool Dance Mid-Match (2000)

The MSG crowd loved this when Rikishi danced with his Too Cool buddies Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty. After the dance, Rikishi tossed his buddies out. They didn’t show that part.

20. Three Faces of Foley Enter (1998)

The 1998 Royal Rumble saw the three faces of Mick Foley in the match – Cactus Jack, Mankind and then Dude Love. That was pretty cool. I’m sure Mick loved doing it.

19. Beth Phoenix Eliminates The Great Khali (2010)

It was rare for a woman to be in the men’s Rumble, so it was a surprise to see Beth in there. When Khali put Beth to the apron, Beth countered with a kiss on the lips and then Beth pulled Khali over the top to the floor. Clever.

18. Maven Eliminates The Undertaker (2002)

The rookie Maven hit a dropkick to The Undertaker’s back sending Taker over the top to the floor. Taker was in heel mode while Maven was new, so it was a shocking moment for sure. I would have had this as a top ten moment. The crowd response was awesome. Undertaker kicked Maven’s ass after that, which was not shown.

17. Drew McIntyre Eliminates Brock Lesnar (2020)

An awesome moment that came after Lesnar dominated the first half of the match, Ricochet hit a low blow kick to Lesnar and McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick to eliminate Lesnar. The fans loved it.

16. Jim Duggan Wins the Inaugural Rumble Match (1988)

Duggan won the first Rumble, which had 20 men instead of 30 as we were used to and it was on USA Network rather than a PPV broadcast. Duggan last eliminated One Man Gang to win.

15. The Rock Rescues Roman Reigns (2015)

The Rock ran out to the ring to save Roman Reigns from a double-team attack from Big Show and Kane. Rock hit Kane with a People’s Elbow. The crowd loved seeing Rock even though they hated Reigns.

14. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin Steals the Rumble Match (1997)

Bret Hart eliminated Steve Austin from the Rumble match, but the referees were on the other side of the ring dealing with something else. They didn’t see Austin getting eliminated, so Austin went back in, he eliminated Undertaker & Vader at the same time while Bret Hart eliminated fake Diesel and then Austin dumped Hart out. Austin celebrated while Bret was furious. I thought it was brilliant booking.

13. John Cena Returns to Win (2008)

This was a shocking moment and one of the loudest pops I’ve ever heard in a Rumble match. The MSG crowd loved seeing Cena enter as the 30th man in the Rumble match. I am absolutely stunned that this wasn’t ranked in the top ten. I’d put in the top five.

12. The Undertaker Meets Goldberg (2017)

It was a big deal to have two veterans like Undertaker and Goldberg go face to face in the Rumble. Undertaker didn’t even walk down the aisle. He just appeared behind Goldberg. However, I don’t see how you can place it in front of the moment before this. It would eventually lead to an Undertaker/Goldberg match in Saudi Arabia that was awful.

11. Naomi Jumps From the Barricade to Survive (2019)

A cool moment from Naomi in the second women’s Royal Rumble match. Naomi kicked Mandy Rose away from her, then Naomi went across the barricade and she jumped off the barricade onto the steel steps. Naomi saved herself with that leap because both feet didn’t touch the floor.

10. AJ Styles Debuts (2016)

This was one of my favorite moments ever for sure. We thought it was possible, but we didn’t know for sure and then the great AJ Styles made his WWE debut in the 2016 Royal Rumble. What a cool moment that was.

9. Santino Marella Lasts Just One Second (2009)

Santino ran down to the ring, got into it and Kane hit him with a clothesline. Santino was out in one second. That’s the record for fastest elimination. Santino: “I wasn’t ready.” Funny guy.

8. Becky Lynch Takes Over (2019)

Lana was dealing with a knee injury and she couldn’t enter the Royal Rumble match, so Becky Lynch showed up saying there should be 30 women in the Royal Rumble. WWE Official Fit Finlay was there, Becky convinced him and Becky was in the match. Becky ended up winning by eliminating Charlotte Flair with a clothesline. The injury angle to Lana worked because the fans loved it.

7. Rey Mysterio Goes The Distance (2006)

Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio were the final two guys with Randy putting Rey on his shoulders going for an elimination. Rey ended up slipping out of Orton’s move and doing an impressive headscissors that sent Orton over the top to the floor. Rey is the smallest man to win the Royal Rumble match in WWE history.

6. Asuka Wins Inaugural Women’s Rumble Match (2018)

Asuka and Nikki Bella were the final two participants. Asuka was on the apron, she used her legs to pull Nikki over the top to the apron and Nikki hit a forearm, but then Asuka kicked Nikki in the knee to knock her off the apron to the floor.

5. John Cena Meets Batista in a Controversial Ending (2005)

Batista picked up Cena for a Powerbomb, Cena managed to use his momentum to send them into the ropes. They ended up tumbling over the top and miraculously hit the floor at the same time even though that wasn’t the plan. Batista was supposed to hold on. They didn’t show the next part, but Vince McMahon ended up going out there to restart the match and Batista eliminated Cena to win as was planned.

4. Kofi Kingston Survives With a Handstand (2012)

Kofi was on the apron, the Miz tried to kick him out, but Kofi did a handstand and then put his feet on the steel steps so that he steadied himself and went up the steps to go back into the match. Cool moment for sure.

3. Triple H wins the WWE Championship (2016)

Triple H and Dean Ambrose were the last two men in the match. Hunter was on the apron. Ambrose charged, Hunter got the knee up, Ambrose went right into the knee and Hunter did a back body drop over the top to the floor. Since the WWE Championshp was defended in that match, Hunter ended up as the Rumble winner. Hunter was a 14-time WWE Champion at that point.

2. Edge Returns from Retirement (2020)

I love this one. Great choice. After retiring from in-ring action nine years later, Edge was back as a surprise entrant in the 2020 Royal Rumble. The pop was insanely loud. It was rumored, but we didn’t know for sure if he was going to be there. It was the loudest crowd reaction in WWE history and the smile on Edge’s face told the story. I also remember the live feed missing Edge’s first Spear on Dolph Ziggler, which a lot of fans complained about, so if you watch the match now, they have that in the match where he hits Ziggler with that Spear. Anyway, this moment was definitely in the top five.

1. Shawn Michaels Wins from Number 1 (1995)

This was a great finish with Shawn Michaels and Bulldog starting the match as the first two guys and then going all the way to the end. Bulldog hit Michaels with a clothesline, Michaels went over the top and looked like he was eliminated, but Michaels was able to hang on. Bulldog’s music played as he celebrated the win, but Michaels was able to hang on by having only one foot touch the floor instead of both feet. While Bulldog celebrated on the apron, Michaels hit him with a double axhandle to the back and Bulldog bumped over the top rope to the floor. Michaels was the winner of the match.

 

Here’s the full video.

 

TJR THOUGHTS

* I don’t see how you can do this list without including Royal Rumble 1992 with Ric Flair winning the vacant WWE Title. To me, that’s the number one moment and is one of the most favorite matches of WWE fans. Maybe WWE is in a mode where they can’t put over Ric Flair for some reason so they want to act like his history should be ignored. I think that’s a very dumb omission on their part. It’s a bizarre choice to leave that out.

* I’m stunned that they didn’t include Vince McMahon’s surprising win in 1999. I know it wasn’t a great Rumble match, but the owner of the company winning the Rumble thanks to The Rock distracting Steve Austin was a big deal.

* Speaking of Steve Austin, I would have put over his 2001 win after Triple H attacked him and bloodied him before Austin entered the match. Maybe they ignored it since they tried to avoid bloody moments these days.

* The final showdown in 2007 between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels should have been on here. It was amazing.

* It’s not a surprise that they ignored the 2004 Royal Rumble finish with Chris Benoit eliminating Big Show to win.

* Edge’s surprising return and win in 2010 should have been on here.

* I’m surprised the 1994 Royal Rumble tie between Bret Hart & Lex Luger didn’t make it. Maybe they hated booking the tie.

 

My top five would be:

5. Steve Austin cheats to win the 1997 Royal Rumble.

4. Shawn Michaels hangs on to win in 1995.

3. John Cena’s return in 2008.

2. Edge’s return after nine years in 2020.

1. Ric Flair wins the 1992 Royal Rumble from the #3 spot to become WWE Champion.

 

That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.

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John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

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