The Royal Rumble is the second biggest wrestling event of the year after WrestleMania. Most diehard fans would say they enjoy Royal Rumble events more than WrestleMania, due to the unpredictable nature of the Royal Rumble match. A battle royal full of twists, turns, surprises and returns provides excitement for the world of wrestling. WWE has a rich history with many great and memorable moments coming at the huge show. The positive history of the Rumble is celebrated, but there has been a fair share of negativity surrounding the match and event.
WWE does their best to try to hide certain moments. They will always show off the clips of Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Steve Austin and John Cena winning the Rumble as a way to show the importance of the match. Certain other winners or errors or incidents will be hidden from the video packages. WWE will not mention them at all due to the shame associated with these negative memories from the big match. We’ll take a look at some of the regrets that definitely live on in the WWE world. These are fifteen moments that Vince McMahon absolutely wants wrestling fans to forget about when it comes to the Royal Rumble.
15. CM Punk’s Final Match
This isn’t something that was obvious when it was being aired, but Royal Rumble 2014 featured the final match of CM Punk’s WWE career. Punk’s frustration with the WWE reached a boiling point at the Rumble. A heated argument the night after the Rumble saw Punk tell Vince McMahon and Triple H that he was leaving the company after they failed to deliver on promises to him.
Punk walking out on WWE created a massive story that still exists today, as fans are still chanting for his name at live events. McMahon has tried to ignore Punk’s departure and the fact that Punk revealed all the information in a tell-all podcast is something Vince wishes never got out. McMahon hopes fans would forget about the details of Punk walking out and the fact that his final match was in a poorly booked Royal Rumble.
14. Vince Winning 1999 Rumble
The list of Royal Rumble winners usually features legends and all-time wrestling greats. One of the more embarrassing choices showed Vince McMahon booking himself to win the match in 1999. McMahon was in the middle of a heated feud with Steve Austin. It was the hottest thing in the wrestling industry at the time and the McMahon win was meant to add more heat to the fire in order to get fans behind Austin.
Sadly, the entire match and the booking of it was a horrible disaster. McMahon and Austin were the first two competitors and fought to the back, until returning for the end of the match. The Rumble’s prestige took a hit in 1999. WWE has rarely mentioned McMahon’s win in historical video packages. There’s no doubt McMahon does not want it remembered among the top Rumble moments.
13. Kharma Beats Up Dolph Ziggler
Kharma’s surprise Royal Rumble appearance in 2012 created a highly entertaining moment. It was one of the very rare occasions that a female wrestler entered the battle royal. Kharma didn’t last long in the Rumble, but she made an impact. The highly respected Dolph Ziggler took her signature moves to help make her look strong.
Kharma got the better of Ziggler to a huge crowd response. Vickie Guerrero ultimately distracted Kharma, leading to Ziggler eliminating her. WWE released Kharma just a short while after, making her Rumble appearance a regrettable decision. Kharma beating up one of WWE’s workhorses with ease has to be a huge Royal Rumble regret for WWE, especially since it didn’t lead to anything, nor did it help anyone in the WWE.
12. John Morrison Parkour Skills
Kofi Kingston has the reputation for being the guy that escapes Royal Rumble eliminations with his athleticism. This was actually something John Morrison did a few times during his final years in the WWE. Morrison did parkour outside of the WWE in his free time and started implementing it into his wrestling style. His creativity allowed him to avoid elimination by finding alternative routes from touching the floor.
Morrison jumped towards the guardrail and jumped his way back into the ring after being thrown over the top rope to remain in the match. It was as spectacular as any of Kingston’s moves in recent years. WWE has marketed Kofi as the guy with the crazy Rumble moments following Morrison leaving the company. Morrison working for Lucha Underground today means the WWE will not reference his amazing Rumble highlights.
11. WM Title Shot Wasn’t Always On The Line
The history of the Royal Rumble match goes deeper than many realize. Most current fans believe the WrestleMania title shot was always on the line in the battle royal, but that’s not the case. The stipulation of the title shot being awarded to the winner of the Royal Rumble started in 1993 when Yokozuna won the match to challenge Bret Hart at WrestleMania IX.
Fans always enjoyed the Royal Rumble match, but the importance of a title shot at the biggest show of the year added to the appeal. It also helped showcase the value of WrestleMania, with a title shot being a huge honor to have on the show. WWE does not often talk about the Rumble events that didn’t feature the title shot or the title being on the line because it would be confusing for newer fans.
10. Chris Nowinski Concussion
Chris Nowinski did not win a contract on the initial season of Tough Enough, but he did work at improving until the WWE hired him a few months later, as his potential was greater than his peers from the reality show competition. Nowinski used his Harvard background to establish himself as a great snob heel.
Things took a turn for the worse when Nowinski suffered a concussion in the 2003 Royal Rumble match. Nowinski landed on his head after taking a move from Rey Mysterio and Edge that changed his career forever. The concussion symptoms continued until he made the decision to retire from the wrestling industry. Nowinski has gone on to become an advocate for athletes preventing concussions and not playing or working through them. His work is inspiring and productive, but the WWE definitely does not want it to be known that he specifically saw the concussion symptoms begin in the Rumble match.
9. Roster Beats Down Muhammad Hassan
Muhammad Hassan was one of the more offensive characters WWE tried to push. The initial character showed an Arab American dealing with discrimination wanting to be treated fairly. Somehow it turned into him being a typical, anti-American, foreign heel but with extra momentum due to the fact that he pushed the envelope. One moment that saw Hassan get his comeuppance for berating the other wrestlers came at the 2005 Royal Rumble.
All of the wrestlers in the ring ganged up on him to beat him down before eliminating him to a huge roar. This was meant to be a fun moment at the time, but it looks horrible today. A group of American wrestlers all singling out the one Arab wrestler to eliminate him just seems like a horrible social commentary point.
8. Daniel Puder Hazed In Rumble
A similar incident to the Muhammad Hassan elimination happened to Daniel Puder, but in a more real way. Puder won Tough Enough to earn a WWE contract. Unfortunately, his poor attitude made him an unpopular presence backstage in the locker room. WWE used the 2005 Royal Rumble match to teach Puder a lesson in respect and humility.
The three veteran locker room leaders of Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero and Hardcore Holly found Puder in the ring as the first four entrants in the battle royal. Benoit, Guerrero and Holly all beat the hell out of Puder with stiff chops and hard shots to punish him for his attitude. Considering the stance WWE has taken against bullying in recent years, the footage of Puder being picked on by three veterans is something that they would like to be erased from the memories of fans. Throw in the fact that Chris Benoit was there and you have a PR nightmare for the WWE.
7. Alex Riley Accidentally Eliminated Himself
One of the most humiliating moments in the Royal Rumble match came when Alex Riley accidentally eliminated himself in 2011. Riley was still The Miz’s protégé as The Miz was about to enter a WrestleMania storyline with John Cena for the WWE Championship. The Rumble plan was for Riley to get eliminated by Cena and distract him to give The Miz the opportunity to enter the ring and eliminate Cena.
Riley ruined it by standing on the ring apron and slipping to get eliminated in the most pathetic of ways. WWE sent Riley back out minutes later to distract Cena and set up the planned elimination by The Miz. It came off as awkward and it’s rumored to be the reason Cena hated Riley going forward. A professional eliminating himself in such an embarassing fashion is something the WWE does not want fans to believe is possible in the Rumble match.
6. 40 Man Rumble
The Royal Rumble match typically features 30 men. It’s the perfect formula and has worked quite well for years. WWE tried to change it in 2011 by adding another ten competitors for the first ever 40 person Royal Rumble. The match felt much longer than usual with the extra time needed to make up the increased number of competitors coming to the ring.
Alberto Del Rio ended up winning the Rumble by eliminating comedic character Santino at the end. It was one of the weaker overall Rumble matches and the mistake of the increased size of the field contributed to that. WWE gave up on the concept just one year later, as they returned to the 30 man battle royal format. The idea of 40 competitors is something Vince McMahon instantly regretted and changed.
5. Randy Savage Forgot The Rules
Randy Savage is unquestionably one of the greatest Superstars in wresting history. That made it a surprise when the intelligent worker made a mistake and forgot the rules of the Royal Rumble match in 1993. With the first WrestleMania main event title shot on the line in the match, Savage was in the final two with Yokozuna.
Savage hit his trademark finishing move on Yokozuna and the mistake took place when he went for the pin. Instead of attempting to eliminate or construct a plan to get Yokozuna over the top rope, Savage thought he was in a normal match. Yokozuna eliminated him to get the win and move on to the main event of WrestleMania IX. A legend forgetting a simple rule is something you never want associated with the Royal Rumble.
4. Batista Booed
Vince McMahon assumed Batista’s return to WWE in 2014 was going to lead to a huge pop and that the fans would get behind him. The plan was for Batista to win the Royal Rumble in his first match back and defeat Randy Orton for the WWE World Championship at WrestleMania XXX. Well, it didn’t go according to plan, as the fans absolutely destroyed the Rumble match, booing Batista out of the building.
Everyone and their mother knew Daniel Bryan was the fan favorite and the right choice to win the Rumble. McMahon didn’t believe in Bryan until his hand was forced by the fans to add him to the main event of WrestleMania XXX with Batista and Orton. The embarrassing moment of fans booing the match and turning on Batista was one of the more shameful times for the company.
3. Roman Reigns Booed
WWE did it two years in a row. Roman Reigns suffered the same fate as Batista when fans booed him with vitriol that very few wrestlers have ever experienced after he won the 2015 Royal Rumble. Daniel Bryan’s elimination initially soured the fans before boos turned into hatred when Reigns entered the ring. WWE pushed Reigns to the moon as ‘the guy’ and fans did not appreciate that.
This night sparked the momentum to turn many more fans against Reigns who did not want him to be the face of the company. The Rock even came out to help Reigns and it didn’t stop fans from resisting Reigns’ push. Fans still boo Reigns on a weekly basis and McMahon would trade anything to change history that night before the movement against Reigns started.
2. Vince McMahon Tears Both Quads
One of the most embarrassing moments of Vince McMahon’s life came at the most random time. John Cena and Batista eliminated each other at the same time to end the 2005 Royal Rumble match in a draw. That was until McMahon charged the ring to restart the match and demand one winner. McMahon unfortunately fell entering the ring and tore both of his quads.
To his credit, McMahon overcame the pain of his injuries to cut a promo and restart the match while sitting in the ring unable to stand. McMahon was helped to the back and it was discovered that he tore both of his quads. We all know Vince is a very prideful person and seeing such an embarrassing moment take place in front of the world had to bruise his ego.
1. Chris Benoit Winning The 2004 Rumble
The 2004 Royal Rumble match is the only one WWE can never discuss or reference. Chris Benoit won the match after being the first entrant in a spectacular performance. His title shot would be seized when Benoit defeated both Triple H and Shawn Michaels in the main event of WrestleMania XX. The WWE would have to erase this moment from the history books when Benoit committed the tragic double murder suicide.
WWE have tried their best to distance themselves from the horrific actions of Benoit. The moment is never mentioned and they don’t have it listed on their website. A recent ESPN article listed Eddie Guerrero as the 2004 Royal Rumble winner to get out of having to place Benoit’s name there. It’s definitely the biggest Rumble moment Vince McMahon wants fans to forget about.