When it comes to the list of best WrestleMania events, WrestleMania X-Seven is always toward the top of the list. Before that great event could happen, the Road to WrestleMania started on January 21, 2001 with the fourteenth annual Royal Rumble pay per view. One of the big four events of the year, the 2001 Royal Rumble took place in New Orleans in what is now known as the Smoothie King Center.
The event had a lot of memorable matches that included Chris Jericho defeating Chris Benoit for the Intercontinental Championship in a ladder match, as well as Kurt Angle defeating Triple H for the WWF Championship. Then, the main event included the 30 man Royal Rumble match, with the winner headlining what would become a memorable WrestleMania.
The match itself would be one of the most memorable in Royal Rumble history, with many calling it the best to ever take place. But what became of the 30 entrants into the match? You already know who won, but there were 29 other men that have some interesting stories. Unfortunately, two of them have passed on, but three of them are still members of the WWE as wrestlers having never left. Here is a look at the 30 wrestlers who competed in the 2001 Royal Rumble match and what they are doing now.
30 Jeff Hardy
The infamous 2001 Royal Rumble kicked off with Jeff Hardy, who would end up being eliminated by his brother after six minutes and 36 seconds. Hardy was the fourth entrant tossed out, taking three people out of the Rumble along the way. Hardy would end up leaving the WWE two years later, but would make his return in 2006 after a stint with TNA.
29 Bull Buchanan
Hardy squared off at the beginning of the match with the forgettable Bull Buchanan, and he didn’t last long. After just 128 seconds, Buchanan was tossed over the ropes by both Hardy Boyz, with no eliminations to his name. Buchanan was a member of Right to Censor at the time, and was sent down to developmental for awhile. When he returned, Buchanan was actually teamed up with John Cena, if you recall that.
28 Matt Hardy
Matt would join brother Jeff as the first to enter after the match had started, teaming with Jeff for three eliminations. Matt Hardy lasted for just under five minutes, and as he eliminated his brother, his brother eliminated him, ending The Hardy Boyz run early. Like Jeff, Matt would bounce in and out of the WWE for a few years, having a stint with Ring of Honor in 2005. Hardy returned to the WWE later that year and stayed until 2010.
The first half of the APA, Faarooq, entered fourth and did not even last for one minute. Faarooq was eliminated by the Hardy Boyz as the second to exit the match, not eliminating anybody in the process. Farooq, more commonly known as Ron Simmons these days, remained a full time wrestler with WWE until 2004. He has been seen on WWE programming many times since then, though, usually uttering his one word catchphrase of “Damn!”
26 Drew Carey
At the time, actor and comedian Drew Carey became a rare celebrity appearance in the Royal Rumble during the nine year run of “The Drew Carey Show”. Carey kept to himself in the ring for nearly three minutes before taking himself out of the match thanks to our next entrant. Carey would continue his show until 2004, and was also the host of the popular improv show “Whose Line is it Anyway?”
Drew Carey tried to bribe his way into not being eliminated by the sixth participant, Kane, upon his arrival. Kane would end up having a phenomenal run during the 2001 Royal Rumble, lasting for just under 54 minutes. Kane was the final elimination in the match as Stone Cold Steve Austin claimed the victory, but Kane was able to take a then record 11 wrestlers out of the match before bowing out.
There is a long stretch of wrestlers coming up that were eliminated by Kane, starting with Raven, the ninth entrant. Raven lasted for nearly nine minutes before Kane got to him, and he didn’t have an elimination in the process. Raven stuck around with WWE for a couple of years afterward, but never really became the top heel like some had hoped for. By early 2003, Raven was let go from WWE.
23 Al Snow
Al Snow was the next in line, and he would not even last as long as Raven did. Snow was the eighth man both to enter and exit the Rumble as Kane tossed him out after seven minutes and eight seconds. Snow also did not eliminate anybody during his brief time in the match. Al Snow stuck around until 2003 before stepping away from wrestling for a couple of years. He returned in 2006 and was down in the developmental OVW before leaving for good in 2008.
22 Perry Saturn
Perry Saturn found himself as the ninth entrant and was one of the many wrestlers tossed to Kane’s elimination record. Saturn lasted for just over five minutes before officially becoming the 10th wrestler eliminated, taking nobody along for the ride with him. Saturn then had his turning point when he physically attacked a jobber in the ring, and was given one of the dumbest gimmicks of all time when his love interest was a mop.
21 Steve Blackman
The Lethal Weapon Steve Blackman was officially eliminated seventh before Al Snow, Raven and Perry Saturn. Again, it was Kane that knocked out Blackman, and the wrestler turned MMA fighter lasted a total of three minutes and eight seconds with no eliminations. Blackman would not be with WWE for very long after the match, making his final appearance just five months after the Royal Rumble.
20 Grand Master Sexay
One member of the 2 Cool team, Grand Master Sexay had a very brief run in the 2001 Royal Rumble. Grand Master Sexay (real name Brian Christopher) lasted for just 63 seconds. You could probably guess that it was Kane that knocked him out as he went on a tear. Christopher had no eliminations and was officially the sixth man out. Christopher joined a tag team with Steve Blackman for a brief period before Blackman left and Christopher got popped for taking drugs across the United States and Canada border.
19 The Honky Tonk Man
The longest reigning Intercontinental Champion in WWE history, The Honky Tonk Man was one of those surprise entrants during the 2001 Royal Rumble. The Honky Tonk Man lasted a little bit longer than Grand Master Sexay, remaining in the match for 76 seconds. Officially, Honky Tonk was the 11th wrestler knocked out (again thanks to Kane) and didn’t eliminate anybody.
18 The Rock
The string of entrants that lasted for just a couple of minutes came to an end thanks to The Rock. The Rock would end up lasting for nearly 39 minutes, staying until the final three. The Rock eliminated three wrestlers before being knocked out of the match. Like all of the wrestlers before him, though, The Rock was eliminated by Kane, it just took a lot longer.
17 The Godfather
The Godfather sadly did not last very long at all during the 2001 Royal Rumble, as he was eliminated after just 13 seconds. The Godfather had the pleasure of being the first entrant after The Rock, and it was indeed the most electrifying man in sports entertainment that knocked him out of the match. Naturally, The Godfather did not have any eliminations.
While 13 seconds would likely be the quickest elimination in most years, that wasn’t the case thanks to Tazz. Just 10 seconds after Tazz entered, he was one of the many eliminations by Kane. Like The Godfather, Tazz wasn’t able to knock anybody out of the match in his brief time. A little more than a year after the match, Tazz would end up going into broadcasting due to several injuries that shortened his career.
After his tag team partner Faarooq was already long gone, the other half of the APA entered 16th overall and lasted much longer. Bradshaw would remain in the match for 17 minutes and 40 seconds before becoming the 18th wrestler knocked out. It wasn’t Kane or The Rock that got him, as the Undertaker would eliminate Bradshaw, who surprisingly had no eliminations himself.
Just like Bradshaw, Albert was in the Royal Rumble match for a significant amount of time, but did not eliminate a single wrestler. Albert would be the 20th person eliminated from the match, lasting just under 16 minutes. Albert was also one of those wrestlers that got knocked out by Kane.
13 Hardcore Holly
Hardcore Holly was one of those guys you knew wasn’t going to win, but he did stick around for quite some time. Holly would end up being the 21st wrestler eliminated after The Undertaker knocked him out. Holly remained in the match for more than 14 minutes, but did not have any eliminations.
It’s interesting to look back at older Royal Rumbles to remember some wrestlers, especially if they have changed gimmicks. K-Kwik is one of those wrestlers, and he would last just under eight minutes in the 2001 Royal Rumble. K-Kwik was knocked out by the Big Show, and did not have an elimination.
11 Val Venis
One of those midcard wrestlers that pops to mind when thinking about the Attitude Era, Val Venis looked like a dark horse in the Royal Rumble. He would end up staying in the ring for more than 10 minutes before being the 22nd wrestler eliminated. Val Venis did not knock any wrestlers out, and it was The Undertaker that got to him.
10 William Regal
There were some very short runs in the ring as we got toward the end, as William Regal was the 14th eliminated despite being the 21st entrant. Regal lasted for two minutes until he was knocked out by the 22nd entrant. Regal did not eliminate anybody himself. Regal is one of those guys that’s still around with the company, although he is not currently wrestling, which puts him in the same boat as Matt Bloom.
Test would come to the ring and make quick work of William Regal, though Test didn’t last long himself. Test was knocked out of the match by The Big Show after he had lasted for just two minutes and eight seconds. Thankfully, Test was able to have at least one elimination before his quick exit.
8 The Big Show
It was the Big Show that knocked out Test, and he did it almost immediately. The Big Show would finish with two eliminations, which is pretty impressive when you consider that he was in the match for just one minute and 23 seconds. The Big Show was taken out by The Rock, making him the 17th wrestler eliminated.
7 Crash Holly
Crash Holly would enter after Hardcore Holly did, but he was eliminated much earlier. Crash was the 19th wrestler knocked out, and was one of the many casualties of Kane. Holly did not have an elimination, and lasted for just two minutes and 31 seconds. Crash never really made it big in the WWE and was part of the failed Mattitude Followers stable before being released in 2003.
6 The Undertaker
The legendary Undertaker was the 25th man in, as well as the 25th man out. Lasting for more than 10 minutes, The Undertaker was able to eliminate four wrestlers before being eliminated by the final entrant in the Royal Rumble. The Undertaker, of course, is the final of the three wrestlers on our list that never left WWE as a wrestler. Although how much he wrestles these days is a mysterious topic.
5 Scotty 2 Hotty
The second of three 2 Cool members in the match, Scotty 2 Hotty (real name Scott Garland) did not even last for a minute. Garland was taken out by the Brothers of Destruction (Kane and The Undertaker) after 47 seconds. He did not have an elimination, and was the 23rd man out. Garland teamed up with random wrestlers in his career after Grand Master Sexay departed, including Albert and would end up getting injured.
4 Stone Cold Steve Austin
The man that we all figured was going to win did just that. Stone Cold Steve Austin entered 27th in the Royal Rumble and was able to win after nearly 10 minutes. Along the way, Stone Cold eliminated three wrestlers to take on The Rock at WrestleMania X-Seven. Stone Cold, of course, is one of the most popular wrestlers in WWE history, if not the most popular.
3 Billy Gunn
Before Stone Cold could knock out Kane to win, he took care of two other wrestlers, starting with Billy Gunn. Gunn lasted for seven minutes and 22 seconds without eliminating anybody. Surprisingly, Gunn was one of the final four wrestlers left in the match, though it was not to be in the end. The Rumble match came after his time with D-Generation X, and Gunn would remain with WWE until 2004.
Most fans don’t even remember Haku, but he can say that he was eliminated by Stone Cold Steve Austin in the Royal Rumble. Haku was the 24th man out, lasting for under three minutes and didn’t eliminate anybody. Haku was a surprise appearance at the time of the Rumble match, and it was supposed to be his full time return. However, he lasted for less than a year before injuries mounted and he left WWE once again.
The final entrant in the 2001 Royal Rumble was the final member of 2 Cool, Rikishi. Rikishi had a short run despite the late entry, getting knocked out in about two and a half minutes by The Rock. Rikishi eliminated The Undertaker before leaving, and was overall the 26th man to be eliminated. Rikishi stayed with the WWE before being released in the middle of 2004.
Rikishi went right to the independent scene and has had stops with All Japan Pro Wrestling, AAA, Revolucion Lucha Libre and many more. Rikishi is still wrestling these days under what seems to be an ever changing name (mostly Junior Fatu) and has popped up on WWE broadcasts one in a blue moon. Rikishi was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the 2015 class with The Usos (his sons) inducting him.
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