Its the most exciting hour in all of the WWE. The Royal Rumble match year after year has captivated any and all wrestling fans. How could it noe? The match has seemingly unlimited permutations of possibilities. On the first stop on the road to WrestleMania, there have been many memorable moments – the staredown between Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior, Ric Flair winning the WWE championship, Taker/HBK ending the Rumble one year and starting it the next, and the entire ring of combatants stopping in their tracks to watch Jimmy Snuka and Roddy Piper rekindle their 20–plus year rivarly.
While Pat Patterson is credited with creating the Royal Rumble concept and booking many of them as well, but booking a Royal Rumble has got to be a logistical nightmare. But for most part, many of the first 27 Rumble matches have been a joy to watch. For the most part, they are all enjoyable and at the very least decent affairs. But they can't all be great. Like any gimmick match, some occasionally don't live up to the hype. With sixty minutes of action to book, even the best rosters fail to put on a good show, and then there were the years were the event showcased just how thin the roster was.
Here are the ten worst hours in Royal Rumble history – the top ten worst Royal Rumble matches ever.
12 1993 – Yokozuna
While many Rumbles contain many memorable moments, this one is remembered for two things – the mighty Yokozuna in the middle of rocket push to glory and Macho Man attempting to pin (?!) the guy to win the whole shebang. Fans were supposed to believe that the veteran and notoriously OCD Macho Man, who has been in several Rumbles at this point actually forgot the rules, delivered the big elbow for the 1–2–3 on the Samoan Sumo and to showcase Yoko’s strength, he heaves his fellow hall of famer over the ropes from the pinfall position. The field of competitors in this one isn’t too bad, but when the ending is building to a feel good Macho comeback, only for the faux pas to ruin that and the Rumble.
11 1988 – Hacksaw Jim Duggan
The first televised Royal Rumble match was good enough to merit a second and so on and so on, but that doesn’t mean looking back it was an exciting 30 minutes of wrestling. The first rumble featured only 20 superstars was notable for having Bret Hart as the first ever man to enter the ring and consequently the match’s first iron man–lasting 25 of the Rumble’s 33 minutes. But aside from this trivia question answer and giving winner Hacksaw Jim Duggan a claim to fame besides a piece of wood, there wasn’t much to remember about this one.
10 1994 – Bret Hart / Lex Luger
The WWE was a strange place in the mid–nineties. With Hogan, Warrior, and Savage gone, Vince had no choice but to mint a new superstar. The fans had clearly opted to root for the Hitman, Bret Hart. But even back then, Vince McMahon tried to push muscle–bound freaks down our throats and deemed Lex Luger the new American hero that we should all get behind. So when both men won the 1994 Royal Rumble, the schism was there for everyone to see. But the road to getting there was a snooze fest, with only Diesel eliminating a then record seven guys, the rest of this Rumble lacked any real star power.
8 1995 – Shawn Michaels
The WWE’s worst year ever got started with the worst Rumble ever. Instead of every two minutes, the mandate would come down that a new grappler would hit the ring every minute. This idea worked so well that thankfully we’ve only seen it done this one time. Watch the match and you two will get the feeling that the 1 minute interval was done to mask the lack of talent in the company at this time. That, and Shawn Michaels and Davey Boy Smith literally carrying the match as the first two in and the last two out.
6 1999 – Vince McMahon
The Royal Rumble match has always showcased some rivalries and storylines over the years but never before has an entire hour been devoted one single solitary feud. While Austin–McMahon was the war of the late 90’s and helped to define the Attitude Era, when the two men started and closed the Rumble in 1999, it ruined the integrity of the whole match itself. Austin and McMahon barely stayed in the ring. They fought outside; Austin got taken to the hospital, McMahon worked on commentary, and finally and most unfortunately, the owner of the company put himself over as the winner.
5 1991 – Hulk Hogan
Does anybody remember this Royal Rumble match? After all, the shadow of the first Iraq war was upon America at the time and the company’s most popular face and hated heel; the Ultimate Warrior and Sgt. Slaughter respectively, were nowhere to be found during the Rumble, they had a fairly decent match earlier in the night that also would set the stage for the epic Warrior–Randy Savage retirement match at WrestleMania VII. When milqtoast wrestler Greg the Hammer Valentine spends over 40 minutes in the ring, you know the WWE was a little strapped for stars during this time. One of the only Royal Rumble PPVs where the WWE title match outshined the main event.
4 2013 – John Cena
The past few Rumble matches have all been very anti–climactic. It was clear every year what direction the company was heading in and there was nothing random about the past three Rumble matches. While the fans completely unleashed their vitriol on the past two years, it all started in 2013. Towards the end of CM Punk's epic title reign, it was clear that no matter how much goodwill the iconoclast garnered, the WWE was set for the rematch of a lifetime at WrestleMania NY/NJ, which meant John Cena would be winning the 2013 Rumble. As if the fans didn't like Cena enough, let's just hammer the point home that no one else on the roster mattered.
3 2011 – Alberto Del Rio
Do ten more combatants make for a better Rumble? The biggest Royal Rumble ever was also one of the most boring. It started out a mark's wet dream – CM Punk and Daniel Bryan as numbers one and two. But once Punk's Nexus cronies made their into the Rumble, the whole crew took over, and spent a few minutes eliminating the next several guys, ruling the ring which stopped of course when John Cena hit the ring and eliminated them all. If Punk and his jabronis ruling the roost wasn't bad enough, next up was the devastating duo of Cena and Hornswoggle. But besides the feel good moment of a possible Santino victory, the largest Royal Rumble in history was a dud.
2 2014 – Batista
Part two in the trilogy of anti–climactic Royal Rumbles was in 2014. With Batista returning to the WWE and getting set to star as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, it was all but certain we would be force fed the image of Big Dave holding the WWE World Heavyweight Title on the red carpet, which would have been a brilliant piece of publicity for WWE. But the die–hard fans saw right through all of the hoopla and had already determined they wanted Daniel Bryan leaving WrestleMania as the Man. So when he wasn't even in the Rumble match, the crown turned angry, unleashing their venom on Rey Mysterio, who at number 30, was the most unpopular guy in the building, as he was booed simply for not being the American Dragon.
1 2015 – Roman Reigns
If you ever want to know how to heel a crowd and create a riotous atmosphere look no further than the 2015 edition of the Royal Rumble. Here's the template – announce that the WWE's most popular superstar who had to forfeit the title due to injury is coming back to action at the Rumble. Instead of having him go all the way, have him eliminated barely ten minutes into getting into the ring. On top of that, have it blatantly obvious that the company-appointed new superstar will be winning the whole thing but only after getting his butt kicked by two giants that the crowd cheers "please retire" at. Even Roman Reigns' mega popular cousin, the Rock could t even get him a positive reaction. #CancelWWENetwork appeared the next day, and thats how you create the worst Royal Rumble in history.