The Royal Rumble is one of the longest running events held in World Wrestling Entertainment and is one of the most anticipated each year. Since the first time it has was held in 1988, the main attraction of the event has and always will be the Royal Rumble match. This match, which typically features 30 men (or women), or in the case of the 2011 match 40 participants, usually features big returns from injury, retirement, as well as other surprises that have left fans going home with a huge smile on their face.
I was in attendance at the TD Garden in 2011 when the WWE raised the number of participants to 40 and can remember the buildup leading up to the event and reading about Booker T and Diesel making their return to a WWE ring. The Garden exploded when each legend’s music hit that night and while their appearances were memorable, they weren’t shocking. It is the shocking moments that fans remember vividly when it comes to a WWE event and over the course of the Royal Rumble’s rich history, there have been many shocking moments to talk about.
These shocking moments feature eliminations of future WWE Hall of Fame inductees by relative unknowns, women taking on the boys and having some success, one brother turning on another, and the unlikeliest of winners in the big match. Most of these shocking moments occurred in the over the top rope Royal Rumble match, but there is one memorable moment that occurred in a regular match that shocked the world. It is the most anticipated match of the year, so any shock that occurs is magnified for the fans. Will we see anything this year that comes close to these?
10 Beth Phoenix Eliminates The Great Khali and Chyna Eliminates Mark Henry
9 Santino Marella’s 1-Second Elimination
8 Sid Justice Eliminates Hulk Hogan in 1992
7 Chris Jericho Makes Return in 2013
6 Lex Luger/Bret Hart Co-Winners of 1994 Royal Rumble Match
5 Matt Hardy Turns on Jeff Hardy
4 Vince McMahon Wins Royal Rumble Match in 1999
3 John Cena’s Return From Injury in 2008
2 Shawn Michaels Hangs on to Shock British Bulldog in 1995
1 Maven Eliminates The Undertaker
The Undertaker is one of the biggest legends in the history of the industry. The former multi-time world champion has always evoked fear in his opponents and has made many men regret entering the same ring. In 2002, The Undertaker, as the American Badass hit his Last Ride maneuver on Matt Hardy, sent him over the top rope, and had to wait for the next entrant, who happened to be the first winner of Tough Enough, Maven.
Taker had already eliminated seven of the first nine entrants in the match and was supposed to knock out his eighth. That didn’t happen and Maven – as frightened as he appeared when entering the ring – knocked him over the top rope when he was distracted by The Hardy Boys and Lita. Taker didn’t take it without a fight, as he entered the ring and went on to inflict great damage on Maven, who was never officially eliminated from the match. This remains the most shocking moment in the Royal Rumble's history. Perhaps the only thing that could surpass it would be if El Torito were to eliminate John Cena.
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