WrestleMania is awesome. SummerSlam is always fun. The Survivor Series has played host to many classic WWE moments. All that being said, there is nothing quite like the Royal Rumble. There is a magic to the Royal Rumble that makes it so wrestling fans that don’t keep up with the product week to week still manage to find time to watch the Royal Rumble every single year. In a business that is becoming more and more predictable every year, the Royal Rumble remains the one event a year that is almost impossible to predict. Anything can happen.
As history has proven, most things that can happen at the Royal Rumble tend to happen at the Royal Rumble. Because of this, the Royal Rumble has a rich history of moments that range from awful to legendary. So much happens during the average Royal Rumble that it often takes fans the rest of the calendar year to dissect it all. Maybe no fan should be surprised then that interesting Royal Rumble facts can sometimes go unnoticed. You may watch the Royal Rumble every year, but there’s a good chance that these are the 15 things you didn’t know about the Royal Rumble.
15 There Have Been Seven non-PPV Royal Rumble Matches Since 1988...
The Royal Rumble is routinely referred to as one of WWE’s “big four” PPVs. What’s funny about that is the first Royal Rumble in 1988 wasn’t on PPV. It was a USA Network special. What’s even funnier about that is that WWE have actually hosted seven non-PPV Royal Rumble matches since the event’s formal 1988 debut. Four of them have taken place and RAW and usually featured some kind of odd stipulation (such as a tag team Royal Rumble or a 7-man Royal Rumble).
A 15-Man Royal Rumble took place during a 2004 episode of SmackDown and was won by Eddie Guerrero. The other two Royal Rumbles occurred during house shows. One was an 18-man Royal Rumble won by The Undertaker in Osaka, Japan, and the other was a full-fledged 30-man Royal Rumble won by Owen Hart at a Madison Square Garden house show in 1994.
14 …And One That Happened Before 1988
What? WWE has been lying to us all these years about wrestling history? Would they really do that? Yes they would. The do it repeatedly. In fact, every time they tell you that the first Royal Rumble match took place in 1988, they’re lying to you. Well…kind of. Technically, the first Royal Rumble event did occur in 1988. However, the very first Royal Rumble match in WWE history actually took place in 1987 at a non-televised event in St. Louis.
It seems like this event was a test run for the concept, which is probably why WWE doesn’t reference it. Also, rumor has it that the initial match drew very poorly. As a nice nod to this event, the last man eliminated from the 1988 Royal Rumble was One Man Gang, who reportedly won the inaugural 1987 match.
13 Bo Dallas Was The First Royal Rumble Participant Who Was Younger Than the Match Itself
No matter when you start counting Royal Rumbles, the fact remains that the event is a cornerstone of the Vince McMahon Jr. era of WWE. It was introduced at a time when the company was as hot as they’ve ever been, and it’s remained a valuable part of the company through several different eras. In that respect, the otherwise forgettable 2013 edition of the Royal Rumble represented a major moment for the event thanks to the presence of Mr. Bo Dallas. Not only was Bo Dallas the first NXT wrestler to participate in the Royal Rumble, he was the first person to wrestle in the Royal Rumble who was younger than the event itself. Bo Dallas was only 23 the year that he entered the 25-year old event.
12 Ted DiBiase Sr. And Jr. Are The Only Father/Son Duo To Reach The Royal Rumble Final Four
Speaking of generations of wrestlers, the family nature of the wrestling business means that there have been a few instances of fathers and sons participating in the event. For instance, in 1997, Dustin Rhodes and Dusty Rhodes became the first father and son to wrestle in the Royal Rumble. Later on, Cody Rhodes joined them. Carlito and Carlos Colon have also both been in the Rumble, as have Jey Uso and his father Rikishi.
So far as father/son Royal Rumble duos go, however, the DiBiase family is arguably the most accomplished. Ted Dibiase Sr. and Ted DiBiase Jr. are the only father and son combo to have reached the final four in the Royal Rumble. If you’re wondering how Ted DiBiase Jr. managed to reach that point, it was the year that Legacy faced Triple H at the end of the match.
11 Finlay Is The Only Person To Be Disqualified From The Royal Rumble
Prior to 2008, many people thought that the Royal Rumble was a no-disqualification match. Actually, there were several points in the match’s history that the announcers explicitly said that “the only way to lose is to go over the top rope” (more on that later). The Attitude Era matches even featured several instances of wrestlers using weapons. Stone Cold won the 2001 Royal Rumble with the help of a chair, actually.
So imagine everyone’s surprise when Finlay was disqualified from the 2008 Royal Rumble match for rushing to the ring early and hitting someone with a weapon, despite the fact that wrestlers like Rick Rude had done that exact same thing in years past. Finlay remains the only person to be disqualified from the Rumble.
10 The Royal Rumble Match Didn’t Headline The First Official Royal Rumble Event
When you think of Royal Rumble PPVs, how often do you think of matches that aren’t the Royal Rumble? Not often, right? That just makes sense. People spend all year looking forward to the Royal Rumble match meaning that even the best non-Royal Rumble matches on the card tend to be overshadowed by the spectacle of the battle royal. That being the case, it’s never made sense why WWE would make any match but the Royal Rumble the main event. Yet, it has happened on five separate occasions. The Royal Rumble wasn’t the main event of the Royal Rumble PPV between 1996 and 1998, and it wasn’t the main event of the 2013 show which was headlined by CM Punk and The Rock.
The strangest instance of this tactic happened at the first Royal Rumble which was headlined by The Islanders vs. The Young Stallions in a forgettable two out of three falls match.
9 Statistically, The 2014 Royal Rumble Roster Was The Most Accomplished.
It’s a commonly held belief that the 1992 Royal Rumble featured the greatest roster of any Royal Rumble match. With names like Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts, Ric Flair, Randy Savage, The Undertaker, and Shawn Michaels all involved in the contest, it’s hard to argue that the 1992 Rumble is indeed a collection of all-time great wrestlers. However, a statistical breakdown of the Royal Rumble entrants over the years reveals a different story. If we’re going off of titles and awards only, then the 2014 Royal Rumble has the most impressive roster. A staggering 63% of the participants in that match either held a singles title in their career or won an event like King of the Ring or Money in the Bank. Nothing will ever take away from 1992’s star power, but that’s still incredible.
8 Only Three Royal Rumble Winners Have Never Been a WWE World Champion
Not every Royal Rumble has been fought for the opportunity to either win the title or go to WrestleMania (1992 was the first time the title was on the line and 1993 was the first year that the winner officially got a WrestleMania shot), but the winner of the Royal Rumble is almost always associated with being champion. Even if the winner of the Royal Rumble doesn’t immediately go on to be the champ, WWE has a great track record when it comes to choosing someone to win who is of a championship caliber.
It’s why there have only been three Rumble whiners who have never won the world title at some point in their career. Two of the more obvious names on that list are Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Big John Studd (the first two winners), but the most surprising would have to be Lex Luger. Luger lost to Yokozuna at WretleMania X and would never capture the title despite a major push.
7 WWE Uploaded A Video of the 2014 Royal Rumble Focused Entirely on CM Punk's Butt
Unless something changes, the 2014 Royal Rumble is going to go down as CM Punk’s last WWE match. Whatever you happen to think about the man himself, it’s a shame that his career might have ended with a match that wasn’t exactly a memorable outing. Apparently, that had something to do with the fact that Punk suffered a concussion early on in the match. According to Punk, he was also suffering from a staph infection that the WWE doctors had misdiagnosed. That eventually led to a lawsuit that WWE contributed to by posting a video of the 2014 Royal Rumble that featured lots of close-ups of CM Punk’s supposed back growth. The problem is that they never explained the purpose of this video. As such, most people thought that they had just uploaded a video that showed CM Punk’s butt from multiple angles for no reason whatsoever.
6 Triple H and Bob Backlund Lasted Over An Hour In The Royal Rumble And Still Lost
With the exception of the eventual winner, the one wrestler that usually gets the most publicity following a Royal Rumble match is usually the iron man. The iron man is the wrestler who lasts longest during the Royal Rumble. Even in real world terms, that’s an impressive accomplishment. It takes a lot of skill and stamina to endure that kind of extended time in a wrestling ring.
While the iron man usually doesn’t win the Royal Rumble match, there are two iron men whose losing performances truly stand out. Both Bob Backlund and Triple H managed to last an hour in the Royal Rumble without actually winning the match. Backlund’s performance came during the ’93 Rumble while Triple H’s happened in ’06. In Triple H's case, he lost to the match's other iron man, Rey Mysterio.
5 Nobody Is Sure Why Bastion Booger Didn't Wrestle in The 1994 Royal Rumble
One of the things that make the Royal Rumble so great is the way that WWE always find a way to play with your expectations. The best Royal Rumble moments are usually these cleverly implemented moments of mini-booking during the match itself. For instance, occasionally a wrestler doesn’t make it into the match even though they are scheduled to appear. Actually, that’s happened on six different occasions. The tradition started when Macho Man refused to enter the 1991 Royal Rumble out of fear of The Ultimate Warrior and continued when guys like Spike Dudley got beaten up too bad before the match to enter.
The strangest instance of this scenario is the case of Bastion Booger. Bastion Booger was supposed to enter the 1994 Royal Rumble and never appeared. In storyline terms, the explanation was that he had eaten too much before the match. Given that he was fired by WWE a few months later, some suspect that there was something going on behind the scenes.
4 Five People Have Accidentally Eliminated Themselves From The Royal Rumble
A common question among Royal Rumble fans is “Has anyone ever accidentally eliminated themselves from the Royal Rumble?” It’s an amusing thought. After all, Royal Rumble matches are among the most highly choreographed of all wrestling events. As such, there really is no good reason such a thing should ever happen. Despite this, it’s happened five times. Macho Man eliminated himself in 1992 by jumping over the top ropes, but it was covered up. Batista accidentally eliminated himself during the 2005 Royal Rumble, but the match was restarted.
As for accidental eliminations that counted, Mil Mascaras eliminated himself from the Royal Rumble by performing a top rope move to the outside. Alex Riley accidentally eliminated himself which was particularly funny because he was supposed to be involved in a spot that would have led to the elimination of John Cena. Finally, Stone Cold Steve Austin (as The Ringmaster) lost his grip on the rope during the 1996 Royal Rumble and went tumbling to the outside.
3 The Ring Was Completely Empty During the 1999 Royal Rumble Three Separate Times
The 1999 Royal Rumble was a complete mess. This was the year that saw Vince McMahon put a bounty on Stone Cold Steve Austin which turned the entire match into an elaborate Vince Russo bad booking special. The booking of this match was so bad that the ring was completely empty three times during the main event. The first happened when Stone Cold chased Vince McMahon around the arena when they were the only two competitors in the ring.
After that, Mabel cleared out the ring and was abducted by the Ministry of Darkness. Incredibly, WWE repeated that same spot again shortly thereafter. Only this time, Kane cleared out the ring and was chased away by men in white coats. During these times, the fans had to sit on their hands while two more people entered the ring at regular intervals.
2 Scott Hall Has Never Wrestled In The Royal Rumble (But Razor Ramon has)
Not everyone who has ever wrestled in WWE has entered the Royal Rumble. However, given how many men it takes to fill a 30-man Royal Rumble match roster sheet, there’s a pretty good chance that if you’re in WWE long enough then you’re going to find your way into the match at some point. That’s especially true if you’re a big star like Razor Ramon. This makes it all that much more amazing that Razor Ramon has never participated in a Royal Rumble match. Razor appeared on four Royal Rumble PPVs but was always featured in singles matches (three of which were for the Intercontinental Championship and one for the WWE Championship).
The Razor Ramon character did make a Rumble appearance in 1997, but that was the fake Razor Ramon used to replace Scott Hall.
1 Mr. Perfect Was Supposed To Win The Royal Rumble...Twice
Right off the bat, let’s be clear that this entry is based on some very popular speculation. As you might know, Mr. Perfect is considered to be one of the greatest wrestlers to never win the WWE Championship. Had Royal Rumble plans gone differently, that might not have been the case. Supposedly, Mr. Perfect was supposed to win the 1990 Royal Rumble. That changed when Hulk Hogan did some backstage politicking in order to set up a WrestleMania VI match with The Ultimate Warrior.
Perfect was also supposedly set to win the 1991 Royal Rumble before Vince McMahon decided to go all-in on capitalizing on the Gulf War by putting Hulk Hogan over again and having him wave the American flag at the end of the show.