As if it's already late January...it is a rough time of the year as holidays are way in the rear-view mirror yet most are still broke from buying gifts. Amidst the misery, January's end does bring in one bright spot - Royal Rumble time, baby! The Rumble is without question the most unique event of the year. Pinfalls and submissions are out the window as the ring is flooded with wrestlers who must be tossed over the top ropes one by damn one. There's certain Rumble tendencies that happen year after year, yet we still look forward to them. Hiding under the ring and then re-appearing a half hour later as if nothing happened is a personal favorite.
There's also huge implications for the winner of the Rumble as it's a prelude to WrestleMania. The last man standing is awarded a title shot at 'Mania and is billed as the headliner of the event. This year's stipulation is different as Roman Reigns' title will be on the line in the Rumble itself. This is the first time this has even happened since the Rumble's inception in 1988 (Rumble '92 was for a vacated title). The reason for this could be because this year's edition of the Royal Rumble is "extra" special, or simply because all their major stars have either left or are injured and ratings are down, and they don't know what to do anymore (you be the judge).
Nevertheless, being the headliner at WWE's biggest event of the year is a tremendous vote of confidence by the company. This is why "a random" can never win the Rumble (with the odd, horrendous exception when Vince McMahon won). There's however been more than a few Superstars that have been overlooked and have never won a Royal Rumble match. Think about it, there's 30 wrestlers in the rumble and there's only one winner. There's bound to be some high-level wrestlers that have slid through the cracks and never won.
Here are the top 15 superstars that have never won the Royal Rumble.
15 Sgt. Slaughter
14 Kevin Nash
As an unwritten rule, the bigger wrestlers never win the Royal Rumble (with the exception of The Undertaker). The commentator always boldly questions: "how can they possibly get this guy over the top ropes?"...and then it happens. It would actually be a curve-ball and a half if a bigger guy won at this point.
13 Bob Backlund
The smiley-faced, clean cut Backlund is often left out of the discussion when discussing all-time greats. While he's billed as "the guy before Hogan," he still had an insane 5 year and 8 month title reign between 1978 and 1983. Backlund was a fantastic worker but was a victim of bad timing as his major successes took place before the Rumble's inception in 1988.
Backlund went on hiatus in the late 1980s and only returned to WWE in 1992. At this point, the industry had changed so much, and his plain baby-faced gimmick wasn't cutting it anymore as wrestling had kind of passed him by. At the 1993 Royal Rumble however, Backlund absolutely "killed it" as he lasted over 60 minutes before being tossed out, a record that stood for 11 years.
12 Daniel Bryan
Did the fans push for Bryan to win last year's Royal Rumble? Yes! Yes! Yes! Did he win? NO! NO! NO! The fans got behind Bryan and supported him like no other. He actually wasn't even one of the final participants in the match as he was tossed fairly early. When his feet hit the floor, you could hear a pin drop. The silence then turned into rage as the fans were booing the rest of the Rumble (not even The Rock was immune from the boo's).
11 The Ultimate Warrior
Since Warrior's passing just under two years ago, a lot has been written about him in regards to his legacy. Personally, the Warrior was a jerk. He ignored his fans (even a terminally ill child, according to Bret Hart's autobiography). He wasn't liked by his co-workers, and basically burned an entire bridge with WWE for over a decade. In regards to his success and ability to draw money, Warrior was a megastar and was even rivaling Hulk Hogan in the early '90s. For someone who didn't actually care about the crowd, he certainly knew how to gage reactions and could work it as well as anyone.
10 Eddie Guerrero
VIVA LA RAZA!
Eddie Guerrero is a Superstar that really found his niche later on his career. He certainly should have won a Royal Rumble because it would have tied in perfectly with his "we lie, we cheat, we steal" gimmick. The WWE creative team traditionally catches a lot of flak but they deserve credit for this one. Guerrero also played the role so perfectly as he'd improvise and cleverly find new ways to cheat in every single match. It was so well-done that it got to the point where they had to turn him into a "face" because the crowd was cheering for him regardless of his heel status. A wrestling crowd certainly appreciates good work, the same concept happened with the Rock in the late '90s. He was such a proficient heel that the crowd started to embrace him, and the rest is history.
9 Ted DiBiase
A victim of the "Hogan Era." He was a victim in a sense that he would rarely catch wins on a big stage versus the Hulkster, but still benefited in a sense that he had the platform to perform on.
8 Andre the Giant
On the first entry, we spoke about how big men don't win the Royal Rumble. Well, Andre was the biggest of the biggest, standing at 7'4 and well over 500 pounds. The problem with being that big is that you're labeled as "the attraction" rather than "the guy." Take his match with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania III for example. He is always going to be remembered as the giant man that got slammed by Hogan as people barely even remember what happened in the match itself.
7 Chris Jericho
6 Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle made his WWE debut in the same period as Jericho and is arguably one of the most undervalued wrestlers of all time. He was underrated because he very rarely had an "off" match, even when he was ravaged by injuries, and he also delivered these epic matches with just about everyone. Angle had feuds with all the top tier talent that was just mentioned above (with the exception of Foley, had he not retired, he probably would have had fantastic matches with him too). He also had 5-star matches that flew under the radar such as his tilt with Chris Benoit at WrestleMania X-Seven and his match with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 21.
5 CM Punk
It's an utter shame that wrestling is without Punk. He is as close as it comes to the modern day "perfect wrestler." Nowadays, a wrestler's ability to cut a promo or have a 15 minute trash-talk segment with other wrestlers is just as important as in-ring ability, and CM Punk was masterful at both aspects. One unique thing about Punk's mic work was that on many occasions, nobody could tell if it was part of the show or if he was "shooting." He cut arguably the best promo of all-time where he ripped pretty much everyone and his microphone got cut off as they went off the air.
He was also spectacular in the ring as he was constantly adding variations and twists to old moves. He'd also subtly incorporate stuff that he saw in MMA and use it in his matches. For example, he did the "failed spinning back-fist" that his friend Chael Sonnen attempted against Anderson Silva.
4 Mick Foley
3 Scott Hall
It baffles people when they think of the duds that have held the WWE Championship at some point, yet a tremendously talented and popular Superstar never even got a sniff at the belt, or a Royal Rumble victory for that matter. Granted, Hall battled (and still does) major personal demons and may not have been the most dependable guy to make champion. But the fact that he was overlooked didn't bother him, to quote Hall in a recent interview on Chael Sonnen's podcast: "I never wanted it all...I just wanted a lot".
2 "Rowdy" Roddy Piper
It's a bit of a mystery as to why "Hot Rod" never won a Royal Rumble. As we saw in Scott Hall's case, the fact that he had a substance abuse issue likely played a role in the decision to never fully push him. But with Piper, it's not as if they didn't trust him in the main event at WrestleMania as it was quite the opposite. He actually headlined the first ever WrestleMania in a tag-team matched that featured he and Paul Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan and Mr. T.
1 "Macho Man" Randy Savage
The Macho Man captivated so many people because his gimmick wasn't that far fetched from his actual personality. His legacy has been tarnished because up until his passing, WWE did their best to pretend that he did not exist. There are rumours as to why that is but we're not going to dabble with that (cough cough, ask Stephanie McMahon cough).
Throughout his career, he has won just about everything. He is a 2-time WWE Champion (and that's saying something, during the Hogan Era). He was the Intercontinental Champion and also won the 1987 King Of The Ring. His popularity was off the charts, but one thing that eluded him was success at the Royal Rumble, and was ridiculously thwarted by Yokozuna in the 1993 Rumble. Macho Man actually went for the pinfall after an elbow-drop. Yeah, a pinfall in a match where you can only win by tossing your opponent over the top rope (as the commentators love to point out over and over). Yoko kicked out and the "impact" was apparently too much for Macho as he want flying out of the ring. It looked so stupid. You deserved Better, Randy! RIP.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!