The road to WrestleMania always begins with the Royal Rumble. The biggest show of the year begins to take shape with the Rumble match itself since the winner heads on to WrestleMania to face the WWE Champion. But the PPV isn't always all business and some moments range from silly to borderline stupidity. And they're equally as memorable as watching guys like Ric Flair and Rey Mysterio go for over an hour in the Royal Rumble match itself.
While most of these moments do take place inside of the main event, there are still plenty of them that happen outside of the thirty man melee. Here are 15 ways the Royal Rumble has looked stupid in the past.
15 The Unveiling Of The Narcissist - Rumble '93
Lex Luger made a big name for himself long before he was an American hero who jumped ship from WWE to WCW on the first Nitro. A former NWA World Champion and Horsemen to boot, he amassed a reputation and a following. But he decided to do the smart thing and stop taking bumps when Vince started the World Bodybuilding Federation. He even made an appearance, via satellite at WrestleMania VIII to promote McMahon's new venture. Obviously, as we all know, the WBF barely lasted the length of a hiccup and McMahon was left with a powerhouse who could perform decently in the ring. So he did what any smart promoter would do and tried to get some bang for his buck. Bobby Heenan would start espousing about revealing God's gift - The Narcissist. But by this point, plenty of people already knew who the former WCW Champion was so the big reveal of The Narcissist just turned out to be an "oh, that's just Lex Luger."
14 The Posedown - Rumble '89
Even to this day, the WWE likes to be a variety show as opposed to the straight wrestling show that say, NXT puts on. Guest hosts, interview segments, and all kinds of odds and ends are used to fill time between the matches. At the very first Rumble to be on Pay-Per-View, two most muscular men in the company at the time, "Ravishing" Rick Rude and The Ultimate Warrior engaged in a Posedown contest. Watching two muscle-bound meatheads flex their muscles is not what wrestling fans watch the show for. Watching two muscle-bound meatheads engage their muscles in sports entertainment combat is what we watch for! On the road to their show-stealing WrestleMania V match, Rude and Warrior each showed off their rippling physiques while the crowd cheered to show their appreciation - of course booing the heel Rude and cheering the babyface Warrior. Looking back, it was just build-up for a later match and ended the only way it could have with Rude blindsiding the Warrior and smashing him with a power lifting bar.
13 Cena And Batista Break Vince's Quads - Rumble '05
At the 1994 Royal Rumble, the final two competitors, Bret Hart and Lex Luger battled until eliminating one another. Without a clear cut winner, then WWE President Jack Tunney declared both men the winners. But eleven years later, the dual winner scenario was not in the cards as far as booking is concerned when the two then-young lions Batista and John Cena were the last two men in the ring. They were both so amped that when "The Animal" attempted a devastating Batista Bomb, Cena countered with a headscissors that sent both men over the top and onto the floor. Since referees have been taught to call what they see, an argument ensued over who would be heading to WrestleMania 21. With no clear cut winner, Vince was left with no choice but to stomp to the ring and give instruction. The Chairman was so man that he pulled not one but both of his quads on his way to the ring. Lesson learned - screw up on live TV and the boss could break his legs in anger.
12 The Rock Wins (But It's Really The Big Show) - Rumble 2000
The Rock and the hallowed halls of Madison Square Garden have a long and storied history. He debuted there back at Survivor Series 1996 and had his first match back after so many years away at the same event and venue fifteen years later. In 2000, in the middle of his initial run one of the best Rumble events in the show's history took place at the WWE's home base of MSG for the very first time. The event had it all - the debut of Tazz, Cactus Jack and Triple H tearing the place apart, and The Rock winning the big one. As the final two men in the ring, Big Show and the Rock did battle and Show would get Rocky up on his shoulders and attempt to dump him out, but "The Great One" would hang on and take the Big Show with him. While replays would clearly show the Rock's feet touching the floor before the Big Show's, The Rock was declared the winner and the Big Show spent weeks trying to show that he in fact won. Sixteen years later on Raw, the Rock finally admitted the truth, that the Big Show did in fact win the 2000 Royal Rumble.
11 Hogan "Accidentally" Eliminates Savage - Rumble '89
The Royal Rumble match has always been billed as "every man for himself, no friends, only enemies!" The 1989 Rumble proved that fact immediately when Demolition were both numbers one and two respectively. Later on in the same match The Mega Powers were cleaning house and as Randy Savage locked horns with Bad News Brown, it would be "The Hulkster" who dumped not just Bad News out, but the champion and his friend at the time right over the top rope. Clearly Hogan was being an opportunistic heel here to the unsuspecting "Macho Man" babyface. Obviously most fans didn't see it that way and would boo Savage as he got hot and went after Hogan until Miss Elizabeth got in between them. But here is where The Mega Powers fuse for their explosion was lit. Hogan eventually lost his friend and Savage the belt and his girl. Logically speaking, all was fair when Hogan tossed Savage. Ethically, Hogan's a no good dirty backstabbing jerk.
10 Eliminating Yourself - Various Rumbles
Since 1992, the winner of the Royal Rumble either won the title or was guaranteed a shot at it at WrestleMania. One would think that every single Superstar would be focused on that notion and keeping your feet on the mat. But every now and then wrestlers would get carried away with the Rumble and find ways to eliminate themselves, some people not even showing up when their number came. Randy Savage jumped out during the '92 event, but the announcers explained that a wrestler cannot eliminate himself. A fact they apparently forgot when Farooq, Ahmed Johnson, and the legendary luchador, Mil Mascaras all jumped out during the '97 event. Fit Finlay came out before his scheduled number to save Hornswoggle which disqualified himself from further contention, and sometimes guys just never made it to the ring. Old timers like Bruce Prichard and Rumble creator, Pat Patterson might think these are good ways to tell a story, but seeing as how they don't ho anywhere past the Rumble, it's just a dumb thing to do for a competitor to voluntarily exit the proceedings.
9 Maven's A Moron - Rumble '02 And '03
So you're a good looking youngster who recently won a reality competition where the grand prize was a quarter of a million and a place on the main roster. The first major thing that you do of any importance, which winds up being pretty much the only thing you're remembered for in the industry is spit in the wind and tug on Superman's cape all at the same time. Maven Huffman entered the Royal Rumble and long before Axelmania, Maven Madness also was not technically eliminated from the big match via an ass whooping by The Deadman in his most pissed off biker phase. Maven took a big risk and eliminated Big Evil with a simple dropkick. He would then get utterly destroyed and left for dead in the concession stands. The Phenom wouldn't let up at all when a few weeks later he again took Maven to task after the rookie lost to Y2J in an Undisputed Championship match before ultimately forcing him to tap out to the Dragon Sleeper in a a match on SmackDown. To add to the rookie's ridiculousness - he tried again to eliminate The Deadman one yeer later but was finally tossed over the top rope by The Undertaker.
8 The Reign Is Over (Rock Beats Punk) - Rumble '13
No matter how you feel about Philip Jack Brooks, aka CM Punk, the guy had one valid point in all of his lambasting about older talent coming back to beat current stars. Brooks would always ask Vince McMahon "what's next?" Punk jobbed out to guys like Lesnar and 'Taker and they'd be gone the next day leaving Punk to flounder. He would finally have his championship reign ended by The Rock, yet another part timer, at the 2013 Royal Rumble. It was all to just promote the big rematch that was being set up at WrestleMania XXIX between "The Great One" and John Cena. Agree or disagree with how and why he quit but it's easy to see a little of his thought process. After all, how does Vince McMahon reward a guy who for the past year has had the company on his back as its champion? By jobbing him out to "The Brahma Bull." Crowds were white hot for CM Punk, and a ton of his steam died here when fans realized no matter how many cracks he put in the glass ceiling, he wouldn't be able to shatter it.
7 Hardcore Holly vs. Brock Lesnar - Rumble '04
At best, Hardcore Holly is considered a wrestler's wrestler. At worst, he's viewed as a bully, always pissed off that he never made it past the bottom of the mid-card. Somewhere in between is where the real Hardcore Holly is. So when he was pitted against Brock Lesnar on SmackDown in 2002, no one thought anything of it and expected another drubbing from the then-Next Big Thing/current Beast Incarnate. Holly would unfortunately suffer a neck injury during the match and be on the shelf for over a year rehabbing. When he came back, the proverbial pissed off Holly had an even bigger chip on his shoulder and came after Lesnar yet again. Lesnar who seldom backs down from anyone had to play coward to a vengeful Holly, even hiding behind the Big Show. Of course there's only so much build up you can have before you put the match in the ring. Their bout at the 2004 Rumble was exactly what fans expected to be - a decent brawl that should've served as the main event of hour one of SmackDown, instead of highlighting the start of the Road to WrestleMania.
6 The Ultimate Seduction - Rumble '91
Load the spaceship up with the rocket fuel and crash it right into the heart of the stratosphere...or something like that. The snarling, incoherent babbling promos from The Ultimate Warrior are the things of legend. The guy did just seem that he was a maniacal muscle bound meathead hellbent on ultimate destruction. The guy seemingly had no other outside interest besides beating on heels. As the WWE World Champion, he was determined to take out the challenge of Sgt. Slaughter at the Royal Rumble. But he also had to deal with the looming threat of the Macho King and Queen Sherri. The latter would try to convince the champion to accept the challenge of the Macho King prior to the match starting. Now while she was a little dumb to attempt it, this fairly "Attitudinal" segment had Warrior do the really stupid thing and tell Sherri "NOOOO," which prompted the Macho King to smash Warrior with his scepter and cost him the WWE title in still one of the best looking shots in sports entertainment history.
5 Justice Taunts Sore Loser Hogan - Rumble '92
At Survivor Series '91, we all watched Hulk Hogan get screwed out of the WWE World Championship and then at Tuesday in Texas he returned the favor in kind to The Undertaker to win the title back. President Jack Tunney did the only thing he could do and vacated the title. This would set up the 1992 Royal Rumble to decide who would be the Undisputed WWE Champion. Clearly Hogan would have a favorable spot in the match and Hulkamania ran wild and went after anything that was moving in the Rumble. But the red and yellow express would be stopped short on his way back to the top of the mountain and Hogan got eliminated by Sid Justice, fair and square. But what does Sid, the master and the ruler of the world decide to do, with the title on the line, and only a very weakened Ric Flair left to dump over the top rope? He decides to taunt Hogan. Hulk being a sore loser grabs Justice's arm, making Sid the dumbest guy in the room and both Hulk from outside and Flair from inside tossed Sid over, allowing the Nature Boy to win the WWE title for the first time.
4 Savage Pins Yoko - Rumble '93
The 1993 Royal Rumble match was the first time ever that the winner of the match would be granted a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania. Yokozuna would draw the coveted #27 spot. While 27 is a dangerous age for wild, rebellious musicians, the number is the best one to have in the Rumble, as it has yielded more victors than any other number. The giant Yoko would devastate the competition and at one point the entire field of competitors left in the ring would try to dump the sumo to no avail. Number 30 was the beloved Macho Man who would do his best to take Yokozuna out. He was successful in actually taking the massive Samoan down but then you have to get him up and toss him out, right? Everyone knows this, except the Macho Man who instead gave Yoko the patented flying elbow and then tried to pin the guy. Yoko not only kicked out of the pin but flung the dummy out over the top and winning the Rumble.
3 Davey Boy's Not Paying Attention - Rumble '95
The fastest Royal Rumble ever had guys coming in every minute instead of every two. It also had an added bonus to winning. Pamela Anderson, the hottest non-Diva at that time, would accompany the winner to their title match at WrestleMania IX. Numbers one and two were Shawn Michaels and The British Bulldog respectively. For over half an hour, Davey Boy would not only attempt to toss HBK over the ropes himself, but he would watch just about everyone else do the same thing as well and fail. So when the match wound down to the two guys who started the whole thing, you would think The British Bulldog would use his head a little more than his muscles and when he flung "The Heartbreak Kid" over the top rope. As he was celebrating, HBK would return to the ring and instead heave Davey over the ropes to win the match in shocking fashion - replays revealed only one foot touched the floor and hence the Shawn Michaels Rule was born - both feet must touch the floor.
2 Triple A's "Invasion" - Rumble '97
As we "Remember the Rumble," it's time to remember that 20 years ago, the Rumble took place in the same venue where it was recently held, the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. With the WWE struggling slightly against WCW during this time they would try a partnership with Antonio Pena's Mexico City-based Asistencia Asesoria y Administracion, the Triple A promotion. But even with established stars like the aforementioned Mil Mascaras, along with Hector Garza, Perro Aguayo, and Mexican Mini-versions of top WWE Superstars wouldn't be enough to sell the concept to WWE fans. What Bischoff made work in the WCW with guys like Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerrera, and Konan made the Triple A guys seems second rate, even if in their home town they were Gods. Combine fan disinterest with Pena's dirty politics (as highlighted by Bruce Prichard on the Something to Wrestle podcast), the partnership wouldn't last much longer than the Rumble and the partnership is a forgotten piece of WWE history.
1 Drew Carey - Rumble '01
Long before he took over fellow WWE guest celebrity Bob Barker's spot on the Price is Right, Drew Carey was cross pollinating between his variety of shows and the WWE. First Triple H would guest star as The Disciplinarian on The Drew Carey Show. Several years later, Carey would put on a PPV of his own - Drew Carey's All Stars, essentially a PPV version of the show, Whose Line is it Anyway. What better way to promote that show than Carey coming to the 2001 Royal Rumble? Vince McMahon, in his most lecherous phase insisted that Carey appear in the match along with 29 other Superstars. Carey would enter in at number five and watch The Hardy Boyz eliminate themselves. He would have a few moments to relax before WWE's resident celebrity ass kicker, Kane enter the Rumble at number six. But Carey wouldn't suffer the same fate as Pete Rose always does against Kane and the comedian would be saved by the next entrant, Raven just as he was about to be Choke Slammed. Carey would then eliminate himself from the match.