Pro wrestling fans may disagree on many things, but one thing most of them agree on is that the Royal Rumble is genuinely one of the most fun pay-per-views to watch.
The rules of the show’s eponymous main event are very simple: 30 men enter the ring at timed intervals and once you are forced over the top rope by an opponent and both feet touch the floor, you are eliminated. The last man in the ring is the winner.
The ten-second countdown for the next wrestler to enter the ring is very exciting and sometimes features legends and past superstars making surprise in-ring returns. The winner of the event earns themselves a title match at WrestleMania.
The 2018 Royal Rumble, which was won by Shinsuke Nakamura, was the 31st held in the history of WWE and was the first to hold a separate Women’s Royal Rumble match.
Earlier this weekend, the WWE broke from the tradition of hosting a Royal Rumble once per year by staging the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Jennah, Saudi Arabia in conjunction with the Saudi General Sports Authority.
The main event featured a record-breaking 50 participants, with Braun Strowman eventually picking up the victory after eliminating Big Cass.
Today, appropriately, we’re taking a look at five of the greatest Royal Rumble matches in the history of the WWE.
5. 2017 (Winner: Randy Orton)
The 2017 event was one that featured a great number of household names from the industry, with the likes of Goldberg, Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker all making rare appearances.
Orton and Roman Reigns were the final two men in the ring and while most people would have favoured Reigns to win as he had entered in the number 30 spot, Orton went on to win his second Rumble match.
4. 2010 (Winner: Edge)
The 2010 Royal Rumble felt like it was one of the fastest. Edge made his return from injury at number 29 and went on to win the match.
The great thing about this Rumble was that it was highly unpredictable, with the winner being a complete surprise to fans in attendance. CM Punk, who was the leader of the Straight Edge Society at the time, came in early and only lasted ten minutes and Triple H was in for less than 20.
3. 1998 (Winner: ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin)
This event took place at a time when the WWE had just entered into the Attitude Era, which was the most successful period in the business’s history so far. This was the second of Austin’s three Rumble victories.
The Rock was in the Ring for 50 minutes while Mick Foley used three of his persona’s during his cameo (Cactus Jack, Dude Love and Mankind).
2. 2001 (Winner: ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin)
At this Rumble, Austin was making his return to the event after nearly a year out of action as he had to deal a neck injury. He returned to the WWE with the objective of once again becoming champion and becoming the face of the business.
Austin had to beat the likes of Rikishi, The Rock, Big Show, Kane and the Undertaker en route to his success.
1. 2006 (Winner: Rey Mysterio)
For the sentimental, this was a great event as it was one of the best cases of the underdog prevailing in the WWE as Rey Mysterio, who is considered a cruiserweight, went on to win the Royal Rumble, dedicating his win to his friend and WWE legend Eddie Guerrero, who had recently passed away.
Mysterio was one of the wrestlers who worked very closely with Guerrero during the final years of his life and it was fitting that he won this Rumble event as a way to pay tribute to ‘Latino Heat’, who was no doubt one of the greatest entertainers that the WWE has produced.
During the event, Mysterio broke the then-record for the most amount of time spent in the Rumble at one hour, two minutes, 12 seconds in the ring.