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The Royal Rumble match itself

  • Ric Flair winning the 1992 Rumble from #3 marked the first time a winner came from one of the single-digit spots. He also won the WWF Championship (the only time the Rumble has ever been for the title itself.)
    • When Flair entered the 1992 Rumble at #3, Gorilla Monsoon took great delight in repeatedly (and annoyingly!) telling Bobby Heenan that no one had ever before entered from slots 1-5 and lasted until the final entrant (let alone won). Heenan delightedly crowed when Flair won.

  Bobby Heenan [many times during the match]: THIS IS NOT FAIR TO FLAIR!

    • This was also Bobby Heenan's hallmark performance as a commentator.
  • One of the most dominating performances in Royal Rumble history took place at 1994's edition. Diesel came in at number 7, and completely cleaned house, dumping out all four of the current competitors, which included Scott Steiner, Kwang, a freshly turned Owen Hart, and Bart Gunn. From there, he would wait for participants to come out, and would eliminate the next three in very short order, which were Bob Backlund, Billy Gunn, and Virgil. It finally took a superstar the caliber of "The Macho Man" Randy Savage just to stop Diesel from eliminating each guy one at a time. Diesel came into this match as a heel sidekick to Shawn Michaels, and by the time he was finally eliminated (by four guys no less), the crowd was giving him a standing ovation and chanting his name. This was one of the first runs of this type in Rumble history, and most "dominating performances" in Royal Rumbles use this as a template (see Kane in 2001 or CM Punk in 2010).
    • To this day anyone who has this type of performance at the Rumble (clearing the ring and/or eliminating several wrestlers) is referred to as being given "the Diesel Push".
  • Shawn Michaels won the 1995 Rumble from the #1 spot (although to be fair, because that Rumble only had one-minute-apart entrances; it went a little over half an hour).
  • Bradshaw hitting Mr. Ass with a Clothesline From Hell that made him do several rotations in the air in the 2000 Rumble.
  • Kane's phenomenal performance in the 2001 Rumble saw him eliminate 11 guys -- which is a record that stands to this day -- before being the final elimination of the Rumble.
  • Maven eliminated The Undertaker in the 2002 Rumble -- and ended up paying for it immediately.
    • He tried it again the next year and failed.
  • Chris Benoit's hour-long performance in 2004 was undoubtedly awesome, at least at the time. (Your Mileage May Vary with this, thanks to the tragedy.)
    • WWE couldn't have booked him to look like a bigger badass if they'd tried; he eliminated all of the largest entrants in the match, including The Big Show at the end.
    • Also from 2004: in Goldberg's only Royal Rumble appearance, he came in at #30. He quickly proceeded to destroy everyone in the ring at the time -- including Nunzio, who was on the receiving end of a Spear so powerful it nearly snapped him in two. Goldberg's in-ring dominance was short-lived, unfortunately, thanks to Brock Lesnar.
  • Rey Mysterio winning the 2006 Rumble from the #2 slot (which is equally impressive as from #1, since both #1 and #2 start the match at the same time) has to count; he lasted one hour, two minutes, and twelve seconds -- the longest Royal Rumble performance to date -- and even eliminated both Triple H and Randy Orton at the end!
    • Kurt Angle came in with a full head of steam and just starts suplexing everyone until he got to Shawn Michaels who super kicked him out of the ring. That was Angle's shortest time in the rumble.
  • The Undertaker winning the 2007 Rumble counts -- both because he deserved it and he was the first #30 draw to ever win it.
  • John Cena's legitimately shocking return in the 2008 Rumble is here for the sheer fact that absolutely nobody saw it coming.
    • To explain, Cena was out due to surgery just before his big match against Orton at No Mercy. He was said to be out for at least six months (he showed up in a sling for the Tribute to the Troops) and pretty much made everyone believe he would be out past Wrestlemania. Then he comes out, and he's completely healed. Cue everyone in the ring getting their asses kicked.
  • In 1989, Hulk Hogan eliminated The Warlord -- who, in the process of being eliminated as soon as he stepped in the ring, set the record for the shortest appearance in a single Rumble (two whole seconds). That record stood until 2009 -- when Santino Marella clocked in at just a few ticks over one second before getting eliminated by Kane.
  • In the 2011 Rumble, John Morrison is kicked off of the ring apron; it appears all of his hopes are lost. The Prince of Parkour, however, had other ideas -- and in a move compared to Spider-Man, Morrison grabbed onto the ringside barricade and used it to get himself back to the ring steps so he could re-enter the ring. Morrison's acrobatic trickery didn't get him the Rumble victory, but that display of athletic ability damn near stole the whole show.
    • Also from the 2011 Rumble: Santino Marella made it to the final two by having stayed out of the ring (legally) until Alberto Del Rio had eliminated what he thought was the last competitor. Although Santino lasted longer than one second this time around, his extended break period did nothing to help him win -- but his surprise runner-up finish was a great Brick Joke for everyone who hadn't been paying attention and thought Santino had been eliminated.
  • 2012: After being sent over, struggling to hold on, and going out head first, Kofi Kingston avoids elimination by walking on the floor and back to the ring steps. BACKWARDS. ON HIS HANDS.
    • Kharma returns, making her only the third woman to enter the Rumble, slamming Dolph Ziggler with a Finishing Move, throwing Hunico out after catching him in mid-air, and chasing a visibly shaken Michael Cole to the edge of the ring where Booker T and Jerry Lawler eliminates him because watching him run from a woman was embarrassing.
    • Ricardo Rodriguez' surprisingly solid performance. Then that gets trumped by Santino Marella who also turns in a good performance.
      • Made even better with everyone screaming "YOU STILL GOT IT!" in rhythm.
    • Sheamus and Chris Jericho as the final 2 tore down the house.
      • Everyone expected Jericho to go over as the Royal Rumble winner to set up a Wrestlemania feud with CM Punk, but in the end, it was Sheamus who prevailed, no doubt surprising many fans, fella.
    • Cody Rhodes entering at number 4, forming a makeshift team with number 1 entrant The Miz and lasting all the way until number 30, The Big Show, enters and eliminates both. To top off a great performance for someone who some people consider to be just a midcard guy, he gets the most eliminations of the match with 6. The list of people he eliminated is as follows: Mick Foley, Santino Marella, Jerry Lawler, The Great Khali and Booker T with help from Dolph Ziggler and, last but not least, Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

Other matches on the card

  • In 1994, after being given basically the WWF version of a Rasputinian Death at the hands of Yokozuna and several other heel wrestlers (Undertaker not letting up against about ten other men until his urn was opened) and being locked in a casket, The Undertaker appeared on the titantron and made a chilling speech, proclaiming he would not rest in peace. He then "floated" up to the rafters, crossing over into the afterlife presumably.
  • Cactus Jack vs Triple H at the 2000 Royal Rumble in Madison Square Garden, aka the match that made Triple H, and proved that he deserved to be Champion. Fans weren't very enthusiastic going in as Hunter had, to paraphrase Edge, "married his way" to the title, and Jack was all hype since while he was an extremely brutal performer in ECW, his WWF career was much more tame, and you can hear them chant "boring" at the 5-10 minute mark (which Jerry Lawler pretended was "Foley"). Then came the barbed-wire two-by-four. Then both men kept going after each getting hit by it. Then came the blood. Then came the thumbtacks. Then came the Pedigree onto the thumbtacks. And the rest is history....
    • You can see this on the DVD extras; after the match, Triple H is taken backstage onto a stretcher and is all bloody and messed up. And one of the first things he does is ask someone to find his parents, who are in the audience, and let them know he's okay.
  • The 2003 Rumble saw Scott Steiner vs. Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship, in one of the worst matches in the company's history. Immediately after that, Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle battled for the WWE Championship that, not only took the piss out of the previous debacle, but was a Match of the Year candidate. As unintentional as it was, it was a huge apology, with HHH/Stenier bordering on Let Us Never Speak of This Again territory.
  • From the 2004 Royal Rumble event: Shawn Michaels and Triple H put on a classic Last Man Standing match. It's remembered for being not only a nail-biter of a match, but for its double-disqualification ending (in Philadelphia, of all places). It would have stolen the show had Benoit not put on such an amazing performance.
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