I watched a lot of Royal Rumble matches for this list, and I can say for certain that I learned the following things:
Some were way better than I remembered.
Some were way worse than I remembered.
Pretty much all of them were fun, purely because Royal Rumbles are so engaging even when they’re terrible – like a bad James Bond movie.
Goldust has legitimately been in about 10 Rumbles, and his entrance still pops me every single time.
As you can see, I learned some pretty important lessons. At a certain point, just like when I wrote that big Survivor Series piece, I seemed to enter Rumble nirvana. I was one with the Rumbles, and the Rumbles were one with me. I prayed 30 times a day to the Rumble gods, and I slowly lost my mind. This time, however, there was a key difference.
Researching Survivor Series made me feel genuinely knowledgeable about one of WWE’s more underappreciated pay per views. I felt like a student of physical geography or wildlife, slowly morphing into an expert in my chosen field through many months in the wilderness.
Researching Royal Rumble matches just turned me into a snob. Let me explain.
The inconsistencies of Rumble history are genuinely infuriating to pathetic stat-nerds like me and (presumably) you. So before we dive in, let’s get a few things straight:
- The perfect number of Royal Rumble entrants is 30. 1988 and 2011 can’t be overlooked, of course, but they are bastard children as far as I’m concerned.
- You can eliminate yourself, and you can be eliminated by an already eliminated opponent (or non-competitor).
- You must enter the ring before the next entrant, otherwise, you are eliminated.
- Non-eliminations are total bull. If Vince McMahon (1999) and Roman Reigns (2016) can take lengthy backstage breaks before returning to compete in the final stages of the match, why is Hornswoggle (2008) eliminated once Finlay carries him to the back?
- There should only ever be one winner. 1994 got it wrong; 2005 got it right.
Now that we’ve ironed out my pet peeves, it’s time to delve in. I proudly (read: exhaustedly) present my ranking of all 30 Royal Rumble matches.
[I apologise in advance for my low ranking of one in particular. You’ll know the one I mean when you get to it.]