A great big Happy New Year from the View From Down Under.
I love this time of year as not only is it the beginning of a brand new year, but also January is Royal Rumble month! This is my favourite PPV of the year, the one (along with Wrestlemania) which is a guarantee order from my PPV provider and the one PPV I will call in sick to stay home and watch.
Now while we all know there is only a handful of WWE superstars who can legitimately win the Royal Rumble, the rumble gives 25 other WWE superstars a chance to shine. Whether that is staying in the rumble the longest like The Miz and Cody Rhode have done over the past couple of years, a dominate eliminating performance like Ryback had last year (and Kane’s 11 eliminatinon in 2001), unique saves from eliminations made famous over the past rumbles by Kofi Kingston and shock eliminations like Maven elimination of the Undertaker in 2002. We have seen friends become enemies, new partneships emerge and of course feuds start up for the Wrestlemania season. The Royal Rumble match while being about the winner brings so much more to the beginning of the year for many WWE superstars.
In my book Stop Telling Us It’s Fake: A Wrestling Fan’s Journey 1977-2012 in the chapter my top matches I discuss my top 10 Royal Rumble matches, so as a late xmas present here is a section from my book of MY top 5 Royal Rumble matches. If you want to find out the full top 10, then you will have to get my book!!
- Royal Rumble 2006 –Rey Mysterio’s dedication to Eddie Guerrero. With the death of his friend Eddie Guerrero still fresh on his mind, Rey Mysterio dedicated the 2006 Rumble to his friend. The dedication didn’t start to well, when Rey became the second entrant and to win the rumble would have to go through all 29 other contestants (Triple H would be the first entrant and also perform strongly to be the 28th man eliminate!). Over an hour later (he holds the current record for longest time in a Rumble) Rey would eliminate Triple H and Randy Orton to win the Rumble. He became only the 4th man to win the Rumble from either entrant 1 or 2, and would eliminate 6 wrestlers on his way to victory. A rumble that for me was while predictable, a great tribute to a great wrestler Eddie Guerrero.
- Royal Rumble 2001 – Kane’s 11 eliminations in 1 night. While Stone Cold Steve Austin was the eventual winner of the 2001 Royal Rumble, this Rumble is better known for one of the most dominate performance from one man in the history of the Rumble. Kane would enter the Rumble at the number 6 position, and would go on to eliminate 11 competitors in one night. This included every competitor from positions of 7 to 12 in succession. The list of people Kane eliminated that night included: Raven; Al Snow; Perry Saturn; Steve Blackman; Grand Master Sexay; The Honky Tonk Man; The Rock; Tazz; Albert; Crash Holly; and Scotty too Hotty. While it doesn’t count Drew Carey eliminated himself rather than face Kane, so Kane should at least get the assist. Kane would be eventually eliminated last by Stone Cold, but leave a lasting impression on his dominance on this night. Add in the use of chairs, garbage cans and other around the ring equipment, and this Rumble is quite easily one you can watch over and over again!
- Royal Rumble 2002 –Maven eliminates The Undertaker. Entering the Rumble as the number 8 entrant, The Undertaker dominated eliminating 7 wrestling superstars. The last 2 people he eliminated were the Hardy Boys Matt and Jeff. Matt and Jeff did not leave quietly, distracting The Undertaker. Entrant 11 was tough enough winner Maven, who while The Undertaker was yelling at the Hardy’s would drop kick the back of The Undertaker, eliminating from the match. Like the Hardy’s The Undertaker did not go quietly returning and eliminating and destroying Maven throughout the arena, including smashing him through a pop corn machine! As for the rest of the Rumble, it was won by a returning from injury Triple H, who eliminated Kurt Angle for the win.
- Royal Rumble 1998 –The 3 faces of Foley. Starting at the number 1 entrant, Cactus Jack would enter the Rumble. After being eliminated so early in the match I was a little disappointed my favourite for the night was gone so early. The countdown to entrant 16 occurs and my hopes of a Mick Foley win are again high as Mankind would enter the Rumble. But he too would be eliminated, and again I lose my favourite pick to win. Then as the countdown for entrant 28 finishes, out through the curtain…Dude Love! Here, I thought is it, surely Foley can win it now! Sadly he was eliminated by eventual winner Stone Cold Steve Austin, wrecking my dream of seeing Foley win a Rumble. But still Mick Foley is the only man to enter a single Rumble 3 times.
- 2007 Royal rumble – Undertaker Wins. The Undertaker had entered the Royal Rumble 7 times since 1991, and 2007 would be his eighth attempt to win. While he has dominated sections of his previous rumbles he had never gone on to win any. We had to wait until he arrived as the last entrant at number 30. He quickly disposed of Khali who had himself dominated and eliminated 7 men, then eliminated MVP, leaving himself, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton and Edge as the final 4. After Michaels eliminated both Edge and Orton it came down to Shawn and The Undertaker for the win. We next witness near 10 minutes of a series of near eliminations, choke-slams, super-kicks between these two (which possible planted seeds for their Wrestlemania Match the following year). In the end The Undertaker dodged a super-kick, and eliminated Shawn, becoming the first man to win The rumble coming in as the last entrant. This Rumble also had some great ECW moments where Sandman entered the Rumble bringing in his Singapore cane, and Kane choke slamming Sabu out of the ring and through a table. It was the year that big men dominated the rumble with Kane and Khali dominating for long periods and of course The Undertaker winning.
What is Your Favourite Royal Rumble match or moment???
Hooroo and see you next week.
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