by Craig Higham - January 22, 2014
As I wrote last week, when the prize of main eventing Wrestlemania was added to winning the Royal Rumble, this essentially stopped wrestlers along the same level / status of Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Big John Studd from winning future rumbles. The main eventing Wrestlemania prize meant that the winner of the Royal Rumble would always be one of the handful of superstars who were at the top end of the main event food chain. The introduction of 2 major titles increased the food change only slightly.
Mid-card wrestlers were left with the goal of being the superstar who lasted the longest in the rumble, had the most dramatic elimination, or had a Rumble moment, which Kofi Kingston has made his own over the past couple of Royal Rumbles.
Looking back at the past 20 Royal Rumbles there are many WWE superstars who deserved to have a Royal Rumble win on their resume, these are the guys who performed strongly in each (or most) of the rumbles they participated in, finished in the top 5 of the rumble often, lasted (on average) a long time in the rumble or eliminated a heap of other superstars. Here is my list of 5 Superstars who deserved to win the Rumble, however were not classed as main event material by WWE hierarchy and therefore were not looked at as possible Royal Rumble Winners. My criteria are retired wrestlers, or those on part time contracts, or those nearing the end of their wrestling careers, the likes of CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and The Shield members still have many years left in the careers and many chances to win a Royal Rumble.
Special mention to current superstars who deserve a Rumble win, but depending which direction their careers go, may not get that opportunity – Cody Rhodes, The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Wade Barrett and Mark Henry.
If we forget his 2011 surprise legends entry, and concentrate on his 2 performances in 1994 and 1996, we can see that Diesel performed strongly in both Rumbles, and we can only assume had he not jumped to WCW in mid-1996 then he would have had a Rumble victory in the late 1990’s. It his first 2 Rumble performances that places in my 5th position.
His first Rumble in 1994 saw Big Daddy Cool enter at number 7 and last a respectable 17.41 minutes. During that time in the Rumble he eliminated 7 other superstars before it took a total of 5 other superstars to eliminate him.
His Rumble performance in 1996 saw him enter at 22 and again last just over 17 minutes (17.51). He would eliminate 5 superstars during this match and end up runner up to Shawn Michaels finishing in 2nd position.
Diesel was WWF Champion in 1995 so was not entered in the Rumble in that year, instead fighting Bret Hart to a draw (thanks to multiple interferences) for the WWF title.
Appearing in 9 Royal Rumbles spanning 11 years, Rikishi (from 1993-1996 as Fatu) is my 4th placed superstar who should have won a Royal Rumble.
In his Fatu persona, he would enter 4 straight rumbles, only have 2 eliminations and an average of only 6 minutes of Rumble time. However it his second stint in the WWE as Rikishi where he would dominate many Royal Rumbles.
Starting in his return Rumble in 2000, he would eliminate 7 straight WWE superstars and last an impressive 16 minutes for a large athlete. He would follow this performance in 2001 with a short stay of just over 2 minutes, but this includes the big elimination of The Undertaker.
Entering as the first contestant in 2002, he would last well over 10 minutes and had a similar time in the 2003 Rumble. A poor showing in his last Rumble in 2004 stopped him from being higher on my list.
A large and popular athlete a victory in a Royal Rumble would have done wonders for his career. We can only hope somewhere down the line Jimmy or Jey Usos can accomplish something their dad couldn’t.
3. British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith
With a total of 6 Royal Rumbles, spanning the 1990’s (1991 – 2000), a controversial 2nd in the 1995 Rumble losing to eventual winner Shawn Michaels, and a total of 13 eliminations Davey Boy Smith makes it to my 3rd position of superstars who should of won the Royal Rumble.
With his peak popularity around the mid-90’s Davey Boy Smith to go along with his 2nd place in 1995, would finish 5th in 1991 and 4th in 1996 and average around 21 minutes in each of his rumbles with a career high 38.41 minutes in 1991. He would enter the Rumble at the dreaded numbers of 1st (in 1992) and 2nd (in 1995) yet go on to perform strongly in both those rumbles.
Reason he was overlooked was Shawn Michaels was becoming WWE’s top star in the mid 90’s and was being looked at to headline Wrestlemania, whileother winners during Davey Boy Smith’s Rumble matches Hulk Hogan, Rick Flair and The Rock were all well ahead of Davey Boy Smith in terms of star standings within the WWE.
2. Chris Jericho
Current holds the 4th longest combine time in Royal Rumbles. In his 8 appearances he has lasted a combined time of 3 hours and 5 minutes for an average time of just over 23 minutes, with 3 Rumbles managed to last well over 30 minutes 2013 – 47 minutes; 2009 37 minutes; 2003 29 minutes, while the 2005 Rumble he lasted just short of the half an hour mark at 28 minutes.
He would make the last 10 in 6 Rumbles falling just short in 2012 being the last eliminated in that Rumble. His Rumble career has spanned 13 years, with his first Royal Rumble in 2000 and last one in 2013, although rumours persist he may show up in this years Royal Rumble. He has eliminated a total of 15 WWE superstars with an impressive 6 in the 2003 Royal Rumble. He does have the unfortunate record of being the being one of 4 superstars that have been eliminated by a female superstar with Chyna eliminating him in his first Rumble in 2000.
As the first ever Undisputed Champion, a multi time Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion, the Royal Rumble crown is one that has eluded Chris Jericho, but one he should have won.
No Surprise that Kane tops my list, as he would in fact top many people list of superstars who have dominated the Royal Rumble match but never has won.
Kane is synonymous with the Royal Rumble and Royal Rumble records, holding the record for the most eliminations in a single Royal Rumble (11 in 2001), the record for the most consecutive appearances (13 from 1999-2011), the record for eliminating a contestant in the quickest time (Santino Marelle 1 second in 2009), entering the match at the highest ever entry number (40 in 2011) and the record for the most career appearances for an individual performer (for Glenn Jacobs 16). However the one record that he deserved was to be a winner of the Royal Rumble!
He has a combined total of 38 eliminations just beating Stone Cold Steve Austin (36), and only behind Shawn Michaels (39) in the list of most ever eliminations, and he is one of only a handful of wrestlers to eliminate 7 other wrestlers in a row (2001).
As well as his 11 eliminations in 2001, he also was the ironman of that Rumble lasting well over 50 minutes. He also had extended periods of action in 2003 (20 minutes), 2007 (13 minutes), 2008 (17 minutes) and 2009 (18 minutes).
Kane will go down as the most dominate Royal Rumble performer never to win the actual match. Let us hope that his record of 11 eliminations in one match is never broken.
Agree or disagree, let me know….
Hooroo and see you next week.
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