Debate Time: The 10 Best Moments In Royal Rumble History

ric flair royal rumble

By Kellen Daniel / @kellen_daniel

Well, it's that time of the year again. As we begin the march to WrestleMania, the starting line has always been The Royal Rumble. One of the most unpredictable events in WWE history, The Rumble plants the seeds for an exciting four months in the world of sports entertainment. Careers are made, feuds begin to take shape and the entire landscape of the WWE gets a little clearer. This year is no different, as this is probably the biggest Royal Rumble of at least the past 5-7 years. The Rock returns to electrify as only he can to challenge C.M. Punk for the WWE Championship (more on that later this weekend), not to mention the rumble match itself.

While this year's pay-per-view is shaping up to be a great one, I want to take a look back at some of the best moments, big or small, from the Royal Rumble of the last 25 years.

10) Owen Hart turns on his brother Bret “Hitman” Hart

This all started at Survivor Series, as the Hart brothers were in a traditional Survivor Series elimination match against Shawn Michaels and 4 random-ass knights (HBK was taking the place of Jerry Lawler, who…well, that’s a different topic for a different blog). As it happened, Owen ended up being the only Hart brother eliminated from the match, which he, in turn, blamed on big brother Bret. The two brothers put it behind them and began to tag on a regular basis, eventually earning a shot at the tag team titles against The Quebecers at the 1994 Royal Rumble. During the match, the Hitman was beat up pretty badly. He managed to make a comeback but neglected to tag Owen into the match. Bret’s knee was so injured that the referee saw fit to stop the match and award it to the Quebecers. It was then that Owen does 3 of the greatest things he’d ever done in his career:

1) He kicked his brother in his injured knee officially beginning his heel turn that...

2) Led to the greatest opening match in WrestleMania history, and...

3) Gave us this interview above.

Bret would miraculously survive and make it into the Royal Rumble match later that night, which leads us to…

9) “I didn’t know you could tie in the World Wrestling Federation”

Oh, but you can. You can. Ask Lex Luger and Bret Hart in the 1994 Royal Rumble. After both men battled through 28 other superstars, there they stood. The only thing standing in each other’s way of a WWF title shot at WrestleMania X was… each other.

Jesus. Kind of reminds me of this.

Anyway, they both got title shots at Mania, with the Hitman walking out of MSG as the World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Champion. All’s well that ends well, I guess.

8) Batista and John Cena are the last 2 superstars in the 2005 Royal Rumble

Seems like an eternity ago. Believe it or not, there was a time when people didn’t hate John Cena! He was on the cusp of superstardom and becoming the man in the post-attitude era. WWE and the Royal Rumble was gonna be his vehicle to do just that.

But something funny happened on the road to WrestleMania. Dave Batista was the quiet muscle in Evolution and wasn’t supposed to be the next GUY in the industry. Sometimes, things just happen. On that night, 2 stars were made in an awesome finish to the Royal Rumble match that saw Vince McMahon do his best HHH impersonation and tear both of his quads at the same time (he finished the match, he’s that…damn…good) and the WWE was off and running for a new generation of fans with John Cena and Batista at the helm.

7) The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels

We should’ve known what these two were capable of even then. This was just awesome and it proved that The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels have a chemistry that is unexplainable.

6) Kane eliminates EVERYONE

Kane rarely gets any love for his work over the years, which is a shame. With that said, one of his most memorable moments came at the 2001 Royal Rumble, as he eliminated a record 11 participants in the Royal Rumble match. He damn near took out half the field by himself! The record still stands to this day.

5) The Rock wins the Royal Rumble

The Rock. For all his accomplishments in the world of professional wrestling, surprisingly, he only has 1 Royal Rumble win. That win came at the 2000 Royal Rumble as he eliminated The Big Show and secure his spot at WrestleMania. Pretty underwhelming win, but I just wanted to post this.

4) Randy Savage costs The Ultimate Warrior the WWF title

The Macho King Randy Savage kicked off one of my favorite feuds ever with this shot heard round the world as he blasted the Ultimate Warrior with his royal scepter, giving the win, and the WWF title, to Iraqi sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter.

Royal_Rumble_mick foley

3) Triple H retires Mick Foley (if you have video, let us know in the comments)

Royal Rumble. Hell in a Cell. You combine the two, add a dash of HHH and a whole lot of Cactus Jack, and you get a classic. This match had everything you could imagine and fitting of a “last match” for the hardcore legend, Mick Foley. In the end, The Game triumphed over Cactus Jack in a match that many people say made Trip’s career.

2) Steve Austin wins the 1998 Royal Rumble

The rattlesnake’s time was now. 1998 was going to be the year of Stone Cold Steve Austin, and no one could do anything about it. On this night in January, Austin won his first Royal Rumble match as he and The Rock were the last 2 participants in the match. Funny how that’s a running theme over the years.

1) Ric Flair wins the Royal Rumble

“To be the man, you gotta beat the man!!!” -- Naitch

That’s exactly what Ric Flair at the 1992 Royal Rumble, lasting over an hour to win the Royal Rumble and capture the WWF Championship. In my humble opinion, this is the greatest Rumble match ever. Anyone who was anyone at the time was in this match. Just look at the final four left in the ring: Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, Sid Justice, Ric Flair. There was not a dull moment in the match, and Bobby Heenan on commentary put everything over the top. I strongly suggest you watch the match in its entirety, but for now, I’ll leave you with this video above. Enjoy the Royal Rumble.

Related: The Top 10 Wrestlers/Entertainers of Our Lifetime

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