Batista, Big Show, Bret Hart, Dolph Ziggler, Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Kane, Kurt Angle, Mick Foley, pro wrestling, Ric Flair, Roman Reigns, Royal Rumble, Shawn Michaels, sports entertainment, Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, wrestling, WWE, WWE Network
Leading up to this year’s Royal Rumble event, WWE is bound to give you a video package highlighting the numbers behind the history of the event. They’ll tell you that Steve Austin has won the most Rumbles with 3. They’ll tell you that the most winner have come from the #27 slot. They’ll tell you that Roman Reigns has the most eliminations in a single Royal Rumble with 12, and that Shawn Michaels and Kane are tied for most career eliminations with 39. We decided to take a deeper look into the Royal Rumble and give you some not so common facts surrounding the event.
91 – 91% is the rate of Royal Rumble winners who ACTUALLY make it to the main event at WrestleMania, proving it is not a foregone conclusion. Steve Austin was the first to not get his WrestleMania main event spot. A “controversial” finish to the 1997 Rumble, and Shawn Michaels’ subsequent forfeiture of the WWE Championship (insert “lost my smile” joke here) led to a 4-way main event at In Your House: Final Four between Bret Hart, Steve Austin, The Undertaker, and Vader for the WWE Title, instead of the #1 Contender spot. Bret Hart went on to win the title at Final Four, only to drop the belt the next night on RAW to Sycho Sid. This left us with the timeless main event of Sycho Sid vs. The Undertaker, but also yielded the much more fondly remembered Submission Match between Steve Austin and Bret Hart. The only other person to win the Royal Rumble and not partake in the WrestleMania main event was Vince McMahon, who won the Rumble in 1999. He then relinquished his title shot, only for Shawn Michaels (who was commissioner at the time) to award it to the runner-up that year, Steve Austin.
60 – Ric Flair spent much of his career touting himself as the “60 minute man”. He earned this moniker in his journey through the territories, taking opponents to a 60-minute draw for the title. He again earned this moniker in 1992, being the first entrant to last over sixty minutes (60:02) to win the WWF Title. Since then, only 3 other entrants have lasted over an hour. Bob Backlund survived 61 minutes and ten seconds in a losing effort in 1993 and Chris Benoit lasted 61 minutes and 30 seconds to win the 2004 Rumble. 2006 provided two iron men as Mysterio lasted a record 62 minutes and 12 seconds en route to winning and Triple H lasted 60 minutes and 2 seconds before being eliminated 28th.
57 – 57% is the success rate of Royal Rumble winners, who then go on to win the main event at WrestleMania. Batista was the most recent to fail in his attempt, famously tapping out to Daniel Bryan in the main event at WrestleMania XXX. John Cena was the most recent success story, winning the 2013 Rumble and going on to defeat The Rock at WrestleMania XXIX.
28 – The number 28 slot is certainly coveted to one WWE superstar. Batista is the only participant to win the Rumble match twice, having drawn the same number each time.
24 – While the WWE will remind you that the number 27 entrant has gone on to win the most Rumble matches, you could argue that 24 is truly a number of royal significance. (See what I did there?) Three men have won the Rumble matches after drawing that number, those three men you ask? Steve Austin, The Rock, and Hulk Hogan.
18 – Although there is no prize given for runner-up in the Rumble, many times a ‘final four’ berth can be all a guy needs to get over the hump. In the Rumble’s history, a final four participant (winners excluded) has gone on to hold the WWE Title or World Heavyweight Title within the same calendar year.
5 – Randy Orton and Steve Austin are tied for the most career appearances in the final four. Behind them, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, John Cena, Batista, and Kane are all tied with 4.
3 – You might remember the 1998 Royal Rumble match for the appearances of Mick Foley. The “Three Faces of Foley” all were entrants that year, showing up first as Cactus Jack, then as Mankind, with Dude Love being his final encore. Mick Foley is not the only participant to have displayed three different gimmicks in the Rumble match though. Kane has also appeared as the fake Diesel, and Isaac Yankem, DDS. In addition, The Godfather also previously appeared as Kama, and Papa Shango.
2 – Throughout the years, many competitors have pulled double-duty at the Royal Rumble, having both competed in a match prior, then entering the Rumble match itself. Dolph Ziggler has a very interesting distinction though. In both 2011 and 2012, Ziggler competed in and lost a World Title match, only to attempt to earn yet another title shot by competing in the Rumble. He is not the only participant to implore this strategy though, as Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, and the Big Show have also done so.
1 – Here’s a name I bet you didn’t think you’d be reading here. Chavo Guerrero. In 2008, Chavo Guerrero entered the Royal Rumble as the current ECW Champion, being the only top title holder of a WWE-brand to compete in the match.
Have any more interesting facts/numbers about the Royal Rumble? Please feel free to share, and as always you can follow me on Twitter @RebookTheFinish!