As we turn the calendar and head towards WrestleMania season, there is one phrase that defines the Royal Rumble match each and every year; which makes it a very unique event. It’s all about the numbers. The unique structure of this match allows for many unique statistics to be generated from the outcome of each of the matches.
The Royal Rumble match has occurred every January since 1988, and as mentioned in the previous paragraph, it is basically the kickstart to some of the most exciting times in the WWE, culminating with WrestleMania. Since 1993, the winner of this match goes on to take on the superstar who holds the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
What makes the Rumble stand out from the rest is the fact that the match has a built-in surprise factor with the possibility that anything can truly happen in the match. Case in fact, when Tough Enough winner Maven eliminated the Undertaker, the entire world was shocked and still talked about that moment, today, as one of the most surprising moments in Rumble history.
This article will take a look at 10 of those unique numbers that have come to define the Rumble over the 28 times it has been contested. They include the success rate of the winner at WrestleMania, numbers that are tied to the amount of people who have been thrown over the top rope, and the amount of time some of the competitors have lasted in a single match or over the course of their career.
10. WrestleMania Win % For Title Matches – 59
A total of 22 Royal Rumble Winners have gone on to WrestleMania to vie for the title on the grandest stage of them all. Of those 22 competitors, 13 of them came away with the WWE or World Heavyweight Championship for a win percentage of 59%.
The first time the Rumble winner took on the champion was in 1993 when Yokozuna would end up defeating Bret Hart for the championship. Hulk Hogan would come down to check on Hart, and for whatever reason, Mr. Fuji challenged Hogan to take on Yokozuna, and Hogan walked out with the title 22 seconds later.
Recent history for the Royal Rumble winner has not been kind when it comes to trying to win the title at WrestleMania as six of the last eight Rumble winners have come up short in their quest for the belt.
9. Number Of Women To Enter The Royal Rumble Match – 3
For the longest time, it was unfathomable for a female to take on a male in the world of the WWE, but then came the Ninth Wonder Of The World in Chyna. Towards the end of her run with Degeneration X, Chyna would start competing as a singles competitor more often, including challenging for and winning the Intercontinental Championship in 1999.
Before her historic Intercontinental Championship run, she would be a surprise entrant in the 1999 Royal Rumble at number 30, but Steve Austin tossed her out quickly. She also entered the match in 2000, and Big Boss Man tossed her out quickly.
Ten years later, the “Glamazon” Beth Phoenix would enter the Royal Rumble and be the first woman to eliminate a wrestler when she kissed The Great Khali over the top rope. The last woman to enter the Rumble was Kharma (aka Awesome Kong) in 2012 who had a short outing, but was able to toss Hunico over the top rope.
8. Career Total In-Ring Time (Triple H) – 231
Between 1996 and 2010, Triple H participated in a total of eight Royal Rumble matches. Throughout a few of those matches, he has lasted a decent amount of time, including over an hour in 2006 when Rey Mysterio won by lasting 62 minutes. This longevity has earned Trips the most total in-ring time for a career at 231 minutes.
Many speculate that Triple will be in his first Rumble in six years to exact revenge on Roman Reigns for destroying him at the TLC pay per view. Considering he has a 30 minute lead on Kane and a 45 minute lead on Chris Jericho, an appearance in this year’s Royal Rumble will further lengthen his lead on that record.
7. Number Of Consecutive Rumble Winners – 3
Speaking in kayfabe, the hardest thing to probably do in the world of the WWE is winning the Royal Rumble as you have to outlast 29 other superstars in order to do so. When it comes to winning this match in back to back years, that is exponentially as hard, and over the 28 times this match has taken place, there are three wrestlers that have done it in back to back years.
The first to do it was the “Immortal” Hulk Hogan who eliminated Mr. Perfect in 1990 and Earthquake in 1991. Shawn Michaels did it later on in the 90’s by eliminating the British Bulldog, last, in 1995 and Diesel, last, in 1996. The last to do it is Stone Cold Steve Austin.
It’s been awhile since there has been consecutive winners, and the road for Roman Reigns in 2016 is definitely uphill as he is the number 1 entrant.
6. The Single Match Ironman (Rey Mysterio) – 62
As you know by now, the Royal Rumble has a lot of numbers associated with it. One of the most interesting ones is the time of the entrant who lasted the longest in the Rumble match. Over the years, only five superstars have lasted over an hour in the Royal Rumble. That includes Ric Flair, Triple H, Bob Backlund, and Chris Benoit. Only two of those four went on to win the match.
The man with the longest time ever is Rey Mysterio at 62 minutes and 12 seconds, which is 41 seconds greater than Benoit’s time of 61 minutes and 31 seconds. The other interesting fact about the ironman stat is Triple H was in the same Rumble as Mysterio. They were the first two to enter the match, but not the last two to leave as Triple H was eliminated just before Randy Orton to give Mysterio the win.
5. Most Eliminations In A Single Rumble (Roman Reigns) – 12
For 13 years, or nearly half the time that the Royal Rumble has been in existence, the record for most eliminations in a single Rumble match was held by one man in Kane. Back in 2001, he had eliminated 11 superstars from the match, and if he would have been able to eliminate 12, he would have won it, but Steve Austin tossed him over the top to win the match.
We fast forward to 2014 as The Shield was still a dominating force in the WWE and Roman Reigns would enter the Rumble match at number 15. He started the match by eliminating four guys in a row, and then as the match waned, he picked up steam again by eliminating another four in a row. As you know by now, the final two came down to Reigns and Batista, and the crowd let them know that Batista shouldn’t have won.
Ironically enough, Reigns was on that end of the boos a year later.
4. Total WWE Superstars Eliminated – 811
If you get out your calculator and tabulate the number of WWE Superstars who have been tossed over that top rope in Royal Rumble history, you’d come out to an impressive 811 competitors total. The first person ever to be eliminated in the Royal Rumble was Butch Reed who was thrown out by Jake “The Snake” Roberts. The 811th man to be eliminated was Rusev in 2015 to enable Roman Reigns to win the match.
The man to get eliminated the most is also the man to have had the most Royal Rumble matches in history with Kane. He has been in 17 Rumble matches with not a single win. After the 2016 match, that total will be increased to 840 with several superstars that could be number 840 such as Reigns, Brock Lesnar, Bray Wyatt, and even Triple H.
3. Most Eliminations All-Time (Kane) – 42
As mentioned on the last entry, Kane has been in the most Royal Rumble matches in history with 17. He was even in one that is not recognized when he was Dr. Isaac Yankem. Under the moniker of Kane, he has thrown over an astonishing 42 men over that top rope. The first person he ever eliminated was “Road Dogg” Jesse James in 1999, and the last person he has eliminated was Dean Ambrose in 2015 with the help of Big Show.
Kane is currently 48 years old and his consistency and longevity has to definitely be applauded. He’ll definitely be a WWE Hall Of Famer in the future, and is definitely considered to be one of the best participants ever to compete in the Royal Rumble, even though he does not have a win on his resume.
2. Most Wins (Steve Austin) – 3
Over the course of 28 different Royal Rumbles that have taken place since 1988, you would think the person with the most wins would have maybe five or six, but no, the person with the most career Royal Rumble wins is “Stone Cold” Steve Austin with three. His first two wins came back to back in 1997 and 1998 just as he was starting to become the hottest commodity in the company.
His final Royal Rumble win came at the tail end of his career in 2001 when he tossed out Kane to spoil the Big Red Monster’s record breaking Rumble performance. He’d take the Rumble win and do the unthinkable at WrestleMania when he turned heel on The Rock to join Vince McMahon.
Only four other superstars have won multiple Royal Rumbles. Of those four, only John Cena is currently active, so Austin’s record will stand for at least another year.
1. Times The WWE Title Was On The Line – 1
In saving the most intriguing number for last, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship has been on the line only once in WWE History. Thanks to unclean finishes in the Undertaker and Hulk Hogan feud, President Jack Tunney declared the title vacant and the winner of the 1992 Royal Rumble would walk away champion. That turned out to be none other than the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
The reason that this is being brought up is because the 2016 Royal Rumble will be the second time the title is on the line. The difference this year is that Roman Reigns is the champion going in and must survive the entire match to be able to walk out with the title and head to WrestleMania as champion, because Vince McMahon put him in the Rumble at number 1.