Did you know the inaugural WWE Royal Rumble event wasn’t available on pay-per-view?Instead, it was shown live on the USA network in 1988 as a television special. Back then, the total number of entrants peaked at 20… fewer than today’s traditional 30 superstars and only half of 2011’s record of 40 superstars.
The Royal Rumble concept was cooked up by none other than WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson. What began in Hamilton, Ontario continues to run wild 28 years later. Along the way, many fascinating statistics have been discovered about the Royal Rumble match: Did you know Stone Cold Steve Austin holds the record for most Rumble Victories with three wins? Or that Rey Mysterio holds the record for longest time spent in a single Royal Rumble at just over one hour and two minutes?
What about the other end of the stick? Who is the WWE superstar who spent the least amount of time in a single Royal Rumble match? This list focuses on the Top 10 Superstars who turned in the very worst performances in WWE history.
10. The Miz (00:07 Seconds)
Like him or hate him, there’s something special about Mike “The Miz” Mizanin. Prior to his debut on WWE via Tough Enough, the world was introduced to this superstar in 2001 on MTV’s Real World. Since becoming a WWE mainstay, The Miz has made several television appearances such as in Fear Factor, Identity, Ghost Hunters, Psych, and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
Contrary to popular belief, The Miz made his debut with Ultimate Pro Wrestling in 2003 after completing their training camp, Ultimate University. When he joined the cast of Tough Enough, he made it all the way to the finals before ultimately losing to Daniel Puder. Despite this, the company saw potential in the young man and shot him off to train at Deep South Wrestling with Bill DeMott.
Seven years later, The Miz successfully defended the WWE Championship against John Cena in the main event of Wrestlemania XXVII.
Of course there were low points in his career, and one of them was at the 2007 Royal Rumble in San Antonio, TX. On this night, The Miz set another personal record: Shortest time spent in the Rumble that year with just 7 seconds of ring time! The Great Khali was the one to elimnate him.
9. Gillberg (00:07 Seconds)
Duane Gill’s ring name “Gillberg” was WWE’s parody on their Monday Night Wars rival and WCW’s top player, Goldberg. As a rib, the creative team for WWE placed the Light Heavyweight Championship Title on Gillberg… and there it stayed for an astonishing 15 months, longer than any other Light Heavyweight Champion in WWE history!
Royal Rumble 1999 in Anaheim, California kicked off with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and WWE Chairman Vince McMahon as the first two entrants. As time elapsed, more notable superstars entered the match such as Triple H, Owen Hart and Edge… even Chyna joined the battle at the coveted #30 spot!
1999 was also the year that Gillberg made his official debut at the Royal Rumble, drawing #5 to enter the match after Edge and before Steve Blackman. In less time than it took for his flea market pyrotechnics to burn out, WWE Hall of Fame superstar Edge had eliminated Gillberg!
8. The Godfather (00:05 Seconds)
Charles Wright has appeared in the WWE under different names for close to three decades. Older fans may remember Papa Shango or Kama Mustafa, but most people know him best as “The Godfather”, bearer of the neon-colored pimp suit and conductor of the Ho train.
In 2002, The Godfather retired out of in-ring action for over a decade before making his surprise return as the #17 entrant in the 2013 Royal Rumble. Despite his long absence, the audience remembered the man and welcomed him back to the ring with a huge pop!
Already in the ring were Chris Jericho, Sheamus, Cody Rhodes, Rey Mysterio and Dolph Ziggler, who was ultimately responsible for eliminating The Godfather in just five seconds. Not to be shaken or taken for a fool, The Godfather kept his cool and returned to the back with a smile on his face!
7. Titus O’Neil (00:04 Seconds)
The mighty Titus O’Neil was signed to WWE after his memorable stints in the second and fifth seasons of NXT. He is a former college football player for the University of Florida and a former professional football player in the Arena Football League.
WWE Royal Rumble 2015 remains steeped in controversy. Despite excellent surprise entrants like Bubba Ray Dudley, The Boogeyman and Diamond Dallas Page, fans ultimately hated the event. Before the show ended, #cancelwwenetwork was the #1 trend worldwide on Twitter.
Titus O’Neil entered the Royal Rumble late at #26, an ideal spot for any wrestler looking to win the match and secure their main event spot at Wrestlemania. Before fans could say “Millions of Dollars”, Titus was thrown over the top rope by Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, finding his way down to the arena floor. According to WWE officials, Titus O’Neil’s total time in the ring was a paltry four seconds!
Perhaps he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time?
6. Jerry “The King” Lawler (00:04 Seconds)
Jerry “The King” Lawler is a (narrowly) living legend. His storied professional wrestling career spans five decades and includes over 168 Championship Titles, easily making this WWE Hall of Famer the most prestigious superstar to make this list!
Through much of the ’90s, The King was embattled with rival Bret “The Hitman” Hart. Their feud would grow to include a Kiss My Foot Match at the 1995 WWE King of the Ring show in Philadelphia, PA. The finish would ensure the feud would survive for years to come.
WWE’s tenth annual Royal Rumble went live from San Antonio, TX on January 19, 1997. The main event showcased the talents of Razor Ramon, Diesel, The Undertaker and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, but it was also where the old wounds between Jerry Lawler and Bret Hart opened up and bled out for the whole world to see…
…for four seconds, because that’s all it took for Bret Hart to send Jerry Lawler back to the locker room. Lawler’s back never touched the mat, and no other superstar spent less time in the Royal Rumble that year!
5. Bushwhacker Luke (00:04 Seconds)
Brian Wickens, best known as Luke Williams, is a WWE Hall of Famer as part of the tag team “The Bushwhackers”. The New Zealand native made his debut on the independent wrestling scene in 1962 – the same year Marilyn Monroe passed away.
Cousin Luke and Cousin Butch both made their Royal Rumble debuts in 1990 where they managed to one-up The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (their rivals at the time) in Orlando, Florida. Overall, The Bushwhackers were having a great year and enjoying success in WWE with their outlandish and endearing gimmick.
Just one year later in Miami Florida at Royal Rumble 1991, Bushwhacker Luke made history of another kind when he entered the match at #27, getting eliminated by Earthquake in four seconds flat.
Both of The Bushwhackers were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2015 and delivered one of the most lively, memorable acceptance speeches of the evening.
4. Owen Hart (00:03 Seconds)
Owen Hart was a Canadian amateur wrestler, professional wrestler, and a member of the Hart Wrestling Family dynasty. He was the youngest of 12 children by WWE Hall of Famer Stu Hart (who trained all of the Harts in the family’s infamous “Dungeon”) and his wife Helen Hart.
Since his debut in 1983, Owen Hart was known by many names such as “The Rocket”, “The King of Harts” and “The Blue Blazer”. Everywhere he went he won Championship Titles, and WWE was no different. Hart once held the European Championship, Intercontinental Championship twice, and was a 4-time World Tag Team Championship Title holder with the likes of Yokozuna, The British Bulldog and Jeff Jarrett.
WWE Royal Rumble 1995 in Tampa, Florida was one for the record books. Things didn’t go so well for Owen Hart, who entered the Royal Rumble at the #11 position. A mere three seconds after climbing through the ropes, Owen was eliminated by British Bulldog (who was on a hot streak that night).
Owen Hart wasn’t the only superstar to make this list for their work at the 1995 Royal Rumble…
3. Mo (00:03 Seconds)
Robert Lawrence Horne debuted as Bobby Knight on the east coast independent wrestling scene in 1991. Right away, he and his kayfabe brother Nelson Knight (played by the late Nelson Frazier, a.k.a. Viscera) joined up to form “The Harlem Knights” tag team. The pair had found success with one another, and they continued to build their brand for two years on the indy scene.
In 1993, the duo was signed to the main roster of the WWE where they changed their ring names to Mo (Horne) and Mabel (Frazier), as well as the name of their tag team from “The Harlem Knights” to “Men on a Mission”.
Mo found himself sharing a dubious record with fellow wrestler Owen Hart at WWE Royal Rumble 1995 in Tampa, Florida: After entering in the #16 spot, Mo was unceremoniously dumped over the top rope in a flat three seconds by King Kong Bundy.
To add insult to injury, had Mo lasted for a few minutes longer his tag team partner Mabel was scheduled to enter the match at #17.
2. The Warlord (00:02 Seconds)
The Warlord was a physically imposing character, billed at 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighing north of 320lbs. The Warlord paid his dues in 1986 with Jim Crockett Promotions before coming on board with WWE in 1988. Though he was unsuccessful in obtaining championship gold during his time with the company, The Warlord managed to secure a spot in their record books.
WWE’s second annual Royal Rumble took place at The Summit in Houston, Texas on January 15th, 1989. This was the first Rumble to feature 30 participants and the first to be aired live around the world on Pay-Per-View. On this night, Mr. Perfect set a new Royal Rumble endurance record of 27 minutes and 58 seconds…
…but The Warlord went the opposite direction in the history books. Upon entering the Rumble at the #21 position, The Warlord was immediately defeated by Hulk Hogan in just two seconds! After that ludicrous display, he became known as the superstar with the shortest time spent in a single Royal Rumble for 20 years.
“Records are meant to be broken” as the saying goes… and the benchmark set by The Warlord is no exception.
1. Santino Marella (00:01 Seconds)
Anthony Carelli is a retired Canadian professional wrestler best known for his work in WWE as Santino Marella (named for Robert “Gorilla Monsoon” Marella). Santino Marella made his debut on the April 16, 2007 episode of Raw broadcasting live from Milan, Italy when he answered Vince McMahon’s open challenge to face Umaga for the Intercontinental Championship.
The twenty-second annual WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view took place at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan on January 25th, 2009. In total, 30 superstars representing Raw, Smackdown, and ECW were on hand including top names like Rey Mysterio, John Morrison, CM Punk and The Undertaker.
Santino Marella drew #28 for his Royal Rumble entry, and when his music hit fans of “The Milan Miracle” cheered him on as he charged to the ring wearing a look of focus and determination… then laughed uncontrollably when WWE veteran Kane clotheslined Marella over the top rope and into the history books!
Santino Marella’s nearly impossible-to-break record of just one second stands to this day as the fastest Royal Rumble elimination of all time!