The Royal Rumble. Since its creation in 1988, it has been one of the cornerstones of WWE. Even before PPVs were a regular thing, the Rumble was a show all its own, a great way to kick the year off and sets the stage for WrestleMania. The concept is delicious: 30 men entering every two minutes with guys tossed out in between and the last man left gets a title shot at WrestleMania. Nearly 300 superstars have taken part since the Rumble began with several winning more than once. From runs of eliminations to long times to short times to sensational stunts, they have helped craft this into a must-see experience and one of the highlights of WWE’s year.
Over the years, there have been a lot of records in the Rumble and most are well known such as Kane having the most overall eliminations or Roman Reigns the most in one Rumble or Santino Marella holding the record for just one second in the ring. However, there are a lot of other stats about the Rumble that aren’t as well known to even more hardcore fans. Many have to do with time, others locations or such but all pull together for an interesting way to showcase the card. Here are 15 facts about the Rumble not as well-known as others and why the show remains so notable.
15 The Missing Rumble
Vince was smart enough to realize how special the Rumble is and that having it be only once a year is the best move. However, in 1994, he put in not one, but two Rumbles, the second for a special Madison Square Garden show in January. It wasn’t advertised as such but the same rules applied and the match boasted a lot of the same major stars. Diesel eliminated three guys (including injuring 1-2-3 Kid) and Shawn Michaels showed his stuff, tossing out guys before being distracted by Razor Ramon and eliminated. The final two were Owen Hart (a face at the time) and Headshrinker Fatu with Bret Hart and Samu at ringside. After back and forth, Owen tossed Fatu out to win. The match has never been caught on video but it exists and thus, technically, Owen Hart did win a Rumble, a nice addition to his accolades.
14 WCW Connections
While the Rumble is a WWE creation, there are surprisingly connections to the company’s biggest competitor. Since WCW went out of business in 2001, every Rumble has featured at least one former WCW World Champion, the latest being DDP in 2015. A whopping 22 of the 30 participants in 1992 would go on to work for WCW from Hogan and Flair to Tito Santana. The 2004 Rumble had over half the competitors being former champions, many from WCW, the most of any Rumble. It’s not just WCW as 14 of the entrants in the 2004 Rumble would go on to work for TNA while 3 from 2005 would go to that company as well. WWE may be dominating now but interesting how many Rumble entrants have connections to other places in the wrestling world.
13 One and Done
We know of a lot of guys who have made several Rumble appearances and even multiple victories. However, of the nearly 300 who have competed in the Rumble, a whopping 120 made only one appearance. True, many are obvious like joke entry Drew Carey and Vince McMahon himself, not to mention the various “international stars” tossed into the 1997 fray. However, that still includes some notable names like Sgt. Slaughter, Tazz, Sid Vicious, Rhyno and Big John Studd, the only winner to never appear in another Rumble. That’s not to mention that the only appearance by “Razor Ramon” wasn’t even Scott Hall in the part and how some guys felt one time was enough.
12 International Flavor
With so many entrants over the years, it’s no surprise that the Rumble has attracted competitors from all around the world. All told, 26 countries have been represented by wrestlers in the Rumble from the U.S. all the way to Ghana and five winners have been from other nations as well. That’s real countries, not the “fake” nationalities of workers either but their real country of origin. A pretty nice touch to showcase how popular WWE is although interestingly, only the very first Rumble has been held outside the U.S. (Ontario to be exact).
11 If At First…
The Undertaker made his Rumble debut in 1991 and immediately started making an impact, always a big pop when he made his entrance and tossing guys out. However, it would take him eight tries until he finally won in 2007, becoming the first guy to enter at #30 and win it all (a feat that only John Cena has duplicated). That puts him above Kane as the Big Red Machine has been in sixteen Rumbles but yet to win one. Plus, two more as “Isaac Yankem” and the Fake Diesel, a great number of tries to no avail. Still, when they enter, the Brothers of Destruction make an impact to note how bad they can be.
10 On the Show But Not the Match
The undercard of the Rumble was a bit so-so the first few years, the match itself the big draw. It shifted in 1992 with title bouts put on the card and since then, there have been several terrific bouts often better than the Rumble itself and some guys have wrestled in both. However, the Dudley Boyz hold the distinction of appearing five times on the undercard without appearing in the Rumble itself. Two of those were tables matches and a couple title bouts as well to show their strength. Bubba Ray would appear in the 2015 version to break that but still notable how the Dudleyz felt the Rumble itself wasn’t in the cards for them.
9 All For Nothing
Over the years, Matt Bloom has gone by many names in WWE: Albert, A-Train, Tensai, Sweet T, even the Hip Hop Hippo. That’s included a few bad gimmicks to go with and some rather ugly looks but an imposing build. He does hold a record as he has appeared in six Rumbles without eliminating anyone, the most of this unique standard. For a big guy, you’d think he’d have tossed at least one but nope, Bloom has come up short, an interesting touch for the whacky character.
8 Over The Decades
There have been a lot of guys to appear in multiple Rumbles but only two hold the distinction of appearing in Rumbles in the ‘80s, ‘90s, 2000s and 2010s. Those two are Hacksaw Jim Duggan (the very first winner) who last appeared in the 2012 version; and Shawn Michaels, who made his final Rumble appearance in 2010 just months before his retirement. It’s a very impressive record and one can’t help but wonder if Michaels might want to break back into it sometime in 2021 just to make it five for five.
7 #30, Meet #1
The way the Rumble is set up makes it highly unlikely that the guy who drew #1 will still be in the ring when #30 shows up and they face off. However, it’s happened a surprising eight times: Shawn Michaels (1995), Steve Austin (1999), Chris Benoit (2004), HHH (2006), Rey Mysterio (2009), The Miz (2012), Dolph Ziggler (2013) and CM Punk (2014). It’s an interesting touch that shows how long a guy can last until the end and that coming in at #30 doesn’t mean facing a fresher field by any means.
The record for the longest time of a Rumble winner was set by Rey Mysterio, who drew #1 in 2006 and lasted 1:02:12. The shortest time for a winner is held by Edge, who came into the 2010 Rumble at #29 and only had to last 7:19 to win. The longest time for a non-winner is Bob Backlund, who went over an hour in 1993 (although, to be fair, much of that was him knocked out on the outside). Also, HHH holds the record for the most cumulative time in the Rumble, a total of 3:51:32. Of course, the shortest time remains Santino Marella at less than a second in 2009 and the shortest time for #1 is Dolph Ziggler, only 2 and a half minutes in 2010. It goes to show what it takes to last so long in this epic match and how impressive a victor’s performance can be.
For those wondering, the youngest superstar ever to compete in the Rumble is Renee Dupree, who was 20 when he appeared in 2004. The oldest is Jimmy Snuka who was 64 when he made an appearance in the 2008 Rumble to fight old rival Roddy Piper. The oldest winner is Vince McMahon, 54, when he won the controversial ’99 edition while the youngest winner is Brock Lesnar, 26, when he was victorious in 2003. Finally, Bo Dallas is the first competitor in the Rumble to have been born after the Rumble itself was created, in 1990. Age may be a number but like all numbers, it counts in the Rumble.
Since the creation of the show, roughly 460,000 fans have watched the Rumble shows. To put this in perspective, that is larger than the populations of Miami, Atlanta, Orlando, New Orleans and St. Louis, all of which have hosted Rumbles. Also, 22 of the 27 Rumbles have been held in different cities, the most of any WWE PPV show, including WrestleMania. No matter where it is, the Rumble gets attention and is a hot show for the company.
3 Before the Game
We know HHH today as one of the biggest icons of the business and a Rumble winner amid his many other achievements. In 1996, he made his first ever Rumble appearance, still as the “Greenwich Snob” character and forced to be #1 after losing a match to Duke Droese. It was one of the first times Hunter got to show his stuff, lasting 48 minutes before finally eliminated by Diesel. However, in that time, he didn’t eliminate a single person and thus holds the record for longest time without any eliminations in a single Rumble. Some credit him with aiding Jake Roberts in tossing out Takao but he only came at the end, it was mostly Roberts. He may be “The Game” today but his first time had him slightly off it.
2 Short But Sweet
Again, Santino Marella holds the record for the shortest time total in a Rumble. But in 2010, MVP set his own unique record. Coming in at 14, MVP was attacked from behind by the Miz, laid out and helped to the back. Miz himself entered at 16 but after just ten seconds, MVP charged out to attack him and toss him over the top, following himself. This marks the shortest time in the Rumble, eliminating someone and getting eliminated yourself. Meanwhile, another record is held by Gillberg, WWE’s parody of Goldberg, as the scrawny worker lasted only 7 seconds in the 2002 Rumble which is the shortest time by a one-time only Rumble performer. Both fast but both memorable.
1 Created to Mess With Crockett
Even a lot of WWE fans will forget that the only reason the Royal Rumble exists is because Vince wanted to mess with Jim Crockett, the then-owner of what would become WCW. In early 1988, Crockett staged a PPV in New York, the Bunkhouse Stampede. Seeking to cut into that, Vince listened to an old idea of Pat Patterson to create the Rumble and put it for free on USA Network against the Stampede.
The irony is that Vince needn’t have bothered as the Stampede was a total disaster - barely half the arena was full; a ticket misprint had fans showing up an hour after the show started; Ric Flair defended the NWA World Title against Road Warrior Hawk; and Dusty Rhodes booked himself to win the steel cage battle royal main event. So if Vince hadn’t wanted to put the screws into Crockett for no real reason, we wouldn’t have the Rumble today. Funny how things work.