Since the first Royal Rumble match back in 1988, WWE’s greatest ever gimmick matches has taken place at least once per year and the match has produced far more individual moments than any other gimmick match in wrestling history.
Some were dramatic, some were heartwarming. Some were funny and some were just downright shocking. Everyone has that favourite moment that may not always be one that gets played on the highlight reels.
We asked our Hooked On Wrestling team to give us their favourite Rumble moment from years gone by.
Marc Hemingway – ‘Shake, rattle and eyes roll’, 2001
It’s 2001. Kane is on an absolute rampage and has eliminated everyone that was in the ring with him. Al Snow, Perry Saturn, Raven, Steve Blackman and Grand Master Sexay have all been thrown over the top in quick succession by the Big Red Machine. He’s in the ring alone waiting on the next entrant annnnnnd… it’s the Honky Tonk Man (it’s the Honky Tonk Man). Honky Tonk gets in the ring and tells Kane to hold on because he’s the greatest Intercontinental champion of all time, and he needs to sing his song (it’s the Honky Tonk Man). He sings, turns around, and is met with a guitar shot to the head by Kane. The guitar completely explodes and Honky Tonk is laid out while Kane shakes his head. Makes me laugh every time I watch it.
Paul Benson – ‘Stand back. There’s an ass-whooping coming through’, 2002
Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin. Hogan vs. Warrior. Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels. The Rumble has been full of moments where two huge stars have been left alone in the ring to duke it out. Often for the first time ever or the first time in a while. Almost always, these mid-match segments bring the audience up to a crescendo. In 2002 it was no different. ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and the recently returned Triple H came face to face for the first time since HHH was injured in a match in May 2001 which saw the pair lose the tag team championship. The crowd exploded and these two went at it until both lay prone as the clock counted down to zero and here comes…The Hurricane.
I was such a sucker for Shane Helms’ delusional superhero character back then and the green machine charged into the ring and found himself standing over the two biggest stars in the match. As the pair rose to their feet, Hurricane ‘valiantly’ grabbed each of them by the throat until reality dawned. The look on his face when he realised what he had got himself in to was matched only by the looks on the faces of his would be victims as they briefly forgot their conflict, looked at each other with an almost confused look and silently said to each other ‘Dude, what are we doing? It’s The Hurricane!’ After a moment, the two megastars grabbed Helms by the scruff of the neck and launched him over the top rope and got back to beating the hell out of each other.
A classic Rumble comedy moment.
Ash Rose – The Awesome Final Foursome, 1992
As discussed on the latest episode of HOW Mania, the final moments of Royal Rumble 1992 are stacked with layers. You don’t get a much bigger final four than Hulk Hogan, Sid Justice, Randy Savage and Ric Flair. There’s history, there’s blurred lines of face/heel and there is Flair’s underdog victory- It’s almost perfect. Then it’s followed by arguably the best winning promo of all time.
Pradeep Kachhala, The Ultimate Confrontation, 1990
Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior clash in 1990. The first time it dawned on me that any two superstars could meet each other in the match. It was also a great set up for Wrestlemania VI.
Cameron James Bennett – The Long Goodbye, 2007
The match within a match between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels in 2007. Between ‘Taker sitting up and Michaels’ kip up. Then an excellent back and forth until the elimination and victory for Undertaker giving a sneak peek of what was to come one year later.
Liam Happe – Too Cool Schooled, 2000
When Rikishi and Too Cool turned the 2000 Rumble into a dance party. Not only was the bit itself well-received by the MSG crowd, but there was also that awesome pop just before it when they realised what was happening. As it would turn out, it was pretty much the only real highlight of a pretty bleh Rumble match.
Steve Cox – The King Is Dead, 1990
Dusty Rhodes eliminating “The Macho King” Randy Savage in the 1990 Rumble. It’s an image that has stuck with me throughout my time as a fan. Savage and Dusty have a bit of a back and forth then the King charges Dusty who back bodydrops him out the ring. Doesn’t sound special but Randy grabs the top rope and goes over, almost in slow motion all the way down to the floor it just looks incredible.
I’ve always liked spectacular eliminations.
Josh Chapman – Vince McMahon Goes On A (Double Quad) Tear, 2005
The 2005 Rumble’s botched finish had it all. The confusion of the referees, absolutely superb selling from Batista and Cena as they improvised on the spot after realising what they had done, Vince marching down to the ring angrier than he’s ever been, before blowing both his quads out when he got to the ring. This moment was also the changing of the guard that propelled not just the two men involved, but a handful of other stars too, to the very top.
Justin Czerwonka – The King In The North Slays The Beast, 2020
As someone who was calling the guy a star as far back as 2018, seeing Drew McIntyre get his moment eliminating Brock Lesnar last year felt like vindication. It officially marked him as arriving on the scene and propelled him in to the year he had.
Rob Fackman – THE FLOOR IS LAVA! 1995
My favourite Royal Rumble moment actually comes from one of the weaker Rumbles – 1995.
The first event that I watched was WrestleMania VIII and Shawn Michaels won the opening match and from then on I was hooked on wrestling. Despite being a ‘bad guy’ Shawn Michaels was always my favourite.
In the 1995 Royal Rumble, Shawn Michaels and The British Bulldog started at numbers one and two and lasted all the way until the final two. It’s the closing sequence to that match that is my favourite Rumble Moment. The Bulldog clotheslines Michaels over the top rope, we see Michaels struggling to hold on but the camera then focuses on Davey Boy as he celebrates his victory. We see a close up shot of the Bulldog as he stands triumphantly on the second rope as his music starts to play. Then, out of nowhere, Shawn Michaels attacks Davey from behind, knocking him to the floor, at first it appears as though this is just sour grapes from a defeated HBK but only then as the referee enters the ring and raises Michaels’ hand in victory does the picture become a little clearer. Only then do we see a replay of the angle showing an almighty struggle as Michaels desperately tries to avoid both of his feet from touching the floor. An impressive feat of athleticism and a unique ending to a Royal Rumble Match.
“Only one of Shawn Michaels feet touched the floor”…