WWE Royal Rumble: Rules, History, Winners, Records, Statistics, Eliminations

Here’s everything you need to know about the WWE’s annual tradition, Royal Rumble.

The Undertaker & Shawn Michaels Royal Rumble 1997

It must be that time of year: everybody is catching Royal Rumble fever!

WWE’s annual trademark melee is perhaps the only event that can touch WrestleMania for popularity, and it traditionally gets the ‘Road To WM’ underway.

So, for the new and casual fans, here’s an overview of how it works. And for everybody, here’s a rundown of some of the past winners and cool records held by participants.

Royal Rumble: How it works

30 people are entered into each Rumble. Those wrestlers draw a number at random prior to the match, from 1 to 30. The two wrestlers who drew 1 and 2 will head to the ring for the start of the match.

The Rumble begins with 1 vs 2. Pinfalls and submissions mean nothing, however – there are no count-outs and disqualifications, either. A wrestler must send an opponent over the top rope and down onto the arena floor, with both feet touching the floor to confirm an elimination.

Meanwhile, every two minutes (note: some years this has been 90 or even just 60 seconds), a new wrestler will join the match. Of course, this takes place according to the numbers drawn. So, after the first interval we will be joined by number 3. Then 4, then 5, and so on. Eliminations can occur at any point.

Once the 30th and final entrant has joined the match, those who are left find themselves in a straight-up battle royal for the victory, and often a World Championship match in the main event of WrestleMania.

On two occasions (1992 and 2016), the World title has been up for grabs and gone to the winner of the Rumble while number one contendership wasn’t set in stone as the prize until 1993. At the first Rumble in 1988, there were only 20 participants, while 2011 experimented with 40 and a rare bonus Rumble in Saudi Arabia in 2018 had a field of 50!

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Past Rumble winners

(Number drawn by winner in parentheses)

  • 1988 = Hacksaw Jim Duggan (#13)
  • 1989 = Big John Studd (#27)
  • 1990 = Hulk Hogan (#25)
  • 1991 = Hulk Hogan (#24)
  • 1992 = Ric Flair (#3)
  • 1993 = Yokozuna (#27)
  • 1994 = Lex Luger (#23) and Bret Hart (#27)
  • 1995 = Shawn Michaels (#1)
  • 1996 = Shawn Michaels (#18)
  • 1997 = Steve Austin (#5)
  • 1998 = Steve Austin (#24)
  • 1999 = Vince McMahon (#2)
  • 2000 = The Rock (#24)
  • 2001 = Steve Austin (#27)
  • 2002 = Triple H (#22)
  • 2003 = Brock Lesnar (#29)
  • 2004 = Chris Benoit (#1)
  • 2005 = Batista (#28)
  • 2006 = Rey Mysterio (#2)
  • 2007 = Undertaker (#30)
  • 2008 = John Cena (#30)
  • 2009 = Randy Orton (#8)
  • 2010 = Edge (#29)
  • 2011 = Alberto Del Rio (#38)
  • 2012 = Sheamus (#22)
  • 2013 = John Cena (#19)
  • 2014 = Batista (#28)
  • 2015 = Roman Reigns (#19)
  • 2016 = Triple H (#30)
  • 2017 = Randy Orton (#23)
  • 2018 [Men] = Shinsuke Nakamura (#14)
  • 2018 [Women] = Asuka (#25)
  • Greatest Royal Rumble = Braun Strowman (#41)
  • 2019 [Men] = Seth Rollins (#10)
  • 2019 [Women] = Becky Lynch (#28)
  • 2020 [Women] = Charlotte Flair (#17)
  • 2020 [Men] = Drew McIntyre (#16)

Rumble records and trivia

  • Steve Austin holds the record for most Royal Rumble victories at 3.
  • Six people have won 2 Royal Rumbles (Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Batista, Triple H and Randy Orton)
  • Number 27 is the luckiest number with the most Royal Rumble winners at 4, but #24, #28 and #30 are close with 3 apiece.
  • Batista is the only person to win from the same spot twice, at #28
  • 2007 and 2008 is the only time the same number won in succession (#30)
  • When adjusted for inflation, Hacksaw Jim Duggan’s #13 win out of 20 wrestlers instead of 30 becomes an equivalent of #19.5 (rounded up to #20) by today’s standards
  • When adjusted for deflation, Alberto Del Rio’s #38 win out of 40 wrestlers translates to #28.5 (rounded up to #29) by normal standards
  • When adjusted for deflation, Braun Strowman’s #41 win out of 50 wrestlers translates to #24.6 (rounded up to #25) by normal standards
  • If you factor in all current Royal Rumble winners, the average winning entry number is #19.989 (adjusted) and 20.5 (normal), making the most likely winning number #20.
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Rumble elimination leaders by year

  • 1988 = One Man Gang (6)
  • 1989 = Hulk Hogan (9)
  • 1990 = Ultimate Warrior (6)
  • 1991 = Hulk Hogan (7)
  • 1992 = Sid Justice (6)
  • 1993 = Yokozuna (7)
  • 1994 = Diesel and Lex Luger (7)
  • 1995 = Shawn Michaels (8)
  • 1996 = Shawn Michaels (8)
  • 1997 = Steve Austin (10)
  • 1998 = Steve Austin (7)
  • 1999 = Steve Austin (8)
  • 2000 = Rikishi (7)
  • 2001 = Kane (11)
  • 2002 = Steve Austin and Undertaker (7)
  • 2003 = Chris Jericho (6)
  • 2004 = Chris Benoit (6)
  • 2005 = Batista and Edge (5)
  • 2006 = Rey Mysterio (6)
  • 2007 = The Great Khali (7)
  • 2008 = Triple H (6)
  • 2009 = Big Show and Triple H (6)
  • 2010 = Shawn Michaels (6)
  • 2011 = CM Punk and John Cena (7)
  • 2012 = Cody Rhodes (5)
  • 2013 = Ryback and Sheamus (5)
  • 2014 = Roman Reigns (12)
  • 2015 = Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns and Rusev (6)
  • 2016 = Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns (4)
  • 2017 = Braun Strowman (7)
  • 2018 [Men] = Finn Balor and Roman Reigns (4)
  • 2018 [Women] = Michelle McCool (5)
  • Greatest Royal Rumble = Braun Strowman (13)
  • 2019 [Men] = Braun Strowman (5)
  • 2019 [Women] = Charlotte Flair (5)
  • 2020 [Women] = Bianca Belair and Shayna Baszler (8)
  • 2020 [Men] = Brock Lesnar (13)

Rumble ‘Iron Man’ award (longest time in each Rumble)

  • 1988 = Bret Hart (00:25:42) – Entrant #1
  • 1989 = Mr. Perfect (00:27:58) – Entrant #4
  • 1990 = Ted DiBiase (00:44:47) – Entrant #1
  • 1991 = Rick Martel (00:52:17) – Entrant #6
  • 1992 = Ric Flair (00:59:26) – Entrant #3
  • 1993 = Bob Backlund (1:01:10) – Entrant #2
  • 1994 = Bam Bam Bigelow (00:30:12) – Entrant #15
  • 1995 = Shawn Michaels (00:38:41) – Entrant #1
  • 1996 = Hunter Hearst Helmsley (00:48:01) – Entrant #1
  • 1997 = Stone Cold Steve Austin (00:45:07) – Entrant #5
  • 1998 = The Rock (00:51:32) – Entrant #4
  • 1999 = Vince McMahon (00:56:38) – Entrant #2
  • 2000 = Test (00:26:17) – Entrant #10
  • 2001 = Kane (00:53:46) – Entrant #6
  • 2002 = Stone Cold Steve Austin (00:26:46) – Entrant #19
  • 2003 = Chris Jericho (00:38:54) – Entrant #2
  • 2004 = Chris Benoit (1:01:30) – Entrant #1
  • 2005 = Chris Benoit (00:47:26) – Entrant #2
  • 2006 = Rey Mysterio (1:02:12) – Entrant #2
  • 2007 = Edge (00:44:02) – Entrant #5
  • 2008 = Batista (00:37:42) – Entrant #8
  • 2009 = Triple H (00:49:55) – Entrant #7
  • 2010 = John Cena (00:22:11) – Entrant #19
  • 2011 = CM Punk (00:35:21) – Entrant #1
  • 2012 = The Miz (00:45:39) – Entrant #1
  • 2013 = Dolph Ziggler (00:49:47) – Entrant #1
  • 2014 = CM Punk (00:49:15) – Entrant #1
  • 2015 = Bray Wyatt (00:46:58) – Entrant #5
  • 2016 = Roman Reigns (00:59:50) – Entrant #1
  • 2017 = Chris Jericho (1:00:13) – Entrant #2
  • 2018 [Men] = Finn Balor (00:57:38) – Entrant #2
  • 2018 [Women] = Sasha Banks (00:54:46) – Entrant #1
  • Greatest Royal Rumble = Daniel Bryan (01:16:05) – Entrant #1
  • 2019 [Men] = Seth Rollins (00:43:00) – Entrant #10
  • 2019 [Women] = Natalya (00:56:01) – Entrant #2
  • 2020 [Women] = Bianca Belair (00:33:20) – Entrant #2
  • 2020 [Men] = Drew McIntyre (00:34:11) – Entrant #16
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Chris Jericho has spent almost five hours in Royal Rumble matches (4:59:33), giving him the longest combined time in the match.

Top 10 fastest Rumble eliminations

  • 10. The Godfather – 5 seconds (2013)
  • 9. Jerry Lawler – 4 seconds (1997)
  • 8. Bushwhacker Luke – 4 seconds (1991)
  • 7. Titus O’Neil – 4 seconds (2015)
  • 6. Owen Hart – 3 seconds (1995)
  • 5. Mo – 3 seconds (1995)
  • 4. Xavier Woods – 3 seconds (2019)
  • 3. The Warlord – 2 seconds (1989)
  • 2. No Way Jose – 2 seconds (2019)
  • 1. Santino Marella – 1 second (2009)

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