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Looking Back at 29 Years of the Royal Rumble

Royal Rumble

29 Years of Royal Rumble Statistics

On January 24, 1988, the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) presented their first ever Royal Rumble match.  The event was held in Hamilton, Ontario Canada and kicked off what has now become a yearly tradition.  On Sunday January 29, 2017, WWE presented the 29th annual Royal Rumble on the WWE Network.

The Royal Rumble match itself is a unique wrestling match concept.  It is a battle royal type match, where wrestlers are eliminated from the contest when they are thrown over the top rope, and their feet hit the floor.  To add intrigue to the contest, the match starts with only two wrestlers in the ring.  Then, every two minutes, another superstar joins the match.  The match continues on in this way until all 30 competitors have entered.  A wrestler can be eliminated at any time.

With the nature of the match itself, and with 29 years of history behind it, it’s obviously going to have some interesting historical statistics associated with it.  So here today, we’re going to take a look at some of the more interesting statistics from this great event!

First Man to Win the Royal Rumble:  “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan – 1988

Jim Duggan

The very first Royal Rumble match only featured 20 competitors, and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan was the 13th entrant to the match.  He became the first man to win a Royal Rumble match when he eliminated the One Man Gang.


Multiple Time Royal Rumble Winners:  6

Royal Rumble Winners

Hulk Hogan won the event in 1990 and 1991, Shawn Michaels was the victor in 1995 and 1996, Triple H claimed the top honor in 2002 and 2016, John Cena won in 2008 and 2013, Batista claimed victories in 2005 and 2014, but “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is the only man to have won three Royal Rumble matches with victories in 1997, 1998, and 2001.


The WWF/WWE Championship Has Been Won in the Royal Rumble Match on 2 Separate Occasions

Ric Flair Royal Rumble

In 1992, the WWF World Heavyweight Title was vacant and the new champion was determined by the Royal Rumble match.  “Nature Boy” Ric Flair claimed his first WWF Title by winning the 1992 Rumble.  In 2016, the WWE Title was vacant and the vacancy was filled with the Royal Rumble Match, which was won by Triple H.


The Winner of the Royal Rumble Has Earned a WWE Title Match at Wrestlemania Since 1993

Yokozuna Royal Rumble

The first 5 years of the Royal Rumbles existence was all about bragging rights for winning one of the biggest events of the year, but starting with the 1993 Rumble, the winner was guaranteed a match against the WWE Champion at Wrestlemania.  The winner of the first Rumble with a WWE Title shot on the line was Yokozuna.  He went on to defeat Bret Hart and win the belt at Wrestlemania 9.


The Only Reigning WWE Champion to win the Royal Rumble is Hulk Hogan.

Hulk Hogan Royal Rumble

Hogan entered the 1990 Royal Rumble at #25 as the WWE Champion and went on to win the event, last eliminating Hall of Famer “Mr. Perfect” Curt Henning.


The Royal Rumble is Truly an International Event

Royal Rumble

The Royal Rumble attracts competitors from all over, and to date, 26 different countries have been represented in various Royal Rumbles.  In addition, there have been four winners from outside of the United States.  Canada’s Bret Hart in 1994, Mexico’s Rey Mysterio in 2006, Mexico’s Alberto Del Rio in 2011, and Ireland’s Sheamus in 2012.


Most Eliminations in a Single Royal Rumble Match:  12

In 2014, Roman Reigns eliminated 12 different men in an impressive showing.  He broke the previous record of 11 eliminations set by Kane.


Most Eliminations Combined All Time:  43

Kane Royal Rumble

Throughout the long history of the Royal Rumble, no man has eliminated more men from the match than Kane.  Impressive showings in multiple years have lead “The Big Red Monster” to be at the forefront of total eliminations in the event’s history.


Most Consecutive Appearances in the Royal Rumble:  13


Kane holds the longevity record for making the most consecutive appearances in the Royal Rumble match.  This along with his elimination record, you could make a case that Kane is the best Royal Rumble participant who has never won the event.


Record For Longest Time Spent in a Royal Rumble:  1 Hour, 2 minutes, and 12 seconds.

In 2006, Rey Mysterio entered the match at #2, and went on to out last all the other competitors and won the event, setting the Iron Man record in the process.


Shortest Time Spent in a Royal Rumble Match:  1.9 seconds

In 2009, Santino Marella broke the least impressive record in Rumble history when he was eliminated in just 1.9 seconds after entering the ring by the master of eliminations, Kane.  He broke the previous record of 2 seconds that had been held by The Warlord since 1990.


Largest Competitor to Ever Compete in a Royal Rumble Match:  Andre the Giant

Averaging 7’4? tall, and weighing an incredible 520 lbs, Andre competed in multiple Royal Rumble matches, but never claimed a victory.


Smallest Competitor to Ever Compete in a Royal Rumble Match: Hornswaggle.

At just 4’6? and 142 lbs, the diminutive superstar competed in the 2011 Royal Rumble match.


Luckiest Entry Number in the Royal Rumble:  #27

Big John Studd

Common logic of the match structure would suggest that the higher the number you draw, the better your chances to win the Rumble.  This theory has been proven true, as the Rumble match has been won on 4 different occasions by the competitor who draws #27.  Big John Studd won from this spot in 1989, Yokozuna got his victory in 1993 from the spot, Bret Hart came in at #27 in his 1994 Rumble victory, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin won his last of 3 Rumbles from the #27 position.


The #1 Entrant Has Won the Royal Rumble Two Times

Shawn Michaels Royal Rumble

The worst number you can possibly draw in the Royal Rumble match has actually produced two different winners, Shawn Michaels went coast to coast in 1995, and Chris Benoit repeated the feat in 2004.


#2 Entrant Has Won the Royal Rumble Two Times

As unlucky as it sounds, the #2 entrant has actually went on to win the Rumble on two occasions.  Vince McMahon won in 1999, and Rey Mysterio in 2006.


#24 and #30 Have Three Wins Each

Undertaker Royal Rumble

If you can’t get lucky enough to draw #27, maybe you can settle for one of these two numbers, since each have produced three winners.  Hogan won from the #24 spot in 1991, Steve Austin in 1998, and The Rock in 2000.  As for the #30 spot, The Undertaker won from there in 2007, John Cena in 2008, and Triple H in 2016.


Unluckiest Man in Royal Rumble History:  Shelton Benjamin

The highly talented and athletic superstar Shelton Benjamin has usually been unfortunate enough to be in the same Royal Rumble matches as Shawn Michaels.  Benjamin has been eliminated by Michaels in three different Royal Rumble matches.


The Royal Rumble is always full of intrigue and excitement, and each year brings new statistics to analyze.  It has been one of my favorite events of any type to watch each year, as I have watched every year since 1988, and that tradition continued this year as well.

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Rick Ace Rhodes Posted on Feb 12, 2017 at 07:31 PM

Cool article Mickey. I guess we can now officially add Randy "The Viper" Orton to the list of multiple time winners.

Mr Magic Posted on Feb 12, 2017 at 07:07 PM

I thought The Big Show was the largest competitor. He was always called "the world's largest athlete"

As tall as The Great Khali was, it's a tragedy he never won the Rumble.

OldSchool80s Posted on Feb 12, 2017 at 03:05 PM

Surprised they didn't let Kane keep his streak going this year even though he is not a regular anymore.

Vaporman87 Posted on Feb 12, 2017 at 03:59 AM

A very nice list of some interesting facts and statistics involving the Royal Rumble. Thanks for compiling and presenting these Mick. Good stuff. Now if poor Kane could just win one.

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