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8 Most Unforgettable Royal Rumble Moments in WWE History

By Dan Vasta in WWE
| January 6, 2022 10:16 am PDT

The Royal Rumble is a must-see every January and some moments are remembered for eternity.

If you’re a fan of professional wrestling, then you’re almost certainly a huge fan of the Royal Rumble. With the iconic event delivering new unforgettable moments yearly, here’s a look back at some of the most notable Royal Rumble moments in WWE history.

Stone Cold Steve Austin Wins 2001 Royal Rumble

Winning the 2001 Royal Rumble was bitter-sweet. It was the ending of The Attitude Era. Events would slowly change in the next handful of years.

We were blessed with classic Royal Rumble matches in the early 2000s, but this was at or near the top compared to any match we have seen. Austin was still near the peak of his career, and he had some of the better battles.

Massive chair shots to the head were slowly leaving the company. With the sudden passing of dozens of wrestlers over the years, we saw wrestling with less violence and gore.

If there is an underrated finish in the history of the Royal Rumble, this is the one. Kane against Austin was an elite finish with several chair shots to the skull. Ultimately, Stone Cold earned the victory, and it was classic WWF.

Kofi Kingston Uses Handstand in 2012 Royal Rumble

Pick your favorite Kofi Kingston moment; there have been plenty of them. There may not have been a more iconic performer in the square circle when it came to creativity.

Kingston has had an exceptional career in the WWE, but the ability to entertain is what has stuck out over the years. He has been in some fun Money in the Bank matches and plenty of main events.

However, Kingston outdid the crowd in 2012. The Miz had him eliminated, and somehow, someway, Kingston was able to get back to the steel steps.

We would later see more creativity from Kofi in 2013. He used a chair from Bradshaw at the announcing table to re-enter the squared circle. No matter the moment, Kofi entertained the fans with his skills.

Getting eliminated by Miz seemed like a lock to happen when he flipped him to the outside. Kingston has used a chair before, but the backward handstand to get back to safety was one of the crazier moments.

Forget the Royal Rumble this was an absurd scene. While Kofi ended up getting eliminated and falling short of winning the match, this is one of those moments that people will watch over and over leading up to the yearly event.

John Cena Returns in 2008 Royal Rumble

One of the top wrestlers in WWE history has been John Cena, thanks to his ability to capture the championship 16-times. Millions of fans enjoy screaming at the top of their lungs, either booing or cheering on the future Hall of Famer. The ability to earn so many followers over the years has made Cena special.

Cena suffered a torn pectoral earlier in the fall. Before the night of the rumble, many were hoping he would be back for Wrestlemania. He made a surprise entrance as the final wrestler to enter the ring.

Being the No. 30 was surreal. He ended up eliminating Triple H, Carlito, Mark Henry and Chavo Guerrer for the victory.

Batista, Kane, and Umaga were all soon eliminated at the end of the match. It was between The Game and Cena. There were classic counters, and we saw Cena pull off the Attitude Adjustment, putting Triple H over the ropes for the victory.

Hurricanes Helms Attempts Chokeslam on Triple H & Austin

The 2001 Royal Rumble was one of the better finishes, and it was the return of Triple H. Stone Cold Steve Austin were opening a can on the WWF (now WWE), and the return of The Game was electric.

Both superstars knocked each other out and were hardly moving on the mat when the No. 23 entrant had the clock ticking down. Out of all the potential juggernauts to appear in the squared circle, it was comedy relief when The Hurricane came flying down the ramp.

Yes, a real-life superhero in the ring against two of the baddest dudes on the planet. Hurricane Helms was a laughable character that was pure joy.

We have had superheroes over the years, and this was one of the more hilarious moments in Royal Rumble history.

Once Helms entered the ring with Austin and Triple H down for the count, he mustered a grip preparing himself for a double chokeslam. Both future Hall of Fame legends got a kick out of Helms attempting to choke them while the pair rose to their feet.

It only took a few seconds before both Stone Cold and Triple H worked together by countering the chokeslam and tossing Hurricane over the ropes like he was a ragged doll.

This elimination had no impact on the outcome of the match, but still entertaining to watch. There are some odd entrants throughout most Royal Rumbles, but the difference was the delivery.

This one hit the spot, and many point to one of the more underrated moments in the history of the pay-per-view.

Shawn Michaels Wins 1995 Royal Rumble As #1 Entrant

Winning the match as the first entrant never gets old. Shawn Michaels is widely considered one of the five best in-ring performers in the history of WWE.

He was known for his performances at Wrestlemania, but he was an elite icon at the Royal Rumbles.

The numbers back up his credentials even further.

  • 41 career eliminations (second-most)
  • 12 career Royal Rumbles (T-fourth)
  • One of eight wrestlers to win the Royal Rumble twice

The moment Michaels won the 1995 Royal Rumble, many folks were shocked. The British Bulldog seemingly tossed HBK over the ropes and to the floor. However, Michaels hung on for dear life and managed to get back into the ring.

Bulldog was celebrating and went to the top rope. Michaels surprised him and tossed him over the top turnbuckle. HBK pulled off the miraculous victory. We have seen similar finishes over the years. However, it was the Heartbreak Kid that started the trend.

Edge Surprise Return at 2020 Royal Rumble

Coming out of retirement with an injury to his neck that many (doctors included) thought he would never return, Edge shocked the nation.

The previous match we had seen Edge was nine years prior in a six-man tag match. That was on Smackdown in April of 2011!

Many doubters believed Edge was done. He even had his own show on the WWE Network with Christian. Winning a future Royal Rumble and competing in a few was out of the question.

The resume for Edge has been amazing over the years. He has done it all, but the impact he has had since the Attitude Era is what most fans remember him for.

  • 31 Championships (second-most)
  • Seven-time World Heavyweight titles
  • Four-time WWE Championship
  • Five-time Intercontinental champion
  • One US Title
  • 12-time World Tag Team Champion (most)
  • Two-time WWE Tag Team Champion

The moment was one of the better ones in his career. Edge ended up winning the 2010 Royal Rumble and retired in 2011. He was elected into the WWE Hall of Fame the following year and was seemingly, done with the sport. However, he had a comeback up his sleeve

As the No. 21 entrant, Edge came in and eliminated three stars: AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Randy Orton.

We saw the Hall of Famer make it to the final three, but Roman Reigns tossed him out of the ring before Drew McIntyre went on and won the match.

Getting a reaction from the crowd is pivotal. The era of no fans with Covid certainly was the difference. When Edge came back and made his presence known, it ranks among the better moments in Royal Rumble history.

People enjoy wagering on many of these wrestlers to win the Royal Rumble. So, be sure to check out more information on the best WWE betting sites to place future wagers.

John Morrison Parkour Escape in 2011

John Morrison was the seventh entrant in a rumble that involved 40 wrestlers. Many viewed this Royal Rumble as one of the worst ever. A few notes before we dive into this epic moment.

  • Alberto Del Rio won as entrant No. 38
  • CM Punk lasted the longest as the No. 1 entrant (35:21)
  • 9 entrant was Bray Wyatt under the ring name Husky Harris
  • Diesel made a surprise entrant at No. 32 (was 52 years old)

The Royal Rumble is about the surprise entrants and performers least expected to surprise. There needs to be a few mid-card performers that can help. Perhaps, that was what was missing in the 2011 Royal Rumble.

The athletic ability by Morrison was off the charts, and he was able to feast on the competition. Getting thrown off the side of the ring by William Regal was a challenging spot that Morrison was in. (standout text)

As he was up against the guardrail, Morrison kept his legs on top of the outside banister. He was suddenly able to turn into Spider-man. Quickly jumping to the barricade, we saw Morrison jump back onto the steel stairs and get back into the match.

While he may not have won the match, his moment was one of the better moments in the history of the Royal Rumble.

Maven Eliminates The Undertaker in 2002

Eliminating one of the top superstars in WWE history makes the cut. Maven was a former MTV Tough Enough winner and was a jobber compared to The Undertaker.

The Deadman turned his back on Maven and was drop-kicked out of the ring by the rookie. It remains the top upset elimination in the history of the event.

The night was far from over for Maven. He would soon be obliterated by Taker, despite never getting eliminated. Getting taken out through the crowd into the stands was quite the adventure.

Undertaker then smashed Maven through a popcorn machine that busted him open and ended his night. Taker even grabbed a handful of the popcorn and the night between was over. The moments are vastly underrated and rank among the better ones in Royal Rumble history. 

Summary

There you have it, folks. A ranking of the best moments we’ve seen in Royal Rumble’s history.

One of my favorites that missed the cut was the 2000 Royal Rumble when Too Cool busted a few moves in the middle of the match. There were plenty of moments by Stone Cold against Vince McMahon, and Bret Hart could have made the list.

The Royal Rumble comes every year, and more amazing memories will continue to be created. The best part? You can bet on what happens each time by using the best WWE betting sites.

There is more to the WWE than just the Royal Rumble, of course. I also took a look at the top matches ever seen at Wrestlemania in the post below.

Best Wrestlemania Matches in WWE History

One of the better sporting events of the calendar year is Wrestlemania.  WWE fans look forward to March, an annual event that now occurs in April. Often compared to the Super Bowl, the top superstars entertain the nation on a two-day event. Several...

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