The Royal Rumble is one of the most important matches of the year, but here are three times when the WWE booked the wrong person to come out on top.
Ah, the Royal Rumble. It’s been known as the event that kicks off the road to WrestleMania for over three decades now. It’s been described as WWE’s all-star game!
Every year, 30 men and 30 women compete for the chance to headline WrestleMania and become champions of their respective divisions.
In the past, it’s been a way to cement the legacy of a surefire WWE Hall of Famer. In other cases, it’s been the perfect way to give fans a glimpse into the future of the product.
Still, there have been times in the past when the wrong superstar was booked to win.
While the Royal Rumble is one of WWE’s greatest concepts in company history, this certainly isn’t a guarantee the right person will always win.
If you have the time and you’re looking to relive some of the worst booking decisions in Royal Rumble history, this list is dedicated to you.
He was Evolution’s animal. Then, he broke out on his own and became one of WWE’s most prominent superstars on his own. From the year 2005 to 2010, The Animal and the World Heavyweight Title seemed inseparable.
Then, Big Dave went to Hollywood.
While the majority of fans wanted to see him return to pro wrestling, you can be certain that virtually no one wanted to see him in a world title match at WrestleMania 30, let alone win a Royal Rumble match.
That year, the Yes movement was in full effect and Daniel Bryan was the fan-favorite to win the Royal Rumble match and headline WrestleMania.
Long story short, Batista won by last eliminating Roman Reigns. Batista’s win angered the WWE Universe.
Despite not being a participant in the Royal Rumble that year, Bryan overcame the obstacles set forth by The Authority. He defeated both Batista and Randy Orton in what will go down as one of the greatest WrestleMania moments in WWE history.
Roman Reigns went from being the runner-up in 2014 to winning it all the year after. Moreover, he got an assist from the most electrifying man in all of sports entertainment, The Rock.
Unfortunately, not even a surprise return by the people’s champ was enough to keep the audience in attendance from booing The Big Dog out of the building that night.
Unlike Batista, Reigns was still a full-time active member on the roster, so this hate had nothing to do with that. Instead, fans had grown sick and tired of Reigns being shoved down their throats as “The Guy” week after week.
Now, on wrestling’s biggest stage, it was all but certain that Reigns would defeat Brock Lesnar and become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion… but that didn’t happen.
The Beast vs. The Big Dog may have been the scheduled match that evening, but neither man walked out as the champion.
Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank title opportunity and pulled off what Michael Cole referred to as “the heist of the century.”
Sheamus’s relationship with the WWE Universe has had its fair share of ups and downs over the years.
He had arguably the greatest WWE rookie year of all time back in 2009 when he defeated John Cena to become the first Irish-born WWE Champion in the company’s history. As champion, his reign didn’t last too long, as he’d go on to lose the title in an Elimination Chamber match to Triple H in 2010.
Then in 2011, The Celtic Warrior turned face by standing up to Mark Henry. This face turn proved to be a step in the right direction for Sheamus’ career, as it was well-received by the WWE Universe.
Alas, this newfound popularity certainly didn’t make Sheamus the most over babyface on the roster at the time. Nor did it warrant a Royal Rumble win.
Regardless, Sheamus would go on to win the 2012 Royal Rumble and defeat Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds at WrestleMania 28.
While Sheamus’ Royal Rumble victory wouldn’t prove to be the worst decision, it still left the majority of the WWE Universe scratching their heads as to why he won that year.