WWE: Top 5 Royal Rumble Matches of All Time

Jan 29, 2022; St. Louis, MO, USA; Wrestlers battle during the Royal Rumble match during the Royal Rumble at The Dome at America's Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 29, 2022; St. Louis, MO, USA; Wrestlers battle during the Royal Rumble match during the Royal Rumble at The Dome at America's Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

The WWE has no shortage of great Royal Rumble matches in its history.

The match that I always look forward to every year is the Royal Rumble match. Regardless of how I feel about the product at the time, or the storylines that are taking place, the WWE always sucks me in for the Royal Rumble event. This year, the product and storylines are on a major upswing, which should juice fans up all around the world as well.

Between the two Rumble matches, the Mountain Dew Pitch Black match between LA Knight and Bray Wyatt, Alexa Bliss VS Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Title, and Kevin Owens versus Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, this year’s Royal Rumble event looks like a home run.

To get prepared, I watched some of the best Royal Rumble matches of the past. Lots of these matches brought me back down memory lane. Here are the top five Royal Rumble Matches of All time:

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5. Royal Rumble Match 2016

This match had a lot of stars and a twist to it as well. Instead of the winner getting a WWE Championship match at Wrestlemania, Roman Reigns had to defend his title with the winner receiving the strap. The buildup was clearly for Reigns to come up on the short end on the road to Wrestlemania.

This Rumble presented so many moments. Who could forget one of the best Royal Rumble debuts of all time at the number three spot with AJ Styles. That was easily one of the biggest pops of the night in Orlando, Florida.

The elimination of Kevin Owens by none other than an NXT Rumble debut by Sami Zayn. That moment brought back so many memories of their 2014-2015 rivalry in NXT.

The elimination of Brock Lesnar by the Wyatt Family was anticlimactic. There were teases of a Wyatt and Lesnar feud in the leadup to the Royal Rumble for an eventual potential match at Wrestlemania 32. However, the WWE had a different plan in mind.

The finish came when Triple H eliminated Reigns, and it came down to a beaten and battered Dean Ambrose and The Game. Ambrose had a Last Man Standing Match for the Intercontinental Championship earlier in the night and was on the brink of a WWE Championship win at the Royal Rumble.

It was a smart move for Reigns to be eliminated before Ambrose because Reigns was receiving tons of boos throughout the night. Triple H finally eliminated Ambrose and became the WWE Champion, much to the dismay of the fans. Overall, a great finish to one of the most entertaining Rumble matches to date.

4. Royal Rumble Match 2010

This one I had no idea who would win the Rumble. Obviously, there were rumors heading into the event, but nothing at the time was set in stone and concrete. This is why I have to put this Royal Rumble match at spot number four.

CM Punk’s early domination at the 2010 Rumble is a vivid memory. After every elimination, he cut a promo, and it was some of his best work during his run as the leader of the Straight Edge Society. My one knock on this match is it’s upsetting he didn’t get a longer run in that Rumble.

Other moments included a mini-reunion of DX, Beth Phoenix eliminating The Great Khali, and Phoenix receiving a GTS by CM Punk in what was one of the biggest heel moves of the year. However, not one single moment trumped the return at #29 when Edge made his return after six months due to Achilles tendon surgery.

He not only came back and eliminated his former tag team partner Chris Jericho, he ran through the whole competition by eliminating John Cena last in what was one of the most emotional Royal Rumble wins. It was amazing to see Edge back and that was the start of his babyface run in the WWE.

3. Royal Rumble Match 2008

Madison Square Garden held this event and the crowd was loud on that night. Seemingly almost every entrant was a pop. And this one started off with a bang.

The match kicked off with the last two superstars remaining from the year prior, Undertaker at number one and Shawn Michaels at number two. In what was one of the best starts to a match in Rumble history, it was neither man’s night. The two lasted about halfway through when HBK found an opportunity to eliminate Undertaker.

Shortly after Mr. Kennedy eliminated Michaels, Taker and HBK shared a stare-down as a sign of what was to come, as WWE already had long-term plans to book the two icons at the following year’s Wrestlemania in Houston. Little details like these are what make the Royal Rumble match so unique and special, as you can use it to plant a seed for long-term storytelling.

Just about everyone expected Triple H as the winner of the 2008 Royal Rumble. The company built him up in the months before as one of the top contenders. He came out on fire at number 29 eliminating almost everyone in his sight. And then number 30 came out.

The crowd went through the MSG roof as they couldn’t believe their eyes as John Cena made his return just five months after tearing his pectoral muscle completely off the bone. And you all know how it ends.

After a back-and-forth five or so minutes between Cena and Triple H, Cena overpowered Triple H and hit him with the Attitude Adjustment onto the floor, winning the Royal Rumble match. The iconic shot of Cena on the top turnbuckle pointing at his scar on the muscle he had surgery on and the pyro going off all around is one of the shots they still use in the intro to today’s shows! Probably one of, if not the best endings to a Royal Rumble match in the history of this event.

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2. Royal Rumble Match 2001

This Royal Rumble match was one of the most unique of its era. This Rumble also provided more brawls and weapons than any of the Rumbles in the past. This one brought a celebrity such as Drew Carey, and a legend from back in the day, the Honky Tonk Man.

New Orleans got one of the best Rumble matches in history and they saw a record-breaking performance, as it was the year of Kane. Kane entered as the number six entrant and dominated the entire competition. He eliminated more than a third of the superstars that entered the Royal Rumble Match at 11. It was an unprecedented number at the time. Now Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman both hold the record at 13 eliminations each.

Not one person was really sure who was going to win this year’s Royal Rumble. With Kane on a monster tear, the Undertaker seemingly in the biggest role of his career, they were certainly building up the Brothers of Destruction. There were also stars such as The Rock, Rikishi, and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

In the end, it came down to Kane and Stone Cold. After a couple of brutal chair shots, a crimson-masked Steve Austin became the first three-time winner of the Royal Rumble Match. If there was ever a Mr. Royal Rumble, it’s Stone Cold Steve Austin.

1. Royal Rumble Match 2007

In the number one spot comes the 2007 Rumble. This one had everything between the roster, a fantastic finish, and a new twist. For the first time ever, Raw, SmackDown, and ECW superstars competed in a Rumble match.

Major pops from the San Antonio crowd for all the ECW stars, such as CM Punk, Tommy Dreamer, Sabu, Sandman, and Rob Van Dam.  I’m a bit biased when it comes to ECW because it does have a special place in my heart, but seeing all these ECW legends in one setting with the current WWE superstars was amazing.

Randy Orton and Edge teamed up for most of the match. Rated RKO was on a rampage as they combined for a total of seven eliminations. San Antonio’s own Shawn Michales got the loudest pop of the night when he made his entrance and eliminated four superstars on his own.

In the build-up to this Royal Rumble, no one really truly stood out. All in all, that’s what makes for an unpredictable finish. And that’s why this is my number one Royal Rumble match that I love to go back and watch. At number 30, Undertaker came out and I had a moment to think to myself “who’s going over in this match?” as I was looking at the current field. Even the final four between Orton, Edge, HBK, and Taker. I had no idea where WWE was going to lean.

In the end, it came down to the Heart Break Kid and the Deadman. There were loud cheers for Michaels as he was raring up for Sweet Chin Music. But a bloody and battered Taker was able to recover and maneuver around the superkick and flip Michaels over the top rope for the win.

In what was the most entertaining end to a match, came great enjoyment. With half the crowd stunned, the hometown star couldn’t pull it out in the end, with the other half cheering loudly for Undertaker. A much-deserved Rumble victory after years of tenure without many Royal Rumble appearances.

As crazy as it sounds, Undertaker became the first superstar to win the Royal Rumble from the number 30 spot.

The start of the Michaels versus Taker feud truly started here, two years prior to the best clash in WWE history at Wrestlemania 25. The WWE planned it that far out in advance that the eventual match would happen. That long-term seed was planted and it grew into one of the best matches and rivalries of the modern era.

That’s what the Royal Rumble is all about. And with the new Triple H regime firmly in place, I suspect the new showrunner to plant a long-term storytelling seed in the Men’s and Women’s Royal Rumble matches at the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX.

dark. Next. WWE must put together a well-received Royal Rumble to build momentum

What are your top five Royal Rumble matches of all time?