WWE Royal Rumble: Top Iron Man Performances Throughout History


Heading into the 2023 WWE Royal Rumble, let’s look back at those who put on a show lasting the longest in the event.

For thirty-five years the Royal Rumble has given us some of the most memorable performances in wrestling history.  From Ric Flair’s epic championship win in 1992 to Rey Mysterio’s miracle effort in 2006 the Royal Rumble has given us some of the best performances.

However, for every Flair and Mysterio, there are some performances that get forgotten.  In this article, I’m going to recognize five forgotten iron man performances in Royal Rumble history.  The one thing that all of these performances have in common is that these men didn’t win the Royal Rumble but were great efforts put in by some of the biggest names in wrestling history.

The first iron man performance is Ted DiBiase in 1990.

In 1989, the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase entered the match at the coveted number thirty position.  If he paid to get that spot remains up for debate.  One year later, with added security for the drawing, DiBiase drew the number one position the worst number you can get.

How would Ted DiBiase react?  By putting in the first real iron man performance in Royal Rumble history.  DiBiase was in the Royal Rumble match for almost forty-five minutes eliminating four wrestlers while in the process.

This performance was the first time in Royal Rumble history that an individual from the number one position lasted that long in the match.  The wrestler with the second longest performance was at twenty-two minutes, nearly half of what DiBiase had done.  It was a million-dollar effort from DiBiase on this day.

The next performance features two from the same match.  Greg Valentine and Rick Martel in 1991.

How could anybody top Ted DiBiase’s performance the following year?  Well, two men did.  The first person is Greg “The Hammer” Valentine.

Entering the match at number three and recently leaving Jimmy Hart’s stable, Valentine was in the match for forty-four minutes with one elimination.  However, his performance in the match showed why he has the nickname “The Hammer”.  Going after every wrestler in the ring while in the match, Valentine put in a great effort that just came up short.

But in the same Royal Rumble match we have “The Model” Rick Martel.  Entering the match at number six, Martel was in the match for fifty-two minutes setting the iron man record.  While in the match Martel eliminated four men and made it all the way to the final five of that year’s Rumble.

However, Martel would be eliminated by the British Bulldog, and his chance to win the Rumble was over.  But his performance set the bar high for future iron man performances.

Our third iron man performance is The Rock from 1998.

Before becoming one of the biggest movie stars in the world and having a successful television show about his life, The Rock was a young wrestler who was the Intercontinental champion.  How does the performance of The Rock make this list?  He’s the only person on the list to have wrestled twice in the same night.

Rock first defended the Intercontinental title against Ken Shamrock, winning by disqualification to retain the title.  About a half hour later, Rock would enter the match at number four.  Rock would be in the match for fifty-one minutes and eliminate three wrestlers in the match.

However, his performance is often forgotten.  At the time the entire WWF roster was caught in the tornado that was the rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin.  1998 was all about Austin and the twenty-nine other participants we’re just in his way including The Rock.  The Rock would be the last man eliminated by Austin thus ending the run of The Rock.

The performance by The Rock was a sign of good things to come.  By the end of the year, The Rock would end up winning the WWF Championship.  His run of greatness began on this night at the Royal Rumble.

The fourth performance is Triple H in 2006.

The 2006 Royal Rumble had a few big stories going into the match.  Rob Van Dam was returning from injury, Rey Mysterio dedicated his performance to his friend the late, great Eddie Guerrero and Triple H was coming in to win to regain his spot as the top guy in WWE.  However, when Triple H picked his position for the match he knew he was in for a long night.

Triple H entered the match at number one and had the second-longest performance of the match.  He was in the match for one hour before finally being eliminated by Rey Mysterio.  However, while in the match he eliminated six wrestlers tying Mysterio for most eliminations.

While Rey Mysterio’s performance is remembered, and it should be, we shouldn’t forget the performance of “The Game”.  He put in a fantastic effort that in just about any other year would’ve been remembered.  But because of what Rey Mysterio did in the same match, Triple H’s performance is easily forgotten.

The fifth and final performance is Finn Balor in 2018.

Our final performance is forgotten for a few reasons.  For one, this year was the first Women’s Royal Rumble match which headlined the event.  Two, it was the WWE debut of Ronda Rousey.  Finally, Shinsuke Nakamura won the Royal Rumble with his own iron man performance at nearly forty-five minutes.

However, Finn Balor had quite a showing in this match.  Balor who had been known for his matches in Japan and NXT had one of the best opportunities to showcase his talent and he showed off.

Entering the match at number two, Balor was in the match for fifty-seven minutes.  His time in the Royal Rumble is among the top fifteen iron man performances in length.  Balor eliminated four wrestlers in his fifty-seven minutes and made it to the final four that year.

Besides Nakamura, Balor was in the ring with John Cena and Roman Reigns splitting the Philadelphia crowd in half for one of the best final fours in recent memory.  But Balor’s time in the match would come to an end as he was eliminated by Cena thus ending his quest to the main event of Wrestlemania.  But his performance in 2018 put people on notice that Finn Balor was here to stay.

Next. Three surprise entrants for the men's Royal Rumble. dark

So the next time you watch a classic Royal Rumble match, remember these performances.  While these performances aren’t as big and remembered as others, they are entertaining and unforgettable in their own way.  These performances should never be forgotten.