Top five Iron Man (and Woman) performances in the WWE Royal Rumble

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 09: Sasha Banks attends the Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards 2022 at Barker Hangar on April 09, 2022 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Momodu Mansaray/WireImage)
SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 09: Sasha Banks attends the Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards 2022 at Barker Hangar on April 09, 2022 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Momodu Mansaray/WireImage) /

In my previous article, I talked about forgotten iron man performances in Royal Rumble history.  This article is going to be looking at, the five greatest iron man performances in Royal Rumble history.

In the thirty-five-year history of the Royal Rumble, we’ve had some outstanding performances but these five are the cream of the crop.  The best of the best, the standard by which all other Royal Rumble performances are measured.  Without any further delay here are my top five iron man performances in Royal Rumble history.

5. Sasha Banks 2018

The 2018 Royal Rumble is a historic event because we had the first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble match.  The match was so important that it was the main event of the show.  A question that was running through the minds of the fans was who would be number one?

The first entrant to come out was none other than “The Boss”, Sasha Banks.  Banks would have to set the pace for the match and attempt to win the match from the number one position.  Having to face returning wrestlers, Hall of Fame talent, and wrestlers on the roster, Banks made quite a showing.

She made it all the way to the final four before being eliminated by Brie & Nikki Bella ending her quest to be a champion again.  But her performance was fantastic.  Banks was in the ring for 54:46 and set the bar for future women’s Royal Rumbles.

4. Bianca Belair 2021

One of the many exciting things about the Royal Rumble is the potential for somebody to have a breakout performance and become a star in one night.  In 2021 Bianca Belair had that breakout performance.

Entering the match at number three, Belair was competing in her second Royal Rumble match after debuting on the WWE roster the previous year and staying in the match for thirty-three minutes.  Her experience from the previous year’s Rumble helped her out as she competed against every woman that was in the match.

Belair would go on to have four eliminations in a record-setting performance of 56:52, a time that still stands at the top for women’s longevity in a Royal Rumble match.  Belair would finally eliminate Rhea Ripley to win her first Royal Rumble match.

Her performance catapulted Belair into the top tier of the women’s division.  Just two and a half months later, Belair would be in the main event of night one of Wrestlemania 37 as she challenged Sasha Banks for the Smackdown Women’s championship and won the title.

But the rise of Bianca Belair and her claim as the EST of WWE began on this night with the best women’s performance in Royal Rumble history.

3. Rey Mysterio 2006

A few months after the death of long-time friend Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio had a daunting task ahead of him.  He drew the number two position and to win the Royal Rumble, he had to pull off one of the greatest performances of all time.

Starting the match with Triple H is no easy task and attempting to hang around with one of the best wrestlers at the time was a hard task for anybody.  But Mysterio was able to hang with “The Game”.

Only one person prior to Mysterio’s performance had ever won the Royal Rumble from the number two position.  Mysterio ended up making history as the second wrestler to ever win the Royal Rumble from the number two position.

In the process of winning that year’s Royal Rumble, he set the longevity record that still ranks in the top three all time.  Mysterio was in the match for 1:02:12 and eliminated six men on his way to victory.

He dedicated the win to his friend Eddie Guerrero and almost twenty years later, Mysterio’s performance in 2006 is still remembered as one of the best performances of all time.

2. Chris Benoit 2004

It was hard for me between number two and three who to put in those spots considering how good the performances were.  But in the end, I went with Chris Benoit’s 2004 Royal Rumble performance in this position.

Unlike the other four individuals on this list, Benoit was given the number one position by then Smackdown General Manager Paul Heyman.  Knowing that only one person in the history of the Royal Rumble had ever won from the number one position made history not favor Benoit winning the Royal Rumble.

However, Benoit was a different type of wrestler.  The type of wrestler who could wrestle thirty minutes or more if he had to in order to win matches.  Benoit was in for one of the biggest physical challenges of his career.

Benoit would run the table as he would end up becoming the second wrestler ever to start from the number one position and win the Royal Rumble.  In doing so, Benoit would set the then-previous longevity record of 1:01:30 and eliminate six wrestlers on his way to victory.

While the events that happened three and a half years later tarnished all the memories of Benoit, his performance in the 2004 Royal Rumble should not be forgotten.  But instead remembered as one of the most memorable performances of all time.

1.    Ric Flair 1992

This one performance is the one that all other Royal Rumble performances are measured by.  This is the one that most wrestling fans say is the greatest Royal Rumble match of all time and a huge reason for it is because of the greatest performance in Royal Rumble history from one man, Ric Flair.

For the first time in Royal Rumble history, the WWF Championship was on the line and the winner of this match would become champion.  Ric Flair was one of the big favorites going into the Royal Rumble considering all the accomplishments Flair has had in his career.  But coming out at the number three position took any hope away from Flair winning the Royal Rumble, or did it?

Flair would go on and fight every single wrestler that came his way on this cold January night, going after the biggest and the baddest they had to offer.  Riving in pain, Flair continued to push on and push his way towards reaching the very top of the WWF.

When it came down to Flair, Sid Justice, and Hulk Hogan, it looked like this was the end of Flair.  But after Justice eliminated Hogan from behind this gave Flair just a little bit of breathing room to do one last move.  As Hogan grabbed Justice’s arm, Flair from behind lifted Justice up and out of the ring to win the Royal Rumble and become the new WWF Champion.

Thirty-one years later, in the post-match interview Ric Flair said “with a tear in my eye, this is the greatest moment in my life” which can still be heard.  Flair proved all the doubters wrong.  Flair proved that he could hang with the very best the WWF had to offer and it was on this night Flair’s legendary career took another step forward.

Next. WWE NXT has a potential star in Sol Ruca. dark

What will we see at this year’s Royal Rumble?  Will we see another star-making performance like Bianca Belair in 2021?  Could we see an underdog go wire to wire like Rey Mysterio and Chris Benoit?  Or could we see history be made like Sasha Banks and Ric Flair?

One thing is for certain, history will no doubt be made at this year’s Royal Rumble.  To win the Royal Rumble is a huge accomplishment, but to put in an iron man performance that is talked about forever is an even greater accomplishment.