The WWE Royal Rumble is the second biggest pay per view of the year, right behind Wrestlemania. On January 26th, the event will be aired live on pay per view. As customary, pro wrestling enthusiasts can expect a lot of surprises. In celebration, here are the five biggest moments in Royal Rumble history.
A Diesel Response
The Royal Rumble has become an unofficial homecoming for former WWE superstars. One of the biggest comebacks occurred in 2011, when former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Diesel joined the Royal Rumble at number 32. The Boston crowd erupted and cheered as the fan favorite readied himself for competition. Diesel didn’t previal in the Royal Rumble, but he didn’t have to. His appearance was meant to elicit a mass reaction. Mission accomplished.
The Rookie Sensation
WWE Tough Enough winner Maven pulled off the grandest of all upsets when he ejected the legendary Undertaker from the 2002 Royal Rumble. Maven was in his rookie year, having just triumphed in WWE’s reality television competition Tough Enough. He was envisioned as fodder for the veteran superstar. But after interference from the Hardy Boys, Maven took advantage of the distraction and drop kicked the dead man to the outside. Everybody in the arena popped loudly and cheered the newest member of the WWE Universe.
Not So Brotherly Love
In 1994, legitimate brothers Bret and Owen Hart adopted to team up with each other and challenge The Quebecers for the WWE World Tag Team Championship. Due to an injury sustained during the bout, the referee elected to end the match and declare the Quebecers as the victors. Owen was inflamed at Bret for losing the match for the team. He decided to vent his frustration the only way he knew how. He assaulted Bret’s damaged leg following the bout, trail-blazing a long standing classic feud among the brothers.
The 60 Minute Man
Nowadays, going the distance in the Royal Rumble is commonplace. But until 1992, it seemed inconceivable. Enter Ric Flair. The celebrated NWA wrestler entered his first Royal Rumble and an hour later, he banished Sid Justice to attain his first WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Flair defeated a bevy of legendary wrestlers in the 1992 rumble, including Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper and Shawn Michaels.
For the first and only time in WWE history, there were two winners of a Royal Rumble match. Bret Hart and Lex Luger shared the honors in 1994. After combating back and forth for a minute, Bret Hart bulldozed Luger over the top rope. Luger clutched Hart near, and the Hitman tumbled outside with Luger. With two referees calling contradictory decisions, Jack Tunney revealed his judgment that both men would be acknowledged the winner.
Fortunately for wrestling devotees, the WWE hammers viewers with a deluge of surprises every year. Whether it’s startling returns, unexpected eliminations or dastardly heel turns, there is always something newsworthy occurring at the Royal Rumble. This year is destined to be no different.