This is the final part of our list ranking all of the Royal Rumble matches.
Big D, Draven, and I also recorded a long podcast previewing the 2017 Royal Rumble as well as going through the history of the match.
Let’s get to the final 10.
10. 2014 Royal Rumble
This might be an unpopular spot for this Rumble because it was a Rumble in which the crowd turned on. I found it fascinating re-watching it. They did such a great job booking Roman Reigns in this match that it’s crazy how different the crowd response to him is today.
- Your first two entrants are CM Punk and Seth Rollins.
- Rusev and Swagger came in and met in a battle of two beasts.
- Kevin Nash is back, but not nearly as sculpted as last time.
- Roman Reigns is awesome in this Royal Rumble. He eliminates 12 guys, which is the record for a single Royal Rumble.
- The fans are waiting for Daniel Bryan, even though it’s clear that he’s not in the match. I remember watching live and having a list of the guys who were in the match, knowing full well that Bryan couldn’t be a surprise.
- Batista comes in at 28 and he’s not too popular.
- Rey is in at 30 and he’s the most booed guy in the match. The fans are chanting for Daniel Bryan.
- This would also be Punk’s last WWE match.
- Reigns dumps his Shield buddies after Dean Ambrose tried to dump him.
Final four: Roman Reigns, CM Punk, Batista, and Sheamus
What’s with Sheamus being in all of these final fours? Kane comes back to eliminate Punk, who eliminated him earlier. Reigns eliminates Sheamus. Crowd is chanting for Reigns and booing Batista. Think about that for a second. Batista wins the match.
MVP: Roman Reigns
Reigns was over like crazy in this match and had one of the best Rumble performances ever.
9. 2016 Royal Rumble
Designed as yet another attempt to get Roman Reigns over, Vince McMahon put Roman Reigns’ WWE title on the line in the Royal Rumble. It would be only the second time in Royal Rumble history that the title would be decided in the Rumble. To give Reigns more hurdles, he had to enter as number one.
- Reigns and Rusev enter as one and two. They were the final two in 2015.
- AJ Styles comes in as a “surprise” at number 3.
- R-Truth, whose character turned into someone who was very dumb, joins the match and brings a ladder into the ring, thinking that it was Money In The Bank.
- The League Of Nations come out to beat up Reigns and he leaves on a stretcher.
- Braun Strowman dumps both Kane and Big Show.
- Kevin Owens eliminates AJ and it seemed to be a tease to something else down the line.
- Sami Zayn comes in and he goes right after Owens and eliminates him.
- The Wyatts nearly clear the ring until Brock Lesnar comes in. He is stiffing Strowman something fierce. Only Bray is left, but the other Wyatts come back into the ring to take Brock out. Brock just goes to the back. Weird.
- During this time, Miz comes down, but waits for Brock to be eliminated before going into the ring.
- Reigns comes back and goes wild.
- Triple H is a surprise entrant at number 30.
- Triple H does a fun spot with Bray in an old school vs new school way.
- Jericho finally gets retribution on Triple H after all these years and gives him a Code Breaker. He screams, “Come on baby!” Then Dean Ambrose immediately throws him out. I’ve hated Ambrose ever since.
Final four: Roman Reigns, Triple H, Sheamus, and Dean Ambrose
Reigns dumps Sheamus, but Triple H quickly dumps him out and throws 20 crotch chops at him. Roman is no longer the champ. It’s Dean vs HHH in the end and the crowd is hot as hell. Unbelievable that they were able to work the crowd like that. Of course, Triple H wins and is the champ again.
MVP: Triple H
He was so great in this match. He’s a stellar Rumble performer and this might be his greatest performance yet.
8. 2002 Royal Rumble
This Royal Rumble was definitely built for a Triple H return win, but Kurt Angle and Stone Cold Steve Austin kick tons of ass in this match too. The Undertaker also has a hot 10 minutes.
- The first two in the ring were Rikishi and Goldust.
- The first real big moment of the ring is when the Undertaker comes in at 10 and clears the ring.
- Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy are the next two in. Jeff is wearing a hat and has a Hardy Bros shirt tucked into his back pocket. I’m not sure why he needed the t-shirt. Taker dumps them both, but they and Lita come back in the ring and give him trouble. He pie faces Lita.
- Maven comes in and drop kicks Taker out of the ring. Taker is not happy with this and goes all around the arena to destroy Maven and his career.
- Scottie Too Hottie comes out and Taker just decks him while he’s killing Maven. Not a very nice guy.
- The match is ho-hum until Stone Cold Steve Austin comes in at 19. The crowd goes ape. Austin also clears out the entire ring. He throws Christian out once, throws him back into the ring, and throws him out again. He does the same thing to Chucky Palumbo too.
- Austin and Triple H go head-to-head.
- In a fun surprise, Mr. Perfect comes in.
- They saved a lot of heavy hitters until the end – Kurt Angle, Kane, Big Show, RVD, and Booker T. Sadly, Booker T gets a stunner and is out early. Poor WCW.
Final four: Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mr. Perfect, Triple H, and Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle goes crazy, hitting the Angle Slam on Triple H and then three German suplexes on Austin. Kurt dumps Austin. Keeping Mr. Perfect in there spoils that it’s either Angle or HHH, but it’s still fun with him in there. Austin goes nuts after his elimination, hitting people with chairs. Perfect hit the Perfect-plex on Angle. Triple H eliminated Perfect and it was down to Triple H and Angle. Finally, Triple H clotheslined Angle out. That’s what he gets for having a crush on Stephanie.
MVP: Stone Cold Steve Austin
Austin is just so damn good in this match that he was the MVP in the match designed to get Triple H over huge. And Triple H was great in it too.
7. 2008 Royal Rumble
This Rumble is best remembered for a special return at number 30. It was one of those moments that truly shocked everyone as no one had an idea that it was happening. You can’t really do that in wrestling today.
- The last two entrants from the year prior are the first two entrants this year. I was fine with seeing Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker do battle again.
- There was also a tease to Batista and Undertaker early in the match, which I was fine with too. But fat Tommy Dreamer interrupted it.
- It’s Cody Rhodes’ first Rumble.
- Shelton is in and does two fantastic moves, but then gets HBK’d like old times and is out.
- Since the show was at Madison Square Garden, they brought out Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka to rehash their decades-old feud. Everyone in the match just stopped to watch. CM Punk started laughing and then John Morrison kicked him. Mick Foley is also in the match for the New York audience. Kane would dump both Snuka and Piper out.
- It’s the Miz’s first Royal Rumble.
- HBK superkicks Undertaker out and shrugs. Then Ken Kennedy dumps HBK out.
- Triple H tosses out Foley.
- And who comes in at number 30? It’s John Cena who wasn’t supposed to be back until after WrestleMania.
Final four: Batista, Kane, Triple H, and John Cena
It’s an excellent final four. Batista and HHH dump out Kane and it’s really about the final three anyway. Batista decides not to reunite with HHH and it’s every man for himself. Each of the three men do their signature poses. Triple H clotheslines Batista out. Triple H goes for a pedigree on Cena, which Cena reverses into a fireman’s carry takeover and tosses Triple H out of the ring.
I didn’t really write too much about Batista, but this wasn’t about single performances as much as it was about how it ended. Shawn Michaels was great as always, but not in the match all that long. John Cena was too clumsy and not in the match long enough, and neither was Triple H. Batista was in at number 8, had four eliminations, which was second to only Triple H, and made sure there was a bonafide star in the match through all the goofy stuff.
6. 2006 Royal Rumble
I have the 2006 Royal Rumble this high for two reasons. There were two all-time performances in this match. Triple H and Rey Mysterio entered as the first two entrants and they were the last two as well. I thought it was a fun way to tell the Rumble story and both guys had brought their A-games.
- Bobby Lashley is in this match, but only eliminates one person before being dumped by Kane and the Big Show.
- The idea in this rumble is to get rid of the non-important guys early to make the top guys look even stronger.
- There was a nice little throwback to 2004 with Chris Benoit and Triple H facing off.
- Triple H is doing his Shawn Michaels impersonation in this match.
- Vince McMahon comes out to distract Shawn Michaels and Shane McMahon comes in and tosses him out.
Final four: Triple H, Rey Mysterio, Rob Van Dam, and Randy Orton
Mysterio is catapulted into RVD who was on the top rope and RVD went over. Rey finally dumps Triple H out. Triple H tries to soften him up for Orton, but Rey dumps Orton too.
MVP: Triple H
Mysterio won the match and broke the record for longest time in the match (that still stands today), but only lasted a couple more minutes than Triple H. Triple H set the tone and created a lot of the drama for the match.
5. 2007 Royal Rumble
This is best remembered for the ending sequence in which Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker had a long match as the last two participants, making it the best final two in Rumble history.
- There were 7 ECW guys in this match as it was a tri-brand show.
- Ric Flair and Fit Finley were the first two entrants.
- Finally, Booker T is strong in the Rumble. But, he was still eliminated early, which is his norm.
- Edge and Randy Orton as Rated RKO, are in this match. What a great tag team.
- The Great Khali comes in at 28 and just starts tossing guys out to clear out the ring.
Final four: Randy Orton, The Undertaker, Edge, and Shawn Michaels
This is one of the greatest final fours in history. It was really worked like a long match. HBK was just hit with a RKO so that Edge and Randy could work over the Taker. Michaels tosses both of them out. Taker and HBK are worn and weary vets and they work a long final two. It was also the impetus for them wrestling two of the best Mania matches starting two years later. The Undertaker, at 30 (which is the first time ever that the winner came from that number) evaded Sweet Chin Music, and tossed Michaels out. Masterful wrestling.
MVP: Shawn Michaels
Edge is great in this match and is the iron man of the match at over 44 minutes of ring time. The Undertaker is also perfect. But it has to go to Michaels. He stole the show.
4. 1997 Royal Rumble
This the first of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s three Rumble wins and he’s a machine. It’s an interesting roster as there’s still the terrible gimmicks of Fake Razor Ramon and Fake Diesel, Mil Mascaras, and Terry Funk. But it also the final Rumble of Bret Hart with him nearing the start of his heel run, the Undertaker, and Vader.
- Your first two entrants are Crush and Ahmed Johnson.
- Fake Razor came in at three and was eliminated very quickly.
- Austin is in early and he clears the ring 6 different times.
- You get to see the British Bulldog shrink again.
- Mil Mascaras dives off the top to the outside and eliminates himself.
- Austin and Bret go at each other.
- It’s the first Royal Rumble for the Rock (as Rocky Maivia) and Mick Foley (as Mankind).
Final four: Fake Diesel, Bret Hart, The Undertaker, and Vader
Before we get to the final four, Bret dumps out Austin, but the referees are on the outside and he climbs back in without them knowing he was eliminated. Austin then eliminates Taker and Vader at the same time. Bret tosses Diesel, and then Austin eliminates Bret. As you can imagine, Bret was none too happy.
MVP: Steve Austin
Austin tied Hulk Hogan’s then record for eliminations with 10.
3. 2004 Royal Rumble
Some might be surprised to see the 2004 Royal Rumble at number 3 rather than number 2. That doesn’t mean this isn’t one of the best Royal Rumbles better. I just like two of them better.
As everyone knows, this was Chris Benoit’s masterpiece. But there were also two big angles shot in the middle of the ring to set up WrestleMania XX matches. I love when the Royal Rumble can make the winner significant, but also move along other important storylines.
- The first two entrants are Benoit and Randy Orton.
- Surprisingly, Matt Morgan looks excellent in this Rumble.
- Kane is dumped out by the Undertaker’s dong. Okay, it was really the dong and Booker T. But that’s what happened.
- Kurt Angle comes in like a house on fire.
- Sheriff Steve Austin yells at someone who knocks out Test. He tells this mystery person that he has to take Test’s place. And it’s Mick Foley who comes back to gain revenge on Randy Orton.
- Goldberg is number 30 and Brock Lesnar comes into the ring, gives him an F5, and that sets up Kurt Angle eliminating Goldberg.
- John Cena gets tossed out and he doesn’t land very softly.
Final four: Big Show, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, and Kurt Angle
Jericho and Show are going at it with a cat and mouse game. Show chokeslams Jericho out of the ring. Show dumps out Angle too. Benoit uses a guillotine to pull Big Show out.
MVP: Chris Benoit
Benoit was in the ring over an hour and went bell-to-bell as the first entrant. He was only the second person to win the Rumble in that spot, but Michaels won it in 1995 in a shortened Rumble.
2. 2001 Royal Rumble
Nothing will ever touch 1992, but this one is close. And it’s also a different style of match. The Rock and Kane were the only guys to last over 30 minutes. But it’s got great star power and has one directive which is to fully restore Stone Cold Steve Austin as the toughest SOB in the WWF after he was hurt in late 99 and also missed most of 2000.
- The first two in the ring are Jeff Hardy and Bull Buchanan.
- Drew Carey is in the match after asking Vince McMahon how he could market his PPV comedy special better.
- Jeff and Matt Hardy face off, and like usual, they have a hard time working with each other. It’s clunky as all hell.
- Kane breaks the eliminations record by tossing out 11 men. It would stand until 2014 when Roman Reigns tossed out 12.
- Rock eliminates Big Show, but Show isn’t happy and takes Rock out of the match and choke slams him through the announcer’s table. Rock wasn’t eliminated, though.
- Biker Undertaker comes in and clears the ring. Taker and Kane work together against Rock.
- Austin comes in 27 and Triple H (who isn’t in the match) immediately attacks him for interrupting his title match against Kurt Angle. Austin would be busted open.
- Rikishi eliminates the Taker with a kick to the chops. I almost forgot about that Rikishi run as a top heel.
Final four: The One Billy Gunn, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kane, and The Rock
Gunn is eliminated quickly, like he should’ve been. The best moment in this match is when Rock and Austin look at each other and determine that shit’s on. Austin is bloody, Rock’s been in the match for a while, and they go toe-to-toe to tease WrestleMania X7. Rock and Austin are tussling and Kane tries to dump them both over, but only Rock goes out. Kane gets a chair and tries to hit Austin, but he moves and gives him a stunner instead. He hits Kane with the chair a few times and then clotheslines him over the top.
MVP: Stone Cold Steve Austin
Austin’s not in this match for very long, but he makes it his match, like he always does.
Just kidding. Though, the first Royal Rumble ever was a house show experimental match with only 12 entrants and won by the One Man Gang.
1. 1992 Royal Rumble
I know Ric Flair has had so many matches that were better than this. But did he ever have a better performance on a bigger stage?
- This was the first Royal Rumble in which there was championship gold at the end of the rainbow.
- In 2016, they also put the WWE title as the main prize for winning the match.
- This is the first of only two Rumbles that Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan broadcasted together.
- The first two entrants are The British Bulldog and Ted DiBiase. Ric Flair comes in at number 3.
- Guys ate their vitamins before this match.
- Flair got to work with nearly every star and they revisited prior feuds he had in different territories.
- In a great moment, Flair cleans house and then Piper comes in. The crowd goes crazy.
- Heenan does such a good job in making Flair sympathetic. But Flair doesn’t always cower. He goes toe-to-toe with everyone. When Piper helps Flair, Heenan says he’s not wearing a skirt, he’s wearing a kilt. But when Piper attacks Flair, he calls him a skirt wearing freak. It was amazing work.
- The Warlord might be the most jacked man alive in this match.
Final four: Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Sid Justice, and Randy Savage
This is arguably the best final four ever. Justice eliminates Savage and then turns his eyes to Hogan who is working on Flair. He thinks about it for a second, and then throws Hogan out. Hogan, who for some reason feels stabbed in the back, decides to grab Justice’s arm so that Flair can toss out Justice. Ric Flair is truly the 60 minute (and 2 seconds) man.
MVP: Ric Flair
Who else? This is the best performance in Rumble history.