The Royal Rumble is one of the most exciting events in WWE. The Royal Rumble match is a thrilling spectacle as we get set for Wrestlemania. Each year we wait and see who is going to punch their ticket to the biggest event in sports entertainment.
Most of the time it sets up an incredible main event that fans will talk about leading up to Wrestlemania. However, other times it leaves a bad taste with fans that either makes them question the booking or causes WWE to call an audible on their decision.
I, like many fans, anticipate this event every year. We want to see either a superstar getting their due or a new challenger for the title that we think is going to deliver a classic main event.
Like life itself, it can never be perfect. There have been instances where after the Rumble has closed we are either puzzled at what we just saw or fill the arena with boos over not being satisfied.
Here are three such results in the WWE Royal Rumble match that were not very convincing:
3. 1994 Royal Rumble (Bret Hart/Lex Luger)
The Royal Rumble match came into existence in 1988, but it was only since 1993 that the winner of the match would receive a title match at the following Wrestlemania. Yokozuna won the 93 Rumble and had won his title match at Wrestlemania IX, defeating Bret Hart only to lose it minutes later to Hulk Hogan.
This new concept was so intriguing to fans as Yokozuna was built as an unstoppable monster and got his title shot by winning the Royal Rumble. We now thought that the winner of the Rumble will be the next WWE Champion. Of course WWE would do the same thing the following year, right? Think again.
The 1994 Rumble came down to Bret Hart and Lex Luger. Both men were trying to defeat each other in order to become number one contender to the strap. While Bret had Lex on the ropes, he tried one last power move to get Lex over and while he succeeded in the that, he threw himself over as well, with both men tumbling over the ropes onto the floor.
Two refs were posted up at ringside. One claimed he saw Bret's feet hit first while the other claimed Lex's feet at touched first. There was a lot of arguing back and forth as to who had really won the match. The WWE President at the time Jack Tunney made his way into the Providence Civic Center to discuss what had just happened.
After further discussion, ring announcer (and WWE Hall of Famer) Howard Finkel announced the crowd that a decision was made. He proclaimed both men's feet touched at the same time, therefore both Bret Hart and Lex Luger were named co-winners of the Royal Rumble.
The crowd was left confused over what had just been announced. A grueling battle ending in a tie? Besides a match ending in a draw, wrestling fans loathe not having a clear cut winner.
Let's just say in 2005 when this scenario popped up again, they did what they should have done in 94 and had both men go to sudden death where there must be a winner.
The situation got even murikier when Jack Tunney used a coin toss system to decide who would face the champion at WrestleMania. After a series of confusing events, Bret Hart defeated Yokozuna to walk out of WrestleMania as the world heavyweight champion.
2. 2014 Royal Rumble (Batista)
The 2014 Royal Rumble is one of the more controversial Rumbles in recent memory. It has a lot to do with what happened but also what had not happened. The term takeover is referenced these days towards the NXT brand but is significant with this event. The WWE Universe took over the show and let their voices be heard.
It was a huge story after the event. This was something the WWE did not want as we were heading towards the 30th anniversary of Wrestlemania.
Let us start with the fact this was the last we ever saw of CM Punk in WWE. He entered the Rumble at number 1, lasting over 49 minutes. Towards the end of the match, he was eliminated by Kane, who was previously eliminated himself.
He was brought over the top rope and choke slammed through a table, unknowingly ending his WWE career. The next day CM Punk had left never to be seen in wrestling again.
Before the Rumble match itself, during the WWE title match, the fans were restless during the high profile match. Two of WWE's top stars, Randy Orton and John Cena were colliding in another chapter of their storied rivalry. While the match itself was dull, the Pittsburgh crowd filled the arena with "this is awful" chants, words you never heard with these two.
While they both have heard boos over their careers, we have never heard the fans chant at them with such disdain. It did not help their case that the finish came with the Wyatt family coming to the ring, allowing Orton to nail an RKO for the win.
The Rumble match itself was an even bigger disaster. Fans chanted Daniel Bryan's name throughout the entire match. When the countdown clock hit zero, they were anticipating he would be the next entrant. Twenty men were originally announced so they kept hoping he might be one of the surprise entrants.
When it got down to number 30, Rey Mysterio, a huge fan favorite, made his way to the ring to a roar of boos. The arena was in an uproar and when Mysterio was eliminated, he received a thunderous ovation as if he won the World Title in the main event of Wrestlemania.
The winner of the match was not well received either. Entering at number 28 and making his return to PPV in almost 4 years was Batista. While you would think a superstar of this magnitude coming back would be loved by fans, it produced the opposite reaction.
It was leaked earlier that he was returning and it was already planted in fans heads he came back to win the Rumble, which in retrospect is exactly what happened.
The final moments of the Rumble were between Batista and Roman Reigns. Reigns had just eliminated his record-setting 12th man and was looking to punch his ticket to Wrestlemania. Fans were all behind Roman, who was a heel, and when Batista clotheslined him over the top rope, the fans showered him with boos.
Batista was supposed to be the big fan favorite returning to earn his opportunity to Wrestlemania but the fans were not having it. They made sure their displeasure was heard.
You would think WWE would not want to repeat this massive blunder. Well.....
The arena was largely filled with silence and boos as Batista stood in the ring to celebrate his win. These are signs that one does not anticipate during the climax of one of WWE's most important pay-per-views. But, the booking had been done and it was not a very satisfatory one.
1. 2015 Royal Rumble (Roman Reigns)
You would think after the colossal mistake from the previous year, WWE would not make the same mistake? As the saying goes, never say never, especially in the WWE.
The 2015 Rumble took place in Philadelphia. It's one of the most hostile wrestling fanbases in the world. The event featured a classic triple threat match for the WWE Championship between Brock Lesnar, John Cena, and Seth Rollins. The crowd was fired up after this one. The letdown, though, killed all the momentum they had going into this Rumble.
You would think WWE would not make the same mistake twice with Daniel Bryan. He was a clear fan favorite and after the debacle of 2014, they would need to give him a significant push. They did not see it that way.
Bryan entered at number 10 to a roaring ovation. The resident Yes Man still had the fire from last year where he went onto win the title in the main event of Wrestlemania. 10 minutes later he was eliminated. The crowd was stunned and quickly turned on the match.
With every entrant after that elimination, the crowd booed mercilessly. You could not hear a body slam on the mat. The fans had taken over the PPV and were not giving into anything. They kept chanting for Daniel Bryan and then CM Punk, who had walked out a year prior. It was 2014 all over again.
Roman Reigns at the time was getting the John Cena treatment. He was a massive star who was billed as a fan favorite but had a mixed reaction every time he came out. He was being shoved down the throats of fans as the next star. The fans did not want to accept that.
Remember, it was only a year prior that fans were cheering for him to overtake Batista and win the Rumble. Talk about a difference a year makes.
Towards the end, Kane and the Big Show took over. Both men, who at the time were with the Authority, were throwing man after man over the top rope. The fans were unsettled at this point and a few 4 letter words were being spewed throughout the arena.
This brought out the Rock to calm the crowd down a little to settle the score and help out his Samoan family member Roman Reigns. When fans saw this, those cheers were quickly rescinded.
The fans knew what was about to happen and did not want anything to do with the result. When it came down to Roman Reigns and Rusev, the fans simultaneously chanted "Let's Go Rusev." It was the same Rusev whose whole character was built around his hatred for America.
Here, in the birthplace of America, were fans cheering for an anti-American. If that does not tell you something I do not know what can.
As Roman Reigns eliminated Rusev to win the Rumble, the Philadelphia faithful were uneasy, to say the least. The image of the Rock raising Roman's arm and the puzzled look on his face tells the story.
They knew they had to deliver after 2014 and somehow managed to repeat itself. #cancelwwenetwork started trending and "bull****" chants filled the arena. WWE did it again two years in a row.
The fact that even the Rock's return could not help save the show speaks volumes of what a bad booking it was.