5 best Royal Rumble competitors who never won
This may go without saying, but there have been way more entrants to the Royal Rumble match than there have been winners. Over 300 competitors have entered this contest, while only 19 have won it.
Still, sometimes the Rumble's most impressive workers are those who don't win.
You see it a lot in the Royal Rumble - someone comes in and dominates the field, but is then shockingly eliminated either to the chagrin or the delight of the audience. Rikishi did it in 2000, The Great Khali did it in '07, and Braun Strowman did it in 2016. It's an often used Rumble narrative, but it's an effective one nonetheless.
But sometimes, someone doesn't even need to eliminate that many people to have a huge impact on the match. Sometimes, all it takes is lasting a long time. Bob Backlund lasted over an hour in 1993, and he only threw out two people. Dolph Ziggler went over 49 minutes and made it to the Final Four from the #1 spot in 2013, and he only eliminated two as well. Davey Boy Smith lasted the entire length of the match in 1995 and came infamously close to winning the whole thing, and he only tossed out three people. See what I mean?
With that, I have narrowed down the list of the 5 best Royal Rumble competitors to never win the match. A few factors influenced my decision making, such as how many total eliminations they have, how much cumulative time they've spent in the Rumble, as well as some related statistics from individual Royal Rumbles (i.e. a year where they eliminated an exceptional number of superstars, a year where they lasted a very long time, etc.).
I would like to give an Honorable Mention to Kofi Kingston before I begin, as his elimination avoidance strategies have become things of legend over the years. Unfortunately, his overall numbers just weren't impressive enough to crack the Top 5, but he does deserve a mention nonetheless. If you think there's someone I missed, go ahead and mention them in the comments.
Anyway, onto the list!
#5 Cody Rhodes
This entry may be a bit surprising for some given how largely misused Cody was in WWE, but if you take a look at his numbers it may make a lot more sense to see him here.
Cody Rhodes entered a total of eight Royal Rumble matches, six as himself and two as Stardust. In his first go in 2008, he lasted a fairly impressive 23:14. The next year, he did even better, going 36 minutes and 59 seconds and even tossing out two competitors. 2010 was, unfortunately, his worst year; he only went 7:53 and didn't eliminate anyone.
However, he very much redeemed himself in 2012 by putting on his best performance to date - he entered at #4 and tossed out 5 people (more than anyone else that year) in 34 minutes and 57 seconds. The next year, he did almost as well, as he entered at #3, went 27:27, and eliminated four guys. In his last appearance in the Rumble under the Cody Rhodes name in 2014, he once again entered at #4, going 20:51 and having a hand in eliminating the debuting Rusev.
His last two appearances as Stardust were nothing to write home about, though he did manage to exceed 12 minutes on both occasions.
In total, Rhodes racked up 12 eliminations in 8 entries, meaning he averaged 1.5 eliminations per Rumble. His cumulative time in the match was 3 hours, 8 minutes, and 30 seconds, the sixth longest ever and the third longest out of anyone who never won. He was even one of the final three competitors in the 2009 Royal Rumble. Not too shabby.