The Royal Rumble is about to celebrate its 30th anniversary. The high-profile match is one of the most recognizable and unique matches in all of pro wrestling.
The unpredictable nature of a new Superstar entering the match every two minutes makes it so special. There have been many great individual performances in the history of the Royal Rumble, and these are the five best.
# 1 Yokozuna -1993
The 1993 Royal Rumble was the first Rumble in which the winner gets to face the world champion in the main event of Wrestlemania. This is something that WWE fans automatically associate with the Royal Rumble today, but when the Royal Rumble was first created there was no prize for the winner of the match.
Except for the pride of being the winner of the winner of the Royal Rumble and maybe a crown. It wasn't until five years after the first Rumble that the tradition of the winner earning a world title shot at Wrestlemania.
The winner that year, the giant Yokozuna. Even though he entered late in the contest at number 27 he still had a dominating performance. Seven eliminations en route to a Rumble victory makes his performance one of the most dominant by a Royal Rumble winner. Yokozuna's seven eliminations were not the most in a single Rumble or even the most by the eventual winner of the Royal Rumble.
What makes his performance so dominating and impressive is that he entered at number 27. When he entered the match there were already seven other men in the match. Two more Superstars entered after him. Meaning that he eliminated all but two of the Superstars he could have eliminated.
With the last Superstar he eliminated being the Macho Man Randy Savage because for some reason Savage tried to pin Yokozuna. Yokozuna almost instantly threw Savage off of him and out of the ring to win the 1993 Royal Rumble match.
#2 Rey Mysterio - 2006
The 2006 Royal Rumble match was exciting for a variety of reasons. The match started with two of the biggest names in the WWE, Triple H and Rey Mysterio. The match saw the return of WWE Superstars, Goldust and Tatanka. The most memorable part of this particular Royal Rumble was the fact this was the first Rumble match after the passing of Eddie Guerrero.
This one checks off all the boxes for a great and memorable Royal Rumble performance. Rey entered the Rumble at #2 which is the same as the #1 spot since it takes 2 people to start the match. That number did not stop him at all. He lasted the entire match to go on to win.
In doing so he set the record for the longest time spent in a single Royal Rumble match. A record that still stands today. On top of all that he had the emotional factor working for him too, as he had dedicated his performance to his friend, the late Eddie Guerrero.
#3 Roman Reigns - 2014
The 2014 Royal Rumble match was a memorable one, but unfortunately one of the biggest memories was all the fan displeasure. This match did not feature one of the, if not THE hottest superstar, Daniel Bryan. The fans were very vocal with their displeasure when Rey Mysterio came out at number 30.
Their anger was not pointed at Rey, but at the fact that Daniel Bryan was not in the match. The fans would soon be disappointed again when CM Punk was eliminated. Kane returned to ringside after being eliminated earlier in the match, and pulled Punk over the top rope to eliminate him after Punk had made it all the way to the final four.
What else made this Royal Rumble match so memorable? Roman Reigns made his Royal Rumble debut. His performance could be seen as the most dominant performance in a single Rumble match of all time. Reigns entered at number 15, the halfway point of the match. He went on to set the record for most eliminations in a single Rumble match with 12 eliminations, including his two Shield partners, whom he eliminated in one shot.
He lasted until the very end of the match where he came in second place when he was eliminated by Batista. Even though he did not win the match, Reigns' dominating performance earned him the title of one of the greatest performances in the history of the Royal Rumble.
#4 Ric Flair - 1992
The 1992 Royal Rumble match was the first match to have an actual prize at stake. The prize? The WWF World Heavyweight Championship. It was a star-studded Royal Rumble with names such as Roddy Piper, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, and Macho Man Randy Savage just to name a few. In fact, no fewer than 15 participants would go on to be inducted into the WWE hall of fame.
Who would go on to win this historic match? None other than the Nature Boy Ric Flair of course. Flair had recently joined the WWE (then WWF). Which was surprising at the time as someone who spent almost his whole career with NWA/WCW. Ric cemented his legend when he lasted over an hour in the match.
The Nature Boy had to survive practically the entire match as he entered as the third contestant, which he did to become the WWF World Heavyweight champion for the first time in his already illustrious career.
#5 Shawn Michaels - 1995
The 1995 Royal Rumble match was not the greatest Rumble match of all time. It might not have had the best list of participants. After the first two entrants, Shawn Michaels and The British Bulldog, the next seven entrants were Eli Blu, Duke Drosey, Jimmy Del Ray, Sione, Tom Pritchard, Doink the Clown, and Kwang.
Shawn Michaels has had a lot of great Royal Rumble matches over the years, but this very well might have been his greatest appearance in the match. He entered the match at number 1 and lasted the entire match. Even though the match as a whole wasn't great, it did have one of the best endings ever.
In one of the most memorable moments in Rumble history, it looked like Michaels was going to be eliminated when The British Bulldog sent him over the top rope. However, Michaels held onto the ropes and only one of his feet touched the floor before propelling himself back into the ring.
Since an elimination only occurs when a participant is sent over the top rope and both feet hit the floor, Michaels was still in the match. He went on to eliminate the British Bulldog and become the first person ever to win the Rumble from the number one spot.