5 Royal Rumble Winners You Probably Forgot About
The Royal Rumble match was devised by WWE booker, Pat Patterson and debuted as a television special in January 1988, specifically to cause damage to the NWA, who were promoting a pay per view, Bunkhouse Stampede, the very same night.
After the success of the inaugural edition, won by Hacksaw Jim Duggan, WWE then decided to run the event as a pay per view special the following year in 1989 and have done so ever since. The show is one of the most anticipated on the WWE calendar but despite its early success, had something missing.
The first few Royal Rumble matches did not have an award for winning it. This was rectified in 1993, when the prize for winning the match that everyone knows today was added. The winner of the bout would be named the number one contender for the WWE World Championship at Wrestlemania.
In 2018, WWE added a Woman's Royal Rumble match to their annual event for the first time and will host another in 2019.
On April 27, 2018, WWE promoted a 50-man version of the match for a WWE Network special in Saudi Arabia, won by Braun Strowman, which was the largest ever in history, beating out the 40 man version which took place in 2011.
Winning the match is a major award for wrestlers and can catapult a superstar to superstardom. However, for every superstar whose career was made by a Royal Rumble victory, such as Yocozuna, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Batista, there are many others whose careers have not experienced any growth due to the win and thus are lost to history.
In the following slideshow, SK looks at five such men who have all been victorious in the Royal Rumble match, but that you are unlikely to remember.
#5 Chris Benoit (2004 Royal Rumble)
Chris Benoit's 2004 Royal Rumble has faded into history and understandably so. Benoit's double murder of his wife and young child on a fateful night in June 2007 put paid to any part of his two-decade career being celebrated.
The fact that Benoit was one of the top five best in-ring performers of the mid 1990s to mid 2000s is irrelevant. His actions on one weekend in June, which resulted in his own suicide means that he receives no mention on WWE television broadcasts.
Therefore, his 2004 Royal Rumble win effectively no longer exists. However, back in January 2004, that 'Rumble match was celebrated as one of the very best of all time. Benoit began the encounter as the number one entrant opposite number two participant, Randy Orton.
He lasted 61 minutes and last eliminated the Big Show to win the title shot at Wrestlemania XX. In that one, he won the match of the year defeated Triple H in a triple threat bout also including Shawn Michaels.
You will never hear about those achievements on WWE programming, however.