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Every Royal Rumble match winner: Where are they now?

The winner of the Royal Rumble match gets a chance to main event WrestleMania
The winner of the Royal Rumble match gets a chance to main event WrestleMania
Vinay Chhabria
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The Royal Rumble PPV is just 9 nights away, which means we are just 9 nights away from the most unpredictable match of WWE, the Royal Rumble match. 30 superstars compete in a time interval battle royale to place their bid to main event WrestleMania 35.

The event always captures the fans’ attention with its unpredictability and amazing moments. The Royal Rumble match gives a huge opportunity to earn a golden ticket to headline WrestleMania.

Since its introduction in 1988, Royal Rumble has proved as a career turning match for many wrestlers, when they emerge as the last man standing overcoming 29 other superstars.

A plethora of superstars and legends enter the Royal Rumble match every year to seal the spot for WrestleMania but only one superstar gets that golden opportunity.

With the Royal Rumble season hitting soon, here are those wrestlers who have won the Royal Rumble match and where are they now?


#1 Jim Duggan (1988)

Hacksaw Jim Duggan was the winner of the first ever Royal Rumble match
Hacksaw Jim Duggan was the winner of the first ever Royal Rumble match

Jim Duggan won the inaugural Royal Rumble match in 1988. The Hall of Famer is one of the most consistent and passionate wrestlers ever seen. You will be surprised to know that he wrestled till the year 2016 despite being almost 60 years of age.

The Hacksaw returned to WWE at Royal Rumble 2011 as a surprise entrant and resumed his stint as a part-timer. Jim Duggan was recently hospitalized because of bad health and is currently recovering from his heart disease after enjoying his life with his family for some time.


#2 Big John Studd (1989)

Big John Studd is no more
Big John Studd is no more

Maybe, only a few of us would remember the name “Big John Studd”. But, he was a well known WWE Superstar who wrestled in the late 80s. He had emerged victorious in the Royal Rumble match of 1989.

Unfortunately, he was recognized with liver cancer the same year and he later passed away in 1995 while battling with this disease.

#3 Hulk Hogan (1990, 1991)

Hulk Hogan is 2-time Royal Rumble winner
Hulk Hogan is 2-time Royal Rumble winner

Undoubtedly, Hulk Hogan is the greatest superstar of all time. He was the favourite wrestler of plenty of wrestling fans around the world with his incredible wrestling and never old looking charisma. Hollywood Hulk Hogan won two consecutive Royal Rumble matches in 1990 and 1991 to headline two successive WrestleManias.

The Immortal Hulk Hogan had stepped in Hollywood apart from appearing in WWE. He recently hosted the Crown Jewel PPV and also returned on Monday Night RAW last week. Also, he is expected to make more appearances for WWE in the future to attract more fans towards the product.


#4 Ric Flair (1992)

Ric Flair is a 16-time world champion of WWE
Ric Flair is a 16-time world champion of WWE

Ric Flair has also remained one cornerstone of WWE. Apart from winning 1992 Royal Rumble match, the main highlight of his career is the feat of becoming a record 16 times World Champion. Ric Flair retired in 2008 after getting defeated by Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXIV.

Flair returned on the 1000th episode of SmackDown Live, as a part of the Evolution’s reunion. The Nature Boy makes many appearances at sponsored events outside WWE and hosts them to attract more people to the show. Ric Flair also runs his own YouTube channel.

#5 Yokozuna (1993)

Yokozuna possessed supreme physical strength
Yokozuna possessed supreme physical strength

Yokozuna was a huge character, and he carried the legacy of the giant’s character after André the Giant’s exit. The Samoan superstar nearly conquered every wrestler in his career. He also won the Royal Rumble in 1993 after eliminating Randy Savage last.

Later in 2000, during a wrestling tour, he died due to a disease called “Pulmonary Edema” (A lung disease). Posthumously, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012.


#6 Bret Hart and Lex Luger (1994)

The 1994 Royal Rumble match ended in a controversial manner
The 1994 Royal Rumble match ended in a controversial manner

Bret Hart and Lex Luger won the Royal Rumble match of 1994 in a controversial manner as they both touched their feet to the ground at the same time and so, were announced as co-winners of the match.

Bret Hart was one of the most successful wrestlers of the Hart Dynasty. Bret hung up his boots in 2000 after dealing with multiple injuries. The Hitman got cleared from cancer in 2016 and currently works to raise funds for cancer patients and is living a happy life with his family.

Lex Luger, joint winner of the Royal Rumble match in 1994, retired from pro wrestling in 2006. Currently, he is spending quality time with his family and also does social work occasionally.

#7 Shawn Michaels (1995, 1996)

The Ageless Shawn Michaels
The Ageless Shawn Michaels

Shawn Michaels became the 2nd superstar to win 2 straight Royal Rumble matches in the WWE. The Heart Break Kid almost dethroned every superstar he faced in his high profile career. However, in 2010 he bid goodbye to the WWE Universe after his farewell match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania and successfully put a full stop to his career.

Shawn Michaels was enjoying his another phase of his life outside the WWE. But, the Showstopper shockingly came out of retirement in 2018 to join forces with his buddy, Triple H to fight with The Brothers of destruction. Mr. WrestleMania also plays a key role in WWE Performance Center and NXT to elevate the young superstars’ careers.


8) Stone Cold Steve Austin (1997, 1998, 2001)

The Texas Rattlesnake
The Texas Rattlesnake

Stone Cold Steve Austin holds the record for most Royal Rumble victories in WWE as he claimed glory in the years 1997,1998 and 2001, respectively. With his extreme popularity, the Texas Rattle Snake solely changed the scenario of WWE in the Attitude Era. In 2003, he retired from WWE.

He has remained a man of his word, as he never turned back for the company to wrestle since then. He is in good terms with the WWE company and makes many special appearances at marquee events. He returned on the RAW 25 episode in 2018. Stone Cold has also gained success with his podcast known as “The Steve Austin Show”.

#9 Vince McMahon (1999)

Vince McMahon is still the Boss of the company
Vince McMahon is still the Boss of the company

Mr. McMahon has also tried his hand inside the ring on his own wrestling brand. He shocked the world by winning the Royal Rumble match in 1999. However, The Boss ended his wrestling career soon to focus on his business.

Reportedly, Vince McMahon has a net worth of 3.2 Billion USD currently and he is successfully running WWE with his daughter, son-in-law and son. Recently, Vince has taken the responsibility to control both the brands of his company and there is no doubt that he is one of the best businessmen in the world.


#10 The Rock (2000)

Just Come Back!
Just Come Back!

The Rock won the Royal Rumble match in the year 2000 and main evented WrestleMania XVI where he failed to win the WWE Championship.

The Brahma Bull has done a lot for the WWE company during his prime. He was a unique character who was the best on the mic and had amazing wrestling skills. Though he has left WWE for years, fans always give him the biggest pop whenever he enters an arena. Undoubtedly, he is the G.O.A.T in the history of pro wrestling.

The Great One has now shifted his career in acting and has given numerous blockbusters films in Hollywood. He rarely appears in WWE because of his tight schedule. Currently, he is busy promoting his upcoming movie “Fighting with the family” and is scheduled to do much more work in movies. As far as his return is concerned, he is rumored to return at Royal Rumble 2019.

#11 Triple H (2002, 2016)

The King of Kings
The King of Kings

Triple H has remained a core part of WWE both as a wrestler and as the COO of the company. He came as a surprise entrant in 2016 Royal Rumble and won WWE Championship there. He had earlier won the Royal Rumble match in 2002 where he eliminated Kurt Angle last to emerge as the last man standing. The Game now rarely wrestles in the squared circle.

The Cerebral Assassin last wrestled at the Crown Jewel PPV in 2018 but unfortunately, he injured himself during the match. So, he is recovering from it currently. He runs the WWE company with his father-in-law and also operates the NXT brand.


#12 Brock Lesnar (2003)

Brock Lesnar is the reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Champion of WWE
Brock Lesnar is the reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Champion of WWE

Brock Lesnar always had an impressive run whenever he has turned up with WWE. The Beast shattered every superstar including the likes of The Undertaker, Triple H, Roman Reigns, John Cena and Goldberg among many others to emerge as the most destructive superstar of all time. He had won the Royal Rumble match in the year 2003 after defeating Big Show earlier in the night to earn a chance to enter the match.

Presently he is the WWE Universal Champion on the RAW brand. The Conqueror is in a short-term contract with WWE, reportedly. He is also on the verge of joining UFC soon once his deal with WWE gets over. Brock Lesnar is all set to defend the Universal title at Royal Rumble 2019 against Finn Balor.

#13 Chris Benoit (2004)

Chris Benoit won the 2004 Royal Rumble match
Chris Benoit won the 2004 Royal Rumble match

Chris Benoit was a prominent part of WWE during the initial years of the 21st century. He had a huge fan base behind him and today fans still love him. He won the Royal Rumble match of 2004 and had earned his golden ticket to headline WrestleMania 20 where he defeated Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a triple threat match to win the World Heavyweight Championship.

But, unfortunately, in 2007, the whole WWE Universe was shocked when the legend was found hanging in his house after killing his own wife and son the same day.


#14 Batista (2005, 2014)

Batista won his first Royal Rumble match in 2005
Batista won his first Royal Rumble match in 2005

Barista is another veteran in the list. He has also won the Royal Rumble twice in his illustrated career. He won the 18th Royal Rumble match of the WWE history in 2005 and later in 2014 he won his 2nd Rumble match to battle with Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XXX. However, in the same year, he left WWE, as the company showed him as a quitter in the storyline.

Later in 2018, he returned as a part of The Evolution reunion on the special episode of SmackDown 1000. We are aware that he had teased a match against The Game. So, The Animal could return for a final stint in the year 2019. He also has acted in many Hollywood movies. Also, he is in good terms with WWE and could return sooner rather than later.

#15 Rey Mysterio (2006)

Rey Mysterio made history by winning the 2006 Royal Rumble match
Rey Mysterio made history by winning the 2006 Royal Rumble match

Despite having a tiny physique, Rey Mysterio accomplished a lot in his WWE career. With his incredible flexibility and wrestling skills, he always captures the fans' attention.

He entered the 2006 Royal Rumble match at #2 and made history by lasting more than an hour in the match and finally elimination Randy Orton to win the match.

After taking a long break from WWE, he once again returned in 2018. The master of the 619 is currently part of the blue brand and is all set to enter the 2019 Royal Rumble match.


#16 The Undertaker (2007)

The Deadman was undefeated at WrestleMania back then
The Deadman was undefeated at WrestleMania back then

The Undertaker won his only Royal Rumble match in the year 2007 and went on to defeat Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship in the main event of WrestleMania that year.

After potentially retiring at the Grandest Stage of them All two years ago, he returned at WrestleMania 34 to squash John Cena. He also performed at the Greatest Royal Rumble, Super Showdown and Crown Jewel PPVs in 2018.

The current in-ring status of the Dead Man is unknown but he may return soon to set up a match for WrestleMania 35.

#17 John Cena (2008, 2013)

John Cena had made the most shocking return in WWE history when he entered the 2008 Royal Rumble match at #30
John Cena had made the most shocking return in WWE history when he entered the 2008 Royal Rumble match at #30

The Leader of the Cenation has been the face of the company for over a decade. He made his shocking return at the #30 position in the Royal Rumble match of 2008 and even won the match that year. Later in 2013, he won the 2nd Rumble match of his WWE career to headline WrestleMania with The Rock.

The 16-time world champion recently returned to WWE. He is performing as a free agent in WWE due to his pending projects in Hollywood. His film The Bumblebee recently hit the box office and Cena has also signed many future projects. The Face of the WWE has officially announced himself as an entrant for Royal Rumble 2019.


#18 Randy Orton (2009, 2017)

Randy Orton has also won the Royal Rumble twice
Randy Orton has also won the Royal Rumble twice

The Viper also made a huge impact in WWE. Randy Orton plays a great heel character. He had won the Royal Rumble match in 2009 and 2017. Randy had failed to win the WWE Championship as he lost to Triple H at WrestleMania XXV, but he defeated Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 33 in 2017 to win the WWE Championship.

The Apex Predator is currently a prominent part of the blue brand. Despite he has not officially declared himself for Royal Rumble match of 2019, which is 2 weeks away, he may enter as a surprise entrant.

#19 Edge (2010)

The Rated 'R' Superstar
The Rated 'R' Superstar

Edge won the Royal Rumble for the first time in his successful career in the year 2010. He has given many memorable matches to the WWE Universe. But, in 2011 he was forced to retire due to injury concerns.

The Rated-R superstar returned at SmackDown 1000 episode last year and hosted “The Cutting Edge Show”. He has also tried acting multiple times and he also hosts “The Edge and Christian show” with his best friend Christian which airs on the WWE network.


#20 Alberto Del Rio (2011)

Alberto Del Rio won the 2011 Royal Rumble match
Alberto Del Rio won the 2011 Royal Rumble match

Alberto Del Rio was the most talented Mexican wrestler in WWE. He has won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Money in the Bank and US Championship in his career. Apart from that he had also won the 40 men Royal Rumble match in 2011 and became the top guy of the WWE then.

However, in 2016, he left WWE company on a bad note. Currently, Alberto is making a name for himself in the independent circuit.

#21 Sheamus (2012)

Sheamus is one half of the SD Live tag team champions currently
Sheamus is one half of the SD Live tag team champions currently

In the past, Sheamus was pushed as the top wrestler of the company. He has won the WWE Championship multiple times in his career and was also the winner of the Royal Rumble in 2012. But due to bad bookings, the WWE Creative failed to use him as per his potential.

The Celtic Warrior has now formed an alliance with Cesaro and their tag team is known as The Bar. They are the current SmackDown Tag team Champions and will defend their titles at Royal Rumble against the newly formed tag team of The Miz and Shane McMahon.


#22 Roman Reigns (2015)

Roman Reigns had to be written off TV because of Leukemia
Roman Reigns had to be written off TV because of Leukemia

Roman Reigns was the next superstar who was chosen to become the face of WWE. Reigns main evented WrestleMania for 4 consecutive times with the year 2015 being his first when he challenged Brock Lesnar after winning the Royal Rumble match.

Though Roman failed to win that match, later on, he went to defeat Triple H and also humiliated The Deadman at Show of Shows. The Big Dog was the hardest worker in the locker room.

After winning the Universal title from Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam 2018, he was forced to relinquish the title on RAW when he was diagnosed with Leukemia. So, Roman Reigns is currently recovering from the disease to make his in-ring return soon.

#23 Shinsuke Nakamura (2018)

The Artist
The Artist

Shinsuke Nakamura joined WWE after a successful stint in NJPW. In the year 2018, Shinsuke entered his first ever Royal Rumble match and emerged victorious for a world title shot at WrestleMania 34, but he failed to win his match against then WWE Champion AJ Styles.

The Artist is currently a part of the blue brand and will fight against Rusev at Royal Rumble 2019 to reclaim his US championship.


#24 Asuka (2018)

Asuka is the reigning SD Live Women's Champion
Asuka is the reigning SD Live Women's Champion

Asuka will always be known as the first female superstar to win the women’s Royal Rumble match as the Empress of Tomorrow outlasted 29 other female superstars to win the 2018 Rumble match. The Japanese wrestler possesses a lot of potential and has exceptional in-ring skills.

The Empress of Tomorrow is the current SmackDown Women’s champion and will defend her title against Becky Lynch at Royal Rumble 2019.


Special mention:

25) Braun Strowman

Braun Strowman won the Greatest Royal Rumble match in WWE history
Braun Strowman won the Greatest Royal Rumble match in WWE history

Braun Strowman won the historic 50-men Royal Rumble match in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2018. Though he did not earn a title shot after that victory, he received a trophy and a special belt for his triumph.

Braun Strowman is one of the top stars of RAW flagship show of WWE currently. He is healing up from his shoulder injury. The Monster Among Men was removed from the Universal title picture last week and the current status of Braun Strowman for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view is unknown.

Edited by Israel Lutete
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