Former WWE IC Champion did not appear in the Royal Rumble for the first time in 15 years

Triple H booked the 2023 WWE Royal Rumble.
Triple H booked the 2023 WWE Royal Rumble.

The 2023 Men's Royal Rumble match featured appearances from several long-time WWE Superstars, including Kofi Kingston, The Miz, and Sheamus. Another veteran, Dolph Ziggler, was surprisingly omitted from this year's 30-man contest.

Ziggler made his Royal Rumble debut in 2009 and went on to compete in the annual match every year until 2022. He also entered the 50-man Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia in 2018.

The end of the six-time Intercontinental Champion's 14-year run in Royal Rumble matches did not go unnoticed on social media:

Just realized Dolph Ziggler wasn't in the Rumble this year. Gotta be some kind of a record because that guy is always in there.
Dolph Ziggler left out of the #RoyalRumble is disrespectful. He was closing in on the record for most appearances.

Kane holds the record for the highest number of Royal Rumble appearances (20). Ziggler and Kofi Kingston are now tied for second place with 15 appearances. They are closely followed with 14 appearances by The Miz, Randy Orton, and Rey Mysterio.

In 2011, Ziggler pulled double duty at the Royal Rumble when he unsuccessfully challenged Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship before entering the Rumble match. A year later, he also lost a WWE Championship encounter with CM Punk prior to competing in the 2012 Rumble.

What's next for Dolph Ziggler after the WWE Royal Rumble?

The two-time World Heavyweight Champion has appeared sporadically on WWE television since Triple H took over as the head of creative in July 2022.

This week's RAW featured three qualifying bouts for the United States Championship Elimination Chamber match on February 18th. Dolph Ziggler received an opportunity to qualify, but he was defeated by Bronson Reed in just three minutes.

Did @HEELZiggler underestimate @BRONSONISHERE in this #WWEChamber Qualifying Match on #WWERaw?

Moving forward, Ziggler looks unlikely to appear in a meaningful storyline on the road to WrestleMania 39.

Although he is widely viewed as one of WWE's most talented in-ring performers, the 42-year-old has only competed in one singles encounter at WrestleMania. The match took place at WrestleMania 36, where he lost to Otis without any fans in attendance at the Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.

What would you like to see next from Dolph Ziggler? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Edited by Ken Cameron
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