WWE's 35th annual Royal Rumble event takes place on Saturday, January 29 2022. At the event, the 40th and 41st Rumble matches will take place, with the men's division and women's division competing, respectively.
The Rumble match concept began in 1988 and was the brainchild of WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson. Patterson devised the rules in which the only way to win was by throwing your opponent over-the-top-rope and both feet have to touch the floor to be eliminated.
The match has become a key component in storylines leading up to the company's biggest show of the year, WrestleMania. The winners of the respective men's and women's Rumble matches earn a championship opportunity at the show of shows.
Over the years, there have been a plethora of winners, with the first ever winner being WWE Hall of Famer "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. Since 2018, when the inaugural women's contest was introduced, winners have included the likes of Asuka, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair.
One particular Royal Rumble match that made history was the contest that took place in 2008. The men's match, taking place in Madison Square Garden, saw John Cena enter the match as entrant #30.
This was significant because Cena was not scheduled to return from his pectoral injury for another few months. He defied scientific and medical odds by entering the match and winning it overall. It became one of the greatest moments in the history of the match.
However, if John Cena had not returned and won the match, who was scheduled to win the match? This begs the question, if popular superstar at the time, CM Punk was supposed to win the 2008 WWE Royal Rumble match?
Yes, he was. Punk revealed on WWE Backstage on FOX that he was penciled in to win the match before Cena's return. Despite this setback, CM Punk still scored a big victory at WrestleMania by winning the Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
What did CM Punk say about his 2008 Royal Rumble victory being changed?
CM Punk appeared on WWE Backstage on FOX between 2019 and 2020. On the show, he discussed the current ongoings in WWE and also spoke about his career.
On WWE Backstage, Punk revealed he was due to win the Rumble match in 2008. He said:
"I was supposed to win! I was supposed to win that Royal Rumble, then John Cena comes back after three months from a torn pec. Thanks a lot, John." (h/t Wrestling-Edge)
Following this, CM Punk never won a Royal Rumble match, and ultimately walked away from WWE in January 2014. He returned to wrestling in 2021 for the first time in seven years, signing with Tony Khan's All Elite Wrestling.
Poll : Do you wish that CM Punk had won the Royal Rumble match in 2008?