It seems like it was yesterday when Edge made his return at Royal Rumble 2020 to one of the biggest pops of the last 5 years. But, in reality, we are less than 3 weeks away from the 34th edition of WWE's Annual January spectacle.
Royal Rumble is not just a pay per view, it marks the beginning of WrestleMania season. By the time the show comes to an end every year, fans are not only aware of who the challengers for the World Titles will be, the stones of many other rivalries for WrestleMania are also laid.
Apart from the obvious World Title rivalries that are kick-started with Royal Rumble victories, the namesake match also acts as the starting point of plenty of other rivalries. Several such rivalries are launched by a simple thing - Elimination.
Over the last 33 years, there have been several such instances where a Royal Rumble elimination acted as the fire that ignited the animosity between two superstars. Here are 10 Royal Rumble eliminations that kick-started WrestleMania rivalries.
Note: This list doesn't include World Title rivalries that start as a result of the Royal Rumble match win.
Hulk Hogan eliminates Randy Savage (Royal Rumble 1989)
WWF's programming in 1988 was dominated by the friendship of Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan. Despite being the two biggest babyfaces in WWF, the two had been teaming together as the Mega Powers for the second half of 1988.
However, tensions started to build between the two in the days leading to the Royal Rumble with Savage, the WWF Champion, becoming insecure over the friendship between his wife, Miss Elizabeth, and Hogan.
Things took a turn for the worst at Royal Rumble. When Savage was tussling with Bad News Brown on the ropes, Hogan, who was the only other superstar in the ring, eliminated both Brown and Savage.
Angry over the way he was betrayed by The Hulkster, The Macho Man barged back to the ring and confronted his best friend over his elimination. The two almost came to blows, before Elizabeth entered the ring and acted as a mediator between the two.
This incident later acted as the foil for Savage's Heel Turn, as he attacked Hogan backstage a few days later, and set things in motion for the main event of WrestleMania V.
Roddy Piper eliminates Bad News Brown, Brown returns the favor (Royal Rumble 1990)
This is a rivalry that was not just hot on-screen, but off-screen as well. By the start of 1990 Roddy Piper was among the most loved performers in the world and was one of the favorites to win the Rumble match in 1990.
Entering the match at #6, Piper had a great 12 minutes in the match, including a good confrontation with Bad News Brown, which ended with Hot Rod eliminating Brown from the match.
This didn't sit well with Bad News, as he returned the favor by pulling Roddy over the top rope to end his stay in the match. What followed was a lengthy brawl between the two. This kick-started a controversial rivalry that lasted all the way until WrestleMania VI, where Piper appeared with half his body painted black. A moment that can be considered one of the most controversial wrestling moments ever.