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WWE Royal Rumble: 10 Eliminations that kick-started WrestleMania rivalries

Kartik Seth
ANALYST
Modified 12 Jan 2021
Top 5 / Top 10
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Sid Justice betrays and eliminates Hulk Hogan (Royal Rumble 1992)

Sid eliminating and betraying Hogan gave us the main event of WrestleMania VIII
Sid eliminating and betraying Hogan gave us the main event of WrestleMania VIII

The Royal Rumble match in 1992 is special for more than one reason. Not only was it the first time that the WWF Championship was on the line in the Rumble match, but all final four participants were also part of the double main event of that year's WrestleMania.

The ground work for one of those matches was laid in the Rumble match itself, and it was one that no one was expecting. With Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan under the same banner for the first time, every wrestling fan could foresee a match between the two at the Grandest Stage in 1992.

WWE, however, had other plans. As the two babyfaces left in the Royal Rumble match, it seemed obvious that Hogan and Sid Justice would first eliminate Flair and then settle the score among themselves. Sid disagreed, however, as he betrayed and eliminated Hogan from the match to a massive pop from the crowd.

The Hulkster returned the favor by pulling Justice's hand and assisting Flair in eliminating him, getting revenge for Sid's betrayal, leading to their Mania VIII main event.


Giant Gonzalez debuts and targets Undertaker (Royal Rumble 1993)

This was the first time a Rumble participant was eliminated by an outsider.
This was the first time a Rumble participant was eliminated by an outsider.

Non-Rumble participants entering the Royal Rumble match and eliminating a fan favorite superstar is something that we have seen several times over the past 30 years. From Shane McMahon to The Miz, and AoP to the Ministry, several superstars had their run halted by external forces.

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While he was instrumental in Mabel's elimination in 1999, The Undertaker was in fact the first superstar to fall victim to an outsider in the Rumble match. Taker's initial years were filled with rivalries with giants such as Kamala, Yokozuna, and King Kong Bundy. But his biggest/largest/tallest rival was none other than Giant Gonzalez.

With Taker wreaking havoc in the 1993 Royal Rumble match, Gonzalez made his first WWE appearance alongside Harvey Wippleman. Despite not being a participant in the match, the massive superstar entered the ring, attacked the Deadman, and eliminated him from the match. This initiated a rivalry that featured marquee matches at both WrestleMania and Summerslam that year.

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Published 12 Jan 2021, 00:10 IST
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