Craig Wilson & Russ Morgan
As we countdown to the Royal Rumble, the team list their favourite moments from Rumble history. So whether it is surprise returns, tag teams and friends battling each other, iron man performances or clashes between iconic stars, Craig and Russ share their Top Five Royal Rumble moments.
I love this moment. The Rated R Superstar was meant to be on the shelf for the best part of a year but made a speedy comeback to win the Rumble and head to Wrestlemania 26. Sure, he looks understandably blown up during his fleeting Rumble appearance but it got a huge pop from the crowd and was full of great spots before he eliminated Batista to triumph.
4. Demolition Collide
In the early years of the Rumble they particularly hyped that it was friend vs friend in the Rumble match but there was scant evidence of this. That is until 1989 when Ax and Smash drew 1 and 2 respectively and went at it until Andre the Giant entered the fray. Sure, it lasted only 2 minutes but really set the scene that it was, as it was billed, every man for himself.
3. The Ultimate Collision
It may be one of the shortest moments on this list but it was hugely significant when Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior clashed at the 1990 edition of the Royal Rumble. Sure, if such a moment occurred nowadays noone would bat an eye lid but this was 1990 and WWF fans were conditioned to expect a conflict between a face and a heel. Two faces going at it like this was remarkable. After clearing the ring, the WWF Champion and WWF Intercontinental Champion the two collided with a double clothesline sending both men down. Like I said, it didn’t last long but it played its part in setting up the main event of Wrestlemania VI.
The late 90s/early 00s saw a host of former stars make returns for the Royal Rumble. My favourite of those was Mr. Perfect’s return in the 2002 Rumble as number 25 and lasting 15 minutes to make the final 3. His stint this time around with the WWF is remembered best for the ‘Plane Ride from Hell’ but I prefer to remember his Rumble return instead.
1. Bobby Heenan calling the 1992 Royal Rumble
“This isn’t fair to Flair!” One of the many iconic comments from Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan’s calling of the 1992 Rumble. At this point it was the most stacked Rumble and with the most on the line with the WWF title up for grabs. It had enough as it was but Heenan managed to elevate it further with his spectacular skill at storytelling. A remarkable MVP performance from him and he was’t the one that lasted from number 3 to win the thing!
I loved the 2011 Royal Rumble. A CM Punk inspried Nexus got the favourable draw and eleminated half the entries, until a Hogan-esque Cena dumped them all out. Best part for me was a forgotten about Santino climbed back into the ring to almost upset Alberto Del Rio. For almost I second I thought Santino would go to Wrestlemania…
4. Too Cool take Madison Square Garden by storm!
Rikishi was about to ascend to main event status and in this Rumble he cemented that fact. He was cleaning house when he and Grand Master Sexay were left in the ring, as the buzzer went, none other than Scotty Too Hotty entered the frey. They proceeded to bring the house down with a brilliant dance set that got everyone out of their seats. Rikishi took the opportunity to dump both his boys out, but thats business I guess…
3. RVD Returns!
This actually gave me goosebumps, RVD returned at Royal Rumble 2009 at number 25 and cleaned house! The ring was full, but he made sure everyone got a piece. RVD didn’t win the Rumble that night, but he showed what the WWE had been missing since he left last.
2. Mr Perfect & Triple H Return In Style
Returning for different reasons, these guys made the 2002 Royal Rumble. Firstly with Austin cleaning house (as usual), standing alone as the count went down, Triple H appeared in almost a 2 minute walk to the ring. The Game was back from a long injury lay off, but he came back to win the thing. From a nostalgic point of view, again goosebumps came over me when The Exodus Theme hit and Mr Perfect made his way to the ring. It looked like he had never been away, even teaching Kurt Angle a thing or two. Although he would be gone from the company shortly after, this is the lasting memory I will have of the sadly missed Curt Hennig.
“Oh you can kiss it goodbye Brain”, the words uttered by Gorilla Monsoon to a shell-shocked Bobby Heenan. To many of us of a certain vintage, this is our favourite Rumble. Ric Flair was the “Real Worlds Champion” and came in at number 3. He saw off everyone else including Hogan, Sid and The Undertaker. Brilliant showing from a true legend of the biz.
You can read all previous Top Five pieces here.