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10 tell-tale signs the Royal Rumble Match changed your life

Relish making a surprise entrance? Ever overstay your welcome? Know well the power of a woman? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, The Royal Rumble Match may have already changed your life. Now, as the entire WWE Universe looks ahead to the impending 2013 edition of the over-the-top melee, WWE.com takes a look back at Rumbles past to present 10 tell-tale signs the Royal Rumble Match has changed your life.

You arrive at parties unannounced to make the biggest impression

John Cena returns from injury to win the Royal Rumble Match - Royal Rumble 2008

You took notes during the 2008 Royal Rumble Match. You saw how the crowd leaped to their feet when John Cena emerged as a surprise entrant after being sidelined with a torn pectoral several months earlier. Not only did the leader of the Cenation steal the show, but he also ended up winning the match, and went on to the WWE Title Match at WrestleMania XXIV. Now you just need to settle on your entrance music.

You don’t overstay your welcome

Years of Royal Rumble Match watching have taught you not to be that guy — you know the one. That guy at every party you’ve ever gone to since high school who simply doesn’t know when it’s time to pack it in and go home. The ultimate straggler, the annoying lingerer, the last man standing … but not in a good way.

Now, if you don’t know the kind of guy we’re talking about, then you might, in fact, be that guy. And if that is, indeed, the case, then you need to do yourself (and your friends) a favor and go re-watch the following Royal Rumble Match and take notes.

Royal Rumble Match 2009. Enter Santino Marella. … Exit, Santino Marella. Only 1.9 seconds after The Milan Miracle ducked through the ropes, he was unceremoniously dumped back over the ropes by Kane to set a new WWE record. Though that wasn’t exactly a highpoint in the career of the Cobra-wielding Superstar, it did make for one of the most unforgettable Royal Rumble Match moments of all time. And besides, Santino has bounced back nicely from his Rumble fail, most recently enjoying a beloved reign as the United States Championship in the early part of 2012.

So let that be a lesson to you — don’t overstay your welcome, WWE Universe, and you, too, could become a champion*.

*You probably will not become a champion, but it’s still good advice.               

You never underestimate the power of a woman

Beth Phoenix outwits The Great Khali with a kiss-and-conquer scheme that eliminates The Punjabi Playboy from the Royal Rumble Match on January 31, 2010.

There’s no good situation a man can find himself in that can’t quickly be undone by a woman. Take The Great Khali, who found himself staring down Beth Phoenix in the 2010 Royal Rumble Match. Rather than toss The Glamazon over the top rope, The Punjabi Playboy was lured into a kiss with her. Although he was enraptured by her beauty, it was her power that cast the final spell. In a display of female ferocity that would make Lara Croft blush, Phoenix clutched Khali with her powerful arms and in mid-kiss eliminated him.

You have a very different definition of “cleaning house” than most people

The sight of orderlies threatening to bring Kane back to the insane asylum becomes too much for The Big Red Machine to bear at Royal Rumble on January 24, 1999.

When the distinctive strands of Kane’s entrance music blared through the speakers at Anaheim, Calif.’s Arrowhead Pond in January 1999, there were four Superstars battling it out inside the ring during the Royal Rumble Match.

And then The Big Red Monster climbed over the ropes and proceeded to “clean house.”

Seconds after Kane entered the fray, bodies went flying out of the ring in truly impressive fashion. With three of the four competitors eliminated by the black-and-red­–clad monster in mere moments, only Goldust remained. Kane made quick work of The Bizarre One, delivering a stunning, over-the-top-rope Chokeslam that left the WWE Universe convinced they were looking at the Royal Rumble Match winner.

That very well could have been the case that year, had the scary-dominant Superstar not eliminated himself. Yep, you read that right — Kane climbed back over the top rope and to take himself out of contention when a gaggle of orderlies threatening to bring him back to the asylum showed up at the arena.

Still, one thing’s for sure — when The Big Red Monster “cleans house,” he does so in terrifying fashion.

You know better than to cross the boss

And the winner of the 1999 Royal Rumble Match is ... Mr. McMahon!? The Chairman leaves "Stone Cold" Steve Austin spitting mad with a shocking final elimination on January 24, 1999.

You don’t mess with a man’s car. You don’t tell a woman she looks overweight. And you never, ever cross The Boss (especially if you work for WWE). But you already knew that last one. After all, you saw how things turned out for “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in the 1999 Royal Rumble Match, when it came down to just him and WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon. It looked like Austin was on the verge of victory, until WWE Champion The Rock distracted him long enough to allow Mr. McMahon to recover and heave his nemesis over the top rope. And you thought your boss was unreasonable?

You buck conventional wisdom, and believe that real winners finish last

WWE has never done anything in conventional style, and ever since the inaugural Royal Rumble Match in 1988, the WWE Universe has become accustomed to a whole new adage — once a year, last is the new first.

Over the past 20 years or so, Superstars have catapulted to main event status after claiming victory in the Royal Rumble Match and earning the chance to challenge for a title on The Grandest Stage of Them All. From Shawn Michaels to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to Sheamus, the Road to WrestleMania and the path to championship gold has, ironically, started with being last on numerous occasions.

You wait 90 seconds to enter a room after the person before you

Finally... The Rock comes back to the Royal Rumble! Witness The Great One square off against WWE Champion CM Punk on Sunday, January 27, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, live on pay-per-view.

You’ve watched enough Royal Rumble Matches to know that each competitor must wait the requisite 90 seconds until they’re allowed to enter the ring. You’ve taken that example and run with it, waiting your turn patiently — at the DMV, the doctor’s office and even a WWE show. After all, it would be bad form to jump the gun. But once that buzzer sounds — you’ve also learned — all bets are off.

You’ve become convinced that Kofi Kingston, not Peter Parker, is Spider-Man

Kofi Kingston's acrobatics come in handy on the ground, too, as The Dreadlocked Dynamo avoids elimination with an awesome maneuver in the 2012 Royal Rumble Match.

Generations of Marvel Comics fans know Peter Parker as the web-slinging New York City superhero, Spider-Man. But for those of you who have watched him during his career, you might be thinking what we’re thinking — that perhaps it’s actually been Kofi Kingston under the mask all this time.

As demonstrated on numerous occasions, Kofi can fly through the air with the greatest of ease. And never were his acrobatic abilities so prominently on display as in the 2012 Royal Rumble Match, when Kofi went to new lengths in an effort that put ol’ Peter Parker to shame.

When dumped out of the ring by The Miz, Kofi landed on his hands — and “The Wildcat” stayed that way, walking on his paws across the mat and over to the steel ring steps, where he was able to plant his feet (not on the floor, which would have eliminated him), climb back into the ring and take the fight back to his Awesome nemesis.

You learn to believe in the oldest of clichés

Rey Mysterio enters the Royal Rumble at No. 2 and wins it all - Royal Rumble 2006

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
“Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”
“(Insert name here) wanted the win more.”

Clichés are often a lazy way of conveying a thought. At other times, though, they just happen to be dead-on accurate. You figured that out the moment you saw Rey Mysterio enter the 2006 Royal Rumble Match as the No. 2 entrant and claw, kick and fight his way through a 1-hour, 2-minute, 12-second onslaught of competitors to win it all and cement his legacy as WWE’s “Biggest Little Man.” Hey, you know what they say … good things come in small packages.

You don’t consider the phrase “skinning the cat” creepy at all

It’s one of the oddest terms ever entered into the sports-entertainment lexicon, but “skinning the cat” has become old hat to the WWE Universe.

Though we’ve seen it in almost every Royal Rumble Match since, undoubtedly the most famous instance of an in-ring “cat skinning” came at Royal Rumble 1995, when Shawn Michaels  became the first-ever No. 1 entrant to outlast everyone and win the 30-Superstar, over-the-top rope contest.

The 1995 Royal Rumble Match marked the first time the bout’s first two competitors — HBK and The British Bulldog — were also the final two competitors in the ring, giving hope to every Superstar unlucky enough to draw a low number.

That match’s finish — in which Bulldog clotheslined HBK over the top rope — has become the stuff of legend. After the clothesline, the beloved Superstar started celebrating in the ring.

Imagine his surprise when, moments later, HBK delivered a double ax handle, sending Bulldog sailing over the ropes. Confusion set in as the referee raised Michaels’ hand in victory. But as the replay would show, The Showstopper was able to grab onto the ropes and keep his left foot from touching the floor before returning into the ring for the decisive.  

It’s a moment that will live forever in WWE lore, certainly, but it also made “skinning the cat” a household wrestling term.

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