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10 weirdest Royal Rumble entrants of all time
One of the greatest charms of the Royal Rumble Match is that you just never know who’s going to show up.
Every year, WWE’s 30-man melee has its fair share of favorites, and its extreme underdogs. Yet, scattered among the contenders and pretenders is a third category of Rumbler: The unexpected oddball entrant.
From a table-breaking freak to an immense pair of face-painted twins to a beloved sitcom star, check out these 10 Royal Rumble entrants who caught everyone by surprise, presented by Chex Mix.
Kharma’s tenure in WWE was short-lived, but the monstrous Diva still made an unforgettable impression, ripping off dolls’ heads and intimidating everyone from The Bella Twins to LayCool. Still, her most memorable moment came in 2012 when Kharma became just the third Diva in WWE history to compete in the Royal Rumble Match.
Whereas her Rumble barrier-breaking predecessors, Chyna and Beth Phoenix, both enjoyed long and successful stints in WWE, the brevity of Kharma’s run made her cameo all the more unexpected. Upon entering, she clotheslined Michael Cole, planted Dolph Ziggler on the mat and impressively chucked Hunico out of the ring. After a minute of domination, Kharma was upended by Ziggler, who backdropped her out of the ring.
Twenty-one years before being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, Carlos Colon had many Royal Rumble onlookers scratching their heads in bewilderment. Nothing short of a wrestling god in Puerto Rico, Colon spent decades carving out his incredible legacy on the island. His reach in WWE, however, was considerably less, so fans were surprised, if not baffled, when he popped up randomly in the 1993 Royal Rumble Match.
Colon mustered a single elimination that night (Damien Demento), but failed to make an impact beyond that. On the plus side, commentator Gorilla Monsoon thought Colon, who began training at Antonino Rocca’s amateur club in 1962, looked so youthful that he couldn’t help but describe him as a “youngster.” The likely tongue-in-cheek assertion from Monsoon, a business partner of Colon in Puerto Rico, sounds as ridiculous now as it did then.
Japanese wrestling legend Genichiro Tenryu remains one of the more confounding footnotes in WWE history. He competed in WWE only a handful of times in the 1990s, but those appearances tended to be on huge stages, like WrestleMania and Royal Rumble.
Tenryu made his Royal Rumble Match debut in 1993. He didn’t eliminate a single competitor, but spent much of the bout tangling with fellow chop enthusiast “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, and “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, with whom Tenryu crossed paths in Texas in the 1970s. After 13 minutes of action, the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion was tossed by The Undertaker.
Strangely, Tenryu returned at the following year’s event, where he not only competed in the 30-Superstar contest, but also joined a large contingent of rule-breakers to help Yokozuna overcome The Undertaker in a WWE Championship Casket Match earlier in the evening. Perhaps Tenryu was still upset about being eliminated the year before.
The prospect of Sabu — the crazed, risk-taking, table-breaking ECW Original — competing in the Royal Rumble Match forever seemed like a longshot, even though such a scenario had been actually been anticipated for many years. Indeed, rumors of Sabu entering WWE’s annual brawl began swirling all the way back in 1996, when ECW was still alive and building its brand of extreme combat on the shoulders of daredevils like Sabu.
That particular outcome never materialized, but Sabu did finally make his Rumble Match debut some 11 years later in 2007, around the time of WWE’s ECW relaunch. His lone appearance didn’t disappoint, either: True to form, Sabu was eliminated in breathtaking fashion when Kane chokeslammed him out of the ring and through a table to the floor. Even in defeat, Sabu couldn’t help but smash tables.
The Squat Team
The Squat Team, a menacing pair of 350-pound twins who wore black-and-white war paint, gave the WWE Universe a strange case of double vision when they entered the Royal Rumble Match back-to-back, at Nos. 15 and 16, in 1996. Prior to the match, neither gargantuan had ever appeared in a WWE ring, so the sight of one Squat Team member, let alone his identical twin, was something remarkable.
Vader sent Squat Team No. 1 packing almost immediately, but as the newcomer returned to the locker room area, he was greeted by his brother, who was approaching ringside. Together, the twins marched into the ring, only for both to be ejected within moments by Vader and Yokozuna. Six days later, in Jim Thorpe, Pa., the duo resurfaced in Extreme Championship Wrestling under the alias they used for most of their careers, The Headhunters.
“Dirty” Dick Murdoch’s nearly decade-long absence from WWE came to an end in January 1995, when the former World Tag Team Champion entered that year’s Royal Rumble Match at No. 27. The WWE landscape had changed appreciably in the 10 years that he had been gone, but that didn’t stop Murdoch from entering the match like a house afire, moving from one Rumbler to another and delivering punch after punch.
Lasting just more than five minutes in the over-the-top classic, the brawler proudly known as “Captain Redneck” fittingly spent much of the time tussling with hog farmer Henry O. Godwinn. Opting to bring a taste of the 1980s into 1995, Murdoch even hoisted the nearly 300-pound Godwinn onto his shoulders for an old-school airplane spin.
When “Dangerous” Doug Gilbert entered the 1996 Royal Rumble Match at No. 19 to the sound of bluegrass music, commentator “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig vocalized what much of the pay-per-view audience at home was probably thinking: “Who’s that?”
Mr. Perfect was joking, and he immediately explained that he teamed with Gilbert’s older brother, "Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert, in WWE in the 1980s, and that the Gilbert clan was a “great wrestling family.” Doug earned his berth into the 1996 Royal Rumble Match by winning a smaller, similar-style bout in the Memphis, Tenn.-based United States Wrestling Association earlier that month. Unfortunately, his three-minute stay in the big league looked painful: After being Thesz-pressed and chokeslammed by a debuting Vader, Gilbert was dumped over the top rope by The Mastodon.
Was it pride or morbid curiosity that drove the voice of WWE, Michael Cole, to enter the Royal Rumble Match? Whatever the reason, Cole thought it was a good idea to follow the lead of broadcast partners Jerry Lawler and Booker T and enter the over-the-top-rope brawl as the 20th entrant in 2012.
Unlike his WWE Hall of Fame colleagues, though, Cole never stood a chance, largely because of his apparent aversion to physical contact. After absorbing a single hit — a hard knockdown by Kharma — the singlet-clad Cole couldn’t scramble out of the ring fast enough. Luckily, Lawler and Booker T, were there to lend a hand, yanking him off the ring apron and bringing an unceremonious close to his single Rumble Match appearance.
Thanks to a brief working agreement between WWE and AAA — the Mexican organization that gave Rey Mysterio his first major platform — the 1997 Royal Rumble Match was the most lucha-heavy edition to date.
Amid bulky brawlers like Crush, Ahmed Johnson and Vader, masked luchadores Pierroth and Cibernetico, as well as the barefaced Latin Lover, maneuvered around the ring with tactics rarely seen outside Mexico City. Adding even more lucha libre flair to the 30-Superstar battle was Mil Mascaras, a WWE Hall of Famer who, previous to that, hadn’t stepped foot in a WWE ring since the early 1980s.
Furthermore, the rules of the Royal Rumble Match might have been lost in translation: Despite having participated in dozens of Battle Royals throughout his career, Mascaras opted to climb the ropes and dive off onto Pierroth who was on the floor, eliminating himself in the process.
No individual looked as utterly lost in the Royal Rumble Match as comedic actor Drew Carey. The onetime star of “The Drew Carey Show” and eventual host of “The Price is Right” appeared about as at-home in the squared circle as an antelope that had wandered into a pride of lions. His bizarre cameo in the 2001 Rumble Match earned Carey a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame’s celebrity wing, but it also nearly cost him his life.
It was at the encouragement of Mr. McMahon that Carey joined the fray. Compounding one mistake with another, Carey, upon meeting Kane in the locker room, called The Big Red Monster a “goofy guy in a mask.” Little did he realize that he would cross paths with Kane shortly after, in the Rumble Match. After a failed attempt to bribe The Devil’s Favorite Demon with cash, Carey looked destined for a chokeslam. That is, until Raven intervened, allowing Carey to hightail it back to Cleveland.