"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan outlasts 19 other Superstars to win the first-ever Royal Rumble Match in 1988.01/09/2018 - 20:00
The Royal Rumble Match can offer up a dream showdown between Superstars at any time. Here are 10 of the wildest clashes that occurred during the marathon bout.01/11/2018 - 16:45
25 Stunning Royal Rumble Match statistics
As the 26th annual Royal Rumble Match approaches, take a look through a quarter-century's worth of amazing facts and figures that will send you over the top rope.
The Royal Rumble Match in Numbers
The Royal Rumble is the first stop on The Road to WrestleMania. For nearly 30 years, the over-the-top-rope spectacular has given WWE Superstars a chance to shine and move into the spotlight on The Grandest Stage of Them All. Along the way, many participants have racked up all kinds of statistics, from the spectacular to the strange. See for yourself what facts and figures have been left in the aftermath of WWE’s most chaotic contest.
First Royal Rumble Winner: "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan (1988)
The first-ever Royal Rumble Match set a precedent in WWE history for what all-out chaos could become. Twenty WWE Superstars vied for supremacy, but only one could remain inside the ring victorious. WWE Hall of Famer “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan outlasted the field to have his name etched in WWE history as the first Royal Rumble Match winner. Though there was no prize beyond that evening, WWE’s most patriotic Superstar will always have the distinction of saying he was the first to win one of WWE’s longest-running contests, eliminating The One Man Gang to claim victory.
Most Rumble Match Wins: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin – 3 (1997, 1998, 2001)
The Royal Rumble Match is the perfect setting for The Texas Rattlesnake and his “don’t trust anybody” motto in the every-man-for-himself environment. In 1997, Austin took advantage of distracted officials to dump Bret “Hit Man” Hart over the top rope and win the Rumble match. The following year, the WWE Hall of Famer eliminated The Great One, The Rock, for the victory. To top it all off, to achieve his 2001 Royal Rumble win, “Stone Cold” ended Kane’s record-setting run of 11 eliminations, throwing out The Big Red Monster to get his WWE Championship Match at WrestleMania.
Number of Superstars to win consecutive Royal Rumble Matches: 3
Winning one Royal Rumble is a Herculean task in and of itself. To do it two years in succession is almost unthinkable. Yet three of WWE’s most decorated Superstars have done the unimaginable, winning back-to-back Rumble matches on their way to becoming WWE Hall of Famers. Hulk Hogan was the first, claiming victory in 1990 and 1991. No. 1 entrant Shawn Michaels came one foot away from elimination in 1995, but rebounded to win that year’s contest and the following. The last Superstar to outlast 29 combatants in consecutive years was “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, winning the 1997 and 1998 Royal Rumble Matches.
Number of Rumble Winners to win a World Title at WrestleMania: 13
Since the prize of a World Title Match at WrestleMania was first awarded to the winner of the Royal Rumble Match in 1993, 12 warriors have gone on to win championship gold on The Grandest Stage of Them All. The list is a who’s who of WWE Hall of Famers and Superstars who have or may well join the hallows of legends. The massive Yokozuna did it first in 1993, following up his Rumble match victory by defeating Bret “Hit Man” Hart at WrestleMania IX for the WWE Title. Hart, as co-winner of the 1994 Royal Rumble Match, recaptured the title from the Japanese juggernaut at WrestleMania X. Others to accomplish this feat include Shawn Michaels, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (who did it twice), Triple H, Brock Lesnar, Batista, Rey Mysterio, The Undertaker, Sheamus and John Cena (who was last to do it in 2013).
Most eliminations in a single Royal Rumble: Roman Reigns (12, 2014)
For more than a decade, Kane held the record for the most eliminations in a single Royal Rumble Match, with 11. The Big Red Monster dominated the competition, eliminating the likes of The Honky Tonk Man and The Rock. Though he did not win the Rumble that night, no one ever thought the incredible feat could be topped. Fast forward to 2014 and Roman Reigns. With his sights set on headlining WrestleMania, Reigns was the No. 15 entrant and proceeded to eliminate an unprecedented 12 Superstars, including Sheamus, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Kevin Nash. Unfortunately for Reigns, his dominant showing did not result in winning the Royal Rumble Match, although he was victorious just a year later.
Most times being the last eliminated Superstar in a Royal Rumble Match: 2
Being the last Superstar thrown out of the Royal Rumble contest is hard enough to deal with. Having it happen twice is almost unimaginable. Four of WWE’s most successful Superstars have met that surprising fate in the match. Big Show was one elimination short of winning the Rumble in 2000 and 2004. Triple H, winner of the 2002 Royal Rumble Match, came up short in back-to-back years, 2008 and 2009. The Superstar with the most all-time eliminations, Shawn Michaels, was the runner-up in 1994 and 2007. John Cena, a 12-time World Champion and the Royal Rumble winner in 2008, was the last Superstar eliminated in 2005 and 2010. Thankfully for them, the Royal Rumble Match isn’t the only path to success in WWE.
Superstars who eliminated themselves: 9
For reasons mostly known only to themselves, nine Superstars have the dubious distinction of having eliminated themselves in the Royal Rumble Match, and some of the names might surprise the WWE Universe: Andre the Giant tossed himself in 1989, “Macho Man” Randy Savage made a self-imposed exit in 1992 that was later ignored; Faarooq (aka Ron Simmons), Ahmed Johnson and Mil Máscaras sent themselves over the top rope in 1997; Kane, Mick Foley and MVP did the same in 1999, 2004 and 2010, respectively, and celebrity entrant Drew Carey made a quick exit from the match in 2001 after Kane made his entrance into the contest.
Most all-time eliminations: Kane (43)
In 2014, Kane tied WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels' record for the most all-time eliminations in Royal Rumble Match history at 39. Inevitably in 2015, Kane surpassed HBK's milestone with four elimintations bringing his own all-time number to 43. Although Roman Reigns surpassed Kane's record for most eliminations in a single Royal Rumble Match in 2015, The Big Red Monster remains one of the most dominant Rumble competitors in WWE history.
Most Final Four Appearances: 5
Shawn Michaels and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin each have a solid case for the title of greatest Royal Rumble Superstar. As holders of the records for most eliminations and most victories, respectively, members of the WWE Universe could argue forever as to which Superstar is the best when it comes to the 30-combatant fray. The two know-how to survive the chaos until the Royal Rumble is at, perhaps, its least frantic, when only four competitors remain. Both Austin and Michaels have been among the final four entrants on five separate occasions, establishing that these WWE Hall of Famers best exemplify the “every man for himself” attitude needed to survive in the Royal Rumble Match.
Number of Superstars who won their Royal Rumble Match debut: 9
Beginner’s luck sometimes makes all the difference. Incredibly, nine Superstars have won the Royal Rumble Match in their very first entry into the melee. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Big John Studd, Yokozuna, Lex Luger, Mr. McMahon and Brock Lesnar all won the Rumble Match on their first try. The most successful Royal Rumble rookie, arguably, is Ric Flair, who won the 1992 Royal Rumble Match, and with it, the WWE Championship. The most recent Superstar to triumph in his first Rumble appearance was Alberto Del Rio in 2011, just months after his WWE debut.
Entry number with the most Rumble victories: 27 (4 times)
It’s easy to see that drawing a number toward the end of the Royal Rumble Match has its advantages. One could just as easily assume that the last Superstar in, No. 30, would have the best opportunity to win the whole thing. The number with the most success in the 25-year history of the Royal Rumble is 27, though. Four Superstars have entered in that position and gone on to win the match. In 1989, Big John Studd was the first No. 27 to claim Royal Rumble victory. Yokozuna was the next Superstar to win after drawing 27 in 1993. The following year, No. 27 was future WWE Hall of Famer Bret “Hit Man” Hart, who went on to become co-winner of the Rumble. The most successful Superstar in Royal Rumble Match history, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, won his final Rumble contest in 2001, entering the fray at No. 27.
Superstars who won the Rumble at No. 2: 2
A big deal is made when a Superstar draws No. 1 and goes on to win the Royal Rumble Match. But the No. 2 entrant has to last just as long to claim victory. In fact, the second Superstar in the Royal Rumble Match has gone on to win the whole shebang just as often as the first. In 1999, Mr. McMahon drew No. 2 and went on to win, eliminating the No. 1 entry, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin last. Rey Mysterio entered second in 2006 and set a record for longest time in the Rumble before claiming victory. These two Superstars show that, at least when it comes to the Royal Rumble, No. 2 doesn’t have to have a bad connotation.
Longest time spent in the ring: Rey Mysterio, 1:02:12 (2006)
One of WWE’s smallest Superstars showed just how big his heart was during the 2006 Royal Rumble Match. WWE’s Littlest Big Man entered the fray at No. 2 and outlasted 29 other Superstars, eliminating Randy Orton after one hour and two minutes of action and earning a World Title Match at The Show of Shows, WrestleMania. After the victory, the high-flying Superstar dedicated his performance in the match to his late friend, WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero.
Shortest time in the ring spent to win a Rumble Match: Edge, 7:19 (2010)
Edge is known as The Ultimate Opportunist. Having been out of action for much of 2009 due to injury, The Rated-R Superstar made his return to the ring as the 29th entrant in the 2010 Royal Rumble Match. He took advantage of his weary competition, spearing the rest of the field in a little more than seven minutes and eliminating John Cena to cement his main event spot on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
Fastest elimination: Santino Marella, 1.9 seconds (2009)
The Warlord was infamous for having the shortest Royal Rumble spell ever in 1990, entering the battle at No. 21, then being knocked out two seconds later by Hulk Hogan. Nearly two decades passed before another Superstar would knock one half of the Powers of Pain off his dubious throne. Santino Marella dashed into the ring in 2009 at No. 28 and was dumped out almost instantly by Kane. The Italian Superstar lasted 1.9 seconds, claiming the record for shortest time in a Rumble match.
Longest Royal Rumble Match: 1:10 (2011)
The biggest Royal Rumble in history was also the longest. With the addition of 10 more hungry competitors, the 40-Superstar melee in 2011 lasted 1 hour and 10 minutes, nearly a minute longer than the 2002 edition of the Rumble. CM Punk drew No. 1 and turned out to be the marathon man of the contest, lasting 35 minutes. Former World Champions Booker T and Kevin Nash shocked the WWE Universe, making their surprise returns during the massive Rumble. Ultimately, the No. 38 entry, Alberto Del Rio, took advantage of a tired field to come out on top and earn a World Title Match at WrestleMania.
Shortest Rumble Match: 33 minutes (1988)
The first Royal Rumble is also the shortest, clocking in at just more than 30 minutes. It should be noted that there were only 20 Superstars in the inaugural edition, won by WWE Hall of Famer “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. The Rumble contest would expand to include 30 Superstars the following year, all but ensuring the first Royal Rumble Match would hold on to this record for years to come.
First Masked Royal Rumble Winner: Rey Mysterio
Believe it or not, only one masked competitor has ever won the Royal Rumble Match: Rey Mysterio lasted more than an hour in the ring, besting 29 other competitors on his way to victory in 2006. Unquestionably, it’s a pretty tall achievement for WWE’s Littlest Big Man.
Shortest Superstar to participate in the Royal Rumble: Hornswoggle (4’4”)
There is no height requirement for taking part in the Royal Rumble Match. Hornswoggle proved that in the 2011 Rumble, entering the chaos at No. 23. He jumped right into the action, delivering a mini Attitude Adjustment to Tyson Kidd and joining John Cena in a double Five Knuckle Shuffle. With a little help from the leader of the Cenation, Hornswoggle lasted just less than 10 minutes before Sheamus knocked him off the ropes and out of the ring with a vicious Brogue Kick.
Number of Divas to compete in Royal Rumble Matches: 3
The Royal Rumble Match has only had three Diva competitors in its storied history, most notably Beth Phoenix in 2010. The Glamazon pulled off one of the biggest Rumble Match surprises ever by eliminating The Great Khali from that contest, hauling The Punjabi Warrior over the ropes after distracting him with a kiss.
Most consecutive Rumble Match appearances: Kane (13)
Only The Devil’s Favorite Demon would relish the often-unlucky number 13, which represents the most consecutive Royal Rumble Match appearances of any Superstar in WWE history. The Big Red Monster has racked up countless eliminations and left some of the most imposing WWE Superstars lying in a heap throughout his terrifying run — though he has never actually triumphed in the contest despite often being considered a heavy favorite to win.
Most Superstars in a single Rumble: 40
The 2011 Rumble Match was historic for a number of reasons, but first and foremost was the number of entrants increased by 10: For the first time, 40 Superstars brawled it out for a spot at WrestleMania, making the bout even more unpredictable than it already was. That match saw the return of Booker T and Kevin Nash (as Diesel) — two comebacks that would end up having lasting reverberations throughout WWE — and Santino Marella came one slip-up away from defeating Alberto Del Rio in the final two and challenging for a World Title at WrestleMania.
Number of WWE Hall of Famers to be eliminated first: 4
The Royal Rumble Match is truly every man for himself. And sometimes, even the great ones are a little bit off their game. Ask Shawn Michaels, “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, Koko B. Ware and Ric Flair, the only four WWE Hall of Famers to be eliminated first in a Rumble Match (Koko in 1990, DiBiase in 1992, HBK in 2003 and Flair in 2007).
Most appearances by one Superstar in a single Rumble Match: 3
It’s extremely rare that a Superstar makes numerous entrances into the Rumble Match, but Mick Foley, in what might be the greatest loophole exploitation of all time, entered the 1998 Rumble contest as Cactus Jack (No. 1), Mankind (No. 16) and Dude Love (No. 28). A crafty strategy to be sure, but it does beg the question: What if one of the “faces of Foley” hadn’t been eliminated before another was called?
Number of times first two entrants were World Champions going into the next Rumble: 1
The first two entrants in the Rumble Match are often thought of as the most disadvantageous. But sometimes, destiny has a plan in the long run: CM Punk and Daniel Bryan began the 2011 Rumble Match as the No. 1 and 2 entrants, respectively. In 2012, they went into the Rumble pay-per view as the incumbent WWE and World Heavyweight Champions. Since the brand extension, it is the only time this has happened.