6 Superstars who were never eliminated from the Royal Rumble Match

6 Superstars who were never eliminated from the Royal Rumble Match

The average Royal Rumble Match entrant gets just under 11 minutes to prove his mettle in the marathon bout. Come up short and that Superstar will likely suffer a hasty elimination. Exceed the average time and the enduring entrant might just punch his ticket to WrestleMania.

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Of course, one can only win the Royal Rumble Match if he (or she) is allowed to compete. In most cases, only 30 Superstars receive that opportunity annually and, as Curtis Axel most recently proved in 2015, that chance can come to a crashing halt before a competitor ever steps into the ring.

Though the rules say the only way to lose a Royal Rumble Match is an ignominious exit over the top rope, the history of the endurance battle offers a few controversial examples to the contrary. Take a look at eight entrants whose bids to win the Royal Rumble Match ended before they ever started.


“Macho King” Randy Savage (1991)

Did "Macho Man" Randy Savage miss the Royal Rumble Match because he was afraid of The Ultimate Warrior?: Royal Rumble 1991

After costing The Ultimate Warrior the WWE Championship earlier in the evening, Macho King seems on edge. Is this why he no-showed the Royal Rumble Match?

The crowd inside the Miami Arena was bewildered.

Though the buzzer had blared for the No. 18 entrant in 1991’s Royal Rumble Match, no one burst through the curtains to charge the ring and seize a monumental opportunity. To make sense of the absence, however, one need only rewind to earlier that night.

Watch Royal Rumble 1991 on WWE Network

“Macho King” Randy Savage’s valet, Queen Sherri, had lobbied Ultimate Warrior to grant Macho Man a title match for his WWE Championship. Despite her seductive efforts, however, Warrior refused. As a result, both Sherri and Savage interfered in Warrior’s title match later that night, causing the future WWE Hall of Famer to lose the coveted prize to Sgt. Slaughter. In the night’s main event, the Royal Rumble Match, Savage, the No. 18 entrant, suddenly developed a case of cold feet.

Critics of the Macho King’s no-show theorized that perhaps he feared Warrior’s wrath had he actually emerged in the arena. Or maybe he was simply waiting for a more opportune time to strike. In any case, Savage would eventually seize the WWE Title for only the second time in his career when he defeated Ric Flair the following year at WrestleMania VIII.


Skull (1998)

Los Boricuas mistake Skull for "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in backstage ambush: Royal Rumble 1998

In a case of mistaken identity, Los Boricuas attack Skull backstage thinking the bald Superstar is "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. As a result, Skull never made it to the ring for the Royal Rumble Match.

The 1998 Royal Rumble Match is remembered for two things: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin winning and Mick Foley entering three different times as Cactus Jack, Mankind and Dude Love, respectively. What isn’t referenced in our frequent looks back at sports-entertainment history is that entrant number 22 never even made it to the ring.

See the 1998 Royal Rumble Match on WWE Network

Before the match, Los Boricuas attacked Austin — or so they thought. What actually happened was that the four Puerto Rican Superstars mistakenly mugged The Disciples of Apocalypse’s Skull in what was a case of follicular profiling. As a result of being beaten and battered, 8 Ball’s twin brother never made his entrance, and no one took his place. Therefore, the 1998 Royal Rumble Match only had 29 participants.


Spike Dudley (2004)

Spike Dudley gets attacked by Kane before entering the Royal Rumble Match: Royal Rumble 2004

Spike Dudley never makes it into the Royal Rumble Match thanks to a vicious attack from The Big Red Monster.

A member of the Dudley family had never entered the Royal Rumble Match until Bubba Ray Dudley made his surprise entrance in 2015.

That’s only because his brother, Spike, didn’t make it to the ring 11 years earlier. When the clock ticked down to zero for the No. 13 entrant in the 2004 Royal Rumble Match, The Undertaker’s iconic funeral bells echoed through the arena as the building went dark. Kane, who had helped bury The Deadman alive several months earlier, was distracted by the ominous toll and eliminated from the melee.

Watch Royal Rumble 2004 on WWE Network

The runt of the Dudley litter was in the unfortunate spot of entering the Rumble after all this went down. Undeterred, the tiniest Dudley charged straight into battle — and right into the path of The Big Red Monster. Kane viciously attacked Spike, chokeslamming him into the steel ramp and denying the Dudley family their first Rumble appearance. 


Hornswoggle & Fit Finlay (2008)

Fit Finlay and Hornswoggle are never officially eliminated from the Royal Rumble Match: Royal Rumble 2008

Fit Finlay was disqualified from the Royal Rumble Match after using his shillelagh to help Hornswoggle escape danger.

The 2008 Royal Rumble Match’s thrilling finish may have made for a memorable moment, but it also overshadowed what could have become a much larger controversy. Hornswoggle, the No. 9 entrant, was never eliminated!

See Royal Rumble 2008 on WWE Network

After having his number called, the smallest Superstar to ever compete in the Royal Rumble Match immediately hid under the ring. The 4-foot-5 competitor revealed himself briefly to eliminate The Miz, but he was caught attempting to get rid of Mark Henry. Luckily for the master of the Tadpole Splash, his buddy Finlay rushed the ring before his No. 27 was officially called, fighting off Henry and others with a shillelagh.

The tough-as-nails Irishman and his pint-sized buddy quickly escaped the Royal Rumble Match under the top rope without ever getting eliminated. It was announced later that Finlay was disqualified from the over-the-top-rope extravaganza, but there was never an official decision made on the former Cruiserweight Champion.

Maybe Mr. McMahon wasn’t keen on the idea of seeing his illegitimate son competing in WrestleMania XXIV’s main event, but we still can’t help but wonder what might have been.


Curtis Axel (2015)

Curtis Axel is attacked by Erick Rowan, never being eliminated from the Royal Rumble Match: Royal Rumble 2015

After being blindsided by Erick Rowan on the ramp, Curtis Axel never actually makes his way into the ring for the Royal Rumble Match.

To say Curtis Axel’s showing in the 2015 Royal Rumble Match was less than perfect is like saying Pete Carroll’s goal-line play-calling in the Super Bowl was ill-advised. It’s such an understatement it barely qualifies as opinion, let alone an expression of objective fact.

Relive the 2015 Royal Rumble Match on WWE Network

However, the former Intercontinental Champion’s own misfortunes come with a big caveat: Thanks to Erick Rowan, he never entered the over-the-top-rope melee in the first place and, as the Internet helpfully pointed out, that means Axel was never technically eliminated and Roman Reigns’ victory therefore does not stand. Axel got tossed over the top rope by Dean Ambrose in a nice little “gotcha” moment when he pled his case on Raw, but that miscarriage of justice simply should not suffice.

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