As the WWE promos have been pointing out in recent years, the Royal Rumble is all about the numbers. But then, if you've watched more than a couple of these, you already knew that. Get a good number, your chances of victory are good. Get a bad number, and as Scott Steiner once said, your chances of winning drastically go down. Since half of the Royal Rumble match is in the numbers, here's a guide to the once-a-year battle royal of major significance:
30. The number most advantageous in the Royal Rumble, as it means he who draws it is the last man in. (Except in 2011, when 40 was the new 30.) But, that number produced zero winners until 2007, when The Undertaker (who drew #30 for the third time; 1997 and 2003 were the others) finally won. #30 was also the number John Cena drew when he won the Royal Rumble in Madison Square Garden in 2008.
29. I hate to be the one that rains on Chris Benoit's 2004 win, but he actually only had to deal with 29 participants in that Rumble, as Spike Dudley was assaulted by Kane and never made it to the match. For those who choose not to acknowledge the existence of Benoit (and it's understandable), 29 is the number Brock Lesnar drew when he won the 2003 Royal Rumble match. Side note: he had to beat The Big Show to get in the match earlier that night. 29 is also the winning number of Edge, when he made his surprise return to win the 2010 Royal Rumble. And, 29 is the number of participants that were in the 1991 Royal Rumble when Macho Man Randy Savage no-showed the match itself, following his costing The Ultimate Warrior the WWF Championship.
28. Batista's winning number in the 2005 Royal Rumble, which also had 29 participants, as Scotty 2 Hotty failed to report following a Muhammad Hassan attack. The 2005 Rumble is memorable for John Cena and Batista both going over and Mr. McMahon blowing out both his quads as he entered the ring, so he literally sat and watched the tiebreaker. It takes real talent to blow out both your quads at once.
27. The number that you want, (that you really, really want) in the Royal Rumble. With four, #27 has produced more winners than any other: Stone Cold Steve Austin in 2001, Bret Hart in 1994, Yokozuna in 1993, and Big John Studd in 1989. 27 is also the number of actual participants in the 1998 Royal Rumble. Skull of DOA no-showed because he was attacked by Los Boriquas, and Mick Foley participated three times under three different personas (as Cactus Jack, Mankind, and Dude Love).
26. The number of minutes (and 57 seconds) Hornswoggle was officially in the 2008 Royal Rumble match. He spent most of it in hiding after Big Daddy V and Mark Henry got their hands on him. That caused Finlay to run in and nail V and Henry. Unfortunately, his looking out for his "son" cost him a shot at winning, as he was the first man to ever be disqualified from the Rumble. Side note: the 26:57 was longer than that year's winner (John Cena) and its runner-up (Triple H) combined. 26 is also the number of Royal Rumble events WWE has produced (counting this year's in Atlanta). And, believe it or not, 26 is the latest number in a 30-man Royal Rumble match that has never produced a winner.
25. The number of minutes Bret Hart spent in the ring in the first Royal Rumble in 1988. What makes it even more impressive: Bret Hart drew #1 in that rumble, and that Rumble lasted 33 minutes. 25 is also the winning number Hulk Hogan drew to win the first of his two Royal Rumble matches in 1990.
24. The winning Royal Rumble number of three WWE legends: Hulk Hogan in 1990, Stone Cold Steve Austin in 1998, and The Rock in 2000. Not legendary: Squat Team Member #2. 24 is the number of seconds he lasted in the 1996 Royal Rumble. He has the distinction that year of being the only man to last less than a minute in the match. Legendary: 24 is the number of seconds short of a full hour Ric Flair lasted to win the 1992 Royal Rumble match.
23. The number of surprise entrant Road Dogg Jesse James, in the 2012 Royal Rumble. Also, the number of Lex Luger when he co-won the 1994 Royal Rumble.
22. Sheamus' winning number in the 2012 Royal Rumble. 22 is also the number of minutes he clocked in during his win, which was six minutes longer than the previous two winners (Edge and Alberto Del Rio) combined. 22 is the number of men that have won the Royal Rumble match. Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan each won it twice, and Stone Cold Steve Austin is a three-time winner.
21. The number of 2004 Royal Rumble surprise entrant Mick Foley. It was originally Test, but Stone Cold Steve Austin demanded that since Foley took out Test, he was the replacement #21, and he made the most of his 43 seconds, eliminating himself and the man that spat in his face, Randy Orton. 21 was an unlucky number for The Warlord in 1989 when he was in and out in two seconds, by Hulk Hogan.
20. The number of entrants in the first televised Royal Rumble in 1988. Despite eliminating six entrants, One Man Gang was eliminated by the winner, Hacksaw Jim Duggan. 20 is also the number of men that have lasted fifteen seconds or less in a Royal Rumble match. Bushwhacker Luke did it twice, in 1991 and 1995.
19. The number One Man Gang drew in the 1988 Royal Rumble.
18. The number Hulk Hogan drew in the 1989 Royal Rumble. He was on fire when he got in, eliminating nine men before being eliminated himself, by Big Boss Man and Akeem. But Hogan would not go quietly, as he rushed the ring and eliminated Boss Man to make it a perfect ten. 18 is also the number of minutes (and 51 seconds) Lex Luger lasted in the 1995 Royal Rumble. I know it may not impress you, but the only two men to last longer in that match were Shawn Michaels and British Bulldog (the men who drew #1 and #2). 18 is the winning number of Shawn Michaels' 1996 Royal Rumble triumph (side nugget: Michaels is the only man other than Hacksaw Jim Duggan to draw a number in the teens and win.) And believe it or not, 18 is the number of years between when active world champions went in a Royal Rumble match (Hulk Hogan in 1990 to Chavo Guerrero, who was the ECW Champion at the time in 2008).
17. The number Shane Douglas (yeah, THAT Shane Douglas) drew in the 1991 Royal Rumble. He had an impressive showing, lasting twenty-six minutes before being eliminated by Brian Knobbs. 17 was also the day in January 1991 that Operation Desert Storm began in the Middle East. Two days later, the Royal Rumble took place. And 17 is the number of years between Royal Rumble appearances for Hacksaw Jim Duggan, appearing last in the 1992 Rumble and not appearing again until 2009.
16. The number Mabel drew in the 1994 Royal Rumble. It took seven men to send the 500+ pounder over the top rope: Greg Valentine, The Great Kabuki, Tatanka, Crush, Bam Bam Bigelow, Shawn Michaels, and Thurman "Sparky" Plugg. At the time, seven was the most number of men needed to eliminate one.
Royal Rumble memories, anyone?
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