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30 to 1: A(n Updated) Fan's Guide To The Royal Rumble

It's been three years since I wrote the original Fan's Guide to the Royal Rumble post. And right off the bat, I date myself. This was back when I was doing fanposts somewhat regularly on stuff that came to mind. Not much has changed...I don't think, but the Royal Rumble match in recent years has become the second or third most anticipated match on the WWE calendar, behind the main event of WrestleMania and arguably whoever the Undertaker's facing at that same event. Well, before 21-1 happened of course.

I figure the statute of limitations is up, and now's a good time for an update to one of my favorite posts I've done.

Oh, hey. Look. It's the annual Royal Rumble by the numbers video. While it is one of my favorite things WWE does, it's incomplete, and for obvious reasons. That said, while you watch this video, you can be the envy of partygoers everywhere with these many, many, many facts about WWE's annual gauntlet battle royal. And if you're not one of these partygoers, you can amaze total strangers with these facts and figures about the Royal Rumble. Amaze and confuse your friends! And maybe even win money off them!


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 of Royal Rumble events the WWE has put on, including the one coming up. 29 is the number Brock Lesnar drew when he won the 2003 Royal Rumble match. To date, Lesnar is the only Royal Rumble winner to win a second match on the same show (he defeated The Big Show to qualify for the match).

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. It's also the number of entrants in last year's Royal Rumble as Curtis Axel never entered the match. And he takes every opportunity to make this point.

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. Speaking of Batista, he drew 28 again in his 2014 win.

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. And 26 is the latest number in a 30-man Royal Rumble match that has never produced a winner. And if you think that's crazy, consider this: Roman Reigns is the first active WWE World Champion in 26 years to enter the Royal Rumble match.

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 1991, 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.

23. In addition to being the number of men with a Royal Rumble match win, 23 is the number of surprise entrant Road Dogg Jesse James when he entered 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 also the number of times a Royal Rumble winner faced a world champion at Wrestlemania, with the Rumble winner going 13-9 in title bouts.

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.

19. The number One Man Gang drew in the 1988 Royal Rumble. He eliminated six competitors in the bout, but he didn't win. John Cena also drew 19 in the Rumble match in 2013. He won. Oh, and Cena's successor Roman Reigns also won from 19 last year. That's twice in three years a Rumble winner came from the teens. The first twenty-five editions have exactly two Rumble winners in the teens.

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 that 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. He would be the last man to win it in the teens until John Cena three years ago.

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). And 18 is the number of Royal Rumbles Glenn Jacobs has on his resume, dating back to his days as Isaac Yankem, DDS. He holds the record for most career eliminations in a Rumble with 43. If you're curious, the next closest in Royal Rumble appearances is Shawn Michaels... with 12. If you're thinking anyone's running down Kane's record, consider this: Goldust and Big Show each appeared in their tenth Rumble last year. They'll both be well into their fifties before they have any shot at the record.

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, just two days before the Rumble. 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.

15. The number of men who participated in the only Royal Rumble match to be broadcast on network television. Technically, this isn't a part of the Royal Rumble canon, but it's worth a mention. In 2004, following Chris Benoit's defection to RAW, a second Royal Rumble was commissioned with all of SmackDown's participants from the previous weekend's Royal Rumble match with Hardcore Holly replacing Matt Morgan and Eddie Guerrero replacing Chris Benoit.

Guerrero last eliminated Kurt Angle to win the right to challenge Brock Lesnar at No Way Ouy for the WWE Championship. Guerrero won his first and only world title that night. 15 was also the number drawn by Tatanka when he made his televised return to WWE in the 2006 Royal Rumble. 15 was also the latest number any of the final four in the 2009 Rumble drew, belonging to Cody Rhodes. The other three: Ted Dibiase (10), Triple H (7), and the winner Randy Orton (8). And speaking of 2009, 15 was the number of competitors in the ring when the last man entered that year's Rumble, to this day a match record.

14. The number of minutes (and 47 seconds) The Rock needed for his one and only Royal Rumble win in 2000. 14 was also the entry number for MVP in the 2010 Royal Rumble. He was attacked by The Miz and thought to be out of the Rumble. But he wasn't, as MVP did eventually report and immediately took out both The Miz and himself in seven seconds. 14 is also the number of entrants in the 2001 Royal Rumble that lasted less than three minutes. Add Steve Blackman, and that makes half the field that didn't get four minutes in that night. 14 is the number of minutes (and 34 seconds) needed for Batista to win his second Rumble in 2014.

13. Unlucky for most, but not Hacksaw Jim Duggan, as that was the winning number in the 1988 Royal Rumble. 13 is also the consecutive number of Royal Rumbles Kane appeared in, appearing in every encounter from 1999 to 2011. 13 is also the number of minutes (and 15 seconds) Undertaker was in the ring before he finally won a Royal Rumble in 2007. Most of those thirteen minutes he was tangling with former Royal Rumble winner (and future WrestleMania opponent) Shawn Michaels.

12. The number of eliminations recorded by Roman Reigns in 2014, a record for a single Rumble. In order: Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Nash, The Gret Khali, Goldust, El Torito, JBL, Luke Harper, Antonio Cesaro, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Sheamus. 12 is also the number of minutes both Big John Studd and Hulk Hogan needed to win 1989 and 1990 Royal Rumbles respectively. Not Royal Rumble-match related, but it happened in a Rumble event: 12 is the number of unprotected chairshots consecutively Mankind took at the hands of The Rock at the conclusion of the I Quit Match in the 1999 Royal Rumble event.

12 is the entry number of Kurrgan in 1998. The seven-foot, 350-pounder needed six men to get him over and out: Ken Shamrock, 8-Ball, The Rock, Chainsaw Charlie, Phineas Godwin, and Bradshaw. 12 is stunningly, the number of seconds Shawn Michaels lasted in his first of 12 Rumble matches, more than a full minute less than anyone else.

How's this for stunning: 12 is the number of men who turned their Royal Rumble victory into a world championship at Wrestlemania. Only one man did it twice: Stone Cold Steve Austin in 1999 and 2001. Think that's stunning? (see what I did there?) 12 men ever have recorded seven or more eliminations in a single Rumble. Here's the list in alphabetical order: CM Punk, Diesel, Hulk Hogan (he did it in 1989 and 1991), John Cena, Kane, Rikishi, Roman Reigns, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin (who did it four times: 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2002), The Great Khali, The Undertaker, and Yokozuna.

11. The number of eliminations Kane scored in the 2001 Royal Rumble, a record that stood until two years ago. The 11 unfortunate souls (in no particular order): Raven, Al Snow, Perry Saturn, Steve Blackman, Grandmaster Sexay, Scotty 2 Hotty, Honky Tonk Man, Tazz, Albert, Crash Holly, and The Rock. 11 is also the number of men that lasted less than ten seconds in a Royal Rumble. Titus O'Neil at four seconds last year is the latest to join the club. The rest of the list: The Warlord (1989), Bushwhacker Luke (1991), Mo and Owen Hart (both in 1995), Jerry Lawler (1997), Gillberg (1999), Tazz (2001), The Miz (2007), Santino Marella (2009), MVP (2010), and The Godfather (2013).

10. The most eliminations by a Royal Rumble winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin in 1997. His list (in no particular order): Phineas Godwinn, Bart Gunn, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Owen Hart, "Marvelous" Marc Mero, Savio Vega, Jesse James (pre-Road Dogg), Bret Hart, Vader, and The Undertaker. Hulk Hogan eliminated 10 in a losing effort in 1989: Mr. Perfect, Bad News Brown, Macho Man Randy Savage, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Bushwhacker Luke, Bushwhacker Butch, Koko B. Ware, The Warlord, and The Big Boss Man.

9. The number of minutes Brock Lesnar needed to win the 2003 Royal Rumble from #29. Worth a mention: 9 is also the number of men that helped Yokozuna defeat The Undertaker to win the casket match in the 1994 Royal Rumble. 9 is also the number of men who got at least one elimination in last year's Rumble match. That's a record low (for comparison's sake: 11 men got an elimination in the original Rumble in 1988, and there were only 20 men in that match).

8. The number of men needed to send Viscera packing in the 2007 Royal Rumble: Rob Van Dam, Edge, CM Punk, Chris Benoit, Johnny Nitro, Shelton Benjamin, Hardcore Holly, and Kevin Thorn. It's the most number of men needed to eliminate one in a single Rumble match. 8 is also the number of minutes (and 27 seconds) John Cena needed for his shocking 2008 Royal Rumble win. 8 was also the winning number for Randy Orton, lasting 48 of the 58 minutes in the 2009 Rumble.

7. The number of men Diesel eliminated in a row in the 1994 Royal Rumble. The unlucky seven in order: Bart Gunn, Scott Steiner, Owen Hart, Kwang, Bob Backlund, Billy Gunn, and Virgil. 7 also just happened to be the number Diesel drew. But five men combined to put out that fire moments later. And moments after that, 7 men worked in unison to eliminate Mabel.

7 was also the number Triple H drew in his 2009 losing effort, which lasted just a shade under fifty minutes. Seemed like 7 isn't a lucky number in the Rumble, but you'd be wrong: 7 minutes (and 19 seconds) is all Edge needed to win the 2010 Royal Rumble, the shortest in-ring time for any winner ever.

Speaking of short, 7 seconds is all MVP needed in 2010. It's the shortest time spent in a Royal Rumble while still recording an elimination (The Miz). And 7 is the number of men who eliminated themselves in a Rumble: Andre the Giant (1989), Ahmed Johnson and Mil Mascaras (1997), Kane (1999), Drew Carey (2001), Mick Foley (2004), and MVP (2011).

And 7 is the number of Royal Rumble winners that went on to win the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania: Yokozuna (1993), Bret Hart (1994), Shawn Michaels (1996), Stone Cold Steve Austin (1998 and 2001), Triple H (2002), Brock Lesnar (2003), and John Cena.

6. The number of men that lasted less than a minute in the 1999 Royal Rumble, the most ever. 6 is also the number of men who didn't even enter a Rumble match. Three of those men (Randy Savage in 1991, Bastion Booger in 1994, and Skull in 1998) no-showed, while the others were attacked and never got to enter the bout (Spike Dudley in 2004, Scotty 2 Hotty in 2005, and Curtis Axel last year). And 6 is the number of times Kane has finished in the final four of a Royal Rumble (one of those times was as Fake Diesel in 1997). And with Goldust and Big Show joining the club last year, 6 is the number of men that have appeared in ten Royal Rumble matches or more.

5. Stone Cold Steve Austin's winning number in the 1997 Royal Rumble, though it does not come without controversy. Austin was eliminated by Bret Hart, but as referees were trying to separate Terry Funk and Mankind, Austin snuck back in and eliminated Hart, Undertaker and Vader to steal the victory. 5 was also the number Edge drew both in 2005 and 2007, but couldn't close the deal either time. He finished third both years.

5 is also the number of men who have gone an hour in a single Rumble, though nobody's done since 2006 (both Rey Mysterio and Triple H done it). The other three: Chris Benoit, Bob Backlund, and Ric Flair. 5 is the number of men with multiple Royal Rumble wins on their resume: Stone Cold Steve Austin (with three), Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, and Batista (with two each). And 5 is the number of men who have three or more cumulative hours in the Royal Rumble: Triple H (3 hours, 51 minutes), Shawn Michaels (3 hours, 42 minutes), Kane (3 hours, 20 minutes), Rey Mysterio (3 hours, 20 minutes), and Chris Jericho (3 hours, 5 minutes).

4. Surprisingly, 4 is the only number of the first five that has not produced a winner. 4 is also thenumber of Royal Rumble winners in a row that lost their WrestleMania match (John Cena in 2008, Randy Orton in 2009, Edge in 2010, Alberto Del Rio in 2011) before 2012 winner Sheamus broke through with an 18-second victory at Wrestlemania XXVIII over Daniel Bryan. And 4 is the number of Royal Rumble matches that took place on RAW: a ten-man tag team Royal Rumble in June 1998, the Corporate Royal Rumble in 1999, a mini Royal Rumble in 2008, and a seven-man Royal Rumble in 2009.

3. Ric Flair's winning number when he won the 1992 Royal Rumble, and with it, the WWF Championship. 3 is also the number of divas that tried their luck in the Royal Rumble (Chyna in 1999 and 2000, Beth Phoenix, and Kharma in 2012). Total output: four eliminations, 4 minutes, 7 seconds of in-ring time. Male or female, 3 (and a third) is the percentage chance anyone has of winning a Royal Rumble match. And how's this for stunning: the first man out drew 3 thirteen times, most recently Damien Sandow in 2013.

2. The number Vince McMahon drew...or more accurately, got assigned to...when he won the 1999 Royal Rumble. His weasel win ended Austin's run of 2 straight Rumble victories. 2 is also the number Rey Mysterio got in his historic (and much less weasely) 2006 Royal Rumble win. 2 is also the number of winners of the 1994 Royal Rumble, won by Lex Luger and Bret Hart. Because officials couldn't agree on who won, Jack Tunney gave it to both Luger and Hart.

2 is also the number of wrestlers that got their entrance music until the 1996 Royal Rumble when every participant got their entrance music. It's a tradition that continues to this day. And 2 is the number of people that never received their WWF title match the year they won the Rumble since the stipulation was added in 1993. Austin lost his shot in 1997 after losing a Final Four Way at In Your House: Final Four, and McMahon voluntarily gave up his shot two years later.

1. The loneliest number, sure. But 1 was the winning number of Shawn Michaels in the 1995 Royal Rumble (which, by the way, had 1 minute between entrants, the only time in the event's history), thanks to only 1 of his feet hitting the floor when British Bulldog thought to have eliminated him at the end of the match.

1 was also the winning number for the late Chris Benoit when he won the Rumble match in 2004. 1, interestingly enough, is the also the number of Rumbles to be held outside of the United States: the 1988 edition in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. 1 is the least number of eliminations recorded by a Royal Rumble winner: Mr. McMahon in 1999. And 1 is the number of wrestlers that have been disqualified from a Royal Rumble match: Finlay in 2008, who entered before his number was called. Technically, Al Snow should have been DQ'd too, since he did the same thing in 2000. And Rick Rude in 1990.

0. Yeah, we're ending with a zero. As in the number of eliminations Matt Bloom (as Prince Albert and Albert) recorded in his five Royal Rumble appearances: 0. The number of eliminations recorded by Triple H in 1996 despite drawing #1 and lasting 48 minutes: 0. The number of WWF champions 1994 Rumble winner Lex Luger won: 0 (the only such man to hold that distinction since the Rumble bonus was added in 1993). 0 is the number of former Royal Rumble winners that entered the 2004 Royal Rumble match, the first such Rumble to have that distinction. And 0 is the number of times the WWE Champion had to defend his title in the Royal Rumble match. Until this Sunday.

Now you know everything...well, pretty much everything, that there is to know about the Royal Rumble and its history. Maybe you can win some bets at your viewing party. Enjoy the Rumble, and remember, don't get eliminated!

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