In the lead up to this year's Royal Rumble, we'll be counting down the 20 greatest moments in the history of WWE's most famous match. This list was determined by a panel that included myself, Geno Mrosko and Sean Rueter. We tried to keep it diverse, with a mix of comedy, emotion, story, and wrestling.
When swagger goes horribly awry
Okay, obviously, we're not celebrating the fact that Vince McMahon got injured at the end of the 2005 Royal Rumble. But the fact that it happened turned what might have been a relatively run-of-the-mill Rumble match into an indelible, unforgettable moment.
The match came down to just Batista and John Cena (both of whom were arguably at the height of their respective popularity). They both took a tumble out of the ring and appeared to hit the ground at roughly the same time (in a sloppier reprise of the classic 1994 Royal Rumble finish with Bret Hart and Lex Luger).
Confusion reigned, with the SmackDown referees claiming Cena won and the Raw officials raising Batista's hand in victory. (Partisan refs were just one of the many reasons why the brand split was wonderful.) WWE owner Vince McMahon (himself a former Royal Rumble winner) angrily stormed out from backstage, flinging his suit coat down in disgust, desperate to get to the bottom of this.
As McMahon slid into the ring, he hit both of his quadriceps muscles on the ring apron and instantly tore them. When he attempted to stand, he was unable, and quickly assumed a seated position against the ropes. He tried to maintain his air of authority, but shots of his baffled and pained face told the whole story:
McMahon ordered the match to be restarted, and Batista proceeded to toss Cena out and win the Rumble as the WWE owner was helped to the back.
It was a truly bizarre moment, but one that I -- and most other wrestling fans -- will never forget. Whenever I think of the Royal Rumble, one of the first images that comes to mind is Vince, sitting against the ropes, hands on his hips.