What are some of the forgotten or overlooked Royal Rumble performances?
Who doesn’t love the Royal Rumble? The surprises, the eliminations, whatever fun stuff they let Kofi Kingston do. If you meet someone who doesn’t like the Royal Rumble, don’t trust them.
Everyone remembers the winners of the Royal Rumbles, but what about the underrated performances? Here are four of the most underrated Royal Rumble performances of all time in chronological order.
1990: Ted DiBiase
We start in the third official Royal Rumble with the first ever Iron Man. Entering in the number one slot, The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase originated the Iron Man role in the rumble. Now it’s an expectation that someone early in the match will last a long time, but DiBiase was the original.
DiBiase racked up three eliminations through the first two-thirds of the match. He didn’t exactly eliminate a murderer’s row (Koko B. Ware, Marty Janetty, and a group elimination of Earthquake) but this was based more on precedent. DiBiase was eliminated after 44 minutes by Ultimate Warrior, but his work in the match should be applauded.
The 2000 Royal Rumble exists in a strange vacuum. Stone Cold was out, and the rumble before it was one of the worst of all time. WWE would tap the Rock to win the 2000 Rumble, but the early portion of the match was dominated by his cousin, Rikishi.
This was the year Rikishi would be pushed as a main event heel after *checks notes* attempting to commit vehicular manslaughter. At this time, he was a lovable midcard act as part of Too Cool. Coming into the match 5th, Rikishi only lasts 16 minutes but absolutely dominates. He gets seven eliminations, including a memorable moment eliminating his Too Cool brethren. Rikishi was never going to win the match, but he made the most of his time. Check out a video of his domination here.
Edge has had a number of memorable Royal Rumble moments. He won after a surprise return in 2010, and of course his amazing 2020 return from retirement. One of his lowkey best performances however was in 2005 – the first rumble won by Batista.
Edge entered a stacked rumble in the 7th spot and lasted over 40 minutes. This was after a 20 minute match earlier in the night where he beat Shawn Michaels. He eliminated world champions like Eddie Guerrero, Ric Flair and Rey Mysterio on his way to being in the final three. While this Royal Rumble is best known for the finish between John Cena and Batista, Edge’s performance shouldn’t be overlooked.
2011: CM Punk
This is not the Sermon on the Mount Royal Rumble. That was the 2010 match, where he preached while also wrestling. This is the 2011 edition, the first (and to date only) 40 person Royal Rumble. Punk entered number one and controlled the whole first half of the match.
The reason Punk was so in control was the work of his New Nexus. He had minions to do his bidding, but still held his own in the match. Punk notched seven eliminations, including fellow indie darling Daniel Bryan. John Cena would put an end to Punk’s run after 35 minutes, but Punk carried the whole first half of the match.
Those are four of the most underappreciated and underrated Royal Rumble performances. Were there some others that we missed? Who will have an underrated performance in this year’s match? Let us know in the comments or connect with us on Twitter at @FPC_Wrestling.