Saturday, January 25, 2014

Favorite Royal Rumble Moments

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Since its inception in 1988, the Royal Rumble has provided plenty of memorable moments.  Narrowing it down to just ten was hard to do, but these are some of the ones that stick out to me the most.  The WWE always does a good job with this pay per view.  So here we...

Flair wins
Photo courtesy: WWE
1. Be Fair to Flair (1992):  More than 20 years later, this is still my favorite Royal Rumble.  The entire match was entertaining to me.  I loved it back then, I still love it today.  The Superstars involved, included established greats like Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Roddy Piper.  The Undertaker, Sid, and Shawn Michaels were all future greats with the company.  When Flair, who was the third man into the ring, won the match, Bobby Heenan went crazy on commentary.  I think he's interaction with Gorilla Monsoon also helped sell the importance of the match.  As you may remember, this was the first and only Royal Rumble to crown a new WWF/E champion.

Austin "screws" Bret
Photo courtesy: WWE
2.  Hart Attacked (1997): Bret Hart had eliminated "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and focused his efforts on (fake) Diesel.  However, Mankind and Terry Funk were brawling outside the ring and the referees missed Austin getting dumped out.  He took advantage and came back into the match, eliminating Undertaker, Vader, and Hart. The Hitman was understandably upset and I think this was one of the first seeds planted in his heel turn that year. The Rattlesnake was the heel at the time, but the fans ate up the elimination and were behind Austin. Despite Austin's win, he would lose the opportunity to face the champion, Sid at Wrestlemania.  The Undertaker ended up in the main event that night and Austin would have to wait another year.

Benoit beats the Big Show
Photo courtesy: WWE
3.  Benoit Takes All (2004):  Years of hard work in the business finally paid off for Chris Benoit in 2004.  The Rabid Wolverine drew number one that year and went the distance, last eliminating the Big Show.  Benoit wasn't the first to do this, as Shawn Michaels drew number one at the 1995 Rumble and went on ti win that event too.  But I've always been a bigger fan of Benoit's than Michaels, and that's why this win is on my list.  Benoit went on to face Triple H and Michaels in the main event of Wrestlemania XX and won the World Heavyweight Title.  Despite what happened years later, I still consider this a great Rumble moment.

Ax vs. Smash
Photo courtesy: WWE
4. Demolished! (1989): The first time the Royal Rumble was on pay per view it featured 30 WWF Superstars.  The first two to kick things off that night were the tag team champions, Demolition.  Ax and Smash axed and smashed one another for the first two minutes of the match.  To my knowledge this is the only time a tag team has started the rumble off as numbers one and two.  The rules of the rumble: every man for himself was put to the test that night.  Andre the Giant eventually made his way to the ring as number three, and the champs had a new target.  

Kharma scares Cole
Photo courtesy: WWE
5.  Ladies Night (2012):  Kharma was the Diva who never really had a chance in the WWE.  I was so happy to hear she had signed on, but shortly after her vignettes started airing, it was announced she was pregnant and taking some time off.  I don't think she ever wrestled while she was with the company, except for the 2012 Royal Rumble.  I was at the Scottrade Center when her music hit that night.  She scared Michael Cole (yes he was in it) over the top rope and threw Hunico out, but was eliminated quickly by Dolph Ziggler.  She had just delivered the Implant Buster to him.   

Spiderman John Morrison
Photo courtesy: WWE 
6.  Spider Man Has Nothing on Morrison (2011):  John Morrison put his parkour training to the test when he propelled himself to the barricade after being thrown over the top rope by William Regal.  Morrison pulled himself up, scaled the barricade and jumped back to the ringside steps before reentering the ring.  It was an excellent display by a highly athletic competitor.  One misstep and this could have quickly turned into a big fail.  Well done.  Now if only the WWE would bring back Morrison.

Mega Meltdown
Photo courtesy: WWE
7.  Mega Powers Mega Meltdown (1989):  Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage were ruling the world as the Mega Powers.  But as they say, all good things must come to an end, including the Mega Powers.  The two were destined to split and feud, and at the Royal Rumble that year, Hogan "accidentally" eliminated the Macho Man from the match.  This of course sent Savage into a rage, who slid back into the ring and confronted his partner.  Miss Elizabeth rushed to the ring to diffuse the situation, and it worked, at least for a bit.  Hogan and Savage eventually were finished with each other and battled it out at Wrestlemania V.

Kofi uses his head
8.  That's Using Your Head and Hands (2012):  I was in the crowd for this Rumble moment as well.  From our seats it didn't translate as well as it did on TV, but it was cool none-the-less.  The Miz had tossed Kofi Kingston over the top rope, but Kofi landed on his hands.  He then walked on his hands to the nearest set of steps and got back in to the match.  It really was an awesome move that required great strength and balance.  Remember the rules, both FEET must touch the floor.  At the 2013 Rumble, Kofi used a ringside chair like a pogo stick to stay in the competition.  He's on the list of competitors for the 2014 Rumble, so I'll be curious to see what, if anything he does to top the last couple of years.

Two winners
Photo courtesy: WWE
9.  It's a Tie (1994):  Bret Hart was looking to regain the WWF Championship.  Lex Luger had been feuding with champion Yokozuna since body slamming him 6 months earlier.  So it only made sense that both Superstars win the Royal Rumble.  The two went over the top rope and hit the arena floor at the same time.  It's the first and only time for something like that to happen.  Both Luger and Hart each got a shot at Yokozuna at Wrestlemania X.  Hart though won the championship that night and Luger was never the same in the WWF after it.

Rock & Show
Photo courtesy: WWE
10.  Rockin' the Show (2000): The Rock arguably was the most popular guy on the roster at the time of this Rumble.  Austin was still on the shelf after being "run over" by Rikishi, so the Rock was carrying the torch for the company.  He and the Big Show ended up as the final two, and as Show went to dump Rock over the top, but the giant went over first and hit the floor, securing a spot at Wrestlemania 2000 for the Rock.  However, the main event quickly turned into a fatal four way, seeing champ Triple H defend against Rock, Big Show, and Mick Foley.  Looks like that Rumble match didn't mean much for Rock after all.

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