30 Royal Rumble Facts You DIDN’T Know

In honor of the 30th anniversary, John Corrigan shares little-known Royal Rumble tidbits.

Every year we see the same video hyping the Royal Rumble with statistics: Stone Cold won the most, Rey Mysterio lasted the longest, and Matt Striker is marking out, bro. But what about the real dirt, the facts and tidbits WWE doesn’t want you to know, or thinks you won’t remember. I dug around the interwebz and crunched some Joey Numbers to give you the deets on the real history of WWE’s most anticipated annual event.

1. According to Pat Patterson’s autobiography, Vince McMahon originally thought the Royal Rumble was a stupid idea.

2. The first Royal Rumble is forgotten – it happened on a St. Louis house show on October 4, 1987. One Man Gang won by tossing out Junkyard Dog.

3. In 1988, the Royal Rumble debuted on television (on the USA Network, not pay-per-view) with 20 men.

4. Although a staple of WWE, the Royal Rumble aired on free TV to persuade fans from ordering Bunkhouse Stampede 1988, a pay-per-view event hosted by Jim Crockett Promotions. The Rumble was a smart strategy, drawing an 8.2 rating – the record for the highest viewed wrestling program on cable TV at the time.

5. The WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship was up for grabs at Royal Rumble 1988 as the Jumping Bomb Angels defeated The Glamour Girls in a two out of three falls match.

6. The 1988 Royal Rumble was NOT the main event. Instead the Islanders vs. the Young Stallions (?!?) closed the show in a two out of three falls match.

7. For the only time, entrants entered every 30 seconds at the 1995 Royal Rumble.

8. There were eight former and future world champions in the ring at the end of Royal Rumble 1997: Rocky Maivia, Terry Funk, Mankind, Vader, Undertaker, Kane (as fake Diesel), Bret Hart, and Stone Cold.

9. The winner of the 1995 Royal Rumble received not only a title shot at WrestleMania, but the accompaniment of Pamela Anderson.

10. Seven superstars have drawn #1 twice: Miz, CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Ric Flair, and Bret Hart.

11. The Mega Powers and the Brain Busters were in the same ring at the same time only once – during Royal Rumble 1989. And for a few seconds, the Bushwhackers joined them.

12. There has never been a black Royal Rumble winner. (Unless you count The Rock, who primarily identifies as Samoan.)

13.The 1990 Royal Rumble has the most deceased participants: 11.

Royal Rumble 2009 is the first rumble to not have a deceased participant.

In 2000, the most morbid entrant run went Viscera, Bossman, Test, Bulldog.

14. Tony Schiavone actually commentated the 1990 Royal Rumble.

15. There are eight sets of brothers who have competed in the Rumble: Roman Reigns & Rosey, Jeff & Matt Hardy, Terry & Dory Funk, Goldust & Cody Rhodes, Jimmy & Jey Uso, Eli & Jacob Blu, Umaga &Rikishi, Bray Wyatt & Bo Dallas. Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Sam Houston are the only half-brothers to compete in the Rumble.

16. The longest absence in between Rumbles: Jim Duggan, whose gap stretches 17 years from 1992 to 2009.

17. There have been six WWE debuts at the Royal Rumble: Lex Luger, Tazz, AJ Styles, El Gigante, Vader, Marlena.

18. The states that have produced the most Rumble winners are Texas and Florida, with three apiece. Canada has produced three Rumble winners as well: Benoit, Bret Hart and Edge.

19. Entrance music wasn’t used for the 30 entrants until 1996.

20. Royal Rumbles 2004 and 2007 are tied for most world champions participating with 17.

2004: Chris Benoit, Randy Orton, Mark Henry, JBL, Rhyno, Matt Hardy, Scott Steiner, Booker T, Kane, Kurt Angle, Mick Foley, Christian, Big Show, Chris Jericho, John Cena, RVD, Goldberg.

2007: Ric Flair, Matt Hardy, Edge, Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, Sabu, Kane, CM Punk, King Booker, Jeff Hardy, Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, RVD, HBK, Great Khali, Miz, Undertaker.

21. Two “El Toritos” have competed at the Rumble: Mascarita Dorada in 2014 and Espectrito in a 6-midgets tag in 1998.

22. Royal Rumbles 1996 and 1997 had the most entrants not part of the roster: 5.

23. During the initial brand extension, Smackdown had more Royal Rumble winners than Raw: Brock Lesnar, Rey Mysterio, Undertaker, Edge, Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus. Chris Benoit was a Smackdown member when he won in 2004, but became a Raw member after challenging Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship.

24. Jerry Lawler has commentated 18 Royal Rumbles, the most by any announcer.

25. Every year that Hulk Hogan didn’t win, he cheated: He yanked out Big Boss Man after being eliminated in 1989, and helped yank out Sid Justice after being eliminated in 1992.

26. Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka is the oldest entrant, participating in the 2008 Royal Rumble at 61 years old. Renee Dupree and Kenny Dykstra are the youngest entrants, participating at age 20.

27. Seven superstars are tied for most times making it to the final four: Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold, Kane, Triple H, Batista, Randy Orton and surprisingly, Sheamus, have all made it 5 times.

28. There are 16 WWE Hall of Famers who never competed in the Royal Rumble despite working while it existed: Ricky Steamboat, Bob Orton, Paul Orndorff, Razor Ramon, Larry Zbyszko, Sting, Sika, Kevin Von Erich, Barry Windham, Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, Jimmy Garvin, Tatsumi Fujinami, Abdullah the Butcher, Stan Hansen, Antonio Inoki.

29. Three superstars drew #1 and were the first eliminated: Shawn Michaels in 2003, Ric Flair in 2007, and Miz in 2015.

30. The unluckiest number is 3: 13 superstars who drew that number were the first eliminated.

John Corrigan
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John Corrigan

Columnist / Assistant Editor at Wrestledelphia.com
John Corrigan
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