The Royal Rumble comes but once a year, and every year WWE does a great job promoting of heightening meaning to the event with past Royal Rumble moments. But every year it’s the same moments that get all the spotlight.
We’ve decided to put together a list of some of the Rumble moments that aren’t talked about as much as they should be. Some that are the very essence of what makes it unique, some that are memorable for all the wrong reasons. Either way, moments that WWE doesn’t really mention that often when recapping the Royal Rumble matches of previous years.
Ernest Miller dances to the Rumble – WWE Royal Rumble 2004
Sometimes when the action is coming thick and fast, the competitors need a little bit of down time. After all you could be in there for more than 60 minutes if you’re doing well. This moment from the 2004 Royal Rumble does wonders to illustrate that point. Chris Benoit and Randy Orton both started at numbers one and two, and at this point were the only two left in the ring after having already seen off half of the participants. Then at entrant 18, Ernest “the Cat” Miller strutted his way to the ring to “Somebody Call My Mama” the theme some of current disco dinosaur Brodus Clay. After some terribly awkward dancing for nearly a minute, Chris Benoit had enough. We’ll never know if it was intentional, but the fact that he tossed Lamont’s afro wig before he threw out Lamont is hilarious either way. Randy Orton made short work of “The Cat,” and that was that. Another notable dancing interlude is Too Cool all being miraculously drawn in the ring at once in 2000 and enjoying a dance rather than fighting, before Rikishi threw out his dancing partners.
Paul London’s Shooting Star Splat – WWE Royal Rumble 2005
Uploaded to YouTube under the title “Best Elimination Ever,” and I can’t really argue. After so many years of Royal Rumble it must be difficult to come up with fresh innovative ways to have people exit the match. In 2005, Paul London improvised one of his moves into a unique way to hit the floor that will probably not be seen again. Having been taken to the apron by Snitzky, London got to his feet only to be clotheslined to the floor. The thing is, instead of just falling, he did a complete standing Shooting Star Press from the apron to the floor. And it looked incredible. Add to this the fact that London also used this Apron shooting Star as one of his offensive moves and you can see why he’s one of those talents I wish WWE had never let go.
Jericho and Christian trick Shawn Michaels – WWE Royal Rumble 2003
In early 2003, Jericho and HBK were locked in a storyline where Jericho was trying to prove he was better than Shawn Michaels. Having idolised him as a kid, he felt that he had now surpassed him and somewhere along the line, “stopped trying to be the next Shawn Michaels and focused instead on being the first Chris Jericho.” Shawn had already been secured as Number One in the upcoming match. In order to show HBK that he could do it, Jericho entered himself as Number Two in the Rumble to repeat the feat Shawn Michaels had done by winning it from Number One in 1995. With HBK already in the ring, Jericho’s music hit as normal and a familiar figure stood in the entrance way. When he turned around however, it was Jericho’s partner Christian standing in full Y2J gear. Jericho jumped HBK from behind in the ring and beat him bloody before easily eliminating him. Storylines running through the Rumble match are effective ways to further a feud and this was no different. Shawn returned later in the match with his head bandaged and attacked Jericho, which lead up to their classic match at Wrestlemania 19 that year.
Kai En Tai protest goes wrong – WWE Royal Rumble 2000
Not everyone can get themselves a spot in the Royal Rumble with such a packed roster. There are always going to be disappointed stars. We’ve had tag team partners having to decide which one got to participate. We’ve had Low Down losing their spot to Drew Carey in a terrible attempt to cross promote an Improv Comedy Hour or something. But the best had to be Royal Rumble 2000 when Kai En Tai failed to gain themselves a spot in the match. So in protest, they repeatedly inserted themselves into the Royal Rumble match only to get ejected every time. All went according to plan until the final run in. Funaki took his dive to the outside no problem, but Taka’s went a little bit different. After flying over the top, Taka somehow did a flip and was unable to protect himself, which ended with him smashing his face hard off the arena floor, giving himself a legit concussion. Jerry Lawler on commentary enjoyed a laugh as they showed the replay over and over again.
Goldberg destroys Nunzio – WWE Royal Rumble 2004
2004 was definitely one of the best Royal Rumbles. It stands out for a number of reasons, but will probably never get the attention it deserves since it was the year that Chris Benoit won. One of the notable things about this Rumble was that it’s the only Royal Rumble that Goldberg featured in his short WWE Career. In a rare case of WWE booking Goldberg right, he stormed into the match and Speared everyone in sight then dominated the rest. Nunzio jumped on his back, and was swatted off easily, then in probably the best Spear of his career, Goldberg absolutely FLATTENS Nunzio in the corner. It didn’t last long as Brock Lesnar made his way into the ring and attacked Goldberg to set up their disappointment filled match at Wrestlemania.
“Austin has commandeered the ambulance!!” – WWE Royal Rumble 1999
Royal Rumble 1999 was given the tag line “No Chance In Hell,” because Mr McMahon promised that Austin had no chance in hell of winning. Vince tried to enter himself at number 30, but then commissioner Shawn Michaels made him number instead, giving Austin a good few minutes to beat on the boss. After some more stars started to fill the ring, Vince hightailed it through the crowd, drawing Austin with him. Of course it was a trap and the Corporate team ambushed him in the bathrooms, leading to him being taken away in an ambulance. Vince returned to the ring on commentary and gloated about Austin being gone for good. But of course, it was not to be. As the cameras followed the Ministry abducting Mabel, Stone Cold arrived in the very same ambulance he left in. Austin stormed back to the ring, made his way through the remaining wrestlers until only he and Vince remained. Austin’s third Royal Rumble win (at the time) looked to be on the cards, until the Rock distracted the Rattlesnake for long enough so that Mr McMahon could toss him over the top and win the 1999 Royal Rumble.
The Preacher – WWE Royal Rumble 2010
Since this past Summer, everyone knows CM Punk is dynamite on the microphone. But really, everyone should have known a long time ago. From Ring of Honor onward he had been doing it the whole time. Fast forward to 2010 and CM Punk is leader of a religious cult like group “The Straight Edge Society,” taking every opportunity he can to teach the public how to live. And what better stage than the Royal Rumble? Punk entered at number three, made quick work of Bourne and Ziggler and grabbed a mic. In one of the most innovative promos in WWE history, Punk began his sermon. He told us about the benefits of living our life Straight Edge for the remainder of the minutes until the next participant ran out. He made quick work of JTG, then went back to the sermon. About two minutes of talking later, Great Khali and Beth Phoenix joined the fray and both went out, with Beth even receiving a Go To Sleep. Then after eliminating Zack Ryder, Punk joined the sermon again and the crowd were eating it up. Eventually, Triple H arrived as party pooper and finally put an end to CM Punk’s Straight Edge Mission.
Batista and Cena Botch the Finish – WWE Royal Rumble 2005
The 2005 Royal Rumble came down to Batista and John Cena and the ending is something WWE are not likely to ever highlight again especially considering it also featured Chairman Vince McMahon. In Dave Lagana’s “I Want Wrestling” blog he told the story of how the ending was botched. (You can read it here http://iwantwrestling.com/2011/01/29/royalrumblechangeseverything/) Batista was supposed to be the last man standing in the match but when he lifted Cena to eliminate him, the momentum took them BOTH over and to the floor. Luckily for Batista, they both hit at (sort of) the same time so they were able to come up with a contingency plan. Lagana’s story says that with the PPV running out of time, they tried to send one of the General Managers to the ring but they were too far away in the arena. So Vince McMahon got up from the Gorilla Position and stormed to the ring. He did his trademark power walk down the aisle and slid into the ring and then… sat on his arse. On sliding into the ring, he caught his knees on the way in and busted them. In a completely surreal image, Vince had to sit there pretending he wasn’t in severe pain as the referees, Cena and Batista improvised their reactions. Charles Robinson got the information from Vince as Batista and Cena distracted by throwing each other out again, then they announced the final two would restart. Cena and Batista ad libbed a finish with Batista eliminating John after a spine buster. But what we didn’t see was Vince McMahon WALKING to the back on two torn quads.