The Disturbing Truth Behind WWE's Royal Rumble 14 Curse

British Bulldog 1997

In 1990, Haku drew #14. Nobody is going to f*ck with Haku, not even a voodoo witchdoctor. He was fine.

A year later, the British Bulldog emerged from that slot, and a year after that announced himself as the biggest drawing card in all of pro wrestling. Beyond his peak, Bulldog contested several more outstanding matches—that European Championship final of 1997 is the most characterful technical bout in WWE history, surely—but departed this life in 2002, at too young an age, as another sad casualty of wrestling’s steroid-laden past.

In the same year Bulldog headlined Wembley Stadium, 1992, Hercules drew #14. He died two years after Davey Boy Smith, struck down by the same over-worked organ. 1993 meanwhile saw the Berserker occupy what was a doomed number lurking in plain sight—but he only faded from mainstream relevance after his unremarkable WWF stint ended that very same year. This becomes a theme.

By 1994, the man behind the clown mask of Doink had changed from the brilliantly sinister Matt Borne to the broad and unfunny Ray Apollo, who wasn’t so much doomed by a curse as much as a patently difficult gimmick only his predecessor could pull off. Like the Berserker, Jacob Blu (1995) was gone by the end of the year. He lasted a lot longer than Doug Gilbert in 1996, making his only appearance for the company. A few short years later, Gilbert cursed Jerry Lawler’s integrity with a… troublesome revelation. Or lie.

Goldust, one of the most enduring characters and men in all of wrestling, endured personal hell in the years following 1997. Ken Shamrock, in 1998, escaped the curse. Kurrgan transitioned into a respectable acting career, having been about as good a fit for the in-ring as Jonathan Coachman was to the commentary booth. Bob Backlund (2000) went certifiably insane. The Goodfather (2001) had already been cursed to lose his riches by the PTC. Diamond Dallas Page (2002) needed no cursing; either; he probably did enough of his own, under his breath, during his catastrophic programme with the Undertaker.

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Former Power Slam Magazine scribe and author of Development Hell: The NXT Story - available NOW on!