10 Times WWE Got The Royal Rumble Winner Wrong

8. Sheamus (2012)

Batista Royal Rumble

It’s too easy to rag on Sheamus. His career has found a second wind thanks to his fantastic partnership with Cesaro, but for most of his career, the big Irishman has been one of the most maligned wrestlers in WWE. So over-pushed and overexposed was Sheamus that he’d started generating the dreaded “X-Pac heat” from fans who just flat-out didn’t want to watch him perform, and this was never worse than in 2012.

Heading into the Royal Rumble, Chris Jericho was the biggest heel on the planet. His flashy light-up jacket and trollish antics had put him back on the path to glory, and at the Rumble, Jericho promised to “end the world.” All signs pointed towards him walking out the victor, and even though he was playing villain at the time, nobody would have complained had we won. Jericho was still close to his peak as a wrestler, and he’s always been in a league of his own as far as character work goes. His victory was a logical decision, and the fans would have eaten it up.

It’s not like Vince McMahon to listen to his fanbase, however, and Jericho was unsuccessful. Entering at number 29, Jericho made it to the final two, but was eventually eliminated by Sheamus, who’d been in the ring for close to half an hour. This, of course, led to Sheamus’ infamous 18-minute squash of Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania, and a lengthy World Heavyweight Championship reign that nobody wanted.

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Andy has been with WhatCulture for six years and is currently WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A writer, presenter, and editor with 10+ years of experience in online media, he has been a sponge for all wrestling knowledge since playing an old Royal Rumble 1992 VHS to ruin in his childhood. Having previously worked for Bleacher Report, Andy specialises in short and long-form writing, video presenting, voiceover acting, and editing, all characterised by expert wrestling knowledge and commentary. Andy is as much a fan of 1985 Jim Crockett Promotions as he is present-day AEW and WWE - just don't make him choose between the two.