The Disturbing Truth Behind WWE's Royal Rumble 14 Curse

Curse or coincidence?

Marty Jannetty Cage

It’s almost morbidly funny, the fact that the number 14 is more unlucky in WWE lore than the number 13.

Everything has to be one bigger, one better. Everything is barked with such blistering carny conviction. Monday Night RAW is the longest-running weekly episodic television show of all time! WWE Evolution is the first-ever all-women’s pay-per-view! The number 14 is unluckier than the number 13! In Royal Rumble mythology, the number 14 is an unluckier draw than 13, or even one or two. Drawing number 14 spells a fate worse than that of Santino Marella, or the fate that would have befallen Titus O’Neil, were he not so bad at even being bad.

We begin our chronological exploration into the so-called Royal Rumble curse with 1988, since the secret, experimental 1987 Rumble featured just 12 competitors.

Drawing #14 that year was ‘The Outlaw’ Ron Bass, who did not succumb to it; enjoying a rare, happy wrestling retirement—retiring as many do to the golf courses of Florida—Bass passed away in 2017 at the age of 68.

One year later, Rocker Marty Jannetty drew #14 from the golden tumbler, but took the silver podium in his singles career, and became—despite dissenting voices who knew him to be an excellent babyface in his own right—the punchline to too many “you’re not as talented as your bonafide legend of a tag team partner” jokes. Personally, too, Jannetty couldn’t escape a life lived at midnight, later becoming the butt of a far darker joke, provided you believe the man was “hacked”: he wanted to put his biological daughter in the Rocker Dropper.

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Michael Sidgwick is an editor, writer and podcaster for WhatCulture Wrestling. With over seven years of experience in wrestling analysis, Michael was published in the influential institution that was Power Slam magazine, and specialises in providing insights into All Elite Wrestling - so much so that he wrote a book about the subject. You can order Becoming All Elite: The Rise Of AEW on Amazon. Possessing a deep knowledge also of WWE, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Michael’s work has been publicly praised by former AEW World Champions Kenny Omega and MJF, and current Undisputed WWE Champion Cody Rhodes. When he isn’t putting your finger on why things are the way they are in the endlessly fascinating world of professional wrestling, Michael wraps his own around a hand grinder to explore the world of specialty coffee. Follow Michael on X (formerly known as Twitter) @MSidgwick for more!