Royal Rumble

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WWE Royal Rumble
Royal Rumble 2021 logo.png
Royal Rumble logo used as of 2021
Created byPat Patterson
Promotion(s)WWE
Brand(s)Raw (2003–2011, 2017–present)
SmackDown (2003–2011, 2017–present)
ECW (2007–2010)
NXT (2016–present)
NXT UK (2019–present)
205 Live (2019)
First event1988
Signature match typesRoyal Rumble match

The Royal Rumble is a professional wrestling event, produced annually since 1988 by WWE, the world's largest professional wrestling promotion. It is named after the Royal Rumble match, a battle royal whose participants enter at timed intervals. The event is held in late January, the week before the Super Bowl. After the initial event was broadcast as a television special on USA Network, the Royal Rumble has been shown on pay-per-view (PPV) since the 1989 event. It also became available to stream on the WWE Network in 2015 and will become available to stream on Peacock in 2022. It is one of WWE's five biggest events of the year, along with WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series, and Money in the Bank, referred to as the "Big Five".

The Royal Rumble match is generally contested as the main event match of the annual event. There are some exceptions, such as the 1988, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2006, and 2013 events. In most of these cases, the main event was a world championship match. While originally only for men, a women's version of the Royal Rumble match was held at the 2018 event, which was also the first event to have two Rumble matches on one card. It is now standard for the event to include both a men's and women's Rumble match on the card.

History

Event

The Royal Rumble is a pay-per-view (PPV) consisting of the Royal Rumble match, title matches, and various other matches. The titular match was created by wrestler and WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson and the event was established by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE). The first event took place on January 24, 1988, and was broadcast live as a television special on the USA Network.[1] The following year, the event started to be broadcast on pay-per-view,[2] and thus became one of the "Big Four" annual pay-per-views, along with WrestleMania, Survivor Series, and SummerSlam, the promotion's four biggest shows of the year.[3][4] From 1993 to 2002, it was considered one of the "Big Five", including King of the Ring, but that PPV event was discontinued after 2002.[5] In October 2021, Money in the Bank became recognized as one of the "Big Five".[6]

In May 2002, the WWF was renamed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) following a lawsuit with the World Wildlife Fund over the "WWF" initialism.[7] In April 2011, the promotion ceased using its full name with the "WWE" abbreviation becoming an orphaned initialism.[8] Also in March 2002, the promotion introduced the brand extension, in which the roster was divided between the Raw and SmackDown brands where wrestlers were exclusively assigned to perform[9]ECW became a third brand in 2006.[10] The first brand extension was dissolved in August 2011,[11] but it was reintroduced in July 2016 (other brands, including NXT, NXT UK, and 205 Live, would also be active during this second brand split).[12] The Royal Rumble, along with the other original "Big Four" events, were the only PPVs to never be held exclusively for one brand during either brand split periods. The 2008 Royal Rumble was the first WWE pay-per-view to be available in high-definition.[13] In 2015, the Royal Rumble began to air on WWE's online streaming service, the WWE Network, which launched in February 2014,[14] and in 2022, the event will become available on Peacock as the American version of the WWE Network merged under Peacock in March 2021.[15]

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that began affecting the industry in March 2020, WWE had to hold its events behind closed doors. The 2021 event was in turn held in WWE's bio-secure bubble called the WWE ThunderDome, hosted at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, which was previously hosted at Orlando's Amway Center before moving to Tropicana Field in early December 2020.[16][17] WWE resumed live touring in July 2021, with the 2022 event scheduled to be held at The Dome at America's Center in St. Louis, Missouri.[18]

Due to the Rumble matches taking up a large amount of time (most Rumble matches last roughly one hour), the Rumble event tends to have a smaller card than most other pay-per-view events, which routinely have six to eight matches per card. The men's Royal Rumble match is usually located at the top of the card, though there have been exceptions, such as the 1988, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2006, 2013, and 2018 events.[19] In these cases, 1988's main event was a tag team match, while the others were world championship matches, except in 2018. The 2018 Royal Rumble was the first to include a women's Royal Rumble match, which was the main event for that year. It was subsequently the first in which two Rumble matches were contested on one card and it is now standard for the event to include both a men's and women's Rumble match.[20]

Match

The Royal Rumble match is based on the classic battle royal, in which a number of wrestlers (traditionally 30) aim at eliminating their competitors by tossing them over the top rope, with both feet touching the floor. The difference between the Royal Rumble and a standard battle royal is that in a standard battle royal, all participants start the match in the ring at the same time, where in a Royal Rumble match, participants enter at timed intervals.[21][22] The winner of the match is the last wrestler remaining after all others have been eliminated. Since 1993, the prize for winning is a world championship match at WrestleMania (with the exception of 2016, where the prize of the match was the championship itself as the reigning champion defended the title in the match).[21][23] According to Hornswoggle, who worked for WWE from 2006 until 2016 and participated in two Rumbles, participants may learn their eliminations by knowing the two wrestlers who are eliminated before them and which wrestlers are entering the Royal Rumble before and after their elimination.[24]

Events and winners

# Event Date City Venue Main Event Winner(s) Entry No. Ref.
1 Royal Rumble (1988) January 24, 1988 Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Copps Coliseum The Islanders (Haku and Tama) vs. The Young Stallions (Paul Roma and Jim Powers) in a two out of three falls match Jim Duggan 13 [25][26]
2 Royal Rumble (1989) January 15, 1989 Houston, Texas The Summit 30-man Royal Rumble match Big John Studd 27 [27][28]
3 Royal Rumble (1990) January 21, 1990 Orlando, Florida Orlando Arena Hulk Hogan 25 [29][30]
4 Royal Rumble (1991) January 19, 1991 Miami, Florida Miami Arena 24 [31][32]
5 Royal Rumble (1992) January 19, 1992 Albany, New York Knickerbocker Arena 30-man Royal Rumble match for the vacant WWF World Heavyweight Championship Ric Flair 3 [33][34]
6 Royal Rumble (1993) January 24, 1993 Sacramento, California ARCO Arena 30-man Royal Rumble match for a WWF World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania IX Yokozuna 27 [35][36]
7 Royal Rumble (1994) January 22, 1994 Providence, Rhode Island Providence Civic Center 30-man Royal Rumble match for a WWF World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania X Bret Hart
Lex Luger
23
27
[37][38]
8 Royal Rumble (1995) January 22, 1995 Tampa, Florida USF Sun Dome 30-man Royal Rumble match for a WWF World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania XI Shawn Michaels 1 [39][40]
9 Royal Rumble (1996) January 21, 1996 Fresno, California Selland Arena Bret Hart (c) vs. The Undertaker for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship 18 [41][42]
10 Royal Rumble (1997) January 19, 1997 San Antonio, Texas Alamodome Sycho Sid (c) vs. Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship Stone Cold Steve Austin 5 [43][44]
11 Royal Rumble (1998) January 18, 1998 San Jose, California San Jose Arena Shawn Michaels (c) vs. The Undertaker in a Casket match for the WWF Championship 24 [45][46][47]
12 Royal Rumble (1999) January 24, 1999 Anaheim, California Arrowhead Pond 30-man Royal Rumble match for a WWF Championship match at WrestleMania XV Mr. McMahon 2 [48][49][50]
13 Royal Rumble (2000) January 23, 2000 New York City, New York Madison Square Garden 30-man Royal Rumble match for a WWF Championship match at WrestleMania 2000 The Rock 24 [51][52][53]
14 Royal Rumble (2001) January 21, 2001 New Orleans, Louisiana New Orleans Arena 30-man Royal Rumble match for a WWF Championship match at WrestleMania X-Seven Stone Cold Steve Austin 27 [54][55][56]
15 Royal Rumble (2002) January 20, 2002 Atlanta, Georgia Philips Arena 30-man Royal Rumble match for an Undisputed WWF Championship match at WrestleMania X8 Triple H 22 [57][58][59]
16 Royal Rumble (2003) January 19, 2003 Boston, Massachusetts FleetCenter 30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania XIX Brock Lesnar 29 [60][61]
17 Royal Rumble (2004) January 25, 2004 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wachovia Center 30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania XX Chris Benoit 1 [62][63][64]
18 Royal Rumble (2005) January 30, 2005 Fresno, California Save Mart Center 30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 21 Batista 28 [65][66][67]
19 Royal Rumble (2006) January 29, 2006 Miami, Florida American Airlines Arena Kurt Angle (c) vs. Mark Henry for the World Heavyweight Championship Rey Mysterio 2 [68][69][70]
20 Royal Rumble (2007) January 28, 2007 San Antonio, Texas AT&T Center 30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 23 The Undertaker 30 [71][72][73]
21 Royal Rumble (2008) January 27, 2008 New York City, New York Madison Square Garden 30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania XXIV John Cena 30 [74][75][76]
22 Royal Rumble (2009) January 25, 2009 Detroit, Michigan Joe Louis Arena 30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania XXV Randy Orton 8 [77][78]
23 Royal Rumble (2010) January 31, 2010 Atlanta, Georgia Philips Arena 30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania XXVI Edge 29 [79][80]
24 Royal Rumble (2011) January 30, 2011 Boston, Massachusetts TD Garden 40-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania XXVII Alberto Del Rio 38 [81]
25 Royal Rumble (2012) January 29, 2012 St. Louis, Missouri Scottrade Center 30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania XXVIII Sheamus 22 [82]
26 Royal Rumble (2013) January 27, 2013 Phoenix, Arizona US Airways Center CM Punk (c) vs. The Rock for the WWE Championship John Cena 19 [83][84]
27 Royal Rumble (2014) January 26, 2014 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Consol Energy Center 30-man Royal Rumble match for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania XXX Batista 28 [85][86]
28 Royal Rumble (2015) January 25, 2015 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wells Fargo Center 30-man Royal Rumble match for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 31 Roman Reigns 19 [87]
29 Royal Rumble (2016) January 24, 2016 Orlando, Florida Amway Center Roman Reigns (c) vs. 29 other wrestlers in a 30-man Royal Rumble match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Triple H 30 [88][89]
30 Royal Rumble (2017) January 29, 2017 San Antonio, Texas Alamodome 30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 33 Randy Orton 23 [90]
31 Royal Rumble (2018) January 28, 2018 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wells Fargo Center 30-woman Royal Rumble match for a women's championship match at WrestleMania 34 Shinsuke Nakamura 14 [91][92]
Asuka 25 [20][93]
32 Royal Rumble (2019) January 27, 2019 Phoenix, Arizona Chase Field 30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 35 Becky Lynch 28 [94]
Seth Rollins 10
33 Royal Rumble (2020) January 26, 2020 Houston, Texas Minute Maid Park 30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 36 Charlotte Flair 17 [95]
Drew McIntyre 16
34 Royal Rumble (2021) January 31, 2021 St. Petersburg, Florida WWE ThunderDome at Tropicana Field 30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 37 Bianca Belair 3 [96]
Edge 1
35 Royal Rumble (2022) January 29, 2022 St. Louis, Missouri The Dome at America's Center TBA TBD TBD [18]
TBD TBD
(c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match

Video box set

In March 2007, WWE released a complete DVD box set titled Royal Rumble: The Complete Anthology, which showcases every Royal Rumble event in its entirety, up to the 2007 Royal Rumble.[97]

References

General
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  • "Royal Rumble Statistics". MondayNightWarriors.com. Retrieved 2009-12-05.
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  • Eric Cohen. "Royal Rumble History". About.com. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
  • Ian Hamilton (2006). Wrestling's Sinking Ship: What Happens to an Industry Without Competition. Lulu.com. ISBN 1-4116-1210-8.[self-published source?]
  • Ric Flair (2004). Ric Flair: To Be the Man. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-7434-5691-2.
  • Brian Shields (2006). Main Event: WWE in the Raging 80s. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 1-4165-3257-9.
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Further reading

External links