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Royal Rumble Details
WWE Royal Rumble
The Royal Rumble is an annual pay-per-view wrestling event put on by World Wrestling Entertainment, which is headlined by the annual Royal Rumble match. In the Royal Rumble match, 30 WWE superstars participate in a battle royal, where participants are eliminated by being going over the top rope with both of their feet hitting the floor. The winner is granted a championship match at Wrestlemania, making the Royal Rumble one of the most important matches on the wrestling calendar.
Royal Rumble Structure
Every Royal Rumble match starts with two wrestlers duking it out in the ring. After a period of time elapses (this has been called a minute in the past, but is rarely exactly one minute, because pro wrestling plays by its own rules), another wrestler is added to the fray. This happens repeatedly until all 30 members of the match have been introduced, at which point the match continues until everyone but the winner has been eliminated.
There was one instance of the Royal Rumble match featuring 40 combatants, with that edition of the match taking place in 2011, when Alberto Del Rio outlasted 39 competitors to earn a main event match at Wrestlemania.
Royal Rumble History
Despite the high regard with which the Royal Rumble is held today, the first edition of the match was not held on pay-per-view. Rather, it was held on a live USA Network broadcast in January of 1988, which was won by Hacksaw Jim Duggan. In the following year, the Royal Rumble was moved to pay-per-view, where it has remained for the rest of its history. In the first pay-per-view Royal Rumble match, Big John Studd came out victorious.
The first time that the winner of the Royal Rumble was granted a championship match at Wrestlemania was 1993, when Yokozuna won the Royal Rumble ahead of Wrestlemania IX. Yokozuna won the WWF World Heavyweight Championship against Bret Hart at Wrestlemania, establishing that the reward for winning the Royal Rumble was meaningful and worth doing anything necessary to win the Rumble match. In total, Royal Rumble winners have had 22 championship opportunities in the history of the match, with those winners going on to win a championship 13 times at Wrestlemania.
Memorable Royal Rumble Matches
Of the Royal Rumble matches that have taken place so far, the two most memorable matches were the instances where the Royal Rumble was contested with the winner receiving a championship on the spot. This first happened in 1992, when the vacant WWF World Heavyweight Championship was up for grabs in Albany, NY. Ric Flair entered the match in the third spot, and lasted over an hour in the ring before claiming the match and winning the title.
The second instance of the Royal Rumble match deciding a champion on the spot took place in 2016, when Roman Reigns' WWE World Heavyweight Championship was put up for grabs in the Royal Rumble. Reigns was forced to defend the title by The Authority, and ended up losing his championship when Triple H made a shock return to in-ring action, claiming the championship before losing it back to Reigns in the main event of Wrestlemania later that year.
Royal Rumble Records
Stone Cold Steve Austin holds the record for the most Royal Rumble victories, as he is the only wrestler in the history of the Royal Rumble to win the match three times. Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Batista, John Cena, and Randy Orton are all tied for second place with two Rumble wins apiece.
The all-time ironman of the Royal Rumble match is Rey Mysterio. He lasted for 1:02:12 in the 2006 Rumble, en route to victory. The win continued a captivating underdog story for Mysterio, who went on to defeat Kurt Angle and Randy Orton in a triple threat match to win the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania.
On the flip side, the shortest time spent in the Royal Rumble match belongs to Santino Marella. A comedy character, Marella's time in the 2009 Royal Rumble consisted of him rolling into the ring, only to get immediately blasted out of the ring as he screamed that he wasn't ready. Unfortunately, the officials were not sympathetic to his lack of preparation.
Kane has the most eliminations in a career in the Royal Rumble match, as he racked up 44 eliminations during his career. In a single Royal Rumble, Roman Reigns holds the record with 12 eliminations.
The 2018 Royal Rumble will take place at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA on January 28, 2018.