We’re only a few weeks away from the annual WWE Royal Rumble match, and anticipation for the event is at an all time high.
The WWE Royal Rumble is one of the most exciting matches of the year, and as we all know the match has big WrestleMania implications. Winning the Royal Rumble is a pretty big deal, but let’s face it, some wins are more exciting than others.
In the past there have unfortunately been a few Royal Rumble wins that just didn’t go anywhere, and today we’re going to run down a few that definitely stand out.
#5 – Batista (2014)
When Batista first left WWE, fans patiently waited for his return, but when it finally came it seems that Batista returned to WWE at the wrong time.
Batista returned in 2014 as a babyface, but the fans couldn’t stop booing him. At the time fans who were fully behind Daniel Bryan refused to accept anyone else as the top star, which ended up hurting The Animal’s last run with the company.
After everything Daniel Bryan had been through with The Authority in the months leading up to the Royal Rumble, it seemed to make sense for Bryan to win the match, and overcome the evil stable by winning the title at WrestleMania.
However, WWE went in a very different direction, and left Bryan out of the match entirely while Batista won and was showered with boos from the fans in attendance.
Vince McMahon had his heart set on Batista challenging Randy Orton for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a singles match, but eventually he caved in to fan demand and Daniel Bryan was added to the match.
WWE tried their best to resist, but in the end it’s probably safe to say that Daniel Bryan probably should have just won the Royal Rumble in the first place.
#4 – Alberto Del Rio (2011)
As soon as Alberto Del Rio debuted, WWE creative made it clear to fans that he was going to be getting a very healthy push.
Alberto immediately became one of the top heels on the SmackDown brand, and he looked like an early favorite heading into the 2011 Royal Rumble match, which happened to be the biggest Rumble match in history as it featured 40 Superstars as opposed to 30.
Del Rio won the match and went on to challenge Edge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 27, but he failed to win the belt. WWE officials then pulled back on his push for a few months before he eventually went on to win the Money in the Bank briefcase and then the WWE Championship in the summer of 2011.
With so much hype behind Alberto Del Rio it seemed pretty anti-climactic for him to challenge for the belt, and lose, in the opening match of WrestleMania 27.
In the end the 2011 Royal Rumble victory probably should have gone to John Cena who actually fought in the main event that year.
#3 – Sheamus (2012)
When Sheamus first made his main roster debut he was immediately pushed as a top star, and he quickly became WWE Champion. Some were shocked to see the newcomer get pushed so hard so quickly, but the push didn’t last all that long.
Eventually Sheamus was moved back to the midcard, but WWE officials tried for another main event push in 2012, and this time around he worked as a face.
Sheamus managed to win the Royal Rumble and beat Daniel Bryan in the opening match of WrestleMania 28 where he won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in 17 seconds.
However, the record setting victory at WrestleMania only helped to get Daniel Bryan more over with the fans, and some would say that the “Yes Movement” started at WrestleMania 28.
It also didn’t help that the Royal Rumble winner ended up wrestling in the first match of the night at WrestleMania two years in a row.
The 2012 Royal Rumble came down to Sheamus and Chris Jericho, and in this case it seems that Jericho probably would have been the better pick as he went on to face CM Punk for the WWE Title in one of the more memorable matches on the card.
#2 – Randy Orton (2017)
Randy Orton has accomplished a lot in his WWE career, and he happens to be a 13 time WWE World Champion. It’s safe to say that he’s a future WWE Hall of Famer without a doubt, which is why many fans were left scratching their heads after Randy won the Royal Rumble for the second time in his career in 2017.
The 2017 Royal Rumble match was loaded with huge names such as Brock Lesnar, Goldberg and The Undertaker. A lot of the hype behind the Rumble match focused on Lesnar’s feud with Goldberg, and despite the fact that they were both eliminated, both men ended up fighting for the Universal Title in a WrestleMania rematch that was 13 years in the making.
Randy Orton went on to face Bray Wyatt in a match that is remembered more for the weird images WWE projected on the ring than anything else.
Orton’s title reign didn’t last very long as he dropped the belt to Jinder Mahal a few months later, and Brock Lesnar is still in possession of the Universal Title.
Whether you enjoyed the Goldberg vs. Lesnar match or not, looking back it seems that either one of them probably would have been a better fit to win the Royal Rumble last year considering what WWE had planned.
#1 – John Cena (2008)
John Cena has a reputation for being divisive, and he divided the fans when he won the Royal Rumble at Madison Square Garden in 2008.
A few months before the Royal Rumble, John Cena had been sidelined with an injury that kept him out of action, and it was believed that he would continue to be sidelined for several months after the Royal Rumble.
However, Cena shocked the world when he returned early and won the match after entering at number 30.
Sure, it’s easy to hate on the whole scenario of WWE faking everyone out and having Cena return early. Sure, it’s also easy to hate on the fact that Cena won after entering at number 30. But that’s not the worst thing about Cena’s win.
The worst part about John Cena’s win, is that he didn’t even wait until WrestleMania to use his title shot.
Instead Cena used the title shot to challenge Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at No Way Out in a match which ended in a disqualification rendering the 2008 Royal Rumble match pretty much useless.
Orton then went on to successfully defend the belt against Triple H and Cena in a triple threat match at WrestleMania 24, while Edge and The Undertaker fought for the World Heavyweight Championship in a classic Mania main event.
As you can see, sometimes the most obvious choice for a Royal Rumble winner isn’t the worst choice, especially when wins that are done for shock value don’t go anywhere.
In any case, we’re only a few weeks away from the 2018 Royal Rumble, so here’s to hoping that this year’s winner actually does make sense.