It’s Royal Rumble week, which means the rumours of of who will walk away victorious have been flip-flopping around harder than Dolph Ziggler selling a lariat. While the winner remains to be seen, we thought we’d take a look back at all of the WWE Superstars who had their chance to win the Royal Rumble, but just couldn’t pull it out.
Keeping the list to a minimum is hard when you look at the many Superstars who were in storylines who didn’t require a title shot, yet were nonetheless deserving of a big win. Through our very scientific method of “yeah, that makes sense,” we’ve compiled our very own list of Royal Rumble losers who deserved to outlast the rest.
Would WWE have ever allowed him to win a Rumble? Doubtful, as most of his career working under Vince McMahon was spent as a walking rib on himself. Is Dusty one of the greatest pro wrestlers of all time, deserving of any and all accolades the industry could give? Yes. Yes he is.
The dearly departed Piper — while hailed as a WWE Legend — only managed to win two championships during his time with the company, and neither of them were World Championship. Less weird racist talk show segments, more Royal Rumble wins amirite?
Do I even have to explain why? It’s Eddie f*cking Guerrero.
While the deceased former Superstar broke down as many (company-created) barriers as WWE would allow her to, not only entering the all-male Royal Rumble but winning would have sent a clear message about Chyna’s strength and ability. Now that it’s way too late, let’s keep our fingers for a posthumous Hall of Fame induction instead.
Okay, hear me out. If we’re to sit through a Triple H and a Vince win, why not let Steph in on the Royal Rumble nepotism? Picture it: Stephanie McMahon enters at #30, with only her corporate stooge wrestlers remaining. They all calmly step over the top rope, leaving her alone in the ring, sneering and victorious. Instead of taking the opportunity for herself, she graciously gives it to the wrestler she sees as most “deserving” as a title shot. Hey, they’ve used Rumble winners a a massive middle-finger before, why not let the most likable of the bunch get a turn? I think we’ve given Shane enough.
The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase
While we’re not ranking these numerically, DiBiase is my personal number one with a bullet. While most hail Ric Flair’s Rumble performance in 1992 as the greatest of all time, I have taken up permanent residence in the “DiBiase’s 45 Minute Performance in 1990” camp. Despite his his flashy personal championship belt and admirably intense campaign against dress shirts with sleeves, DiBiase was only used in the Rumble for storytelling purposes that weren’t advanced by him outlasting 29 other participants. But at least he had that belt, right?
This big demon lug already holds the record for the most eliminations in cumulative Royal Rumbles, yet has never been given the big win. He’s no getting any younger (which is weird, shouldn’t demons just not age?), so wouldn’t it make sense to have that happen soon?
Since nobody wants to hear my impassioned speech about how Ray Rougeau is the most under-appreciated Canadian wrestler of his time, I guess we can talk about another one. Chris Jericho and his increasingly weird-looking muscular chest have racked up an impressive amount of WWE accolades — nearly one for every scarf in his closet. Now that he’s balls-deep in one of his best storylines to date, why not finally give him that win to add to his list? Let him win a shot at his BFF Kevin Owens’ Universal Championship. Friendship-Based Wrestling is the Best Wrestling, and it would give them a solid foundation on which to build their respective roads to WrestleMania.
The Perfect Athlete sadly has an imperfect list of WWE Championships, having only held the Intercontinental Title twice. I mean, he was perfect, you’d think he’d have one of each somehow, right? Imagine, the perfect wrestler entering at the perfect number and perfect-plexing his way to a perfect victory? Would’ve been…dare I say…very good. Hulk Hogan ruins everything.
Much like DiBiase, Foley’s Royal Rumble legend is made of the stories told, and not his wins. With three personas to enter into the Rumble, you would think one of them could’ve made it happen!
After Angle’s mysterious disappearance from the wrestling scene between 2006 and now (just where oh where could he have been all this time??), the first in this year’s Hall of Fame class was never given a Royal Rumble win during his eight-year tenure in WWE. Even though he claims he’s not going to appear in the Rumble, literally when has it been a good idea to take the Olympic gold medalist at his word? There’s still time to make this happen. See you Sunday, bro.
Known as The World’s Strongest Man, the guy who pulls around 18-wheelers for funsies should more than have the strength and stamina to outlast and out-muscle any and all Rumble entrants. Come on WWE — the strongest dude is from Texas, the Rumble is in Texas… With his retirement from in-ring competition looming, what a send-off that would be!
Like Angle, Mark Henry, Jericho, and Kane, this is still totally possible. Backlund put in one of the most impressive Rumble performances to date back in 1993, edging out the previous record holder (some guy named Flair something or other) for most time spent in a single Rumble by 1:08. Even if that was 24 years ago, the sheer old man strength Backlund still has packed in his Howdy Doody body should never be underestimated.
Macho Man Randy Savage
Man, a lot of incredible wrestlers have never won a Rumble or a World Championship, huh? At least Triple H has all of those wins I guess. There are few wrestlers as talented or beloved in the company’s history as Savage, and much like Eddie Guerrero, the argument pretty much just makes itself.
Andre the Giant
Andre the Giant’s Royal Rumble appearances were again used to tell different stories, usually holy sh*t it takes so many people to get him over the top rope. Well, that or one snake. The big man now has his very own memorial battle royal, but it would have been nice for the biggest, strongest wrestler of a generation to have the ultimate show of strength.