I know I wasn’t the only one who watched the ending of...
The 30 Greatest WWE Royal Rumble Eliminations
Eliminations are the backbone of the Royal Rumble match. After all, they’re strung together to ultimately decide the winner of the match, right? Some of them, over the years, have been far more dramatic and bold than others. Here’s a list of 30 of them (an appropriate Rumble number) that stood out above the rest.
30. Carlito (2007)
Tossed by: The Great Khali
Rewind several years earlier to when the Great Khali was a ruthless killing machine, one that had beaten John Cena cleanly more than once. In 2007, Khali entered at #28, and tossed out 7 men in succession, including Carlito. But when the cool guy tried to springboard back in, Khali chopped his skull in mid air.
29. The World’s Greatest Tag Team/Matt Hardy (2003)
Tossed by: Brock Lesnar
28. Lance Storm (2002)
Tossed by: Al Snow
The duo who teamed at ECW Living Dangerously ’98 (and nobody thought to call them ‘Snow Storm’), were pretty far down the card in early 2002, but did share a unique Rumble moment. The two men went over the top rope and engaged in a psuedo-highwire act, exchanging martial arts on the apron, until Snow finally kicked Storm off.
27. John Morrison/The Miz (2009)
Tossed by: Triple H
Miz and Morrison, the “Dirt Sheet Duo”, were one of WWE’s freshest acts, seeing as how they rose above the hackneyed din with their trendy pop culture acumen. It’s only speculative to say that’s why Triple H got to destroy em simultaneously, but it looked great when Trips hurled Morrison at Miz, knocking both men over the top.
26. Jeff Jarrett (1998)
Tossed by: Owen Hart
In typical Vince Russo fashion, the angle of Jarrett jumping Owen in the aisle during his entrance was never followed up on, nor was any explanation for it offered. When Owen finally made it to the ring, Jarrett thought he’d eliminated him, only for Owen to send him sailing with a crazy flipping bump to the outside.
25. Rene Dupree (2004)
Tossed by: Rikishi
This one’s another comedy one, but at least it wasn’t contrived. Dupree was celebrating his elimination of Matt Hardy, and was in the middle of his “French Tickler” dance when Rikishi, positioned behind Dupree, measured for a superkick. As Dupree went side to side, so did ‘Kish, who promptly kicked Rene out as he turned.
24. Irwin R Schyster (1992)
Tossed by: Rowdy Roddy Piper
Speaking of the humorous eliminations, leave it to The Hot Rod to make us laugh. IRS gave him a constant disadvantage by wrestling in his necktie (Heenan: “He’s got him by his tongue!”), so when he had Piper on the apron and nearly out, Piper grabbed his tie and slowly bounced him over the top rope until he went.
23. The Brain Busters (1989)
Tossed by: Hulk Hogan
Remember what was said earlier about Lesnar and good guys cleaning house when they get in the ring. Hogan was in the process of emptying the ring in 1989, but had to contend with Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson. No problem, thinks Hulk, I’ll just run them back toward the ropes with my arms out, and clothesline them over.
22. Randy Orton (2006)
Tossed by: Rey Mysterio
It was the ender to the 2006 contest, wherein Mysterio had to survive the length of the match in order to get a World Title match in the name of best friend Eddie Guerrero (ugh, painful memories of that whole angle). Orton tried to slam Rey out, but Mysterio spun into a hurrachanrana, and flung Orton to his elimination.
21. Taka Michinoku (2000)
Tossed by: Big Bossman and Gangrel
This shouldn’t really count, since Taka was never an entrant (and never even officially competed in any Rumble match). Nevertheless, he and partner Sho Funaki tried several times to invade the match, only to be violently rebuffed. Taka famously suffered a head injury on this elimination, with his face bouncing off the floor.
20. Big Show (2002)
Tossed by: Kane
There are 3 ways to eliminate a big man in a Royal Rumble: a group elimination, have a big guy do it, or scare him out with a snake. Kane neither needs help, nor is he a herpetologist, so he just picked up the 500-pound Big Show horizontally, and deposited him over the top rope like he was setting down a pair of leaf bags.
19. Macho King Randy Savage (1990)
Tossed by: Dusty Rhodes
The Orlando fans in 1990 were a raucous, excitable bunch, cheering for everyone from the Bushwhackers to Marty Jannetty to Ronnie Garvin, so you figure they’d go ballistic for the big spots. Indeed they did, when Savage charged at Rhodes, who gave him a (*Vince voice*) BAAAAACK BODY DROP clear over the top rope.
18. Shawn Michaels and Fatu (1994)
Tossed by: Bret Hart and Lex Luger
This would be the Rumble where Hart and Luger had their infamous double finish, and that was preceded by the eliminations of Michaels and the future Rikishi. Hart and Luger tried to whip the heels into each other, but Michaels leapfrogged Fatu. That’s when Luger and Hart simultaneously backdropped both men over opposite posts.
17. Santino Marella (2011)
Tossed by: Alberto Del Rio
Even in my jaded years, it’s always fun to see something that makes me believe, even when things are transparent. After Del Rio thought he won the 2011 Rumble, Marella sauntered in behind him (never officially eliminated), struck him with the Cobra, and tried to toss Alberto, who reversed at the last second and threw Marella out.
16. The Undertaker (2002)
Tossed by: Maven
This was pretty much just a run-of-the-mill elimination, but the circumstances made it fun. Months after winning Tough Enough, Maven made his pay-per-view debut and looked to be chum for Undertaker to feed on. After Taker re-disposed of the eliminated Hardyz, Maven dropkicked the Dead Man over to a massive cheer.
15. Sgt. Slaughter (1992)
Tossed by: Sid Justice
Slaughter is known for many things, and longtime wrestling fans may be familiar with his trademark way of going over the top rope. It worked to Sid’s benefit, as it helped make him look more like a ruthless monster. Sid whipped Slaughter hard at the post, and Slaughter took a sick chest bump, the momentum knocking him over.
14. Chavo Guerrero (2003)
Tossed by: Edge
Guerrero and Edge represented a third of the “Smackdown Six”, along with Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, and Rey Mysterio. Their MO was to steal the show, and they did well with this moment. Guerrero was knocked the apron, so Edge charged and speared Guerrero off, sending him careening far into the aisleway.
13. Chris Jericho (2012)
Tossed by: Sheamus
Nothing’s better in a Rumble match than the emphatic finish, when a winner is made in “no doubt about it” fashion. Jericho, in the midst of his “end of the world” return, was hanging by a thread on the apron, and finally regained his bearings, only for Sheamus to Brogue Kick him clean off into a faceplant at ringside.
12. Edge (2007)
Tossed by: Shawn Michaels
Before Michaels could have his impressive final sequence with Undertaker, he had to dispose of the duo known as Rated RKO (Edge and Randy Orton). Orton bit the dust first, and Edge tried to make Shawn pay. After Michaels ducked his attack, he gave Edge one of the best Sweet Chin Musics ever, with Edge falling over the top rope.
11. Hulk Hogan (1992)
Tossed by: Sid Justice
This one gets special mention, just because it shows the lengths Vince will go to embellish things. Down to Hulk, Sid, and Ric Flair, Sid tossed fellow babyface Hogan out, and the crowd cheered wildly. On weekend programming, they dubbed boos in over the footage, and had Monsoon and Heenan on commentary decry Sid. Always a hoot.
10. The Rock (1998)
Tossed by: Stone Cold Steve Austin
The two Attitude Era cornerstones were all alone in the ’98 finale, and Rock was all that stood between Austin and his rightful World Title shot. Rock avoided elimination, but walked right into Austin’s Stunner. With the crowd cheering loudly, Austin sent Rock soaring into the aisleway to kick off the road to WrestleMania.
8. Kane (2001)
Tossed by: Stone Cold Steve Austin
Austin’s redemption story, after returning from spinal surgery, led to him trying to Kane (who had made 11 eliminations, a record). With blood pouring down his face, Austin stunned Kane, and then dazed him further with 3 chair shots. Stone Cold then ran off the ropes and clotheslined Kane over to a thunderous pop.
7. Vader and Yokozuna (1996)
Tossed by: Shawn Michaels
We complain about John Cena being booked like Superman these last few years, but Shawn Michaels got the same treatment once. Michaels was Vinnie Mac’s meal ticket, and all the stops were pulled out to make him look strong. That’s why he was allowed to dump 1000 lbs of man over the top rope in one lift.
6. Dick Murdoch (1995)
Tossed by: Henry Godwinn
Here’s an unusual entry. Murdoch made a one-night-only appearance at the ’95 event, and looked as impressive as a near 50-year-old with a beer gut could. He even hit a dropkick at one point. With Godwinn up in an airplane spin, Murdoch propelled to the ropes, but Godwinn hung on, and Murdoch went crashing to the floor.
5. Sylvain Grenier (2006)
Tossed by: Bobby Lashley
WWE failed miserably in their attempt to make Lashley into a superhero, mostly because they shoved the disinterested big man down our throats. But he had his moments, especially in his WWE infancy. After shrugging off Grenier’s strikes, Lashley threw him over the top backward, like a human shot put.
4. X-Pac (2000)
Tossed by: The Rock
This one is a bit incorrect, since the referees were tied up with Kane and the New Age Outlaws, and missed this elimination. X-Pac would eventually be officially hiatus’d by Big Show, but prior to that, Rock grabbed Pac by his hair and flung him over the top, with X-Pac nearly breaking most international pole vault records.
3. Kurt Angle (2004)
Tossed by: Big Show
2. Big Show (2004)
Tossed by: Chris Benoit
Benoit had nobody to help him eliminate the largest man on the roster, and it appeared his one-hour duration in the Rumble would be for naught. After Show chokeslammed him, he tried to throw Benoit out. The Crippler managed to apply a chancery and choke Show, levering him over the top rope en route to victory.
1. Paul London (2005)
Tossed by: Gene Snitsky
London’s a daredevil, no doubt, and this one is merely a modification to one of his crazy floor dives, but it’s the best elimination ever. Snitsky managed to get London to the apron, but the ‘Hooligan’ hung on, avoiding Snitsky’s strikes. That is, until Snitsky violently clotheslined him, and London took a face-first shooting star bump to the floor.
Justin Henry has been an occasional contributor to Camel Clutch Blog since 2009. His other work can be found at WrestleCrap.com and ColdHardFootballFacts.com. He can be found on Twitter, so give him a follow.