From Edge to John Cena, The Best Royal Rumble Returns of the Modern Era

Published 01/12/2021, 12:26 AM EST


The Royal Rumble is the epitome of excitement and intrigue in WWE. Fans from all across the globe travel to watch thirty men attempt to toss their opponent over the top rope and reach the summit of sports entertainment. A WrestleMania main event is the prize for the winner of the Royal Rumble. Along with its stakes, fans also love the Royal Rumble for its shocking returns.

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Trish Stratus returns at the Royal Rumble

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In 2018, the first ever women’s Royal Rumble match main evented the PPV. This was an enormous deal as wrestlers from past and present tried to make history. The match saw legends like Lita, Beth Phoenix and Molly Holly return, but one return blew them all out of the water.

Former WWE Women’s Champion, and probably the most iconic female wrestler, Trish Stratus made her return at #30. The legend walked out to a huge pop from the Philadelphia crowd and ran roughshod over the participants in the ring. She eliminated three participants, including her old rival, Mickie James. Sasha Banks ousted her from the match.

Rumble turns into Dudleyville

The return of Bubba Ray Dudley at the 2015 Royal Rumble is one of the most underrated returns in WWE history. He walked out to a gigantic pop which almost drowned out Bubba’s music.

Bubba entered and confronted the Miz who he bulldozed out of his way. With R-Truth playing the role of D-Von, he and Bubba hit Miz with the flying headbutt to the crotch before tossing him over the top rope.

Rey Mysterio returns in 2018

The 2018 Royal Rumble is one of the greatest matches of the decade. One crucial factor for this is the return of Rey Mysterio. The former World Champion and Royal Rumble record holder entered at the prime spot of #27.

This was Mysterio’s seventh appearance in a Rumble match. Rey previously won the 2006 Rumble match where he entered at #2 and went all the way till the end. He held the record for being the longest survivor in a Rumble match.

Mysterio entered to a massive pop and almost immediately ran wild on the Miz. He also picked an elimination and a very crucial one too. Rey eliminated Adam Cole via a body-scissors and tipped him over the ropes. He enjoyed a good run until he was eliminated by Finn Balor.

John Cena shocks the world

No return was more shocking than John Cena’s triumphant comeback in 2008. The leader of the Cenation had taken time off to heal a torn pectoral muscle, the type of injury that takes nine months to heal. Being the superhuman he is, Cena returned in less than six months.

He ran roughshod over every Superstar in the ring, picking up some valuable eliminations like Carlito, Elijah Burke and Mark Henry. The final two men in the match were Cena and Triple H. He countered a Pedigree and delivered an Attitude Adjustment to Triple H over the top rope.

Chris Jericho returns in 2013

Y2J made a big return to the WWE at the 2013 Royal Rumble. After a very successful 2012, Jericho wanted to leave a mark on 2013 as well. Returning at the Royal Rumble was step one on his path to the top.

Jericho entered a wonderful performance in that match, surviving for a whopping 47 minutes. The only man who survived longer than he did was Dolph Ziggler who eliminated Y2J from the match. Performances like these earned Jericho the nickname, ‘The Iron Man of the Royal Rumble’.

Edge makes an emotional return at the 2020 Royal Rumble

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If you thought Edge’s 2010 return was awesome, wait till you see his 2020 return. The crowd lost their collective minds once they heard the trademark ‘You think you know me’. The pop for his return was so huge that it drowned out the Metallingus theme song completely.

While his return was unexpected, him surviving till the final four was mind blowing. Many believed that he might just win the whole thing. Unfortunately, he was eliminated by Roman Reigns. Before exiting the match, Edge eliminated three men: Randy Orton, Luke Gallows and AJ Styles.

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With the 2021 Royal Rumble looming ahead, which Superstars do you think will return, and will they be big enough to make this list?

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Nathan Fulgado

1192 articles

Nathan Fulgado is a WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports. Having published close to 1000 professional wrestling articles, Nathan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier's College. He has previously worked at Free Press Journal as a local journalist.

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