From John Cena to Roman Reigns- The Most Unlucky WWE Superstars in Royal Rumble History

Published 01/24/2021, 12:39 PM EST
NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 23: John Cena recovers from a blow during his fight against Seth Rollins at the WWE SummerSlam 2015 at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on August 23, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)

The winner of the Royal Rumble is a giant accomplishment in WWE. In a classic case of winner takes all, it is every man for himself in this epic thirty-man battle royal. While the winners enter an elite division with some of the biggest superstars in the WWE, it often leaves the runners up licking their wounds. These are the superstars with the most runner-up positions in the WWE.


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HBK has finished runner-up as many times as he has won


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Shawn Michaels is a Royal Rumble legend. The Heartbreak Kid won his first Rumble in 1995 and repeated the feat in the following year as well. Unfortunately for Shawn, he has also finished in the runner-up position twice.

HBK finished second in 1994, where Lex Luger and Bret Hart were co-winners of the controversial match. In 2007, HBK was dumped out by the Undertaker in a classic ultimate showdown, which lasted nearly ten minutes. The legends traded superkicks and chokeslams, until Taker ducked a final Sweet Chin Music to dump Michaels out.

The Big Show gets outsmarted by his smaller rivals

In the Royal Rumble match, size always gives you a distinct advantage. The bigger the opponent, the harder it is to eliminate him/her. WWE’s resident giant, the Big Show, is always touted as a favourite to win the Rumble match because of his size and has become cliche in the match.

In 2000, Show and The Rock were the final two men, and the former tried to powerslam the latter over the top rope. The Rock grabbed the ropes as Big Show tried to toss him out, causing the giant’s momentum to take him over the ropes first. In 2004, Chris Benoit eliminated the Big Show by yanking him with all his might over the top rope and to the floor.

The Game gets played twice in the Royal Rumble

Triple H is another legend who has two Royal Rumble wins to his name. The Game won the 2002 and 2016 edition of the match, but almost added two more victories to his name. He finished runner-up in 2008 and 2009, but somehow still ended up fighting for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 24 and 25.

In 2008, John Cena made his spectacular return to the WWE at the Royal Rumble. He and Triple H battled in the ultimate showdown, which Cena won after he hoisted Triple H on his shoulders and tossed him over the ropes. In 2009, Hunter fell to Legacy’s numbers game, as Randy Orton tossed Triple H out after he took care of Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr.

John Cena’s controversial Royal Rumble finishes

The sixteen-time World Champion is one of the greatest Royal Rumble performers of all time. Having won the Rumble on two occasions, Cena has also finished runner-up twice. He won the 2008 and 2013 editions of the match, but came agonizingly close in 2005 and 2010.

The 2005 Royal Rumble is one of the most controversial matches in WWE history. Batista and John Cena were the final two men, and both men fell to the floor at the same time. After a few minutes of confusion, Vince McMahon flounced to the ring to sort out the confusion, tearing both his quads. Once the match restarted, Batista tossed Cena out to win.

Cena fell victim to the returning Edge in the 2010 Royal Rumble, who eliminated him to face Chris Jericho at WrestleMania. Even though Cena lost, he still challenged for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania against a familiar foe, Batista.

The Big Dog does not get the bone


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Roman Reigns is the most hated and vilified Royal Rumble winner in history. WWE have used this to their advantage and have managed to get superstars over simply by eliminating Reigns. In 2014, Reigns created history by eliminating 12 people in the match, only to be tossed out by the winner Batista.

Fans were rooting for Roman in 2014, but things changed in 2015. After his 2015 win, Reigns has received a very negative reaction at the Royal Rumble. In 2017, Reigns entered at #30 and eliminated the Undertaker. Randy Orton tossed him out to win the match and became the biggest babyface in WWE. In 2018, Shinsuke Nakamura tossed out the Big Dog to win the match and face AJ Styles at WrestleMania.


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The 2020 Royal Rumble seemed to be Roman Reigns’ to win, but he ran into a Scottish Psychopath. After eliminating Brock Lesnar, Drew McIntyre was destined to win the Rumble match, and he did so by kicking Reigns’ head off. He tossed him out of the Rumble to book a date with the Beast at WrestleMania.


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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