The Top 5 Royal Rumble Matches in WWE History

Published 01/24/2021, 12:28 AM EST


For an event so great, the title of best match holds incredible value. Over the years we’ve seen some incredible Royal Rumble matches, filled with classic showdowns, shock returns and perfect winners. From Ric Flair’s iconic WWE Championship win in 1992, to Drew McIntyre’s earth-shattering win in 2020, which Royal Rumble is truly the best.

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Edge’s return and McIntyre’s win highlight 2020 Royal Rumble

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The most recent Rumble match on this list lives fresh in our memory because of two incredible moments. Before we get to those moments, we say that the 2020 Rumble match was the best structured Rumble match of all time. From Brock Lesnar‘s dominant run to the exhilarating final four, it was extremely well layered and thoroughly enjoyable.

Edge’s emotional return to the WWE after nine years was one of the defining moments of the new decade. The crowd in Houton lost their minds once they heard the iconic ‘You think you know me’ on the speakers. Drew McIntyre was the perfect Rumble match winner and the right successor to Brock Lesnar’s WWE Title reign.

Apart from that, the clash of the titans between Keith Lee, Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar was perfect. The ultimate battle between Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre proved why both men are the cornerstones of the WWE. And finally, the reaction to Brock Lesnar’s elimination was nothing short of spectacular.

Becky Lynch lights up the 2019 Rumble match

The women’s Royal Rumble in 2019 was far superior to the men’s edition. Natalya and Lacey Evans kicked off the match in perfect fashion, picking up two eliminations each. There were no legends who returned, but the NXT talent got to feature heavily in the match. Rhea Ripley and Kairi Sane were impressive, picking up four eliminations between them.

The main-stays of the women’s division did not lack any effort either. Charlotte Flair eliminated five participants, while Bayley and Nia Jax picked up three each. Ruby Riott was the surprise superstar in the match, picking up three eliminations of her own, including NXT superstars, Candice Le Rae and Kairi Sane.

The highlight of the match came when Lana entered at #29, but her ankle did not allow her to take part. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Becky Lynch marched down the aisle and convinced Fit Finlay to let her enter to a gigantic pop. She eliminated her biggest rivals Nia Jax and Charlotte Flair to book a WrestleMania date with Ronda Rousey.

Undertaker and HBK close one Rumble match; kick off the next one

In the 2007 Rumble match, Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker had a fantastic final showdown. HBK tried to smash Taker over the top rope with a Sweet Chin Music, but Taker caught him and dumped him over the top rope for the win. The 2007 Royal Rumble was only a decent affair, but the ultimate battle between the two legends makes it one of the best of all time.

Taker and HBK recreated the magic from 2007 in the 2008 Royal Rumble, only this time they entered at #1 and #2, respectively. Both men lasted for over thirty minutes in the match, with five eliminations between them. At the thirty-minute mark, HBK eliminated the Deadman from behind, taking revenge for the previous year.

Apart from these moments, there are several other reasons the 2007 and 2008 editions of the Rumble are great. John Cena‘s amazing return topped off the 2008 match. The Great Khali went on a rampage in the 2007 Rumble, eliminating seven people before Undertaker sent him packing.

The Attitude Era’s finest Royal Rumble

Some say that the TLC match from WrestleMania X7 is the best representation of the Attitude Era. However, for me it has to be the 2001 Royal Rumble. Never has a match been so chaotic and entertaining, and the TLC match may have topped it in terms of crazy spots it will never reach the drama and intrigue generated by the 2001 Rumble match.

Kane set the record for the highest number of eliminations in a single Rumble match. That record would remain untouched for thirteen years until a certain Big Dog came to town. The interactions between Kane and the Undertaker, Kane and the Rock, and of course the Rock and Steve Austin were absolutely electric.

The final four was a star-studded spectacle, with Stone Cold, The Rock, Kane, and Billy Gunn. Austin quickly dispatched Gunn, and Kane got rid of the Rock. Kane and Austin battled in a terrific closing stretch, which saw Kane taking three chair shots to the skull to be eliminated by Austin. With that win, Stone Cold became the only man to win three Royal Rumble matches.

Nakamura wins the Rumble in his debut

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The sheer number of electrifying moments in the 2018 Rumble match make it the best Rumble match of all time. Starting off with the first two entrants, Rusev and Finn Balor were the perfect choices as they were the most popular stars on both brands. Heath Slater’s angle and elimination of Sheamus provided comic relief in the match as well.

The return of Rey Mysterio had the Philly crowd going wild. Along with him, the Hurricane made his return to the WWE as well. NXT superstars Adam Cole and Andrade Cien Almas lit up the match with their cameos. And finally, the closing stretch of the match is the best closing stretch in Rumble history.

On one side you had Roman Reigns, Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura, and on the other, you had John Cena, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio, all past Royal Rumble winners. With every man for himself, the final two were Roman Reigns and Shinsuke Nakamura, who fought in a breathless closing stretch which saw Nakamura dump Reigns out and become the most satisfying Rumble match winner of all time.

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Will the 2021 edition of the Rumble break into this list, or maybe even be the best Rumble of all time? Let us know if we missed out on any of your favourite matches in the comments below.

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Nathan Fulgado

1196 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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