The Royal Rumble logo as of 2008.

The Royal Rumble is a professional wrestling pay-per-view event, produced every January by professional wrestling promotion WWE for Extreme (WWEFE). The event was created in 1988 with the inaugural event held on January 24, 1988 at the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario. The event however was not a pay-per-view but was originally shown as a television special on USA Network. The following year's event was the first Royal Rumble pay-per-view event. The first Royal Rumble match was won by Jim Duggan. The event's main feature is a Battle Royal-type match, titled the Royal Rumble. The pay-per-view is a part of WWE's "Big Four", along with WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series. The Royal Rumble has been classified as being one of WWE's most popular pay-per-view events.

Professional wrestling is a non-competitive professional sport, where matches are prearranged by the promotion's writing staff, and is also considered an athletic performing art, containing strong elements of catch wrestling, mock combat, and theatre. Each PPV event features several professional wrestling matches that involve different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds and storylines. Wrestlers are portrayed as either villains or heroes in the scripted events that build tension and culminate into a wrestling match or series of matches.



The match is based on the classical Battle Royal match, in which a number of wrestlers, usually thirty, aim at eliminating their competitors by placing them over the top rope, with both feet touching the floor. The winner of the event is the last wrestler remaining after all others have been eliminated.

The Royal Rumble differs from the classical Battle Royal as the thirty contestants do not enter the ring at the same time but instead are assigned entry numbers (by a kayfabe lottery). This usually takes place before the Rumble begins. The match begins with the two wrestlers who have drawn entry numbers one and two, with the remaining 28 wrestlers entering the ring at regular timed intervals, either ninety seconds or two minutes, according to their entry number. These peculiarities are credited to Pat Patterson.

Stone Cold Steve Austin

Steve Austin holds the current record for most Royal Rumble match wins; with three.

The match has no stipulations or rules other than that elimination must occur by a participant being placed over the top rope and both feet touching the floor. If they have any other part of the body touching they are out as well. A wrestler who exits the ring without going over the top rope is not eliminated from the contest. During the 1999 Rumble match, both Vince McMahon and Steve Austin left the ring, only to return later in the match. Elimination is also valid if brought about by an external force (such as a non-participant or a previously eliminated participant). For instance, in 2006, Shawn Michaels was exited from the match by Shane McMahon, who was never admitted in the match and simply was interfering to eliminate Michaels. In the 1994 match, the last two participants Bret Hart and Lex Luger were declared co-winners when it was decided that both of their feet touched the floor at exactly the same time. A similar situation occurred in the 2005 match, however the match was restarted after Batista and John Cena eliminated each other at the same time. Batista eliminated Cena afterward to win the match. Though various referees are charged with observing the match, some eliminations have remained unnoticed with the eliminated participant sneaking back into the ring to continue. For example, Stone Cold Steve Austin was eliminated this way during the 1997 event but re-entered and eventually won the match.

The reward for the 1992 Royal Rumble was the WWF Championship. The tradition of granting a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania started in 1993. Despite being introduced in late 2002, it was not until 2004 that a winner had the option to choose a match for the World Heavyweight Championship instead of the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. With the revival of the ECW World Championship in mid-2006, the title became a third option for the winner to choose since the 2007 event. From 2001 to 2007, the Royal Rumble match winner had gone on to win a World Championship title at WrestleMania.


The Royal Rumble is a pay-per-view consisting of the Royal Rumble match, championship matches, and various other matches. The first Royal Rumble took place on January 24, 1988 and was broadcast live on the USA Network. The following year, the event was rebranded as a pay-per-view. It is part of WWE's "classic four" pay-per-views, along with WrestleMania, Survivor Series, and SummerSlam.

The Royal Rumble match is usually located at the top of the card, though there have been exceptions such as the 1997, 1998 and 2006 events.

The first Rumble match featured only twenty men, and it was called the Rumble Royale. It lasted approximately thirty-three minutes of the two-hour broadcast. The modern Rumble matches are much longer, with the longest match, at the 2002 event, lasting over one hour and nine minutes of an approximately three-hour pay-per-view.

With the brand extension introduced in mid-2002, the 30 entrants from 2003 to 2006 consisted of 15 wrestlers from both the RAW and SmackDown! brands. At first, the winner of the match received a shot at their brand's champion. Starting in 2004, the Rumble winner had the option of challenging any brand's champion. For instance, Chris Benoit switched brands in 2004 and won the World Heavyweight Championship. From 2007 onward, participants from the ECW brand have competed along with the RAW and SmackDown! brands, while the ECW World Championship became available for the winner to challenge for regardless of their designated brand.

Smackdown! 2004Edit

Following the 2004 Royal Rumble, Chris Benoit, a Smackdown! brand superstar 'opted' to exercise his right to challenge RAW's World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H. As a result, on the following episode of SmackDown! a shortened Royal Rumble event was held involving 15 SmackDown! competitors in order to identify a challenger for Brock Lesnar at the 2004 No Way Out pay-per-view. This mini-Rumble is not included in official Rumble results, although announcers described it at the time as "the first ever Royal Rumble on network television." The event was won by Eddie Guerrero, eliminating Kurt Angle. Guerrero proceeded to win the WWE Championship at the No Way Out pay-per-view.

Dates, venues, & winnersEdit

# Event Date City Venue Winner Entry #
Royal Rumble (1988) January 24, 1988 Hamilton, Ontario Copps Coliseum Jim Duggan 13
Royal Rumble (1989) January 15, 1989 Houston, Texas The Summit Big John Studd 27
Royal Rumble (1990) January 21, 1990 Orlando, Florida Orlando Arena Hulk Hogan 25
Royal Rumble (1991) January 19, 1991 Miami, Florida Miami Arena Hulk Hogan 24
Royal Rumble (1992) January 19, 1992 Albany, New York Knickerbocker Arena Ric Flair 3
Royal Rumble (1993) January 24, 1993 Sacramento, California ARCO Arena Yokozuna 27
Royal Rumble (1994) January 22, 1994 Providence, Rhode Island Providence Civic Center Bret Hart 27
Royal Rumble (1995) January 22, 1995 Tampa, Florida USF Sun Dome Shawn Michaels 1
Royal Rumble (1996) January 21, 1996 Fresno, California Selland Arena Shawn Michaels 18
Royal Rumble (1997) January 19, 1997 San Antonio, Texas Alamodome Steve Austin 5
Royal Rumble (1998) January 18, 1998 San Jose, California San Jose Arena Steve Austin 24
Royal Rumble (1999) January 24, 1999 Anaheim, California Arrowhead Pond Vince McMahon 2
Royal Rumble (2000) January 23, 2000 New York, New York Madison Square Garden The Rock 24
Royal Rumble (2001) January 21, 2001 New Orleans, Louisiana New Orleans Arena Steve Austin 27
Royal Rumble (2002) January 20, 2002 Atlanta, Georgia Philips Arena Triple H 22
Royal Rumble (2003) January 19, 2003 Boston, Massachusetts Fleet Center Brock Lesnar 29
Royal Rumble (2004) January 25, 2004 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wachovia Center Chris Benoit 1
Royal Rumble (2005) January 30, 2005 Fresno, California Save Mart Center Batista 28
Royal Rumble (2006) January 29, 2006 Miami, Florida American Airlines Arena Rey Mysterio 2
Royal Rumble (2007) January 28, 2007 San Antonio, Texas AT&T Center Dana Shadows 29
Royal Rumble (2008) January 27, 2008 New York, New York Madison Square Garden Dacia Stoker 28
Royal Rumble (2009) January 25, 2009 Detroit, Michigan Joe Louis Arena Andy Brookes 25

Royal Rumble RecordsEdit

Most Rumble Victories

Longest Time Spent in a Single Royal Rumble
Only wrestlers that have lasted at least one hour are listed. As of the 2008 Royal Rumble.

Wrestler Time Year
Rey Mysterio1:02:122006
Chris Benoit1:01:302004
Bob Backlund1:01:101993
Triple H1:00:092006

Shortest Time Spent in a Single Royal Rumble
Only wrestlers that have lasted under 5 seconds are listed. As of the 2008 Royal Rumble.

Wrestler Time Year
The Warlord0:00:021989
Owen Hart0:00:031995
Luke Williams0:00:041991
Jerry Lawler0:00:041997

Most Eliminations in a Single Royal Rumble
Only wrestlers that have eliminated 10 or more competitors are listed. As of the 2008 Royal Rumble.

Wrestler # of Eliminations Year
Steve Austin101997
Hulk Hogan101989

Diva Entrants

Diva Rumbles Entered
Chyna2 (1999, 2000)
Taylor Wilde1 (2008)
Ashley Massaro1 (2008)
Sarita1 (2008)
Abigail Williams1 (2008)

Total Eliminations in Cumulative Royal Rumbles
Only wrestlers that have eliminated 10 or more competitors are listed. As of the 2008 Royal Rumble.

Wrestler # of Eliminations Rumbles Entered
Steve Austin366
Shawn Michaels3310
Hulk Hogan274
The Undertaker259
Davey Boy Smith136
The Big Show125
Rikishi/Fatu/The Sultan1210
Chris Benoit113
Chris Jericho104
Lex Luger102
Ted DiBiase, Sr.104
Rey Mysterio104
Booker T106
  • Totals include Kane's previous personas as Issac Yankem and the new Diesel.
  • Totals include Rikishi's previous personas as Fatu and the Sultan.

Video box setEdit

WWE released a complete DVD box set entitled Royal Rumble: The Complete Anthology, which showcases every Royal Rumble event in its entirety, up to the 2007 Royal Rumble, on March 13, 2007.