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Top 10 Shocking Royal Rumble Eliminations

VOICE OVER: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: George Pacheco
These epic wrestling matches blew people's minds! For this list, we'll be ranking the most memorably unexpected eliminations from WWE's famous Royal Rumble match. Our countdown includes “Royal Rumble” (1997), “WWE Royal Rumble” (2009), “WWF Royal Rumble: No Chance in Hell”, and more!
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Top 10 Shocking Royal Rumble Eliminations


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Shocking Royal Rumble Eliminations.

For this list, we’ll be ranking the most memorably unexpected eliminations from WWE’s famous Royal Rumble match.

Did we leave any out? Let us know in the comments!

#10: Mil Mascaras Eliminates Himself

“Royal Rumble” (1997)

We’re actually going to kick off our list with a question: what the hell was up with the 1997 Royal Rumble match? The event featured not one, not two, but three instances of wrestlers eliminating themselves by going over the top rope and having both feet touch the floor. We can sort of understand the reasoning behind Ahmed Johnson and Farooq doing so (xref), since they were both in a heated rivalry at the time, but the story behind Mexican wrestling legend Mil Mascaras’ eliminations is much weirder. Mascaras’ ego was reportedly so big that he chose to do a cross-body onto an opponent outside the ring, rather than put anyone else over by allowing them to eliminate him.

#9: Bray Wyatt Eliminates Daniel Bryan

“WWE Royal Rumble” (2015)

The bloom may have been off the rose for Daniel Bryan when it came to the WWE brass in 2015, but that didn’t mean that the WWE Universe had forgotten their love for the former World Champion. They wanted Bryan to win the Royal Rumble match and win back the title he had won at the previous year’s “WrestleMania.” It was not to be, however, as Bryan was eliminated shockingly early by Bray Wyatt. The Philadelphia crowd lost their collective minds, and effectively turned on the match, booing every wrestler out of the building after that point, regardless of whether they were a “good” or “bad” guy.

#8: Damien Eliminates André the Giant (Sort Of)

“Royal Rumble” (1989)

Ok, so we’re having a little fun with our next entry, since technically André the Giant eliminated himself, but in our heads, we’re going to chalk up the win to Jake the Snake’s iconic pet python, Damien. The Giant’s fear of cold-blooded reptiles was a storyline angle that had been playing out with the feud between André and Jake, while at the same time making it an easy way to write André out of the match, while keeping his reputation strong. The sight of André the Giant hightailing it over the top rope and running for the hills is still one of the most memorable, early moments from the WWE’s “Royal Rumble” history.

#7: Kane Eliminates Santino Marella

“WWE Royal Rumble” (2009)

There have been a number of “in and out” entrants within the Royal Rumble match. One that often comes to mind was The Warlord, who lasted a whole two seconds in 1989 before being eliminated by Hulk Hogan. Then, there was Bushwacker Luke, who marched into the ring in 1991, got tossed over by Earthquake, and marched to the back, having spent only 3.9 seconds in the match. Finally, there’s our number seven entry, a comedy wrestling favorite whose “Royal Rumble” legacy was lasting one and a half seconds before being annihilated by Kane. To paraphrase Santino himself: “he wasn’t ready!”

#6: Batista & John Cena Eliminate Each Other

“WWE Royal Rumble” (2005)

It was one of the most surreal moments in “Royal Rumble” history. Yes, even more bizarre than a face Hogan cheating to eliminate a heel Sid Justice at the 1992 Rumble match (xref). It was the time Batista and John Cena accidentally botched the ending to the 2005 match by falling over the top rope together…and hitting the ground at the same time. Referees and WWE officials were so confused that Vince McMahon had to march down to the ring to restore order. But wait…there’s more! McMahon actually tears both of his quadricep muscles getting into the ring, so essentially the owner of the company is sitting there injured, the match has to be restarted, and it’s an absolute hot mess.

#5: Rey Mysterio & Randy Orton Eliminates Nia Jax

“WWE Royal Rumble” (2019)

Nia Jax wasn’t the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble match (more on that in a second), but she certainly deserves to be mentioned in the history books for her elaborate elimination. Jax was cleaning house in the men’s Royal Rumble match, when it became clear to the other competitors that this threat needed to be eliminated. So, she ate a superkick from Dolph Ziggler, a 619 courtesy of Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton’s RKO before Mysterio and “The Viper” finally eliminated Jax from the match. The moment not only made Jax look like a badass, but also a legitimate threat for some serious, veteran talent.

#4: Chyna Eliminates Mark Henry

“WWF Royal Rumble: No Chance in Hell” (1999)

The Ninth Wonder of the World, Chyna, smashed down a lot of barriers for women in the world of professional wrestling, women like Beth Phoenix, who had her own Royal Rumble moment when she eliminated The Great Khali…with a kiss. Chyna was the first woman to compete in the men’s match, taking the number 30 slot in 1999, and actually eliminating “The World’s Strongest Man,” Mark Henry, before being eliminated herself. Although her actual time in the ring wasn’t very long, it was her impact, and the legacy of her fearlessness that makes this moment stand the test of time.

#3: Shawn Michaels Eliminates Triple H

“WWE Royal Rumble” (2010)

The career of Shawn Michaels is basically one giant highlight reel, and his track record in the Royal Rumble match is no different. Whether it was the iconic image of Michaels “skinning the cat” prior to his 1995 elimination of The British Bulldog to Shawn’s shocking elimination of Kurt Angle in 2005, “The Heartbreak Kid” knew how to create memorable moments (xref). Another one of these was the time Michaels proved the old Rumble adage “every man for himself” when he eliminated his partner and friend Triple H from the 2010 event. And right after “The Game” saved Michaels’ bacon in the ring, too. The look on Trip’s face after hitting the floor pretty much said it all.

#2: Mr. McMahon Eliminates “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

“WWF Royal Rumble: No Chance in Hell” (1999)

Fans couldn’t believe it. Could the owner and chairman of the World Wrestling Federation actually put himself over and script himself to win his own pay-per-view event? Why, yes…yes, he could. This is exactly what happened, but you know what? It worked. This is because the feud between “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Vince McMahon’s “Mr. McMahon” character was so red hot; the fans could buy into the fact that this “evil boss” could be so petty and conniving against one of his own employees. Add to this a little bit of outside interference from The Rock to keep Austin’s character strong, and you have yet another genius maneuver from one genius storyline.

#1: Maven Eliminates The Undertaker

“Royal Rumble” (2002)

C’mon, how could there possibly be a different elimination at the number one spot? Maven was the first winner of the WWE’s “Tough Enough” competition, and big things seemed primed for him on the horizon. How big? Well, how about eliminating The Undertaker from the Royal Rumble match? Actually, we’re not sure if this idea was so hot, since the elimination is remembered more for the beatdown delivered to Maven by Taker in the aftermath, rather than anything it did for the “Tough Enough” alum. Still, it’s on the record books, and it certainly left our jaws on the floor back in 2002.
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