|WWE Royal Rumble|
|Created by||Pat Patterson|
|Brand(s)||Raw (2003–2011, 2017–present)|
SmackDown (2003–2011, 2017–present)
205 Live (2019)
|Signature match types||Royal Rumble match|
The Royal Rumble is a professional wrestling live event, produced annually since 1988 by WWE, the world's largest professional wrestling promotion. It is named after the Royal Rumble match, a modified battle royal whose participants enter at timed intervals instead of all beginning in the ring at the same time. The event is held in late January, the week before the Super Bowl. After the initial event was broadcast as a television special on the USA Network, the Royal Rumble has been shown on pay-per-view (PPV) since the 1989 event. It also became available to stream on the WWE Network in 2015 and will become available to stream on Peacock in 2022. It is one of WWE's five biggest events of the year, along with WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series, and Money in the Bank, referred to as the "Big Five".
The Royal Rumble match is generally contested as the main event match of the annual event. There are some exceptions, such as the 1988, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2006, 2013 and 2022 events. In most of these cases, the main event was a world championship match. While originally only for men, a women's version of the Royal Rumble match was held at the 2018 event, which was also the first event to have two Rumble matches on one card. It is now standard for the event to include both a men's and women's Rumble match on the card.
The Royal Rumble is a pay-per-view (PPV) consisting of the Royal Rumble match, title matches, and various other matches. The titular match was created by wrestler and WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson and the event was established by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE). After the match was first tested at a house show in October 1987, the first Royal Rumble event took place on January 24, 1988, and was broadcast live as a television special on the USA Network. The following year, the event started to be broadcast on pay-per-view, and thus became one of the "Big Four" annual pay-per-views, along with WrestleMania, Survivor Series, and SummerSlam, the promotion's four biggest shows of the year. From 1993 to 2002, it was considered one of the "Big Five", including King of the Ring, but that PPV event was discontinued after 2002. In October 2021, Money in the Bank became recognized as one of the "Big Five".
In May 2002, the WWF was renamed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) following a lawsuit with the World Wildlife Fund over the "WWF" initialism. In April 2011, the promotion ceased using its full name with the "WWE" abbreviation becoming an orphaned initialism. Also in March 2002, the promotion introduced the brand extension, in which the roster was divided between the Raw and SmackDown brands where wrestlers were exclusively assigned to perform—ECW became a third brand in 2006. The first brand extension was dissolved in August 2011, but it was reintroduced in July 2016 (other brands, including NXT, NXT UK, and 205 Live, would also be active during this second brand split). The Royal Rumble, along with the other original "Big Four" events, were the only PPVs to never be held exclusively for one brand during either brand split periods. The 2008 Royal Rumble was the first WWE pay-per-view to be available in high-definition. In 2015, the Royal Rumble began to air on WWE's online streaming service, the WWE Network, which launched in February 2014, and in 2022, the event will become available on Peacock as the American version of the WWE Network merged under Peacock in March 2021.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that began affecting the industry in March 2020, WWE had to hold its events behind closed doors. The 2021 event was in turn held in WWE's bio-secure bubble called the WWE ThunderDome, which at the time was hosted at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. WWE resumed live touring in July 2021, with the 2022 event scheduled to be held at The Dome at America's Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
Due to the Rumble matches taking up a large amount of time (most Rumble matches last roughly one hour), the Rumble event tends to have a smaller card than most other pay-per-view events, which routinely have six to eight matches per card though with the Royal Rumble expanding to a five-hour show as well as a two-hour kickoff show starting in 2018, the card now mainly features anywhere from nine to twelve matches with two or three of those matches taking place on the kickoff show. The men's Royal Rumble match is usually located at the top of the card, though there have been exceptions, such as the 1988, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2006, 2013, and 2018 events. In these cases, 1988's main event was a tag team match, while the others were world championship matches, except in 2018. The 2018 Royal Rumble was the first to include a women's Royal Rumble match, which was the main event for that year. It was subsequently the first in which two Rumble matches were contested on one card and it is now standard for the event to include both a men's and women's Rumble match.
Main article: Royal Rumble match
The Royal Rumble match is based on the classic battle royal, in which a number of wrestlers (traditionally 30) aim at eliminating their competitors by tossing them over the top rope, with both feet touching the floor. The difference between a Royal Rumble and a standard battle royal is that in a standard battle royal, all participants start the match in the ring at the same time, where in a Royal Rumble match, participants enter at timed intervals. The winner of the match is the last wrestler remaining after all others have been eliminated. Since 1993, the prize for winning is a world championship match at WrestleMania (with the exception of 2016, where the prize of the match was the championship itself as the reigning champion defended the title in the match). According to Hornswoggle, who worked for WWE from 2006 until 2016 and participated in two Rumbles, participants may learn their eliminations by knowing the two wrestlers who are eliminated before them and which wrestlers are entering the Royal Rumble before and after their elimination.
|#||Event||Date||City||Venue||Main Event||Winner(s)||Entry No.||Ref.|
|1||Royal Rumble (1988)||January 24, 1988||Hamilton, Ontario, Canada||Copps Coliseum||The Islanders (Haku and Tama) vs. The Young Stallions (Paul Roma and Jim Powers) in a two out of three falls match||Jim Duggan||13|||
|2||Royal Rumble (1989)||January 15, 1989||Houston, Texas||The Summit||30-man Royal Rumble match||Big John Studd||27|||
|3||Royal Rumble (1990)||January 21, 1990||Orlando, Florida||Orlando Arena||Hulk Hogan||25|||
|4||Royal Rumble (1991)||January 19, 1991||Miami, Florida||Miami Arena||24|||
|5||Royal Rumble (1992)||January 19, 1992||Albany, New York||Knickerbocker Arena||30-man Royal Rumble match for the vacant WWF World Heavyweight Championship||Ric Flair||3|||
|6||Royal Rumble (1993)||January 24, 1993||Sacramento, California||ARCO Arena||30-man Royal Rumble match for a WWF World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania IX||Yokozuna||27|||
|7||Royal Rumble (1994)||January 22, 1994||Providence, Rhode Island||Providence Civic Center||30-man Royal Rumble match for a WWF World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania X||Bret Hart
|8||Royal Rumble (1995)||January 22, 1995||Tampa, Florida||USF Sun Dome||30-man Royal Rumble match for a WWF World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania XI||Shawn Michaels||1|||
|9||Royal Rumble (1996)||January 21, 1996||Fresno, California||Selland Arena||Bret Hart (c) vs. The Undertaker for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship||18|||
|10||Royal Rumble (1997)||January 19, 1997||San Antonio, Texas||Alamodome||Sycho Sid (c) vs. Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship||Stone Cold Steve Austin||5|||
|11||Royal Rumble (1998)||January 18, 1998||San Jose, California||San Jose Arena||Shawn Michaels (c) vs. The Undertaker in a Casket match for the WWF Championship||24|||
|12||Royal Rumble (1999)||January 24, 1999||Anaheim, California||Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim||30-man Royal Rumble match for a WWF Championship match at WrestleMania XV||Mr. McMahon||2|||
|13||Royal Rumble (2000)||January 23, 2000||New York City, New York||Madison Square Garden||30-man Royal Rumble match for a WWF Championship match at WrestleMania 2000||The Rock||24|||
|14||Royal Rumble (2001)||January 21, 2001||New Orleans, Louisiana||New Orleans Arena||30-man Royal Rumble match for a WWF Championship match at WrestleMania X-Seven||Stone Cold Steve Austin||27|||
|15||Royal Rumble (2002)||January 20, 2002||Atlanta, Georgia||Philips Arena||30-man Royal Rumble match for an Undisputed WWF Championship match at WrestleMania X8||Triple H||22|||
|16||Royal Rumble (2003)||January 19, 2003||Boston, Massachusetts||FleetCenter||30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania XIX||Brock Lesnar||29|||
|17||Royal Rumble (2004)||January 25, 2004||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Wachovia Center||30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania XX||Chris Benoit||1|||
|18||Royal Rumble (2005)||January 30, 2005||Fresno, California||Save Mart Center||30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 21||Batista||28|||
|19||Royal Rumble (2006)||January 29, 2006||Miami, Florida||American Airlines Arena||Kurt Angle (c) vs. Mark Henry for the World Heavyweight Championship||Rey Mysterio||2|||
|20||Royal Rumble (2007)||January 28, 2007||San Antonio, Texas||AT&T Center||30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 23||The Undertaker||30|||
|21||Royal Rumble (2008)||January 27, 2008||New York City, New York||Madison Square Garden||30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania XXIV||John Cena||30|||
|22||Royal Rumble (2009)||January 25, 2009||Detroit, Michigan||Joe Louis Arena||30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania XXV||Randy Orton||8|||
|23||Royal Rumble (2010)||January 31, 2010||Atlanta, Georgia||Philips Arena||30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania XXVI||Edge||29|||
|24||Royal Rumble (2011)||January 30, 2011||Boston, Massachusetts||TD Garden||40-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania XXVII||Alberto Del Rio||38|||
|25||Royal Rumble (2012)||January 29, 2012||St. Louis, Missouri||Scottrade Center||30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania XXVIII||Sheamus||22|||
|26||Royal Rumble (2013)||January 27, 2013||Phoenix, Arizona||US Airways Center||CM Punk (c) vs. The Rock for the WWE Championship||John Cena||19|||
|27||Royal Rumble (2014)||January 26, 2014||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||Consol Energy Center||30-man Royal Rumble match for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania XXX||Batista||28|||
|28||Royal Rumble (2015)||January 25, 2015||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Wells Fargo Center||30-man Royal Rumble match for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 31||Roman Reigns||19|||
|29||Royal Rumble (2016)||January 24, 2016||Orlando, Florida||Amway Center||Roman Reigns (c) vs. 29 other wrestlers in a 30-man Royal Rumble match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship||Triple H||30|||
|30||Royal Rumble (2017)||January 29, 2017||San Antonio, Texas||Alamodome||30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 33||Randy Orton||23|||
|31||Royal Rumble (2018)||January 28, 2018||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Wells Fargo Center||30-woman Royal Rumble match for a women's championship match at WrestleMania 34||Shinsuke Nakamura||14|||
|32||Royal Rumble (2019)||January 27, 2019||Phoenix, Arizona||Chase Field||30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 35||Becky Lynch||28|||
|33||Royal Rumble (2020)||January 26, 2020||Houston, Texas||Minute Maid Park||30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 36||Charlotte Flair||17|||
|34||Royal Rumble (2021)||January 31, 2021||St. Petersburg, Florida||WWE ThunderDome at Tropicana Field||30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 37||Bianca Belair||3|||
|35||Royal Rumble (2022)||January 29, 2022||St. Louis, Missouri||The Dome at America's Center||Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship||TBD||TBD|||
(c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match
In March 2007, WWE released a complete DVD box set titled Royal Rumble: The Complete Anthology, which showcases every Royal Rumble event in its entirety, up to the 2007 Royal Rumble.
At the time, SummerSlam was one of WWE's "Big Five" Pay-Per-Views (Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, King of the Ring, and Survivor Series were the others), ...
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