Pro Wrestling

10 WWE Superstars Who Have Never Won The Royal Rumble Source:

Winning the Royal Rumble puts you in an exclusive club of some of WWE’s best and brightest. There have, in fact, been less Royal Rumble winners than there have been WWE World Heavyweight Champions, which means that if you manage to secure victory in WWE’s longest and most difficult match to win, there are big plans in your immediate future. And as with any exclusive club, there are going to be very deserving people who are left out. Here’s our look at some of WWE biggest Superstars, many of them Hall of Famers (or sure-to-be inductees) who never managed to be the last one left standing at the end of the annual Royal Rumble match.

10. Mr. Perfect

There is a commonly held belief that Mr. Perfect was actually supposed to win the 1990 Royal Rumble, as he was becoming embroiled in a reasonably hot feud with Hulk Hogan at the time, and was expected to get a pretty big push out of it. However, political games came into play, and Hogan ended up winning the Rumble match (his first of two consecutive Rumble victories), while Perfect had to settle for being the last man eliminated. The lack of a Rumble win is pretty much a snapshot of Perfect’s career as a whole, always being one of the best wrestlers on the roster, but also always coming so close to a major victory without actually getting it. In a just wrestling world, Perfect is probably both a former WWE Champion and Rumble winner, but unfortunately that’s not the world we currently live in. Source:

9. Chris Jericho

Chris Jericho seems to have made a Hall of Fame career out of never being the first choice for anything. We’re constantly surprised that he ended up as a six-time World Champion while in WWE, because they never seemed to ever see him as the champion. He’s never been a choice to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania despite being a top talent who would be capable of a great match with the Dead Man, and rarely having anything better to do on the show. You have to be a pretty knowledgeable fan to remember any Pay Per Views that he was in the main event of (and a freaking genius to remember the ones where he actually won). And no, he never won a Royal Rumble, and has never really even come close. And yet, when you talk about Chris Jericho, it’s never the things he didn’t do, or the accomplishments he never got, or were treated as less important than the “real” big stars, because while he was never the biggest star in the planet, he managed to build himself a Hall of Fame career nonetheless. Source:

8. Kane

For someone who’s made the most Rumble appearances in history, holds the record for most total Superstars eliminated from the Rumble over their career, and was also the record-holder for most eliminations in a single Rumble match from 2001 until Roman Reigns broke it in 2014, Kane somehow has never managed to win the whole thing. He was even the last man eliminated in 2001, outlasting a cavalcade of top stars including The Undertaker, The Rock, Rikishi, and The Big Show, despite entering the match at #6. Probably the biggest thing standing in the way of Kane ever getting that elusive victory is the fact that the winner gets to main event WrestleMania. Giving all sorts of credit to Kane and his illustrious career, he’s never really been in a position where he could believably be in the main event of WWE’s biggest show, fighting for the WWE Title. Over the years he’s served an important rule as a big guy who’s really hard to get out of the match, but ultimately, like most big men, he ends up taking a tumble out of the match. Source:

7. The Big Show or The Rock

This one depends on who you believe actually won the 2000 Royal Rumble, because whichever one didn’t, has never won one. Sure, The Rock was declared the winner at the event itself, but The Big Show did provide pretty clear video evidence that Rock’s feet touched the floor while he was eliminating Show at the end, and thus Show should be the actual winner. In fact, we’re pretty sure that the McMahon-Helmsley Era officially declared Show the winner after he provided the proof. In any event, whomever you side with in the argument, one of these two future WWE Hall of Famers managed to have long and decorated WWE careers without actually winning the Royal Rumble. Personally, we’ll take Show’s side, since he did actually provide proof (which somehow made him a bad guy), but mostly because it’s funnier if The Rock, major Hollywood star who’s done everything there is to do in wrestling, somehow managed to miss out on this one achievement on a technicality. Source: Source:

6. Randy Savage

Savage’s eternal position as #2 star behind Hulk Hogan, more than anything else, probably contributed to the fact that he never managed to win a Rumble, while Hogan won two. Savage’s best chance probably came in 1993, the very first year where WWE introduced the stipulation that the winner of the match would get a shot at the WWE Title at WrestleMania. Savage was one of the heavy favorites in an unimpressive field, and a match with then-Champion Bret Hart probably would have been an incredible main event that might have even saved the garbage fire that ended up being WrestleMania IX (though that’s probably beyond the capabilities of even those two excellent wrestlers). But WWE was looking to build up a new massive heel for whomever was going to be the next Hogan (the real deal was supposedly being phased out, and would jump to WCW before the end of the year), and thus the gargantuan Yokozuna won the match, with Savage as the final man eliminated. Source:

5. Mick Foley

Much like Savage, Mick Foley had the unenviable position of being at his most popular when giants like Steve Austin, The Rock, and Triple H were prowling the arena of WWE. As such, he was never really a serious contender to win a Rumble, which may be the only thing he never accomplished over his long career (although he does hold one Rumble record that will probably never be broken, making three appearances in a single Rumble as Cactus Jack, Mankind, and Dude Love). On the bright side, Foley has been part of two of the most memorable WWE Title matches in Royal Rumble history, with his match against Triple H at Royal Rumble 2000 considered one of the best matches of all time, and his infamous “I Quit” match with The Rock at Royal Rumble 1999 immortalized on the documentary Beyond The Mat, focusing on the ridiculous number of chair shots to the head he suffered during the bout. Source:

4. Ted DiBiase

In any other age of wrestling, DiBiase, much like Mr Perfect, would be both a former WWE Champion and, likely, a Royal Rumble winner, in his role as top heel facing off against Hulk Hogan in the 80s. However, DiBiase, while glorious in the role, was a heel in an era where heels didn’t get the big wins, especially in an era dominated by the ever-victorious Hogan. In addition, when the Rumble was in its infancy, it wasn’t seen as big of a deal as it would eventually become, and DiBiase certainly didn’t need the win to be one of the company’s best acts. DiBiase does have at least one Rumble accomplishment of note, as he set the first true Iron Man mark to beat, entering the 1990 Royal Rumble at #1 (following allegations that he had “purchased” #30 the previous year) and lasting nearly 45 minutes before being eliminated. Source:

3. CM Punk

If you believe rumors, there’s actually a chance that CM Punk was supposed to win the 2014 Royal Rumble, but, as part of his dissatisfaction with the direction of both his career and WWE as a whole, Punk put on yeoman’s work after entering at #1, but was unceremoniously eliminated by Corporate Kane late in the match, and quit WWE the next day. Punk has appeared in several Rumbles over his career, including a memorable run in 2010 when he spent the early third of the match eliminating multiple Superstars and having enough time to preach about his Straight Edge Society in between entrants, but was never particularly seen as a threat to win until his last night with the company. To be fair, the year before, he was wrestling The Rock in the main event of the Pay Per View, as he finished up an astonishing 434 days as WWE Champion, so it’s hard to feel too bad that Punk never got a Rumble victory. Source:

2. Kurt Angle

For a perpetual main event talent, Kurt Angle actually participated in very few Rumble matches. Of course, that was because he was usually involved in a title match instead. Over the course of his WWE career, from 2000-2006, Angle only took part in three Royal Rumble matches, but was also in 3 WWE or World title matches (his other Rumble PPV appearance was in 2000 against a debuting Tazz). In all three Rumbles in which he wrestled, however, Angle was a favorite each time, including in 2002 where he was the last man eliminated, but found himself in the path of Superstars on rocket pushes each time (in the years Angle participated, the winners were Triple H, Chris Benoit, and Batista, all of whom would go on to win the WWE or World Title at WrestleMania). While it’s a shame that Angle will likely never secure himself a Rumble victory at this point, he’s accomplished so many other incredible things over his Hall of Fame career, that’s it’s hard to consider this a huge loss. Source:

1. Daniel Bryan

Oh boy, is this one a touchy subject. For two straight years, in 2014 and 2015, WWE fans were rabid for Daniel Bryan to win the Royal Rumble and go on to WrestleMania, and both times, they were denied due to myopic booking on WWE’s part. In 2014, Bryan was never officially entered in the Rumble, but setting seemed perfect for him to make a surprise entrance, win the whole thing, and finally get revenge against Triple H and Randy Orton for stealing the WWE World Heavyweight title from him. When the 30th entrant was revealed and it became apparent that Bryan would not be competing, the arena literally came unglued, booing lustily, with ire especially directed at the eventual winner Batista. At one point, the fans in attendance were so upset with the prospect of the nominally face Batista winning, they began throwing their support behind heel Roman Reigns. This would become ironic a year later, when Bryan was once again denied a Rumble victory (and eliminated unceremoniously early in the match) in favor of WWE’s new pet project…Roman Reigns. Fan reactions were even less kind than they were the year previously. With Bryan’s career now over due to injuries, the dream of him ever managing to accomplish this feat is, sadly, over for good. Source:
Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.