There is no match more unpredictable than the Royal Rumble. With 30 competitors fighting for a World Championship opportunity, the annual over-the-top-rope Battle Royal is rarely straightforward.
Friends often turn on one another, and underdogs catch fan favourites by surprise.
With the 2021 Royal Rumble just around the corner, here are 10 of the most surprising eliminations in Royal Rumble history.
10. Mr McMahon eliminates ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin – 1999
Wanting to ensure that Steve Austin had “no chance in hell” of winning, Mr McMahon “randomly” picked Stone Cold as the competitor entering the 1999 Rumble at #1.
This plan backfired though, as Commissioner Michaels made McMahon the #2 entrant, allowing Austin one-on-one time against his boss.
Almost an hour after the first bell, Austin had McMahon exactly where he wanted him. Outlasting the other 28 competitors, Stone Cold and the Chairman were one-on-one again, with either Austin or McMahon heading to WrestleMania.
Just as Austin was preparing to eliminate his rival, The Rock came to ringside, flaunting his newly won WWE Championship. This distracted Stone Cold long enough for McMahon to get the sneaky elimination, winning the Royal Rumble.
Mr McMahon received his comeuppance in a steel cage match at St. Valentines Day Massacre. Although he didn’t go on to main event WrestleMania, history will always show that Mr McMahon won the 1999 Royal Rumble.
9. Kane eliminates Santino Marella – 2009
One full second. That’s how long Santino Marella was in the 2009 Royal Rumble.
Entering at number 28, Santino was in a favourable position. With only two more entrants after himself, he charged towards the crowded ring as his entrance theme boomed.
Kane was ready for the snake charmer, clotheslining him over the top rope before his music had even stopped.
Setting the record for the fastest Royal Rumble elimination, Marella was in as much disbelief as the fans. Jerry Lawler and the commentary team reminded the shocked star that there are “no redos” as the Italian heritage star pleaded “I wasn’t ready!”
In the years since, there have been numerous quick eliminations, but none as impressive and surprising as Marella’s. Santino may not have won the match, but this Royal Rumble “performance” will definitely be revisited for years to come.
8. R-Truth eliminates The Big Show and Mark Henry – 2010
R-Truth had an eventful 2020, finding creative ways to beat opponents for the 24/7 Championship. 10 years prior, Truth was just as opportunistic, eliminating both The Big Show and Mark Henry from the 2010 Royal Rumble simultaneously.
After sending Chris Masters to the back, The Big Show took a moment to catch his breath. Henry tried to take advantage, attempting to throw the giant over the top rope.
Unknown to the two super-heavyweights, Truth was sprinting towards the ring. Without hesitating, R-Truth threw Henry’s leg out of the ring, eliminating both the World’s Largest Athlete and the World’s Strongest Man.
R-Truth was eliminated by Kofi Kingston less than five minutes after his shocking entrance. He may not have been a Royal Rumble iron-man, but he certainly made a giant impact.
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