wrestling / Columns

Magnificent Seven: Top 7 Wrestlers that Never Won the Royal Rumble

January 21, 2019 | Posted by Steve Cook
Chris Jericho

The list of Royal Rumble match winners reads like a Who’s Who of wrestling over the last thirty years. Hulk Hogan. Ric Flair. Bret Hart. Steve Austin. The Rock. Shawn Michaels. John Cena. Triple H. Undertaker. Randy Orton. Roman Reigns. The list goes on and on. Name your favorite top star over this time frame and the odds are pretty good that they’ve won a Royal Rumble.

This week, we’re going to look at some of the men that came up short. They never won a Royal Rumble match, even if their contributions to the event over the years were massive. These Superstars had to find other ways to make an impact, and came through in spades.

Here are the Top 7 Superstars to never win a Royal Rumble.

Ted DiBiase WWE Champion

7. Ted DiBiase

Everybody had a price for the Millon Dollar Man, including Akeem. The African Dream had drawn the #30 spot in the 1989 Royal Rumble, but agreed to sell it to DiBiase for the right price. Ted’s plan almost worked, as he wound up being the last man eliminated by the returning Big John Studd.

DiBiase was punished for this brazen act at the 1990 Royal Rumble, where he was forced to enter at #1. He managed to last 45 minutes before being eliminated by the Ultimate Warrior, which set a longevity record that lasted a full year. Out of all the evil plots cooked up by wannabe Rumble winners over the years, DiBiase’s stands out for its creativity. That’s why I’ve got him on here over other legends of my youth like Randy Savage & Jake Roberts. Savage was a bigger legend, but the Rumble wasn’t as important to his story.

Kevin Nash

6. Diesel/Kevin Nash

Diesel had been in the WWF for several months when he entered the 1994 Royal Rumble. He’d served as Shawn Michaels’ bodyguard & made an impact in some of the Heartbreak Kid’s matches, but had yet to really step into the spotlight and make people take notice. That changed on a cold January night in Rhode Island, when Diesel entered the Rumble and eliminated seven other competitors in rather short order. He didn’t make it anywhere near the end, but his brief run of brillance was one of the main things people remembered after the evening was over. It was the beginning of Big Daddy Cool’s rise to prominence.

WWE would try to re-create the moment time & time again, as is their fashion. For years afterward, pretty much anybody that eliminated multiple people and happened to be really tall were said to be receiving the “Diesel push”.

5. Daniel Bryan

Bryan drew the number one spot for the Greatest Royal Rumble last year. Considering it was one of his first mtches back from his concussion-induced retirement, we didn’t expect much other than an entertaining first portion of the Rumble match. What we got was astounding. Bryan shattered the previous Rumble longevity record by lasting 1:16:05. No Rumble had ever been that long or had that many people, and Bryan almost made it all the way. Talk about making up for lost time.

In addition to having the longest appearance in any Royal Rumble match, Bryan has also affected fan reaction to multiple Rumble matches. The final stretch of the 2014 Rumble match was met with boos & derisive chants from the live crowd once they figured out Bryan wouldn’t be in the match. (He was never advertised for anything other than a singles match with Bray Wyatt. But live Rumble crowds always expect surprises at the end, and he was in the building, so they wanted him out there.) The same thing happened in 2015 when Bryan was eliminated shortly after entering the match. Fans were expecting/wanting him to win, or at least do something useful, and the rest of the match died. One good thing about The New Daniel Bryan is that this year’s Rumble match should be free of that sort of thing.

Kofi Kingston - WWE Superstars

4. Kofi Kingston

I don’t think anybody has ever expected Kofi to win a Rumble. He’s very popular & has an immense amount of talent. We know he’s not a guy WWE sees in its WrestleMania main event, or as one of the top champions. The reason we pay attention to him during the Royal Rumble match is he always has new & interesting ways to stay in it longer than he probably should.

WWE has been helpful & compiled all of them together in this fun video!

Wouldn’t you like to see him pull off an incredible save in the final two and win the Royal Rumble one of these years? I know I would!

Big Show Clean Shaven

3. Big Show

Show has had some of the hardest luck of anybody to ever enter a Royal Rumble. He’s entered twelve of them and finished in the runner-up slot twice. The guy got straight up jobbed in 2000, as it was obvious to anybody paying attention that Rock’s feet touched the floor first. Obvious to anybody except the referees, of course. Rock even admitted it years later! He also finished as runner-up in 2004, to a guy whose name WWE doesn’t even mention anymore. Just think, if WWE had let Show win that year, they could have avoided a lot of awkwardness in the annual Royal Rumble statistics video.

From a kayfabe perspective, it’s mystifying. Big Show has been the largest man in WWE for twenty years now. It defies the laws of logic that the biggest dog in the fight hasn’t won one of these things, right? As many championships & accolades as Show has collected over the years, the lack of a Royal Rumble victory is a bit of a surprise.

Kane RAW

2. Isaac Yankem/”Diesel”/Kane

From 1996 until his most recent appearance in 2016, the current mayor of Knox County took part in nineteen Royal Rumbles, the most of any WWE Superstar by six over runner-up Goldust. He’s eliminated forty-four people over the years, the most by four over Shawn Michaels & Kane’s brother Undertaker. His eleven eliminations during the 2001 Royal Rumble, where he finished as the runner-up, stood as a record until Roman Reigns’ twelve in 2014. His cumulative Rumble time of 3:38:46 ranks fifth all time.

Kane’s numbers in this event are incredible. What’s even more incredible is the fact he hasn’t won one. Sure, he & Mankind won some random tag team Rumble on an episode of Raw in June 1998, but if tag team Survivor Series matches don’t count towards Raw vs. SmackDown statistics, a tag team Rumble on Raw sure as heck doesn’t count towards Royal Rumble statistics. Kane was a dominant force in this match for two decades, but was never able to close the deal.

Chris Jericho

1. Chris Jericho

The List of Jericho’s accomplishments in WWE lacks a Royal Rumble victory. He participated in eleven of them from 2000 until last year’s Greatest Royal Rumble, and holds the record for longest amount of time spent in Rumble matches. Jericho’s 5:01:30 rates more than an hour ahead of Triple H’s second-place total, and it’s tough to imagine anybody passing that anytime soon. I was in St. Louis for his runner-up finish in 2012, and many of us thought it was going to be Jericho’s night to add Royal Rumble Winner to his resume.

It didn’t happen, but Jericho’s cumulative time record speaks to his importance in the matches he appeared in. 1:00:13 of that came in 2017 where he entered at #2 and made it to the final four. Jericho’s later Rumble appearances tended to last longer than his early ones, and the explanation for that is kind of simple when you think about it. WWE trusted him to keep everybody on track out there. Rumbles can suffer occasionally from having too many bodies in the ring and not everybody being on the same page. Veterans like Jericho make things easier.

Hopefully people were taking notes the last few years, or his absence from this year’s Rumble will be very noticeable.

Thanks for reading! Hit me up on Twitter with Magnificent Seven ideas, botches, or anything else on your mind.

article topics :

The Magnificent Seven, Steve Cook