“I Quit” match – 1999
When talking about brutal moments in the history of the Royal Rumble, one of the most extreme moments came in the form of an “I Quit” match, and unsurprisingly, Mankind was on the receiving end of it. 1998 saw a huge shift in the WWE, with The Rock winning his first title at Survivor Series after an imitation of the Montreal Screwjob.
From there on, Mankind and The Rock would have a feud for the title, with the former winning the WWE Championship from The Rock in early 1999. The Rock had his rematch at the Rumble and would go on to absolutely brutalize Mankind, hitting him with chair shots to the head repeatedly.
In fact, this infamous sequence was even featured in the documentary Beyond The Mat, where Foley’s family is seen sitting at ringside watching him take all kinds of punishment. It was uncomfortable to watch and for the second time, Mankind got screwed out of the WWE title, as a voice in the background shouted “I Quit” on the mic. Foley was down but never uttered the words. The Rock regained his title.
Shawn Michaels lasts bell to bell – 1995
Shawn Michaels was the first person in history to ever enter the Royal Rumble match at #1 and last till the end and win. 1995 was the year that history was made. Interestingly enough, the match itself didn’t last very long, going on for just 38 minutes. If you ever wonder why WWE keeps hammering in the words “Both feet must hit the floor”, it’s because of this match.
Shawn Michaels seemed like he was eliminated but only had one foot on the floor. He did, however, manage to overcome the storm and win the Rumble. He would win the Rumble the next year as well, becoming only the second of three people to ever win back-to-back Royal Rumble matches.
The Women’s Royal Rumble
It was a long time coming, but in 2017, Stephanie McMahon announced that there was going to be the first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble the following year. It was met with much anticipation and fans knew that due to the relative lack of full-time female stars to fill all 30 spots, it was going to feature the return of legends and maybe even a few NXT stars.
And that’s exactly what happened. We got to see some potential dream matches and the women main evented a WWE PPV for only the second time ever. It was the full-time stars who stole the show, like Sasha Banks, the first entrant to the women’s Rumble match and also the Iron Woman of the match.
The Ultimate Showdown
It was 1990 and Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior were the two biggest stars of the company. They hadn’t crossed paths before and they were in the same ring together, busy eliminating other superstars left and right. Then came the moment where Warrior and Hogan were alone in the ring and had a standoff. The crowd went wild and there wasn’t a single person sitting down.
It was a dream confrontation between the two biggest stars in the business, and fans loved every moment of it. They had a battle of power and would neutralize each other. It was only a sneak peek of the main event a few months later when Warrior faced Hulk Hogan in a Champion vs Champion match. The reaction can still give you goosebumps.
John Cena makes an unexpected return
John Cena was in the midst of the longest WWE title reign in nearly two decades when he was forced to vacate it due to a pectoral injury. He was expected to be out for up to a year, but Cena being Super Cena ended up returning in less than four! He entered at #30, leaving Madison Square Garden to go unglued. The reaction blew the roof off the building, and fans were left in shock as to what happened.
It’s arguably the greatest Rumble surprise entry to this date, and it’s a moment that’s going to be hard to top!