Royal Rumble Losers: Wrestlers’ Botched Moments

Royal Rumble Losers: Wrestlers' Botched Moments
WWE

The Royal Rumble stands tall as one of WWE’s premier events, capturing the hearts of fans worldwide and earning its place as one of the big four spectacles of the year. Whether enthusiasts are live in the arena, eagerly counting down from 10, or comfortably cheering from their homes, this event has held a special spot in the hearts of WWE fans for nearly four decades. The 2024 edition marks the 37th chapter in the illustrious history of the Royal Rumble, where Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg/Tampa will host 30 men and 30 women vying for a coveted opportunity to headline WrestleMania 40 in Philadelphia.

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Conceived by the visionary Pat Patterson in 1988, the Royal Rumble has witnessed the participation of hundreds of competitors, creating a legacy that resonates even beyond 2023. From awe-inspiring comebacks to star-studded celebrity appearances, the Royal Rumble has etched some of the most unforgettable moments in WWE history. Yet, not every moment is celebrated for its glory; the Rumble has seen its fair share of mishaps and missed chances. From the debacle of 2022 to lightning-fast eliminations and unfortunate injuries, let’s delve into the tales of some of the biggest disappointments in the extensive history of the Royal Rumble.

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The Notorious Legacy of Santina Marella in WWE Women’s Wrestling

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One of the most infamous moments in the history of women’s wrestling within WWE didn’t unfold at the Royal Rumble; instead, it took place at WrestleMania 25 during the Women’s Battle Royal. This unforgettable incident is etched in memory not because it was won by one of the women, still referred to as “Divas” back then, but by Santino Marella disguised as his “twin sister” Santina. As WWE transitioned through “The Women’s Revolution,” this match and character left a lingering distaste among many fans.

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In an unexpected twist, Santina Marella made a comeback in the 2020 Royal Rumble, only the third women’s Rumble match in history. However, this return was met with groans from fans who believed Marella’s character occupied a spot that could have been better utilized by a more deserving woman, especially as she entered at the number 29 position. Upon entering the ring, Marella found herself cornered by Natalya and attempted to employ the Cobra sock, but in a surprising turn of events, she leaped over the top rope, leading to her elimination. This allowed the genuine women wrestlers of WWE to continue their pursuit in the match.

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Titus O’Neil’s Unforgettable Moment at the Greatest Royal Rumble

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Renowned WWE Ambassador and humanitarian, Titus O’Neil, became the talk of the town during the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia. Stepping into the ring as the 39th participant out of 50 men, O’Neil’s entrance turned into a viral sensation when his exuberance led to an unexpected slip, propelling him under the ring. This now-iconic moment, playfully dubbed the “Titus World Slide,” pays homage to the wrestling star’s past association with the Titus Worldwide faction. Despite not being part of the official Royal Rumble, O’Neil’s slide has left an indelible mark, sparking a wave of memes and GIFs that continue to circulate online.

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In a 2023 interview with Fightful, O’Neil reflected on the incident with grace, stating, “Life is filled with ups and downs, much like my journey. I’ve faced countless challenges, but I always find a way to get back on my feet. As an entertainer, I see it as just another part of the show. There’s no need for embarrassment; after all, I got paid well to take that unexpected dive under the ring and emerge unscathed.”

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Unveiling John Cena’s Royal Rumble Mishaps

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Often hailed as the epitome of “Super Cena,” the wrestling icon, John Cena, has had his fair share of unexpected twists in Royal Rumble matches. In a surprising turn of events in 2004, Cena found himself soaring over the top rope, courtesy of the Big Show, and landing awkwardly on his leg. Despite the apparent setback, Cena, true to his resilient nature, didn’t miss any TV time and was back in the wrestling ring shortly after. In a later interview, he unveiled the hidden truth that he had actually torn his MCL during the botched move.

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However, the most unforgettable glitch in Cena’s Royal Rumble career unfolded in 2005 during the infamous ending. Both Cena and Batista went over the top rope simultaneously, with both of their feet touching the floor at the exact same moment. A dramatic sequence ensued, as Batista attempted a Batista Bomb, only for Cena to counter with a headscissors. The ensuing momentum propelled both superstars over the top rope. Originally, Batista was meant to be the victor, but a twist of fate occurred when Vince McMahon stormed down the ramp, intervened, and ordered the final segment of the match between Batista and Cena to be restarted.

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Vince McMahon’s Unforgettable Rumble Moment

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While he wasn’t an official participant in the 2005 Royal Rumble match, Vince McMahon emerged as one of its most memorable figures. The chairman of WWE found himself on the receiving end of misfortune when he tore both of his quads while attempting to restart the match with the last two competitors, Cena and Batista. McMahon rushed down the ramp after the simultaneous elimination of both wrestlers, leading to a dispute among “Raw” and “SmackDown” referees about the match’s winner. Unfortunately, as McMahon tried to enter the ring, his knees got caught on the apron, resulting in the painful injuries. Fans were left with a lasting image of McMahon sitting in the ring, clinging to the ropes, and directing the action as well as the officials.

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In a later interview with Pat McAfee, McMahon reflected on the incident with a touch of humor. “Not too many people can sever the quad tendons at the same time. That takes talent … You have no use of your legs at all,” he remarked.

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The Evolution of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in Royal Rumbles

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Surprisingly, one of the unexpected entries on the list of Royal Rumble mishaps involves the legendary “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. This incident dates back to a time when he was still recognized as “The Ringmaster.” The pivotal moment occurred in 1996 when Austin, originally slated to finish fourth in the Rumble match, faced an unforeseen challenge. In interviews, Austin revealed that during the match, Rikishi delivered a clothesline, causing him to slip on the unusually slippery ropes, coated with wrestlers’ baby oil. This resulted in Austin being eliminated “way early.” Fortunately, this unexpected setback paved the way for the transformation of Austin’s persona into the iconic “Stone Cold” character.

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However, Austin’s encounters with Rumble misfortune did not end there. In 1999, he experienced another setback when his arch-nemesis, Mr. McMahon, strategically eliminated him, ultimately securing an unexpected victory. Despite the initial shock, the outcome worked in Austin’s favor. McMahon, instead of advancing to face The Rock at WrestleMania that year, saw Austin stepping in to claim the WWE Title.

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Randy Savage’s Unfortunate Royal Rumble Moments

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When it comes to WWE legends with less-than-stellar Royal Rumble performances, Randy Savage takes the cake. In the 1991 Royal Rumble, Savage, originally slated as entrant number 18, never even stepped into the ring. His focus on helping Sgt. Slaughter secure the WWE Title from the Ultimate Warrior earlier in the night led to a chaotic chase that caused Savage to miss the Rumble entirely. Fast forward to 1992, and Savage found himself eliminating Jake “The Snake” Roberts only to awkwardly exit over the top rope, unintentionally eliminating himself. Commentator Gorilla Monsoon quickly provided cover, claiming that wrestlers needed external assistance for elimination.

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However, it was in 1993 that Savage’s Rumble misfortune reached its peak. In a memorable moment, he seemed to momentarily forget the Rumble rules. Instead of attempting to throw Yokozuna over the top rope, Savage tried to secure victory with a pinfall. Predictably, this unconventional strategy never earned Savage a Royal Rumble win throughout his career.

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The Mystery of Bastion Booger’s No-Show at the 1994 Royal Rumble

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In the intriguing world of professional wrestling, unexpected twists and turns are not uncommon. The 1994 Royal Rumble stands out as one such event, marked by its share of no-shows and last-minute substitutions. Among the notable absentees was Bastion Booger, a wrestler scheduled to make a memorable entrance at number 28.

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Before the match, Booger had his own pre-match vignette, where he excitedly drew his number and announced his planned entry point. However, this turned out to be a breach of Royal Rumble protocol, prompting officials to enforce the rules and compel Booger to choose a different number.

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As the Royal Rumble unfolded, fans eagerly awaited Bastion Booger’s appearance, only to be met with disappointment as he was nowhere to be seen. The storyline quickly explained his absence, attributing it to Booger falling ill. This unexpected turn of events added a layer of mystery to the already unpredictable nature of the Royal Rumble.

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CHELSEA GREEN: A Quick Exit but a Lasting Legacy in the Royal Rumble

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Since her return to WWE with the intriguing “Karen” gimmick, Chelsea Green has undeniably left her mark in the women’s tag team division. However, her initial Royal Rumble appearance in 2023 didn’t quite go as planned. Surprisingly entering as the number 20 entrant, Green’s run was cut short when she was swiftly eliminated by Rhea Ripley. In just five seconds, Green secured a somewhat unconventional record for the shortest time in a women’s Royal Rumble match.

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Despite the unexpected outcome, Green approached the situation with a positive perspective. “Look, that five seconds of fame is gonna last forever because I did set a record. It might not have been a record that I wanted, but I set a record, and I’m about to be in the record books, and they are about to have to replay clips of me for years to come,” Green shared with POST Wrestling.

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The Blink-and-Miss Record: Santino Marella’s Memorable Moment in the Royal Rumble

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Chelsea Green might have secured the title for the quickest elimination in the women’s Royal Rumble match, but on the men’s side, it’s Santino Marella who etched his name in history during the 2009 Royal Rumble. Entering from the 28th spot, Marella’s moment was over in the blink of an eye, lasting a mere 1.09 seconds before Kane’s swift elimination.

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Marella’s exclamation of “I wasn’t ready!” to the ringside referee became an unforgettable part of this iconic Rumble fail. In the world of wrestling, sometimes a split second can make all the difference.

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In another twist, Marella’s “twin sister” Santina made her mark in the 2020 women’s match, enduring a slightly longer run with a total time of 61 seconds.

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The Controversial Exit of Shane McMahon from the 2022 Royal Rumble

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Shane McMahon, fondly known as “O’Mac,” has been a recurring presence in Royal Rumble matches, but the 2022 edition stands out as one of the most controversial in the event’s history. The match gained notoriety, largely attributed to McMahon’s alleged backstage politics. The heat generated from this incident led to McMahon’s surprising termination by his own father after the match concluded.

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Despite McMahon’s undeniable talent in the Royal Rumble, he held additional responsibilities as the lead producer and writer. Criticism arose due to McMahon’s apparent over-involvement in the match’s booking, with accusations that he aimed to make the entire match revolve around himself.

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Entering the fray at number 28, McMahon’s appearance was intended to be preceded by Randy Orton. However, a mix-up occurred as McMahon’s iconic “Here Comes The Money” theme unexpectedly played, causing confusion. Orton, who was supposed to enter, refused to make his appearance to McMahon’s music, prompting McMahon to enter the match a spot earlier than planned. Despite the unexpected turn of events, Orton found the situation so amusing that he was reportedly nearly in stitches backstage.

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McMahon’s stint in the Royal Rumble lasted only about five minutes before he was unceremoniously eliminated by Brock Lesnar. Surprisingly, McMahon was slated to play a role in WrestleMania 38 in some capacity before his sudden termination.

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The Great Khali: A Giant’s Royal Rumble Trials

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Despite his imposing stature, The Great Khali’s journey in Royal Rumble matches has been far from flawless. Back in 2007, the colossal wrestler momentarily lost his bearings, playfully engaging with the crowd after a series of eliminations, completely unaware of the hard camera’s location. It took a break in character from a laid-out Shawn Michaels to guide Khali, who promptly corrected his orientation.

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Fast forward to 2010, and another memorable moment unfolded when Beth Phoenix entered the men’s Royal Rumble match – only the second woman to do so since Chyna in 1999. Phoenix strategically used a distraction tactic, kissing Khali before swiftly eliminating “The Punjabi Playboy” from the match.”

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Rey Mysterio

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In the 2014 Royal Rumble match, Rey Mysterio found himself in an unexpected situation. While he didn’t make any mistakes or mess up any moves, the issue stemmed from the fact that he entered at number 30, leaving the fans disappointed as they were hoping for Daniel Bryan during the peak of the Yes! movement.

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As Mysterio stepped into the ring, the crowd greeted him with boos, having spent the entire match chanting for Bryan as CM Punk, Batista, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns battled it out. Unfortunately, Mysterio’s appearance was short-lived, lasting just over two minutes. To add to the frustration, Bryan had already faced Bray Wyatt earlier in the show and was not part of the Rumble match. Ultimately, after four years away from the company, Batista emerged victorious, leaving fans longing for the presence of Daniel Bryan.

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KOFI KINGSTON: A Decade of Royal Rumble Antics

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Kofi Kingston has made a name for himself with his incredible maneuvers in Royal Rumble matches, where he defies gravity and logic to avoid elimination. Whether it’s executing jaw-dropping handstands or using a commentator’s chair strategically, Kingston’s spots have become synonymous with the excitement of the Rumble. Successfully pulling off these acrobatic feats for over a decade, Kingston’s luck finally took a turn during the lackluster 2022 Rumble match. A mistimed move saw him eliminated when Kevin Owens shoved him off the top rope, sending him crashing into the ring barricade. Despite the disappointment, Kingston maintained a positive outlook, acknowledging that mistakes are part of the game. As he told the New York Post, ‘You’re bound to mess one up; that’s just the way things go.’

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The Unfortunate Twist: Alex Riley’s Royal Rumble Mishap of 2011

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Alex Riley found himself at the center of an unexpected turn of events during the 2011 Royal Rumble, altering the trajectory of The Miz and John Cena’s ongoing feud. As The Miz’s protégé, Riley became the victim of a poorly executed elimination that threatened to disrupt the carefully planned storyline.

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During the match, Riley, cornered and under attack from Kingston and Cena, took an unforeseen tumble from the apron to the floor. This premature elimination wasn’t part of the script and jeopardized the intended progression of the narrative.

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The original plan was for Riley to eliminate Cena, intensifying the animosity between the two stars and fueling The Miz’s storyline. However, with Riley out earlier than anticipated, Cena appeared visibly surprised, requiring guidance from the referee on how to proceed. In a swift move to salvage the storyline, The Miz, who wasn’t even an active participant in the Rumble, being the reigning WWE Champion, stepped in to eliminate Cena, capitalizing on the distraction created by Riley’s unexpected return to ringside.

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Unforgettable WWE Production Moments in Royal Rumble History

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In the realm of Royal Rumble matches, it’s not just about the in-ring action; sometimes, the production itself steals the spotlight. Let’s revisit some noteworthy instances where production botches added unexpected twists to the excitement.

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One glaring misstep occurred during the 2016 Royal Rumble when AJ Styles made his surprise WWE debut. The cameras, unfortunately, missed capturing “The Phenomenal One” walking onto the stage. Instead, they focused on the perplexed expression of Roman Reigns in the ring while Styles’ iconic music played. Fortunately, this glitch has been rectified with additional footage available on Peacock and the WWE Network.

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Fast forward to the 2020 Royal Rumble, and another production hiccup took center stage. Edge, making his shocking return, executed his first spear since his forced retirement years earlier. Unfortunately, the cameras failed to capture this pivotal moment, leaving fans wanting more. Despite this setback, the WWE has continued to provide fans with an enhanced viewing experience through various platforms.

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The final production blunder that etched itself into Royal Rumble history occurred during the women’s Royal Rumble match in 2023. Nia Jax made a triumphant return at the coveted number 30 spot, but the excitement reached a peak when her entrance music played before the countdown even started. In subsequent interviews, Jax humorously remarked that someone was overly eager for her return and prematurely hit the play button on her music.

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CM Punk’s Epic Return to WWE: A Decade in the Making

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The upcoming Royal Rumble 2024 is set to mark a significant milestone in CM Punk’s WWE journey, bringing him full circle since his jaw-dropping return at Survivor Series: War Games. It’s been a decade since Punk last graced the Royal Rumble, with his memorable 2014 appearance etched in the minds of wrestling fans worldwide.

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A decade ago, Punk entered the Rumble match as the first participant, showcasing his resilience by lasting nearly 50 minutes – the longest in the entire bout. However, his journey was cut short when he fell victim to Kane’s ruthless elimination. Kane not only tossed Punk over the top rope but added insult to injury by choke slamming him through the announcer’s desk.

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Following this intense showdown, Punk parted ways with WWE on January 27, 2014, citing numerous issues, including concerns about his health. Fast forward to the present, and “The Second City Saint” is back in action, officially declaring his participation in this year’s Royal Rumble.

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As fate would have it, the 2024 Royal Rumble falls on January 27 – precisely a decade after Punk’s departure from WWE. With this serendipitous timing, there’s a palpable anticipation that Punk might secure a victory, completing a full circle by triumphing on the same day he walked away from the company ten years ago.

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