Welcome back to another edition of Friday Freak Out! In celebration of this weekend's Royal Rumble we'll take a look at some of the more insane things to happen during the rumble. Poor decision making, crazy eliminations, and terrible endings will all be included, so let's get right to it!
At the 2005 Royal Rumble, Paul London attempted to take on the fake-baby-kicking Snitsky which ended up taking him to the apron, where he was able to dodge one clothesline, but not the second. Getting clocked right in the head, London ended up doing a shooting star press off the apron down to the floor, acquiring quite the reaction from the crowd.
Unfortunately for London, WWE didn't take too kindly to the elimination, here's what he had to say on the spot:
"They felt that it stole the moment, in a way, because they replayed, but they didn't want to replay it. They did it, because it looked spectacular as it was, and I specifically remember, there's a guy over there, Michael Hayes, he said 'That was really good, but that was too good.' Then next thing I know I'm off TV for the next six months. So that was frustrating."
Coming off his big win on Tough Enough, Maven was being groomed as one of WWE's rising stars and this was made no more apparent than at the 2002 Royal Rumble. Initially, Undertaker was dealing with the trio of Lita, Matt, and Jeff Hardy who all decided to go after him, even though Matt was recently eliminated by Taker. Just before the attack, out came Maven, who waited for The Undertaker to be totally consumed by the Hardys before landing a dropkick from behind that sent Undertaker out of the Rumble. Undertaker was also eliminated (by a different wrestler) in the same distracted manner the very next year, clearly not learning from his mistakes.
The crowd exploded in what was one of the most surprising eliminations ever in the match's history. Once Taker realized he was eliminated, his attention slowly tuned to Maven, who he proceeded to beat down all the way to the backstage area. A feud began between the two with Maven eventually defeating The Undertaker for the Hardcore title, thanks to some interference from The Rock and his Tough Enough trainer, Al Snow.
One of the funniest eliminations ever was the Big Boss Man eliminating himself in the 1992 Royal Rumble (if video doesn't start there, go to 58:50 mark). With a tired Ric Flair in the ring, it looked like Boss Man was about to send him out of the match. Flair staggered to his feet (kind of near the ropes), Boss Man bounced off the ropes on the opposite of the ring, with a full head of steam he lunged at Flair...who simply dropped down to the mat, causing his opponent to eliminate himself.
This was no usual elimination as Boss Man rode the top rope for a moment, flipped over, caught the bottom rope with his neck, dropped to his knees, before completely face-planting to the floor. A highly underrated elimination that tends to get forgotten about (thanks, Taka Michinoku), well done, Big Boss Man!
There have been a lot of weird moments, but it's tough to find one worse than "Macho Man" Randy Savage's strategy against Yokozuna in the 1993 Royal Rumble. It came down to the two of them and Savage's initially had to survive Yokozuna's onslaught, which came to an end when he attempted a second splash in the corner, missing Macho Man. Yokozuna then did a fantastic oversell that finally sent him on his back, Savaged climbed to the top rope, dropped an elbow, and attempt to pin Yokozuna. I repeat, in a Royal Rumble match, he tried to pin his opponent.
Since they were near the ropes, Yoko kicked out strongly sending Macho Man up and over to the floor in such an exaggerated and stupid way. That was some terrible booking that made Randy Savage look like a complete idiot.
Awful Royal Rumble
You would think it's nearly impossible to mess up a Royal Rumble, but that's exactly what happened in 1999 when the match became an overbooked mess. It started out with Austin and Mr. McMahon, which is fine, but Austin could have easily tossed out McMahon, and decided to just play with him instead. Vince then led Austin out of the ring (neither were eliminated) before Vince returned to do commentary, while still active in the match.
Basically, Vince was allowed to just sit out the rumble, which makes you wonder why more guys don't just sit out until the very end. Anyways, it ended up coming down to Vince and Austin, the Rock came out to taunt Austin, Vince then threw him out of the ring to get the victory. Austin finished the rumble with the most eliminations (8) and yet, he couldn't just toss out Mr. McMahon. McMahon attempted to vacate the WrestleMania match against The Rock (who was corporate at the time), but Commissioner Shawn Michaels informed him if doing so, the runner-up (Austin) would get the title shot. Vince and Austin had a cage match at St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Big Show (Paul Wright at the time) debuted, Austin won the match, and then defeated Rock at WrestleMania XV for the title.
The Daniel Bryan Effect
At the 2014 Royal Rumble, Bryan took on Bray Wyatt in a fantastic singles match that ended with Wyatt victorious. Fans were hopeful Bryan would return for the rumble chanting his name throughout the match, unfortunately for them, he never showed. Fans weren't happy; they even booed poor Rey Mysterio, who came out at #30. The newly returned Batista instead won, and at that time, it didn't sit so well with wrestling fans. At this point he was a face (which Batista has stated he disagreed with doing) and fans weren't taking to him very well. Ultimately, Bryan was still put in the WrestleMania XXX main event and won the title in thrilling fashion.
Then in 2015, WWE learned from their mistakes, adding Bryan to the Rumble. He came out at number 10 and was eliminated a mere ten minutes later by Bray Wyatt. The Philadelphia crowd was beyond mad at how unceremoniously Bryan was eliminated and made sure WWE knew about it by basically booing everything from then on. It didn't help things that fan favorites Cesaro and Dolph Ziggler were sent out before Kane and Big Show either. The ending came with Roman Reigns getting the win, thanks to some help by The Rock, who initially popped the fans. Once Reigns won though, not even The Rock (The Rock!) could turn the crowd as the "boos" were extremely loud. Clearly, WWE was wary of Bryan's injuries and didn't want to put too much on him, but at the time, fans didn't care/know, changing both of those events for the worse.
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