If it’s January, then it’s time for WWE to start
ramping up for its biggest event of the year. That all starts with the Royal
Rumble, the annual kickoff to the Road to WrestleMania.
The Rumble match gives fans the first official
confirmation of a world title match, with the winner of the Rumble “headlining”
Mania. Since the Rumble is a once-a-year event (although this year will feature
two Rumbles), winning it is seen as a distinct and prestigious honor – those
who have won are held in varying degrees of high esteem.
In theory, if you win the Royal Rumble, you’ve got a
huge spotlight cast on you for at least three months, longer if you manage to
win the world title at WrestleMania. The Rumble can seriously help launch a
career, though sometimes things don’t go quite that well.
But not all Rumble winners are created equally, and
not all Rumble winners ascend the ladder of success. Before 1992, there was no
tangible prize attached to winning the Royal Rumble. The ’92 Rumble was
contested for the then-vacant WWF World Championship, while nearly every Rumble
since has been for a WrestleMania world title shot. Some of those who have won
the Rumble have gone on to win at Mania and become major stars. Others have
lost, squandering months of build-up.
Let’s take a look at the 31 men who have won the 30
Royal Rumbles and see how they stack up against each other.