With the 2022 edition of the Royal Rumble just around the corner, we take a look at all the WWE Superstars that have entered the Rumble matches over the years in the highly-coveted 30th spot.
1988 – Junkyard Dog
JYD didn’t enter as the number 30 entrant but rather as the number 20 entrant as the 1988 Royal Rumble only had twenty competitors. Dog entered the match as the final participant but only lasted two and a half minutes and made no eliminations before being sent over the top rope by ‘Outlaw’ Ron Bass.
1989 – Ted DiBiase
Everybody has a price for The Million Dollar Man and so it proved in 1989 when Akeem sold his plum draw as the 30th entrant in that year’s Rumble match to Ted DiBiase. DiBiase managed to eliminate The Red Rooster, Hercules, and Brutus Beefcake before finding out his money was no use when going one on one with Big John Studd. Studd threw DiBiase over the top rope to become the first winner of the 30-man Royal Rumble.
1990 – Mr. Perfect
The perfect number when to Mr. Perfect in 1990 as he looked to win that year’s Royal Rumble contest. Perfect entered the bout last and teamed up with Rick Rude to try and eliminate the threat of WWF Champion Hulk Hogan. Perfect inadvertently helped eliminate Rude before Hogan asked Mr. Perfect “whatcha gonna do?” before eliminating the perfect superstar over the top rope.
1991 – Tugboat
Not a memorable appearance for Tugboat as he failed to shock the world and win the 1991 Royal Rumble match despite entering the match in the prized 30th spot. Tugboat lasted just over two and a half minutes before going over the top rope at the hands of the eventual winner, Hulk Hogan.
1992 – The Warlord
The Warlord is best remembered in Royal Rumble folklore for his record-setting 2-second appearance in 1989. Despite lasting over a minute and forty seconds longer in his outing as the last entrant in 1992, his level of success remained the same. Warlord eliminated nobody before being tossed by Hulk Hogan and Sid Justice – the third time The Hulkster had eliminated The Warlord in 4 years.
1993 – Randy Savage
By 1993 Randy Savage’s in-ring career in the World Wrestling Federation was winding down but this didn’t stop the Macho Man from entering the 1993 Royal Rumble as the last entrant. Savage only eliminated Repo Man who had angered The Macho Man after stealing his trademark hat only a few weeks before. Savage lasted until the final two combatants only to be pressed all the way over the top rope by the mighty Yokozuna.
1994 – Adam Bomb
The man from Three Mile Island was the nuclear option to win the WWF’s January showpiece when he was the final entrant in 1994. The first of two appearances for Bomb in the Rumble match was underwhelming as he lasted less than 5 minutes and made no eliminations before being thrown to the floor by co-winner Lex Luger.
1995 – Crush
Crush made his return to WWF in what turned out to be his only televised appearance for the company in 1995 as the final entrant in that year’s Royal Rumble. Crush had a strong showing for his near nine-minute stay in the match, earning five eliminations – the second most individual eliminations attained in that year’s bout. Crush eliminated Les Luger, The Smoking Gunns, Fatu, and Adam Bomb before being ejected himself by the runner-up, The British Bulldog.
1996 – Duke ‘The Dumpster’ Droese
Duke Droese earned the 30th spot in the 1996 Royal Rumble by virtue of winning a match against Hunter Hearst-Helmsley on the Free For All before the pay-per-view began. The young Triple H originally won the bout before WWF President Gorilla Monsoon had the decision reversed as Helmsley had used brass knucks. The Dumpster failed to last even two minutes in the match before being dumped out by the combined might of Diesel and Kama.
1997 – The Undertaker
The first time The Phenom entered the Royal Rumble at number 30 would not be the last. After eliminating long-time nemesis Mankind and Henry Godwinn, The Undertaker was caught up in the mess caused when Steve Austin re-entered the match after seemingly being eliminated. Austin dumped out Undertaker, Bret Hart, and Vader after both his feet had already hit the floor leading to February’s Final Four match.
1998 – Vader
Entering the Royal Rumble last is an advantage for anyone but when someone the size of Vader enters the bout last, it usually means trouble for everyone involved. By the beginning of 1998 however, the bloom was very much off the rose as far as Vader’s WWF career and The Mastodon had an unmemorable appearance in the match only eliminating The Honky Tonk Man before being thrown from the ring himself by The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust.
1999 – Chyna
The pioneering Ninth Wonder Of The World was the first woman to enter the men’s Royal Rumble match, and the first to do it at number 30. Chyna earned her entry number after winning a ‘Corporate Rumble’ featuring members of The Corporation and Chyna’s former group DX. Chyna only lasted 35 seconds in the match, enough time to eliminate Mark Henry before being thrown out by runner-up Stone Cold Steve Austin.
2000 – X-Pac
WWE Hall Of Famer Sean Waltman entered the third Royal Rumble of his career at number 30 after defeating Test for the plum draw on the previous edition of SmackDown. X-Pac lasted just over three and a half minutes, during which time he packed in eliminating Kane as well as being eliminated twice.
X-Pac was thrown out originally by The Rock but snuck back into the match as the officials were preoccupied with a ringside brawl. Despite his second chance, the former European Champion was once again eliminated – this time for good – by The Big Show.
2001 – Rikishi
Yet another WWE Hall Of Famer rounded out the field in 2001 as Rikishi claimed the 30th spot in his seventh Rumble match. The former Intercontinental Champion only lasted just over two and a half minutes in the match but claimed the major scalp of The Undertaker before he was eliminated by The Rock.
2002 – Booker T
The 2002 Royal Rumble was a star-studded affair with no less than 15 future WWE Hall Of Famers battling it out for a place in the main event of WrestleMania 18. Five-time WCW World Champion Booker T drew number 30 on this occasion and lasted around 30 seconds in his all too brief appearance. The 2-time WWE Hall Of Famer did accomplish the elimination of Rob Van Dam before going over the top rope at the hands of Stone Cold Steve Austin.
2003 – The Undertaker
The first Royal Rumble of the post-brand split era saw The Undertaker return to the number 30 spot as he represented SmackDown for another tilt at winning the match. Despite his late entry, The Deadman earned 5 eliminations – the second-highest amount for a single Superstar that year – as he threw out John Cena, Jamal, Kane, Maven, and Batista before being dispatched as the runner-up by Brock Lesnar.
2004 – Goldberg
WCW icon Goldberg made his debut appearance in the Rumble match in 2004 as the last entrant. Lasting just over two minutes, the future WWE Universal Champion eliminated Nunzio, Charlie Haas, and Billy Gunn in short order before things went south. WWE Champion Brock Lesnar had taken exception to an earlier confrontation with Goldberg and pounced, delivering an F-5 which led to Kurt Angle eliminating the WWE Hall Of Famer.
2005 – Ric Flair
The Nature Boy looked to recapture the glory of 1992 as he entered the 2005 Rumble match as the final entrant. Perhaps Flair’s Rumble appearance is most fondly remembered for a backstage meeting with Eddie Guerrero when Guerrero tried to lie, cheat, and steal Flair out of his plum draw. Flair teamed up with Evolution teammate Batista to eliminate Chris Benoit and also claimed the distinction of getting rid of Jonathan Coachman before Edge got the better of the 16-time champion of the world, sending him crashing to the floor.
2006 – Randy Orton
The Viper made his second Royal Rumble appearance as the final competitor in 2006’s match. Orton performed well for a 30th entrant, lasting almost a quarter of an hour as he eliminated Chris Benoit and Orlando Jordan. Randy Orton made it down to the final two before he was hurricanrana-d to the floor by Rey Mysterio.
2007 – The Undertaker
A hat trick of appearances for The Undertaker as the Royal Rumble’s final entrant and finally the number has its first winner. The Deadman lasted over 13 minutes, eliminating The Great Khali and MVP before the match came down to just himself and Shawn Michaels. The Undertaker managed to get the better of the two-time Royal Rumble winner to claim a World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 23.
2008 – John Cena
Possibly the most iconic 30th entrant in Royal Rumble history was John Cena making his shock return from injury in 2008. The Madison Square Garden crowd raised the roof when John Cena appeared as his fellow stars could only look on stunned in the ring. Cena claimed the eliminations of Chavo Guerrero, Mark Henry, and Carlito before finally winning the Rumble match for the first time in his fourth Rumble match with the elimination of Triple H.
2009 – The Big Show
The Big Show entered his 6th Rumble match in 2009 as the 30th entrant, claiming an impressive six eliminations in just under ten minutes. Big Show used his size to his advantage as he sent Rey Mysterio, Mike Knox, CM Punk, R-Truth, and incredibly WWE Hall of Famer ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan to the floor before he was eliminated by eventual winner Randy Orton. The former WWE Champion’s final elimination came after his own as he cost The Undertaker his chance to claim another Rumble victory.
2010 – Batista
The 2005 Royal Rumble winner took part in his fourth Rumble match in 2010 and for the first time took the number 30 spot. The Animal’s five-minute stay in the match saw him eliminate Shawn Michaels before being sent over the top rope by John Cena. This would mark Batista’s last Royal Rumble appearance until he returned to win the match in 2014.
2011 – Kane
The 2011 Rumble match saw an expanded field of 40 WWE Superstars compete for their shot in the main event of WrestleMania. Kane claimed the 40th and final spot in the match and his brief stay saw the Royal Rumble specialist eliminate Ezekiel Jackson before going over the top rope at the hands of Rey Mysterio.
2012 – The Big Show
Big Show returned to the number 30 spot in the 2012 Royal Rumble but again failed to capture victory from his privileged position. In less than two minutes Big Show managed to claim the eliminations of The Miz, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, and Dolph Ziggler before again crashing out of the match at the hands of 2009 winner Randy Orton.
2013 – Ryback
The Big Guy wanted the Royal Rumble to feed him victory when he entered last in the 2013 edition of the match. Ryback lasted over nine minutes and claimed an impressive 5 eliminations as he dispatched Sheamus, Damien Sandow, Sin Cara, The Miz, and Randy Orton as he made it to the runner-up spot. John Cena was the man who sent Ryback out of the match, claiming his second victory in the Rumble.
2014 – Rey Mysterio
Possibly the only time Rey Mysterio has been jeered as badly by a crowd as the Pittsburgh faithful in attendance were uninterested in anyone not named Daniel Bryan. Mysterio lasted just over two minutes before being sent back up the aisle again by Seth Rollins. A Rumble match memorable for all the wrong reasons saw Batista pick up his second Royal Rumble victory nine years after his first.
2015 – Dolph Ziggler
Another Royal Rumble match not fondly remembered by WWE fans saw Dolph Ziggler claim the last entry in his seventh Rumble match. Ziggler managed to eliminate Cesaro and Bad News Barrett before losing out to the collective force of the hated Authority duo of The Big Show and Kane. Roman Reigns claimed the victory much to the chagrin of the Philadelphia crowd – so much so they even booed The Rock who came out to save him from a post-match beatdown.
2016 – Triple H
The third man to win the Royal Rumble match from the number 30 position and the second man to win the WWE Championship in the Rumble match itself. The Game used his position in The Authority to give himself the best chance of taking the title from Roman Reigns.
Triple H eliminated Dolph Ziggler and Bray Wyatt before taking out Reigns, guaranteeing a new champion would be crowned. The match came down to Triple H and Dean Ambrose with The Lunatic Fringe losing out and The Cerebral Assassin claiming his ninth WWE Championship win.
2017 – Roman Reigns
The Big Dog made his fourth Royal Rumble appearance as the number 30 entrant in 2017 on the same night he unsuccessfully challenged Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal Championship. The 2015 winner claimed the eliminations of Chris Jericho, Bray Wyatt, and The Undertaker before finishing as runner-up to Randy Orton who claimed his second Royal Rumble victory.
2018 – Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler returned to the number 30 spot in 2018 as a surprise entrant just weeks after vacating the United States Championship and apparently walking out of WWE. Ziggler might have wished he had stayed away after lasting just two minutes and claiming a sole elimination of Goldust before being sent over the top rope by Finn Balor.
2018 – Trish Stratus
2018 saw the advent of the first women’s Royal Rumble Match and it was packed with stars of the day as well as several legends. Trish Stratus took her place in the match as the final entrant and claimed the individual eliminations of Natalya and long-time rival Mickie James before assisting several others in removing the dominant Nia Jax from the match.
The 7-time WWE Women’s Champion ultimately missed out on a victory in the match, being eliminated by Sasha Banks.
2018 – Greatest Royal Rumble – Chris Jericho
The special 50-man edition of the Royal Rumble held in Saudi Arabia may not have been a classic but it was memorable. Braun Strowman eliminated a record 13 fellow competitors including Dan Matha, Babatunde, and Shane McMahon on his way to winning the match. But the final entrant on the night and so far the only star to ever be a 50th entrant in a Royal Rumble match was Chris Jericho. Jericho eliminated Shelton Benjamin before falling victim to the unstoppable Strowman in what was Jericho’s final WWE appearance.
2019 – Carmella
The Princess Of Staten Island took her place as the 30th entrant in the second women’s Rumble match in 2019. Carmella made it to the final five of the match and claimed an elimination when she teamed up with Bayley to dispatch Alexa Bliss. Ultimately the former SmackDown Women’s Champion was eliminated herself by Charlotte Flair.
2019 – Nia Jax
Nia Jax dominated the 2018 women’s Royal Rumble and decided to try her luck in the men’s version in 2019. This gives Jax the distinction of being the only WWE Superstar to compete in two Rumble matches in one night after a twelve-minute showing in the women’s match as well.
The 30th entrant in the men’s match was supposed to be R-Truth but Jax attacked him on the way to the ring and claimed his spot for herself. Jax eliminated Mustafa Ali from the match before several male stars traded blows with her, Rey Mysterio being the one to ultimately eliminate Jax from proceedings.
2020 – Shayna Baszler
The 2020 women’s Rumble had a heavy NXT presence during the black and gold brand’s brief spell as a recognised third brand in WWE. Baszler incredibly didn’t last five minutes in the match but claimed an astonishing 8 eliminations. The Queen Of Spades dispatched Toni Storm, Naomi, Beth Phoenix, Xia Li, Zelina Vega, Shotzi Blackheart, Carmella, and Tegan Nox, before crashing out as runner up to Charlotte Flair.
2020 – Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins followed up his 2019 victory in the men’s Royal Rumble match with an appearance as the 30th entrant in 2020. Rollins failed to repeat his success despite assistance from his henchmen Akam and Rezar. The former WWE Champion eliminated Aleister Black, Kevin Owens, and Samoa Joe before himself being dumped over the top rope by eventual winner Drew McIntyre.
2021 – Natalya
The third-generation star entered her fourth Rumble match as the final competitor in 2021. A two-minute appearance for former WWE Divas Champion saw her claim the elimination of one-time tag team partner Lana before her challenge was ended by the night’s winner, Bianca Belair.
2021 – Braun Strowman
The Monster Among Men entered his sixth Royal Rumble bout as the final entrant after finding great success in 2018’s Greatest Royal Rumble bout. On this occasion, Strowman managed to eliminate AJ Styles, Sheamus, and Cesaro in just over 7 minutes before being sent packing by the combined forces of Edge, Christian, and Seth Rollins.
Who will be the number 30 entrant in 2022’s editions of the Royal Rumble? Find out on Peacock and the WWE Network on the 29th of January and follow all the action and build up here at Inside The Ropes.