The Royal Rumble match is truly one of WWE's greatest creations. What started out as a the brainchild of Pat Patterson as a novelty match has transformed over the years into the promotion's annual starting point on the road to their biggest show of the year, WrestleMania.
Every year 30 Superstars of past and present enter the ring for a shot at a world championship match at the next WrestleMania, ensuring them a spot at the top of the card. But despite the hundreds of wrestlers that have competed across the 30 Royal Rumble matches, only 23 can claim they've won the match even once. And given how small that number is, there's a boatload of talented WWE personalities who never won the Rumble, despite many of them making multiple appearances in the match.
The fact that the WWE Hall of Famer "Rowdy" Roddy Piper won only one title - the Intercontinental Championship - during his prime in WWF is one of the greatest missed opportunities in company history.
Whether he was a face or (more likely) a heel, Hot Rod always had an electrifying personality and intensity that carried over into every match and program he was in. Yet despite locking horns with some of the promotion's biggest stars like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Bret Hart, Piper was always kept at arm's length from the WWF Championship.
That, in turn, also meant he never won the Royal Rumble, despite competing in the match on three separate occasions.prevnext
The Macho Man's list of accomplishments in the WWF is staggering: two runs as WWF Champion, one run as Intercontinental Champion, tournament victories at both King of the Ring and the WrestleMania IV and an induction in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015.
Notice that nowhere on that list is any mention of the Royal Rumble.
Yes, despite being one of the top names in the company during the golden age of the Rock 'n Wrestling era, Savage was never the last man standing in any of his Royal Rumble appearances.prevnext
Now this one might seem a little unfair give how Goldberg was primarily a WCW guy and only made two appearances in the Rumble. But when you think back to the 2004 and 2017 Rumbles, Goldberg was one of the favorites to win on both occasions given how close he was to the world championship picture.
Back in 2004 he was already locked into a feud with then-WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, and a Rumble win could have made their eventual match at WrestleMania XX be for a championship (and maybe even convince one of them not to leave the company afterwards). Then this past year Goldberg was once again feuding with Lesnar, but was also interested in ripping the WWE Universal Championship away from Kevin Owens.
Both times WWE had the opportunity to make Goldberg the Rumble winner, but both times they opted not to pull the trigger.prevnext
The 2018 version of Kane is a tired, old man who'd rather be running for political office. But wind the clocks back 20 years and Kane was one of the most dangerous and unstoppable forces in the World Wrestling Federation. Yet despite being in or around the main event scene for the first few years of his WWF run, the Big Red Machine never got his Rumble win.
This becomes even more mind-blowing when you look at some of the records the "Devil's Favorite Demon" holds. For 13 years he held the record for most eliminations in a single Rumble, tossing out 11 men back in 2001 (Roman Reigns broke the record with 12 in 2014). He holds the records for most cumulative eliminations at 44, the most Royal Rumble appearances (19) and is fourth all-time in minutes spent in the Rumble at three hours, 38 minutes at 46 seconds.
Yet despite his name being all over the record books, somebody always found a way to get the best of Kane during the match.prevnext
Speaking of guys with impressive records, Chris Jericho has established himself as the perennial "Ironman" of the Rumble. Jericho has been in the match 10 times and holds the record for most cumulative time spent in the Rumble at four hours and 56 minutes. For context, the next person on that list is Triple H at just four hours.
He also came within minutes of breaking the record for longest amount of time spent in a single Rumble match this past year when he stuck around for one hour and 13 seconds. The performance ranks fifth on the all-time leader board, but he was only two minutes shy of breaking Rey Mysterio's all-time record of one hour, two minutes and 12 seconds.prevnext
Having Big Show be on this list is ironic for a couple of reasons.
For starters, he's the only man on the list who technically won a Rumble match. Back in 2000 he was one of the final two along with The Rock, and technically won the match when he powerslamed the future Hollywood star over the top rope. Now the storyline of the match was that the Rock managed to hold onto the ropes as both he and Show went over. But no amount of clever camera angles could hide the fact that Rock's feet hit the floor first despite the referees ruling. The whole debacle led to both men being in the four-way main event at WrestleMania 2000.
But there's also the matter of how WWE promoted the Big Show. For the last few years of his WWE run, both he and Michael Cole would claim that nobody would be able to eliminate him given that he's seven feet tall and (roughly) 500 pounds. That would make sense, unless you had ever watched a Rumble match involving Big Show. In which case you'd seen him be eliminated plenty of times. It always felt like an insult to the intelligence of fans by saying this, and it's made all the more humorous when you realize Show never won in his 12 Rumble appearances.prevnext
But for as many accomplishments as the WWE Hall of Famer and Olympic Gold Medalist has, winning the Rumble isn't one of them.
Though to Angle's credit, he was still involved in a pair of WrestleMania main events with Rumble winners, as he defended the WWE Championship against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XIX and then again against Rumble winner Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton in a Triple Threat Match at WrestleMania 22.prevnext
CM Punk had one consistent issue with the WWE throughout his tenure with the company — he never made it to the main event of WrestleMania.
Part of what played into that was Punk was never booked to win the Royal Rumble. Though if it's any conciliation, he was preoccupied during two of those Rumbles as the defending WWE Champion, one of which was a match against The Rock that ended his 434-day run with the title.
Punk hasn't been with the WWE since 2014 and by all accounts is still plugging away at his UFC career. But one has to wonder how things would've turned out if WWE had given Punk what he always wanted and put him in the WrestleMaina main event via a win at the Rumble.prevnext
That being said it is surprising to learn that Goldust has been in the Rumble 11 times, tying himself with The Undertaker for fourth most appearances in the match. That means if he shows up at Sunday's Rumble, he'll move into a tie for second place alongside Shawn Michaels and Big Show.
Despite his eternal position as a midcarder, Goldust is still bonafide future WWE Hall of Famer.prevnext
It only feels right to close out this list with somebody from the current WWE roster. And while choosing somebody like Seth Rollins or Finn Balor would make sense, most of the current top guys that haven't won the Rumble haven't actually been in the match more than a handful of times.
But there's one man who has been in the match a whopping 10 times, and despite having one of the shortest Rumble appearances every at seven seconds back in 2007, it's still entirely possible that he could end his career with a Rumble win at some point. That man is none other than The Miz.
The reigning Intercontinental Champion has vastly improved since his run as WWE Champion back in 2011, and he doesn't seem to be breaking his stride anytime soon. It probably won't be this year, but don't be surprised if one of these years the Miz is left standing alone in the ring and pointing at the giant WrestleMania sign to close out the show.prev