Royal Rumble (2017) logo
Royal Rumble
BrandsRaw (2009–2011, 2017–present)
SmackDown (2009–2011, 2017–present)
ECW (2007–2010)
First EventRoyal Rumble (1988)
Signature match typesRoyal Rumble match

Royal Rumble is the professional wrestling event produced by the WWE, a Connecticut–based promotion, and broadcast live and available through pay-per-view and the WWE Network. The event was created in 1988 with the inaugural event held on January 24, 1988 at the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario. The event however was not a pay-per-view but was originally shown as a television special on USA Network. The following year's event was the first Royal Rumble pay-per-view event. The first Royal Rumble match was won by Jim Duggan. The event's main feature is a Battle Royal-type match, entitled the Royal Rumble. The pay-per-view is a part of WWE's "Big Four", along with WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series. The Royal Rumble has been classified as being one of WWE's most popular pay-per-view events.



The match is based on the traditional battle royal match, in which 30 participants, aim at eliminating their competitors by tossing them over the top rope, with both feet touching the floor. The winner of the event is the last participant remaining after all others have been eliminated. The inaugural match in 1988 featured 20 entrants. At the 2011 Royal Rumble, for the first time 40 entrants were scheduled to compete; the most in the history of the event.

The Royal Rumble differs from a battle royal as the contestants do not enter the ring at the same time but instead are assigned entry numbers, usually via lottery, although they can win guaranteed, desirable spots via a number of other means, the most common being winning a match. This usually takes place before the Rumble begins. The match begins with the two participants who have drawn entry numbers one and two, with the remaining competitors entering the ring at regular timed intervals, either ninety seconds or two minutes, according to their entry number. These peculiarities are credited to Pat Patterson.

The match has no stipulations or rules other than that elimination must occur by a participant being placed over the top rope and both feet touching the floor. If they have any other part of the body touching they are out as well. A wrestler who exits the ring without going over the top rope is not eliminated from the contest. For example, during the 1999 Rumble match, both Vince McMahon and Steve Austin left the ring, only to return later in the match. Elimination is also valid if brought about by an external force (such as a non-participant or a previously eliminated participant). For instance, in 2006, Shawn Michaels was eliminated from the match by Shane McMahon, who was never admitted in the match and simply was interfering to eliminate Michaels. It also happened in the 1998 match match when Triple H and Chyna worked together to eliminate Owen Hart. In the 1994 match, the last two participants Bret Hart and Lex Luger were declared co-winners when it was decided that both of their feet touched the floor at exactly the same time. A similar situation occurred in the 2005 match, however the match was restarted after Batista and John Cena eliminated each other at the same time. Batista eliminated Cena afterwards to win the match. Though various referees are charged with observing the match, some eliminations have remained unnoticed with the eliminated participant sneaking back into the ring to continue. For example, Stone Cold Steve Austin was eliminated this way during the 1997 event but re-entered and eventually won the match.

The reward for the 1992 Royal Rumble was the WWF Championship. The tradition of granting a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania started in 1993. Despite being introduced in late 2002, it was not until 2004 that a winner had the option to choose a match for the World Heavyweight Championship instead of the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. With the revival of the ECW World Championship in mid-2006, the title became a third option for the winner to choose since the 2007 event. From 2001 to 2007, the Royal Rumble match winner had gone on to win a World Championship title at WrestleMania. After winning the 2008 match, John Cena became the first winner to use his championship opportunity at an event (No Way Out 2008) other than WrestleMania. He also became the first man since 2000 to win the Royal Rumble match but fail to win the title in his championship opportunity as a result.

The Rumble winner may also put his championship opportunity on the line in a match, if he chooses. This was first done in 1999, when Stone Cold Steve Austin offered to forfeit his title opportunity to the Big Boss Man, who won third place in the Rumble (Austin was actually the runner-up in that rumble, but the winner - Vince McMahon himself - had voluntarily given up his title opportunity) if Vince McMahon could beat him in a cage match at St. Valentine's Day Massacre: In Your House, which Austin would go on to win. The second time that this happened was in 2006, when Randy Orton goaded Rey Mysterio into putting his main event spot at WrestleMania 22 on the line at No Way Out, which Orton would go on to win. Mysterio was eventually reinserted into the main event at WrestleMania and went on to win the World Championship match.


The Royal Rumble is a pay-per-view consisting of the Royal Rumble match, championship matches, and various other matches. The first Royal Rumble took place on January 24, 1988 and was broadcast live on the USA Network. The following year, the event was rebranded as a pay-per-view. It is part of WWE's "classic four" pay-per-views, along with WrestleMania, Survivor Series, and SummerSlam. The 2008 Royal Rumble was the first WWE pay-per-view to be available in high-definition.

The Royal Rumble match is usually located at the top of the card, though there have been exceptions such as the 1996, 1997, 1998, 2006, and 2013 events.

The first Rumble match featured only twenty men, It lasted approximately thirty-three minutes of the two-hour broadcast. The modern Rumble matches are much longer, with the longest match, at the Royal Rumble 2011, lasting over one hour and nine minutes of an approximately three-hour pay-per-view(with 40 entrants).

With the brand extension introduced in mid-2002, the 30 entrants from 2003 to 2006 consisted of 15 wrestlers from both the Raw and SmackDown brands. At first, the winner of the match received a shot at their brand's champion. Starting in 2004, the Rumble winner had the option of challenging any brand's champion. For instance, Chris Benoit switched brands in 2004 and won the World Heavyweight Championship. From 2007 to 2010, participants from the ECW brand competed along with the Raw and SmackDown brands, while the ECW World Championship became available for the winner to challenge for regardless of their designated brand. During ECW's participation, the entries for each brand were not evenly divided.

Royal Rumble match

Royal Rumble winners
Year Winner and Entry # Runner-Up
1988 Jim Duggan 13 One Man Gang
1989 Big John Studd 27 Ted Dibiase
1990 Hulk Hogan 25 Mr. Perfect
1991 Hulk Hogan 24 Earthquake
1992 Ric Flair 3 Sycho Sid
1993 Yokozuna 27 Randy Savage


Bret Hart 27 n/a
Lex Luger 23 n/a
1995 Shawn Michaels 1 Davey Boy Smith
1996 Shawn Michaels 18 Diesel
1997 Steve Austin 5 Bret Hart
1998 Steve Austin 24 The Rock
1999 Vince McMahon 2 Steve Austin
2000 The Rock 24 Big Show
2001 Steve Austin 27 Kane
2002 Triple H 22 Kurt Angle
2003 Brock Lesnar 29 The Undertaker
2004 Chris Benoit 1 Big Show
2005 Batista 28 John Cena
2006 Rey Mysterio 2 Randy Orton
2007 The Undertaker 30 Shawn Michaels
2008 John Cena 30 Triple H
2009 Randy Orton 8 Triple H
2010 Edge 29 John Cena
2011 Alberto Del Rio 38 Santino Marella
2012 Sheamus 22 Chris Jericho
2013 John Cena 19 Ryback
2014 Batista 28 Roman Reigns
2015 Roman Reigns 19 Rusev
2016 Triple H 30 Dean Ambrose
2017 Randy Orton 23 Roman Reigns
2018 Shinsuke Nakamura 14 Roman Reigns
Asuka 25 Nikki Bella
2019 Seth Rollins 10 Braun Strowman
Becky Lynch 27 Charlotte Flair

The first Royal Rumble took place on January 24, 1988 in Hamilton, Ontario. Jim Duggan won, and the first pay-per-view Rumble occurred a year later. Pat Patterson has been credited with "inventing" the match.


The Royal Rumble is comprised of 30 men; beginning with two men in the ring, and at regular timed intervals (usually, but not always, every 90 seconds), one of the remaining 28 wrestlers enters the ring. Participants must eliminate all other opponents and the winner of the event is the last wrestler remaining after all others have been eliminated. Referees are situated at each side of the ring to validate eliminations.

A wrestler is eliminated when leaving the ring over the top rope, and then having both feet touch the floor (although this latter specification was not specified until the 1995 Royal Rumble, where the "both feet" stipulation played a crucial role in the final moments of the match). Going out between the second and third rope or under the bottom rope is not a valid elimination. A referee must witness an elimination in order for it to be valid (in 2000, X-Pac was eliminated by The Rock but since it was not seen by any of the referees, X-Pac re-entered the ring and continued the match until he was officially eliminated by The Big Show).

An elimination can also occur when a wrestler is thrown off the top rope by a non-competing opponent, or by one who had already been eliminated, or when the participant deliberately jumps over the top rope, outside the ring. In other words, if a wrestler goes over the top rope, regardless how it happened, that wrestler is out. Other wrestlers can be de facto eliminated due to interference preventing the wrestler from entering the ring (examples being Spike Dudley in 2004 and Scotty 2 Hotty in 2005).

Rewards for winning

Since the 1993 event, the winner has officially been given the chance to challenge the WWE Champion at WrestleMania. The stipulation stemmed from 1992, when the Royal Rumble decided who would win the then-vacant WWF Championship (Ric Flair won the match).

With the introduction of the brand extension and separate brand championships in 2002, the possibility of a World Heavyweight Championship shot instead of the WWE Championship was added to the reward in 2003's match. Due to the revival of the ECW World Championship as a brand championship in mid-2006, the 2007 event added this championship to the winning stipulation.

This championship match is often the last event on the WrestleMania card according to principles in the WWE that states that "the Royal Rumble winner gets a first-class ticket to WrestleMania", which means that the Royal Rumble winner gets to be in the 'first class' top spot in the main event at WrestleMania. In some cases, this can be part of a stipulation for a match between the Rumble and WrestleMania, where the winner may lose his WrestleMania spot by losing another match.

Brand extension

With the brand extension introduced in mid-2002, the 30 entrants from 2003 to 2006 consisted of 15 wrestlers from the RAW brand and 15 from the SmackDown! brand. This makes it therefore, one of the few pay-per-view events (and certain combined non-televised shows held around WrestleMania time) with inter-brand competition on a regular basis. The official declaration for the first post-brand extension event in 2003, was that the Rumble winner faced their brand's champion at WrestleMania, but starting in 2004, due to a supposed "loophole" in the Rumble's stipulations, the Rumble winner has the option of challenging either brand's champion (Chris Benoit switched brands in 2004 and won the World Heavyweight Championship, which was the basis for a storyline the following year when Batista won the Rumble, but ultimately remained on RAW).

The 2007 Royal Rumble marked the first year participants from the 2006-established ECW brand competed along with the RAW and SmackDown! brands. Unlike previous years where each brand got an even split of wrestlers, the 2007 Rumble featured 13 wrestlers from RAW, 10 from SmackDown! and 7 from ECW. The winner of the Royal Rumble now also has the option to challenge for the ECW World Championship.

Royal Rumble dates and venues

Event Date City Venue
Royal Rumble (1988) January 24, 1988 Hamilton, Ontario Copps Coliseum
Royal Rumble (1989) January 15, 1989 Houston, Texas The Summit
Royal Rumble (1990) January 21, 1990 Orlando, Florida Orlando Arena
Royal Rumble (1991) January 19, 1991 Miami, Florida Miami Arena
Royal Rumble (1992) January 19, 1992 Albany, New York Knickerbocker Arena
Royal Rumble (1993) January 24, 1993 Sacramento, California ARCO Arena
Royal Rumble (1994) January 22, 1994 Providence, Rhode Island Providence Civic Center
Royal Rumble (1995) January 22, 1995 Tampa, Florida USF Sun Dome
Royal Rumble (1996) January 21, 1996 Fresno, California Selland Arena
Royal Rumble (1997) January 19, 1997 San Antonio, Texas Alamodome
Royal Rumble (1998) January 18, 1998 San Jose, California San Jose Arena
Royal Rumble (1999) January 24, 1999 Anaheim, California Arrowhead Pond
Royal Rumble (2000) January 23, 2000 New York, New York Madison Square Garden
Royal Rumble (2001) January 21, 2001 New Orleans, Louisiana New Orleans Arena
Royal Rumble (2002) January 20, 2002 Atlanta, Georgia Philips Arena
Royal Rumble (2003) January 19, 2003 Boston, Massachusetts Fleet Center
Royal Rumble (2004) January 25, 2004 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wachovia Center
Royal Rumble (2005) January 30, 2005 Fresno, California Save Mart Center
Royal Rumble (2006) January 29, 2006 Miami, Florida American Airlines Arena
Royal Rumble (2007) January 28, 2007 San Antonio, Texas AT&T Center
Royal Rumble (2008) January 27, 2008 New York, New York Madison Square Garden
Royal Rumble (2009) January 25, 2009 Detroit, Michigan Joe Louis Arena
Royal Rumble (2010) January 31, 2010 Atlanta, Georgia Philips Arena
Royal Rumble (2011) January 30, 2011 Boston, Massachusetts TD Garden
Royal Rumble (2012) January 29, 2012 St. Louis, Missouri Scottrade Center
Royal Rumble (2013) January 27, 2013 Phoenix, Arizona US Airways Center
Royal Rumble (2014) January 26, 2014 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania CONSOL Energy Center
Royal Rumble (2015) January 25, 2015 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wells Fargo Center
Royal Rumble (2016) January 24, 2016 Orlando, Florida Amway Center
Royal Rumble (2017) January 29, 2017 San Antonio, Texas Alamodome
Royal Rumble (2018) January 28, 2018 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wells Fargo Center
Royal Rumble (2019) January 27, 2019 Phoenix, Arizona Chase Field

Royal Rumble to WrestleMania Story


Year Winner and Entry # Following WrestleMania Opponent at WrestleMania Winner Championship Won
1988 Jim Duggan 13 WrestleMania IV N/A N/A N/A
1989 Big John Studd 27 WrestleMania V N/A N/A N/A
1990 Hulk Hogan 25 WrestleMania VI N/A N/A N/A
1991 Hulk Hogan 24 WrestleMania VII Sgt. Slaughter Hulk Hogan WWF Championship
1992 Ric Flair 3 WrestleMania VIII N/A N/A N/A
1993 Yokozuna 27 WrestleMania IX Bret Hart Yokozuna WWF Championship


Bret Hart 27 WrestleMania X Yokozuna Bret Hart WWF Championship
Lex Luger 23 WrestleMania X Yokozuna Yokozuna N/A
1995 Shawn Michaels 1 WrestleMania XI Diesel Diesel N/A
1996 Shawn Michaels 18 WrestleMania XII Bret Hart Shawn Michaels WWF Championship
1997 Steve Austin 5 WrestleMania XIII N/A N/A N/A
1998 Steve Austin 24 WrestleMania XIV Shawn Michaels Steve Austin WWF Championship
1999 Vince McMahon 2 WrestleMania XV N/A N/A N/A
2000 The Rock 24 WrestleMania XVI Triple H (c), Mick Foley & The Big Show Triple H N/A
2001 Steve Austin 27 WrestleMania XVII The Rock Steve Austin WWF Championship
2002 Triple H 22 WrestleMania XVIII Chris Jericho Triple H WWF Undisputed Championship
2003 Brock Lesnar 29 WrestleMania XIX Kurt Angle Brock Lesnar WWE Championship
2004 Chris Benoit 1 WrestleMania XX Triple H (c) & Shawn Michaels Chris Benoit World Heavyweight Championship
2005 Batista 28 WrestleMania XXI Triple H Batista World Heavyweight Championship
2006 Rey Mysterio 2 WrestleMania XX Rey Mysterio (c) & Randy Orton Rey Mysterio World Heavyweight Championship
2007 The Undertaker 30 WrestleMania XXIII Batista The Undertaker World Heavyweight Championship
2008 John Cena 30 WrestleMania XXIV Randy Orton (c) & Triple H Randy Orton N/A
2009 Randy Orton 8 WrestleMania XXV Triple H Triple H N/A
2010 Edge 29 WrestleMania XXVI Chris Jericho Chris Jericho N/A
2011 Alberto Del Rio 38 WrestleMania XXVII Edge Edge N/A
2012 Sheamus 22 WrestleMania XXVIII Daniel Bryan Sheamus World Heavyweight Championship
2013 John Cena 19 WrestleMania 29 The Rock John Cena WWE Championship
2014 Batista 28 WrestleMania XXX Daniel Bryan & Randy Orton (c) Daniel Bryan WWE World Heavyweight Championship
2015 Roman Reigns 19 WrestleMania 31 Brock Lesnar Seth Rollins WWE World Heavyweight Championship
2016 Triple H 30 WrestleMania 32 Triple H Roman Reigns WWE World Heavyweight Championship
2017 Randy Orton 23 WrestleMania 33 Bray Wyatt Randy Orton WWE Championship
2018 Shinsuke Nakamura 14 WrestleMania 34 AJ Styles AJ Styles WWE Championship
2019 Seth Rollins 10 WrestleMania 35 Brock Lesnar WWE Universal Championship


Year Winner and Entry # Following WrestleMania Opponent at WrestleMania Winner Championship Won
2018 Asuka 25 WrestleMania 34 Charlotte Flair Charlotte Flair WWE SmackDown Women's Championship
2019 Becky Lynch 28 WrestleMania 35 Ronda Rousey WWE Raw Women's Championship

Royal Rumble Banners

External links

World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-view events

Royal RumbleElimination ChamberFastlaneWrestleManiaBacklashMoney in the BankExtreme RulesSummerSlamHell in a CellWWE Super Show-DownEvolutionSurvivor SeriesTLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs

Former pay-per-view events
The Wrestling Classic (1985)This Tuesday in Texas (1991)King of the Ring (1993–2002)In Your House (1995–1999)Bad Blood (1997–2004)No Way Out (1998–2009, 2012)Unforgiven (1998–2009)Over The Edge (1998–1999)Fully Loaded (1998–2000)Judgment Day (1998–2009)Armageddon (1999–2008)InVasion (2001)Vengeance (2001–2007, 2011)Cyber Sunday (2004–2008)New Year's Revolution (2005–2007)December to Dismember (2006)Breaking Point (2009)Bragging Rights (2009–2010)Fatal 4-Way (2010)Capitol Punishment (2011)Night of Champions (2008–2015)Over the Limit (2010–2012)Roadblock (2016)Payback (2013–2017)Battleground (2013–2017)Great Balls of Fire (2017)No Mercy (1999–2008, 2016–2017)Clash of Champions (2016–2017)
Former International pay-per-view events
One Night Only (1997)Mayhem in Manchester (1998)Capital Carnage (1998)No Mercy (UK) (1999) • Rebellion (1999–2002)Insurrextion (2000–2003)Global Warning (2002)Greatest Royal Rumble (2018)Crown Jewel (2018)