Ranking The Royal Rumble Winners – Part 20
It’s Royal Rumble season, which means it’s almost WrestleMania season. Thanks to the WWE Network, you can go back and watch all the old Royal Rumble pay per views and matches, and in that spirit, I decided to rank the winners. I’ll be ranking the winners every day until the we reach #1, and if you’re interested in checking out who’s already on the list, use the tricky magnifying glass at the top of the screen and search ‘Royal Rumble winners’ or scroll through the blog. We’re officially into the top 3, so now is the time to check out the rest of the list. Onto the rankings!
3. Stone Cold Steve Austin – 1997. 1998 & 2001 Royal Rumbles
As the only three time Royal Rumble winner & arguably the most popular superstar in the history of wrestling, Stone Cold Steve Austin WAS the Attitude Era. I always preferred him over The Rock, because his promos and his in ring work always felt real, as opposed to The Rock’s mostly goofy demeanor. When Stone Cold showed up, beers were going to get drank and somebody was getting their ass whooped, and he always delivered. The ’97 Rumble was Austin’s most impressive outing from a longevity standpoint. He entered at #5 and lasted over 45 minutes, eliminating 10 participants along the way. Although he was eliminated by Bret Hart during the match, the refs were distracted and Austin re entered the match, eventually eliminating Hart and setting up their epic match at WrestleMania 13. The ’98 Rumble was the most entertaining of Austin’s wins, as entered from behind the announce table to attack all the superstars in the ring. In the weeks and months leading up to the Rumble, Austin was a one man wrecking crew, stunning everyone in his path. That gave the rattlesnake a target on his back, but he outsmarted them all, eliminating 7 more Rumble participants on his way to his second straight Rumble win. This win would set up his match with HBK at WrestleMania 14, where Austin would win his first WWF Championship. The 2001 Rumble is actually more known for Kane’s monster performance. Kane lasted almost 54 minutes in the Rumble match, eliminating a then record 11 participants, but thanks to steel chair, he was eliminated by Stone Cold who secured his record third Rumble win. This win led to Rock vs. Austin as the main event of WrestleMania 17, and it’s something I’m still not happy talking about. Stone Cold did the unthinkable: joined Vince McMahon, and with Vince’s help, won the WWF Championship from The Rock
The Good/Not So Good: Austin is a legend, a hall of famer and hands down of the coolest and most important wrestlers in the history of wrestling. When the glass broke, you knew you were in for a show, and someone was about to get the crap kicked out of them. He is still as beloved today as he was in his heyday, and fans are always clamoring for one match from the Texas Rattlesnake. With WrestleMania 32 recently announced to take place in Austin’s home state of Texas, fans might finally get their wish. Due to numerous injuries, including a severe neck injury, Austin’s in ring career was far too short. He had a great run in WCW as part of the Dangerous Alliance and the Hollywood Blondes with Brian Pillman, but he will always be known as Stone Cold Steve Austin to my generation of fans. The only thing keeping Austin from the #2 or #1 spot on this list is longevity, and that’s exactly what we’re going to get in the final two.