JC’s Top Rope Report: The Top Ten Non-Rumble Matches In Royal Rumble History

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Everyone loves the Royal Rumble because of the Rumble match itself. For a lot of people, like myself, the Rumble is my favorite show of the year. And that thought is amplified this year with so much unpredictability going into the show. There really is no clear cut winner for the Rumble match, and the same could be said with the WWE Title match as well.

While the Rumble match is fun, there have also been some stellar singes/tag team matches over the year at the show. What are the Top 10? Well here are mine:

10. Royal Rumble 1993: Bret Hart (c) vs Razor Ramon For the WWF Championship

-I like this match because of the psychology both men use throughout. Razor goes after Bret’s ribs early after he throws Bret into the ringpost and doesn’t stop. Bret continues to work over the legs of Razor throughout to weaken him for the Sharpshooter. It’s a good wrestling match and continued Bret’s early reign as Champ where he felt pretty much everyone on the roster. Razor had been around for less than a year but was already built up as a credible threat to the Title. Nowadays we’re lucky if guys are still getting a relevant push after 6 months.

9. Royal Rumble 2004: Triple H (c) vs Shawn Michaels- Last Man Standing Match For the World Heavyweight Championship

-For me, this match was on its way to being something better until the finish. I just always prefer a decisive finish rather than a draw, leaving HHH as Champ. The selling and blood in the match make you feel like these two really are beating the hell out of each other. Obviously nowhere close to HBK’s return match, but still a brutal looking brawl. HBK is the ultimate underdog and the crowd is fully behind him here.

8. Royal Rumble 2014: Daniel Bryan vs Bray Wyatt

-Maybe I’m overrating this match because I was there to see it live. But I thought these two put on one hell of a performance. For many, including myself, I thought it was a coming out party for Bray and he was destined to become a main event player going forward. Bray’s Sister Abigail on Bryan into the barricade was a brutal looking spot. It was the only highlight of a very lackluster show.

7. Royal Rumble 2007: John Cena (c) vs Umaga- Last Man Standing Match For the WWE Championship

-Umaga was a unique character. Upon his debut, he came off as a legit monster who dominated anyone that stood before him. He had an undefeated streak going until he lost to Cena at New Year’s Revolution. Umaga and Cena had a rematch at the Royal Rumble. With Cena likely to come out on top, the WWE had the task of trying to make Umaga still look like a monster in defeat. And they did a pretty good job here. Umaga and Cena had a good brawl here, with Cena needing to choke out Umaga with the ring rope in order to come out on top. And he had to do it twice.

6. Royal Rumble 1991: The Rockers vs The Orient Express

-Man, I sure do miss the days of fun tag team openers like this. This was a match that got the crowd ready for the night. The action was non-stop, and it had a very unique finish. This is a match that would still be well received in its current form today. And in 1991, the WWF audience wasn’t use to seeing the quick, non-stop moves that these two teams busted out during this match.

5. Royal Rumble 2000: The Hardy Boyz vs The Dudley Boyz- Tables Match

-Some of these tag matches are forgotten about because of the classic TLC matches these two teams had along with Edge and Christian. But this one is a very entertaining brawl that set the tone for those matches going forward. The match only goes ten minutes but the action is non-stop throughout. Jeff lands a Swanton off the short MSG entrance way onto D-Von to end the match. Strong showing from both teams that would set up a great year long run for both of them.

4. Royal Rumble 1999: Mankind (c) vs The Rock- I Quit Match For the WWF Championship

-This is a painful match to watch, especially with everything we know today about concussions. You can’t help but cringe with every chair shot that The Rock delivers to Mankind. We know Mick Foley is more than willing to put his body on the line, but you can’t help but look away a few times. The two had an intense feud going into the match. The action was brutal, and I liked how Rock and Mankind added more to their refusals to quit rather than just saying “no.”

3. Royal Rumble 2001: Chris Benoit (c) vs Chris Jericho- Ladder Match For the Intercontinental Championship

-Hey, remember when there were well built and heated rivalries for the mid-card titles? These two had a pretty good rivalry going here and you could feel the hatred between both men during this match. One of the main reasons I like this match is because the slow climbing ladder spots are kept to a minimum. Both men use the ladder to brutalize each other. Benoit takes a nasty looking chair shot as he dives through the ropes. This is what ladder matches should be. Today’s ladder matches have too many slow climb spots and the spots can sometimes feel to set up. That wasn’t the case with this match.

2. Royal Rumble 2000: Triple H (c) vs Cactus Jack- Streetfight For the WWF Championship

-At this point the WWF had seen its fair share of hardcore wrestling action. But I don’t know if the WWF audience would have ever expected to see this. Cactus Jack and Triple H had a great brawl. HHH and Cactus Jack’s series of matches helped establish HHH as a main eventer who was here to stay. The gasps from the crowd when they saw the thumbtacks and barbed wire bat showed this was a match the audience wasn’t expecting. Then Cactus take a Pedigree onto the thumbtacks. After watching both this and the Rock/Mankind match from 99, it’s amazing that Mick Foley is still able to function right. Especially when you know he did a lot of this during his career.

1. Royal Rumble 2003: Kurt Angle (c) vs Chris Benoit For the WWE Championship

-From a pure wrestling perspective, this is easily the best match of the bunch. Counter after counter, and every one looking just as smooth as the next. Benoit goes to the Crossface and Angle counters perfectly into an Angle Slam. Multiple German suplex counters and a nice counter from the Crossface to the Ankle Lock to end the match. Just great wrestling. I know Chris Benoit is ruined for a lot of people, but if u can separate the man from the wrestler, this is truly a great wrestling match to watch. Of course, it had the honor of following a Triple H/Scott Steiner classic. They could have coasted for 20 minutes and still would have had the crowd on edge. But these two busted their asses and put on a classic. This one gets the #1 spot over Cactus Jack/HHH because I will take a classic wrestling match over a classic brawl almost any day. Both are great, but the wrestling match wins out for me.

So what’s your list? Feel free to leave it in the comments!

Until Next Time,

Justin C

Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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