The Royal Rumble is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the year. Ever since its inception, the Rumble event has garnered great interest due to its unpredictable nature and format.
Royal Rumble events rarely disappoint, and are usually among the best PPVs of the year. The Royal Rumble match-ups in recent years have delivered greatly, and have had the right mix of surprises and star power.
Royal Rumble has had its fair share of surprising winners in the past. Not all the winners have gone on to become major stars, and have disappointed tremendously. Past winners like Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Steve Austin, etc, have become icons of the industry.
We look at five winners of the mega match-up, who failed to break the glass ceiling, and were not successful.
#5 Roman Reigns - 2015
Roman Reigns has done it all in WWE. He defeated the Undertaker at WrestleMania, replaced John Cena as the "guy", main-evented four WrestleMania events in a row, and the list goes on.
Reigns however won the 2015 Royal Rumble, which led to a massive fan backlash. Reigns eliminating Big Show and Kane (two superstars way past their prime) to win the Rumble was a terrible decision which ultimately led to a negative reaction from the Philadelphia crowd.
His win resulted in the Rock being booed for the first time in over 15 years, and started the long passage of hatred towards Reigns.
Reigns has dominated every Rumble he has been in, and finished runner-up on three separate occasions. He eliminated a record number of superstars in 2014, won the Rumble in 2015, defended his World Championship in 2016, and finished second in both 2017 and 2018.
Reigns is by no means an unsuccessful WWE Superstar, but his victory at the Rumble was a huge blunder.
#4 Alberto Del Rio - 2011
WWE's search for superstars who could help them break into the Hispanic market led them to push Alberto Del Rio in 2011. Del Rio was less than a year into his WWE career, and was given a major push heading to WrestleMania 27.
Alberto Del Rio won the Rumble in 2011, which was a 40 man affair for the first time ever. Alberto Del Rio never made it big in WWE after his Rumble victory, and faded into obscurity in later years.
Del Rio's win over several other deserving superstars was a terrible booking decision by WWE, which ultimately led to the downfall of the Mexican superstar.
Unlike Roman Reigns, Del Rio never found great success in WWE once the brand split ended in 2011, and was released in 2017 after a disappointing stint in the League of Nations.
#3 Randy Orton - 2009, 2017
Royal Rumbles are known for their unpredictability factor and surprises. The 2009 Rumble saw Randy Orton go into the match-up as heavy favourite alongside his Legacy team-mates, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase.
Randy Orton went on to dominate the Rumble match alongside his proteges, and ultimately won the match-up, which did not come as a major shocker. Orton's victory was unwarranted, and did not have much impact.
Randy Orton went on to face his Evolution partner, Triple H, at WrestleMania 25. Their match was lacklustre, and fell flat alongside several great matches at the event.
Randy Orton won the Rumble in 2017, and once again disappointed in his Mania match against Bray Wyatt. Both of Orton's victories were unnecessary and unwarranted.
Orton is one of the legendary superstars in WWE today, but his Rumble victories never made any sense to the WWE Universe.
#2 Batista - 2014
Batista's 2014 win was his second at the Rumble, similar to Randy Orton. However, Batista's victory in 2005 was an iconic moment, and resulted in a major push for the Animal.
Batista returning in 2014 to win the Rumble was a decision which did not go down well with the WWE Universe. Fans turned on him as soon as they could, and WWE was forced to make several changes to the WrestleMania line-up.
Daniel Bryan's YES Movement was at the peak of its popularity during this time. Fans wanted Bryan to win the Rumble and face Randy Orton at WrestleMania. Instead, they were given a returning Batista, who's victory made little sense in the grand scheme of things.
CM Punk walked out of WWE just 24 hours after Batista's victory at Rumble. A part-timer winning the Rumble could've contributed to Punk's decision.
#1 Vince McMahon - 1999
WWE was highly successful during the time Vince McMahon won the Rumble, and hence his victory is not criticised as much as Reigns', Batista's, or Del Rio's. WWE was winning the Monday Night War against WCW, and shortly afterwards, WCW was put out of business.
However, Vince McMahon winning the Rumble is one of the stupidest decisions made in history. Royal Rumble has a prestige and novelty factor about it, which is lost when non-wrestlers win the whole thing!
Vince McMahon is probably one of the greatest characters to have graced our televisions. He led WWE to victory in Monday Night Wars. However, his Rumble victory was a terrible decision at the time, and should have never happened in the first place.
Shane McMahon winning the "Best in the World" trophy is similar to his dad's Rumble victory 20 years ago.