The annual edition of the WWE Royal Rumble is right around the corner, and fans couldn’t be more excited.
The traditional match-up is one of the most popular in the entire sport. Thirty wrestlers enter the ring and compete for the main-event spot at Wrestlemania by launching each other over the top rope until there’s only one man left standing.
The PPV event provides fans with shocking moments every single year. But what wrestling enthusiasts love most is guessing who the next entrant is going to be.
New superstars enter the match at regular intervals, and as the ten-second countdown begins, fans sit on the edge of their seats in the hope that one of their hero’s music will blast out of the speakers.
So who has the promotion selected to be this year’s surprise entrant?
On New Years Day, Jackass star Johnny Knoxville announced that he would participate in the historic event.
He told his 3.5 million followers: “I want to do something big. That’s right. I’m going to make a run for the Rumble. Thirty men enter, one guy is left standing, and that’s me. I’ve seen the current list of WWE superstars, and I’m not impressed.”
“They don’t have anyone big enough to throw me over the top rope. Is ‘Little E’ or ‘Roman Ruins’ going to do it? Ha! Vince McMahon, you’ve been good to us, but I hope you’re auditioning bigger talent for the 2022 Royal Rumble because I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
There’s no doubt that fans will be delighted to hear this news. But throughout the years, there’s been plenty of big shocks. So to celebrate, we’re counting the greatest ever surprise entrances at the WWE Royal Rumble.
5. ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper – 2008
In 2006, The Canadian received a diagnosis for Hodgkins Lymphoma, saddening wrestling fans worldwide. But by 2008, he had recovered and decided to make a miraculous comeback at The Rumble. He entered at number 20 and attacked long-term rival Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka to revitalise their 1984 feud.
However, although their battle in the ring was nostalgic for the fans, the two men forgot about the other threats in the ring. Consequently, they were ambushed and eliminated by ‘The Big Red Machine’, Kane.
4. Beth Pheonix – 2010
‘The Glamazon’ became only the second-ever woman to compete at the Rumble when she surprisingly entered the match at number six. But Pheonix wasn’t expected to last very long when she went head-to-head with 7 ft 1 giant, The Great Khali.
However, she manipulated the former World Champion into letting his guard down by planting a huge smooch on his lips. He unsurprisingly fell for the bait, and in an unbelievable turn of events, Pheonix eliminated him from the match.
Although CM Punk dispatched her shortly after, this moment is still one of the best in the event’s history.
3. The Three Faces of Foley – 1998
The Hardcore legend has plenty of fantastic personas. But in 1998, he took the term ‘alter ego’ to a whole new level. His music played three times as he entered the match as ‘Cactus Jack’, ‘Dude Love’ and ‘Mankind’.
Although this was a fantastic treat for the fans, it didn’t work out too well for Foley. Even with a triad of opportunities, the superstar still couldn’t get the job done. He was eliminated by Chainsaw Charlie, Goldust and Farooq, respectively. Nonetheless, his crazy antics have still gone down in wrestling folklore.
2. John Cena – 2008
The sixteen-time WWE Champion was in the process of one of the longest world title reigns in the history of the promotion. But on October 1, it came to an end when he tore a pectoral muscle in a fearsome contest with Mr Kennedy.
His injuries were expected to take a year to heal. So when ‘The Time is Now’ ricocheted around Madison Square Garden just four short months later, the packed arena couldn’t contain their excitement. They screamed and shouted in disbelief as the icon sprinted towards the ring, ready to do the business.
In one of the greatest WWE Royal Rumble performances of all time, he eliminated Carlito, Mark Henry, Chavo Guerrero and Triple H en route to winning the event.
1. Edge – 2020
In 2011, ‘The Rated R Superstar’ was told by doctors that he’d never wrestle again due to several neck injuries. He announced the heartbreaking news during a speech on an April edition of Raw, which devastated fans.
His injuries were too severe to continue a wrestling career. So when he entered the Rumble nine years later, the WWE Universe couldn’t believe their eyes.
Edge may have been older, but his desire to compete was as big as ever. He disposed of AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Randy Orton before Roman Reigns eliminated him from the contest.
Although he didn’t win the match, his return was still the most impressive in WWE history. He was told he’d never do what he loves again. But he didn’t listen. Edge never stopped believing in himself. It may have taken nearly a decade, but it paid off in the end. A year later, he appeared in the Rumble again and won it.
When is the 2022 Royal Rumble on?
This year’s Royal Rumble takes place on January 29, 2022. It will take place in St. Louis, Missouri, meaning that the event will air in the UK in the early hours of January 30. Fans can order the event on BT Sport Box Office.
Featured Image Credit: Getty