The Royal Rumble is one of the WWE's yearly signature events. The 30-person over the top rope battle royal has taken center stage in January since 1992. The winner gets a championship opportunity at WrestleMania. Every year the event allows for amazing surprises, incredible debuts and shocking returns. We count down the Top 10 Royal Rumble surprises as we await more shocking moments from this year's Royal Rumble at the Alamodome in Texas.
10. Rey Mysterio - 2018
In 2018 after 3 years away from the WWE, Rey Mysterio made his surprise return at the Royal Rumble. Although he lasted just 10 mins, fans were ecstatic to see the 13-year veteran back in a WWE ring, where he's been ever since.
9. The Three Faces of Foley - 1998
Talk about stacking the deck! That's what it felt like when Mick Foley entered the Royal Rumble as all three of his personas. First Cactus Jack, his original persona debuted at Number 1, After Jack was eliminated. Persona No. 2 would be Foley's Mankind character, after that elimination, Foley's third and final persona "Mrs Foley's Baby Boy", Dude Love would make his Royal Rumble debut. With all the wardrobe changes and entrances, Mick Foley may have been more tired being three Royal Rumble entrants than if he had won the whole thing.
8. Mickie James - 2022
'Hardcore Country' Mickie James made her surprise return at last year's Women's Royal Rumble. But what made this one of the most historic of all Royal Rumble returns was James returned as the Impact World Champion, belt and all. It was the first time a Royal Rumble entrant was signed to another company. Will it be the last, though?
7. Kevin Nash as Diesel - 2011
Kevin Nash returned to the ring at the 2011 Royal Rumble as Big Daddy Cool Diesel shocked the crowd and the announcers. The former WWE champion had not used his Diesel moniker since leaving WWE for WCW in 1996.
6. Triple H - 2016
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Triple H made his shocking return as Entrant No. 30 in the 2016 Royal Rumble. He would go on to last 9 minutes, eliminating four men on his way to becoming just the 3rd person in Royal Rumble history to win from the 30 spot.
5. Ronda Rousey - 2022
Former UFC and WWE Champion Ronda Rousey wrestled in the WWE for one year before stepping away in 2019. In 2022 the Basest Woman on the Planet made her surprise return at the Royal Rumble and almost brought down the Dome at the America's Center. The Rowdy one was entrant Number 28 and eliminated four before winning the Rumble in her return.
4. Christian - 2021
After several long years away, Christian returned, coming out of retirement and had an action packed 2021. After returning to WWE as the Number 24 entrant in the Royal Rumble making it to the final four, he would go on to make his return to Impact Wrestling and Debut in All Elite Wrestling having successfully wrestled in all three of the major US promotions, and it all started with the Royal Rumble.
3. AJ Styles - 2016)
The hottest free agent's debut at Number 3 in the 2016 Royal Rumble was a shock to the fans in attendance, the announce team, and the wrestling world. The Phenomenal AJ Styles, the former TNA World Champion and IWGP World Champion among his many accolades, made his debut in a WWE ring. The 18-year veteran had finally made his way to WWE, where he has been ever since.
2. John Cena (2008)
It's hard to blow the roof off the Garden, but it almost happened in 2008 when John Cena made his shocking return as the No. 30 entrant in the Royal Rumble. He would eliminate four men, including rival Triple H to win the Rumble and head to WrestleMania for a title shot.
In 2020 Edge made one of the most memorable returns in wrestling history. With emotion on his face, the Rated R Superstar emerged from a cloud of smoke as the Number 21 entrant in the Royal Rumble. The fireworks that boomed inside Minute Maid Park may have only been slightly louder than the capacity crowd that welcomed him back nine years after spinal stenosis and triple fusion neck surgery forced him to retire in 2011. He hit the ring and delivered two of his signature spears proving to the world Edge was back. He would last 23 minutes in that match, but his WWE second chance would last much longer than that.
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