Home Articles 2012 The Curious Case of Black Wrestlers in the Royal Rumble

The Curious Case of Black Wrestlers in the Royal Rumble

20 Jan

“Do it for us. You know…the black guys.” -Kevin Nash

rumblemainThe following statement is not meant to be overtly braggadocious.

Nobody in the world knows more about the Royal Rumble.

My credentials?

-Inventing my own version of the Royal Rumble Drinking Game that has converted literally dozens of my friends into wrestling fans.

-Buying the entire Royal Rumble Anthology as my 20th birthday present to myself simply out of necessity.  All of my VHS tapes were starting to get pretty beat up.

-Watching each Rumble as if it were the Zapruder film.  I know every little piece of every little match.  Nothing gets past me.

However, it wasn’t until the Rumble Drinking Game really got kicked into high gear a couple of years ago that Tope, Rich and Augie noticed a certain plight of a particular race in the Rumble.

That plight is of the black wrestler.

We started noticing that rarely would more than two black wrestlers ever be in the ring at one time and the black wrestlers that were in the ring were usually lackluster in their performance.

So, I crammed some statistics and wanted to share them with the world.  There will be brief analysis after each year and a cumulative report at the end.

As you can see, I take this very seriously.

But, it’s about to get really sad.

 

1988 Rumble

Black Entrants: 2 (Butch Reed, Junkyard Dog)

Royal Rumble 1989

Most in Ring at One Time: 1

Eliminations: 0

Time in Ring: 5:26

Analysis: Not a good start…

 

1989 Rumble

Black Entrants: 2 (Bad News Brown, Koko B. Ware)

Most in Ring at One Time: 2

Eliminations: 1 (Bushwhacker Butch)

Time in Ring: 17:31

Analysis: We’ve got two in the ring!  Alas, it was only for 1:07, but we got two in the ring!  Also, it’s fitting the first elimination for a blackwrestler was a Bushwhacker.

 

1990 Rumble

Black Entrants: 2 (Koko B. Ware, Bad News Brown)

Most in Ring at One Time: 1

Eliminations: 1 (Roddy Piper)

Time in Ring: 7:42

Analysis: One step forward, one step back.  Same two entrants, less time in the ring, a bigger elimination that set up one awkward moment in wrestling: Roddy Piper in half blackface.

 

sabasimba1991 Rumble

Black Entrants: 1 (Saba Simba)

Most in Ring at One Time: 1

Eliminations: 0

Time in Ring: 2:27

Analysis: Oh, Tony Atlas…

 

1992 Rumble

Black Entrants: 1 (Virgil)

Most in Ring at One Time: 1

Eliminations: 1 (Hacksaw Jim Duggan)

Time in Ring: 7:30

Analysis: At this point, any conjecture about Virgil is moot.  Still, eliminating a former Rumble winner is fairly respectable.

 

1993 Rumble

Black Entrants: 3 (Papa Shango, Virgil, Koko B. Ware)

Most in Ring at One Time: 2

Eliminations: 1 (Mr. Perfect)

Time in Ring: 26:09

Analysis: The first time we’ve had three black wrestlers in one match!  The numbers may look better, but Papa lasted less than 30 seconds and Perfect being eliminated by Koko was part of a group effort.

 

1994 Rumble

Black Entrants: 3 (Virgil, Mabel, Mo)

Most in Ring at One Time: 2

Eliminations: 1 (Diesel)

Time in Ring: 33:10

Analysis: Black tag team!  That is padding stats.  Again, the elimination looks better when you don’t know that four other people were involved.

 

et1995 Rumble

Black Entrants: 2 (Mo and Mabel)

Most in Ring at One Time: 1

Eliminations: 1 (King Kong Bundy)

Time in Ring: 2:01

Analysis: In all honesty, this Rumble should be buried in the desert like the E.T. video game.  Big ups, though, to Mo for setting an African-American record that still stands: Shortest time in the ring.

 

1996 Rumble

Black Entrants: 2 (Mabel and Kama)

Most in Ring at One Time: 1

Eliminations: 1 (Duke Droese)

Time in Ring: 27:25

Analysis: I’m starting to lose words.  Thankfully, Kama was able to eliminate a GARBAGE MAN.

 

1997 Rumble

Black Entrants: 5 (Ahmed Johnson, Marc Mero, Faarooq, Rocky Maivia, Flash Funk)

Most in Ring at One Time: 2

Eliminations: 4 (Ahmed Johnson, Razor Ramon, Latin Lover, Faarooq)

Time in Ring: 26:46

Analysis: Holy jump in numbers, Batman!  However, really look at it: Ahmed eliminated himself and then came back to eliminate Faarooq.  Five guys that qualify and the only two that were in the ring together didn’t do much of anything (Rocky and Funk).  A move in the right direction, but deceiving.

 

1998 Rumble

Black Entrants: 7 (The Rock, D-Lo Brown, Marc Mero, Ahmed Johnson, Mark Henry, Kama, Faarooq)

Most in Ring at One Time: 5

Eliminations: 9 (Kurrgan, Ken Shamrock, Faarooq, Ahmed Johnson X2, Phineas Godwinn, D-Lo Brown, Mark Henry, Dude Love)

Time in Ring: 2:27:39

Analysis: It took an ENTIRE STABLE of black wrestlers to reach their benchmark that has never been topped.  The Rock surely starts to make his impact here, but Ahmed Johnson was the only wrestler here that didn’t last at least 10 minutes.  Two hidden facts: The total time of black wrestlers in a Rumble almost doubles just from this one Rumble and five of the nine eliminations were fellow black wrestlers.

 

mabel1999 Rumble

Black Entrants: 4 (Mabel, Godfather, Mark Henry, D-Lo Brown)

Most in Ring at One Time: 2

Eliminations: 5 (Droz, Steve Blackman, Dan Severn, Tiger Ali Singh, Blue Meanie)

Time in Ring: 20:13

Analysis: Mabel represents!  Not a bad showing for 90 seconds' work.  Granted, everything else about this Rumble is pretty crappy.  Godfather is historically bad in these matches, D-Lo is the worst final four participant ever, and Mark Henry was eliminated by a woman.

 

2000 Rumble

Black Entrants: 4 (D-Lo Brown, Viscera, Faarooq, Godfather, The Rock)

Most in Ring at One Time: 1

Eliminations: 4 (Big Boss Man, Crash Holly, Al Snow, Big Show)

Time in Ring: 23:59

Analysis: The only black winner ever, The Rock IS this Rumble.  Take him away and you crash back to reality very, very hard.

 

2001 Rumble

Black Entrants: 4 (Faarooq, The Rock, The Goodfather, K-Kwik)

Most in Ring at One Time: 2

Eliminations: 3 (The Goodfather, The Big Show, Rikishi)

Time in Ring: 42:08

Analysis: Take The Rock away and we have zero eliminations and less than 10 minutes of ring time.  We smell that.

 

maven2002 Rumble

Black Entrants: 4 (Maven, Godfather, Faarooq, Booker T)

Most in Ring at One Time: 1

Eliminations: 2 (The Undertaker, Rob Van Dam)

Time in Ring: 5:06

Analysis: Take the classic moment of Maven eliminating Undertaker away and you have this sad statistic: Nobody lasted more than two minutes.  Faarooq may be the worst Rumble competitor of all time (five Rumbles, only one Rumble in which he lasted more than 60 SECONDS).

 

2003 Rumble

Black Entrants: 3 (Shelton Benjamin, Booker T, Maven)

Most in Ring at One Time: 3

Eliminations: 2 (Eddie Guerrero and Booker T)

Time in Ring: 25:55

Analysis: We have got our second instances of more than two black wrestlers in the ring, but this time, it lasted less than three minutes.  Once we get to that number, somebody has got to go.  Another underachiever in the Rumble is Booker T (six Rumbles, only one appearance over 10 minutes).  Not good for a supposed main-event level talent.

 

2004 Rumble

Black Entrants: 4 (Mark Henry, Booker T, Shelton Benjamin, The Cat)

Most in Ring at One Time: 1

Eliminations: 2 (Scott Steiner and Kane)

Time in Ring: 15:57

Analysis: Give Booker T credit: He got eliminations while he was in the ring.  I almost counted The Cat’s hype man, Lamont, but decided against it because he’s Lamont.

 

2005 Rumble

Black Entrants: 5 (Shelton Benjamin, Booker T, Orlando Jordan, The Coach, Viscera)

Most in Ring at One Time: 3

Eliminations: 4 (Muhammad Hassan X2, Luther Reigns, Orlando Jordan)

Time in Ring: 45:47

Analysis: Third time we’ve reached the three count, but again, it only lasted less than 4 minutes (Thanks, OJ!)  Also, The Coach lasted longer in this Rumble than every other black participant except Shelton Benjamin.  Nuff said.

 

2006 Rumble

Black Entrants: 6 (The Coach, Lashley, Booker T, Orlando Jordan, Viscera, Shelton Benjamin)

Most in Ring at One Time: 3

Eliminations: 2 (Sylvan, Matt Hardy)

Time in Ring: 33:26

Analysis: Our second highest total of black wrestlers and it isn’t anything like 1998.  We did get three in the ring for the fourth time, but again, it only lasted less than five minutes and it was only because it was after number 30 had already entered.  There is also something funny about the eliminations being Sylvan and Matt Hardy.

 

mvp2007 Rumble

Black Entrants: 4 (Shelton Benjamin, King Booker, Viscera, MVP)

Most in Ring at One Time: 2

Eliminations: 4 (Viscera, Gregory Helms, Kane, The Sandman)

Time in Ring: 45:39

Analysis: More of the same.  MVP was in the final five, but didn’t do much of anything else.  King Booker ridded the ring of worthless competitors and Shelton Benjamin lingered.  Not really a strong push.

 

2008 Rumble

Black Entrants: 4 (Shelton Benjamin, Big Daddy V, Mark Henry, Elijah Burke)

Most in Ring at One Time: 3

Eliminations: 0

Time in Ring: 19:31

Analysis: FIVE TIME (times five) more than three in the Rumble!  Alas, it is the fourth time that it doesn’t really matter: It only lasted two minutes.  I’m starting to feel repressed myself.

 

2009 Rumble

Black Entrants: 6 (MVP, JTG, Mark Henry, Shelton Benjamin, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth)

Most in Ring at One Time: 2

Eliminations: 0

Time in Ring: 42:20

Analysis: Six again…and no eliminations?!?!  We have started to regress in recent years.  JTG was the second longest entrant of the six in this Rumble.  *Scooby-Doo confused noise*

 

2010 Rumble

Black Entrants: 6 (JTG, MVP, Shelton Benjamin, Mark Henry, R-Truth, Kofi Kingston)

Most in Ring at One Time: 2

Eliminations: 6 (MVP, The Miz, Big Show, Mark Henry, R-Truth, Kofi Kingston)

Time in Ring: 10:32

Analysis: The same exact entrants…with six eliminations…but a fourth of the time in the ring?  CM Punk wasn’t kidding about those stop/start pushes.

 

jtg2011 Rumble

Black Entrants: 7 (Mark Henry, JTG, David Otunga, R-Truth, Booker T, Kofi Kingston, Ezekiel Jackson)

Most in Ring at One Time: 2

Eliminations: 6 (Yoshi Tatsu, Chavo Guerrero, John Morrison, Mark Henry, Alex Riley, Big Show)

Time in Ring: 51:07

Analysis: The biggest Rumble ever ties the record for most black wrestlers in one match, but we never got more than two in the ring last year.  That being said, everyone but JTG had a decent moment in this match.

 

Whew, I’m exhausted.  Cue up the video package.  Here is what all of this means.


In 24 Royal Rumbles:

-There was a black wrestler in the ring for just over 11 hours out of 22 hours and 30 minutes.  Roughly 50 percent of the time in the Rumble isn’t bad.

-There have been 91 entrants that were black in the Royal Rumble.  That is out of 720 total entrants. That is only 12.6 percent of all entrants.

-Black wrestlers have eliminated 60 participants in the Rumble.  16 of them were other black entrants, which comprises roughly 27 percent.  That is too much black-on-black crime!

-In 24 years, only five times has three or more black wrestlers been in the ring at one time.  Taking away the anomaly of 1998, the other four instances have totaled less than 14 minutes!  Even including 1998, it still only equals around 45 minutes.

-Naturally, The Rock is the only African-American wrestler to win a Royal Rumble.

 

So when you are watching the 2012 Royal Rumble, keep your eyes out for the performance of the black participants.  I’m sure it will be eye-opening.

I also wouldn’t put any money on them lasting a real long time, eliminating a lot of guys, or seeing more of one another in the ring at one time.

Unless The Rock is a surprise participant and brings the entire Nation with him.

rock

Chris Mullet

Chris Mullet

Been Watching Since: 1987

Favorite Wrestler, currently: Pentagon Jr

Favorite Wrestler of All Time: CM Punk

Least Favorite Wrestler, currently: Randy Orton                                 

                                       Least Favorite Wrestler of All Time: Jeff Jarrett

                                       Guilty Pleasure: Scott Steiner

                                       Catchphrase: "Hey! You! Stupid! Get me something to drink!"

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