“He’s the 30th entrant. The last man. There are no more.” –Jim Ross, 2005 Royal Rumble
It’s the most coveted spot in the Royal Rumble. However, when it comes to the Royal Rumble Drinking Game, it is the worst number to get. If you happen to draw it, you should just take a whole beer and set it aside because it’ll take that whole beer to cover everything that wrestler does.
Despite the mystery entrants, the wrestler that gets the #30 spot is the most anticipated wrestler of the whole Royal Rumble. Is it going to be a surprise? Someone we haven’t seen in a while? Or is it just going to be some regular wrestler? No matter what, when it is time for that wrestler to come out, everyone counts down a little bit louder than normal.
However, would it surprise you that on this 25th year of this eclectic match, only two wrestlers in this spot have actually won the Royal Rumble? Maybe it is not so coveted after all. At first, I was going to delve into this topic. However, after conversing with the Swoggle Squad, I decided to take another turn and be more funny than analytical. Which is what everyone wants, right? Therefore, I decided to look back and take a guess as to why a certain wrestler got to be #30. Maybe there was a legitimate reason. Maybe they were lucky. Maybe they had to go to the bathroom and couldn’t hold it. Who knows? Not me. But that doesn’t mean I can’t give it a shot. So let’s begin in 3…2…1…
1988: Junkyard Dog (#20 due to a 20-man Royal Rumble)
Wait! After all the crap we talk about Vince McMahon never letting a black wrestler succeed in this match, the first wrestler to obtain the coveted spot was the Junkyard Dog? That’s a mind bender. But when you think about it, the Junkyard Dog didn’t do so well in the match. I have a feeling that he did so bad and performed so subpar, that is when Vince McMahon swore never to have a black wrestler do well in the Royal Rumble. Thanks, JYD.
1989: Ted DiBiase
Come on! He’s the “Million Dollar Man!” How do you think he got the #30 spot? Luck? Hell no. With money like that, luck doesn’t exist.
1990: Mr. Perfect
Of course, Mr. Perfect is known for swatting his chewed gum into the crowd. However, I believe that before this match, he realized that he had no more gum and some poor soul had to drive all over Orlando to find some more. By the time he got back, Mr. Perfect had to be #30. Because Mr. Perfect can’t chew any gum. How dare you! Each piece has to be…*clear throat*…perfect.
It’s such a coincidence that Tugboat was #30 at a Royal Rumble in Miami. That’s because illegal Cuban immigrants mistook him for an actual tugboat and required his services to reach the land of freedom. One of those immigrants could have been a Colon. I don’t know. But due to his services, Vince McMahon rewarded him with the coveted spot. However, due to all that swimming, he got tired quickly and was eliminated 21st. Good deeds don’t go unpunished, I guess.
1992: The Warlord
In 1989, he was eliminated in TWO SECONDS -- a record that stood until Santino beat it in 2009. Three years later, he was awarded the coveted spot. I believe in the WWE if you pay your dues, you are rewarded. The Warlord was #30 for accepting that he was going to be eliminated so quickly in 1989. It makes sense. In 2011, Santino almost won the Royal Rumble. And that was two years after he was eliminated so quickly. You pay your dues, and you get rewarded. But not with winning the whole Royal Rumble. You have to actually have talent. The Warlord didn’t. And Santino? We’ll see. I bet Rich thinks he does, though.
1993: Randy Savage
So Yokozuna won this Royal Rumble. You think I’m kidding? Look it up! Anyways, it goes without saying that Yokozuna was known more for his size than his athletic ability. So for him to win in style, he was going to have to eliminate the last wrestler in extravagant fashion. The only way for that to happen is for that last eliminated wrestler to come in at #30 and be extravagant enough to make the elimination look unreal. Enter the Macho Man. He was the definition of extravagant. And he definitely did his job well.
1994: Adam Bomb
Out of all of the people in this esteemed group, Adam Bomb did the worst. He entered as #30, but he finished as #20. He was the last to come in, but was eliminated with 10 people still left in the ring! With failure like that, there can only be one explanation. He pissed Vince McMahon off. How did he do that? Simple. He made a move on Stephanie. Plus, she was only 17 at the time. Smooth, Adam. Guess that blew up in your face.
If you listen to the podcast (and you should), you know I do “Weird Wrestler Arrest Records.” In 1996, Crush got arrested for having anabolic steroids and unregistered handguns. You see where I am going with this, right? A little "quid pro quo" with Vince McMahon? One hand washes the other? And you really thought McMahon got all those muscles by hitting the gym. Yeah right. And Terri Runnells breasts are real.
1996: Duke Droese
Really? “The Dumpster” was #30? Well, there’s a good reason. The morning of the Royal Rumble, due to a bad chicken dinner, the garbage detail of Fresno, California was one man short. So Droese stepped up and did the job that he was born to do before being a wrestler. As a thanks from Vince McMahon and the town of Fresno, Droese was given the coveted #30 spot. But he didn’t win. You would think after dealing with California garbage for a day you could win a Royal Rumble. Guess not. Sorry Duke.
1997: The Undertaker
Ah, the first of Undertaker’s three (yes, three) appearances at the #30 spot. So why was he picked to be #30 the first time? Well, a week before the Royal Rumble, Mr. McMahon had a case of the runs. Bad tacos were the reason, I hear. Anyways, during one of his bathroom visits, he forgot there was no more toilet paper. After exclaiming he would give his soul for some toilet paper, the lights go out, and you hear the Undertaker say, “Your soul?” Scared out of his mind, McMahon screams, “Wait! How about instead of my soul, I give you #30 in the Royal Rumble?” After consideration, the Undertaker agrees and the lights come on to reveal a new roll of toilet paper. However, it was one-ply. He giveth and he taketh away.
Needless to say, Vader is a large man. And a large man wears large clothing. I don’t know what size his wrestling singlet was, but I’m thinking there were a number of Xs before the L. Well, I imagine when it came to this Royal Rumble, someone came up one X short on Vader’s singlet which caused him to have a mini "fat guy in a little coat" episode. To fix it, someone had to break out the sewing machine. But to fix such a big singlet like that, Vader had to be pushed back to #30. Plus, I just enjoy the fact that backstage, WWE has an emergency sewing machine.
Needless to say, it’s hard for a woman wrestler to survive in the wrestling world. But you can’t blame them for trying. But after the formation of the WNBA, United States’ domination in the Women’s World Cup, and the damn United States gymnastics team winning the gold thanks to Kerry Strug, Vince McMahon had to put a woman in the Royal Rumble or else face protests. And in order to make it serious, he needed to put in the most athletic (and worst looking) one of all. Put Chyna in at #30, no more protestors. Have her eliminate Mark Henry and you have no more protestors forever. Remember when he won the World Heavyweight Championship last year? Yeah, you do.
Remember this Royal Rumble? The ring entrance was covered in graffiti and trash, and there was even a taxi above the entrance that looked like it crashed through? It was easily one of the worst entrance designs for a pay-per-view ever. Trashy and grungy. So to continue with that theme and solidify it, they put X-Pac in at #30. Good job, WWE. And just to think, 4 years after this, the 1999 and 2000 #30s went on to make a sex tape that can only be described as the closest thing to that movie from "The Ring.".
The 2001 Royal Rumble was and is the only one that took place in Louisiana. Fried food. Po Boys. Oysters. It’s a culinary delight. Therefore, do you need any more reason why Rikishi needed to be #30? Buffet places are like casinos. They have no clocks.
2002: Booker T.
Booker T was and has been the only black wrestler to come in last at the Royal Rumble since Junkyard Dog did it in the inaugural one in 1988. Now, again, there are not a lot of black wrestlers in the Royal Rumble and they never fare well. However, this was the first Royal Rumble in Atlanta. And I have a feeling that if a black wrestler wasn’t the winner and/or #30, Vince McMahon would have been chased out of town.
2003: The Undertaker
If you remember, in the 2002 Royal Rumble, the Undertaker was eliminated by Maven. MAVEN! One of the biggest shockers ever in the WWE. So to make up for that, I believe WWE gave Undertaker the coveted #30 spot. However, they probably told him he was going to win until five minutes before he went out and they told him he had to job to Brock Lesnar. If Vince McMahon knew Lesnar was going to botch that Shooting Star Press so badly at WrestleMania, he probably would have let Undertaker win in the first place.
There is only one reason why Goldberg was #30. PYRO! Goldberg’s pyro is badass, and you can’t have badass pyro if you are #3-29. But if you are #30, you get all the pyro you want. Hence, Vince McMahon wanting Goldberg to breathe the fumes. But that doesn’t matter. Remember this was the Royal Rumble in which Chris Benoit became the second man to start first and win. I wonder why it’s not really talked about anymore.
2005: Ric Flair
Since the match was in California and three hours behind the Eastern airing time, this means that the actual Royal Rumble match started around 6 p.m. local time. I believe that Flair was supposed to be in an earlier spot. However, since he didn’t get back in time from his “Early Bird Special” dinner, they had to put him at #30. Hopefully, the applesauce he had was worth it.
2006: Randy Orton
For being a white guy from Missouri, Randy Orton is one of the tannest wrestlers I have ever seen. I swear, if he let his hair grow out, he could gel it up and hang out at the Jersey Shore. I believe that the day of this Royal Rumble, Orton looked in the mirror and was shocked to see that he was not tan enough. He tried to tan in the beautiful Miami sun, but it was a rainy day. He tried to go to a tanning salon, but all the machines were broken. Finally, 10 minutes before the Royal Rumble, he grabbed someone backstage, gave him a can of orange spray paint, and told him to go to work. The fumes may have gotten to him a bit, and that is why he hears the voices in his head. A mind is certainly a terrible thing to waste. Especially on a tan.
2007: The Undertaker
Third time is the charm for the Undertaker at #30. After jobbing for Lesnar four years ago, Vince McMahon finally got around to making it up to the Undertaker and letting him win this one. What was he going to do, keep the World Heavyweight Championship on Batista and have Undertaker LOSE AT WRESTLEMANIA? No way. If you thought Batista would win that match, then you, my friend, certainly walk alone. Plus, I think if the Undertaker didn’t win, he would have left the WWE out of frustration. And what a coincidence. This happened 10 years after he was #30 the first time and in the SAME TOWN. I’m sure Undertaker brought that up as well.
2008: John Cena
It’s my belief that Vince McMahon is a big hater of New York. So why not give the ultimate “fuck you” to the city by giving a Boston native the #30 spot AND having him win the whole Royal Rumble? I can imagine McMahon, arms in the air, screaming at the top of his lungs, “Suck on that, you pinstripe pussies!” Either that or fuck John Cena. Your choice.
2009: The Big Show
The first Royal Rumble in Detroit. This one had multiple surprises. Rob Van Dam. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. But who was #30? That’s right. BIG SHOW! That’s a big dud. And for a city like Detroit that is used to duds, this is right up their alley. Detroit is full of working men who work for years and years and have nothing by crippling depression to show for it. Kind of like the Big Show. Perfect! I can only imagine who would be #30 if the Royal Rumble was in Cleveland. Right Mullet?
“Who wants to be the biggest douche?” That’s what Vince McMahon asked the entire roster before the Royal Rumble started. And, of course, Batista probably raised his hand with vigor and said, “I do!” Remember, it was Batista who eliminated Shawn Michaels so cheaply and ruined his chances to face the Undertaker at WrestleMania for the second time. Batista’s reward for his douche ways was being #30. If he only knew this would be his last Royal Rumble, maybe he wouldn’t have been such a douche. On second thought, no, he still would have.
2011: Kane (#40 due to a 40-man Royal Rumble)
I still believe that Triple H was supposed to be the last man to come into this Royal Rumble. Coming back from his injury at this spot would have created a big pop. However, it was just good old fashioned Kane. I think minutes before the pay-per-view, Stephanie yelled at him and told him it was “daddy’s night” to watch the kids. Side note: If they happen to have a son, I bet you $50 they name it “Hunter”.
So there you go. Oh, and by the way, this article was brought to you by the number 30. Which is how many times “#30” was used in this article. Did I just blow your mind? Hopefully, the man in this coveted spot in the 2012 Royal Rumble will blow all of ours, too.