Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Debunking a Royal Rumble Urban Legend

With the Royal Rumble coming up in just a few weeks, it's time to revisit a classic moment in Royal Rumble history. The year was 2002, and the rookie Maven (winner of the first-ever Tough Enough) stepped into the ring with The Undertaker, who had just cleared the ring, last eliminating both Hardy Boys. With the Dead Man distracted after tossing the Hardys from the ring not once, but twice, Maven cemented his legacy in Rumble lore by dropkicking the former WWF champion over the top rope and eliminating him.

Undertaker, embarrassed by his defeat at the hands (and feet) of a rookie, came back into the ring to take his frustrations out on Maven. In the ensuing beatdown, Maven was certainly eliminated from contention due to injury, but he was never officially eliminated from the Rumble. The Undertaker had thrown him through the ropes, not over the top rope! See for yourself in this classic clip uploaded by WWE:

This oversight inspired Ric Flair, then co-owner of the WWF, to place Maven into a match with Undisputed Champion Chris Jericho. Maven was never officially eliminated, so he deserved a title shot. Chris Jericho was livid, but what could he do? Flair was not only the boss, but he had a point. The only way to be eliminated from the Royal Rumble is to be thrown over the top rope, so Maven never was eliminated. 

Except that he was. For whatever reason, WWE likes to replay these moments: 

Judging by that sequence, you would think that Maven dropkicked Taker over the ropes, Taker threw Maven through the ropes, then beat him all the way from the ring to the concession area. I don't know what WWE has to gain by perpetuating this myth of Maven never being eliminated, but they have certainly been effective. Wikipedia tows the WWE line: 

"Undertaker attacked Maven after his elimination, beating him to the point where he could no longer continue the match."
WWE will never show this clip, showing the Undertaker throwing Maven over the top rope and to the floor. See, in the middle of his beatdown, the Dead Man rolled the Tough Enough winner back into the ring, beat him up some more, and eliminated him properly.

Here, watch it again: 

So there you have it. Maven was officially eliminated. Also, Sheamus's 18-second victory over Daniel Bryan didn't set any kind of record. But you already knew that.


  1. Hmm, I don't think you're right about this. For one thing, how does that even count? Sure, Taker threw Maven over the top rope, but Taker wasn't even a competitor in the match any more. Even with the Rumble being No-DQ, don't you have to actually be eliminated by someone who is in the match?

  2. Non-competitors have eliminated people from the Rumble in the past:

    In 1989, Hulk Hogan eliminated the Big Boss Man after himself being eliminated.

    The Undertaker himself was a victim of this when Giant Gonzalez interfered and eliminated him.

    Owen Hart was eliminated in 1998 by non-entrants HHH and Chyna.

    In 1999, The Acolytes eliminated Mabel despite not being official entrants.

    In 2005, Kurt Angle eliminated Shawn Michaels after Michaels had eliminated Angle.

    In 2006, Shane McMahon eliminated Michaels despite not being an entrant.

    Booker T eliminated Kane after Kane had eliminated him in 2007.

    The Miz eliminated John Cena in 2011 despite not being in the Rumble.

    Most recently, Booker T and Jerry Lawler eliminated Michael Cole after both of them had been eliminated.

    The only person to lose a Rumble match without being eliminated is not Maven, but Hornswoggle, who left the ring in 2008 and never returned.

  3. What about the urban legend that this Chris Benoit guy won the 2004 Rumble? Everyone knows it was Stevie Richards!!!