Royal Rumble Winner Rankings

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Article written by Dylan McGuire Devine and Nicolas Papa (1/29/22)

*DISCLAIMER* We are ranking the last ten Royal Rumble winners. Not every Rumble winner ever.


Sheamus (2012) Back to back years of weak Rumble winners. Yes, Sheamus was really over as a face in 2012, but I just always have felt like it could have been someone else. Sheamus went on to defeat Daniel Bryan for the World Championship at Mania 28 in record time. -Dylan

Batista (2014) It was just the wrong choice. I mean come on now. If it weren’t for the fans support of Daniel Bryan we really would’ve been stuck with Batista Vs Orton as the WrestleMania 30 main event. -Nick


Batista (2014) Two words. Daniel Bryan. Did the situation end up working out for Bryan? Yes. But I strongly believe he should’ve been the one to win the rumble that year. Batista quickly became stale after his long awaited return and the fans turned on him almost immediately . The always honest and brutal Philly crowd booed him out of the building after winning the rumble. Batista went on to face Randy Orton (C) and Daniel Bryan in a triple threat match for the unified WWE Championship at Mania 30. -Dylan

Roman Reigns (2015) Even with an endorsement from The Rock, Roman Reigns was booed out of the building at the 2015 Royal Rumble. Daniel Bryan was just returning from injury and fans wanted to see him back in the main event picture. Would Daniel Bryan have been the right guy? Probably not, but the force feeding of Roman Reigns as the top BabyFace was just horrible and it all started at this rumble. -Nick


Randy Orton (2017) Why in 2017 did we have to see Orton win the Royal Rumble? He wasn’t a popular pick to win and wasn’t crazy over with the crowd. There are around five different guys that I could name that would’ve been a better option to win the rumble. Orton went on to defeat Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 33 for the WWE Championship. (Another poor booking decision) -Dylan

Sheamus (2012) There’s not much I have to say about this. At the time Sheamus winning the rumble was a good decision but what happened at WrestleMania in that match against Daniel Bryan was downright disrespectful. – Nick


Triple H (2016) This is one that was an interesting Rumble. It was the first Rumble match ever where the WWE Championship would actually be defended in the match. Roman Reigns was champion at the time and fans weren’t too sure if he’d hold onto the title through Mania or if he’d drop it in the Rumble match. To everyone’s surprise, Triple H came out at number 30 and won the match to become the new WWE Champion. I personally think Dean Ambrose or Bray Wyatt should’ve won the match. Triple H went on to lose the title to Reigns at Mania 32 in a very mediocre match. -Dylan

Randy Orton (2017) Overall this just felt really disappointing to me but I understand why they did it. The original match at WrestleMania 33 was Randy Orton Vs Bray Wyatt and it fell flat on it’s face. I personally thought it should’ve been Randy Orton Vs Bray Wyatt Vs Luke Harper in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship. This would’ve created a nice buzz for Harper and he could’ve taken the pin to set up a rematch at the next PPV for just Orton Vs Wyatt. -Nick


Shinsuke Nakamura (2018) Nakamura wasn’t necessarily a bad Rumble winner, but the buildup and match he had from winning the Rumble was very disappointing. He immediately enter a program with AJ Styles (WWE Champion at the time). Fans were ECSTATIC for this. They had one of the best wrestling matches of all-time in NJPW a few years prior, so now that they would be able to have another match but this time at WrestleMania, fans were hyped. Unfortunately the buildup was weak and the match was subpar to the one they had in NJPW. After being the guy to win the 2018 Rumble, Nakamura didn’t even beat Styles at Mania as Styles retained. -Dylan

Triple H (2016) Aside from the AJ Styles debut, Triple H winning the Rumble was the biggest surprise of the night. Triple H winning the Rumble in 2016 was insane but him winning a Rumble with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship as the prize is even crazier. Honestly this win could be ranked higher but it didn’t do any good for Triple H or his WrestleMania 32 opponent Roman Reigns. -Nick


Roman Reigns (2015) At the time, fans were not very happy with Reigns winning the Rumble and all felt like they were pushing him way too much and way too quickly. But looking back on it, this was a big stepping stone and moment for Reigns career. This led to the beginning of his long and still ongoing feud with Brock Lesnar and led to his first WWE Championship win. -Dylan

Shinsuke Nakamura (2018) At the time it was 1000% the right move to have Nakamura win the rumble but it was the move made in the WrestleMania match that lowers Nakamura’s ranking on this list. Having a red hot BabyFace lose then turn heel in the process completely ruined Nakamura’s main roster run. WWE had it all right. The Killer theme song. A Royal Rumble win. A marquee match at WrestleMania Vs AJ Styles. A recipe for success turned out to be a disappointment in hindsight. -Nick


Edge (2021) Edge is one of my all-time favorites and seeing him return at the 2020 rumble was an extremely awesome and emotional moment for all of us. Having him win the rumble the following year after returning and going on to face Reigns and Bryan at Mania 37 was a phenomenal story. So glad Edge got to main event WrestleMania once again. -Dylan

Edge (2021) Last years Royal Rumble winner, Edge ranks at four simply because of the story that was told. He came back the year prior at the rumble and couldn’t secure the victory. But in 2021 he was able to secure the victory and headline WrestleMania along side Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan. A true underdog narrative was being presented and it led to fantastic TV between the three leading into WrestleMania. –Nick


John Cena (2013) After his big loss to The Rock in 2012 at WrestleMania 28, Cena went on to have a huge comeback year. His loss to The Rock at Mania was the most disappointing loss of his career and he wanted to redeem himself and he did exactly that. It is a valid argument that it could’ve been someone else to win the rumble, but I think Cena winning and getting his redemption against The Rock was a really solid booking decision. Cena went on to defeat The Rock at WrestleMania 29 and was now the new WWE Champion. -Dylan

John Cena (2013) I’m actually not to crazy about Cena winning the rumble in 2013. Cena absolutely did not need to win but the story it setup made complete sense, something we don’t see often from WWE anymore. Cena winning the rumble the same night the Rock won the WWE title was a perfect setup for Rock Vs Cena 2. No the match didn’t need the title, but the story is a good one nonetheless. – Nick


Seth Rollins (2019) Rollins was RED HOT in 2019 man. He was so over after becoming a face and his character work during this time was fantastic. He is so good at what he does and truly deserved this win. He went on to defeat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 35 to win the WWE Universal Championship. -Dylan

Seth Rollins (2019) Rollins winning the rumble launched him back to superstardom and made him the company’s top BabyFace in 2019. Rollins would then go on from the rumble to defeat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania in the opening bout. –Nick


Drew McIntyre (2020) Maybe Drew isn’t the best Rumble winner over the last ten years, but this win is without a doubt my favorite. The comeback story of McIntyre’s return to the WWE has been phenomenal. From his debut in NXT, debuting on the main roster and being an afterthought for awhile, to becoming one of the most over guys in the company and winning the 2020 Royal Rumble. Drew went on to defeat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 36 to win the WWE Championship. He then practically carried the company through the pandemic and was the most popular guy in the company for over a year. -Dylan

Drew McIntyre (2020) Winning the 2020 Royal Rumble made Drew McIntyre into a star. It ranks number one simply for that fact. Since winning the rumble Drew went on to become a 2x WWE champion and is viewed as one of the top BabyFace’s in the company. –Nick

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