• Alternate Timelines: The Royal Rumble

    Ever wondered what would have happened differently in the world of wrestling if one small thing would have changed? Welcome to Alternate Timelines.

    The Royal Rumble takes place this Sunday. We decided to expand our minds into other dimensions and the alternate timelines of what would have happened if the last 20 years of the Royal Rumble had ended differently. What would Wrestlemania and beyond have been like if the last person eliminated managed to hang on and win the Rumble match? Would the Wrestlemania main event(s) have been better?

    Starting in 1993 when the Rumble winner would begin to get the Championship title shot at Wrestlemania, these are the alternate timelines of what would happen if the last person eliminated somehow won the Royal Rumble:

    1993 Royal Rumble winner Randy Savage?

    What happened:

    Yokozuna won the Rumble in a dominating performance eliminating seven men. The last man eliminated was “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Yokozuna went on to defeat champion Bret Hart for the WWF Championship at Wrestlemania IX….. before losing it seconds later to Hulk Hogan. Randy Savage would not have a match as he was a commentator for Wrestlemania IX.

    What would have happened:

    If Randy Savage won the Royal Rumble, he would have faced Bret Hart at Wrestlemania IX. Two of the best wrestlers of all time, it was unfortunate that they never had a high profile match or angle together. Savage replacing Yokozuna vs. Bret would have improved the show by miles. Unfortunately, even in this timeline, Hulk Hogan would still have politicked his way into being WWF champ by show’s end.

    Would Wrestlemania IX have been better?

    alternateYES

    1994 Royal Rumble winner Bastion Booger?

    What happened:

    OK, OK, I know Bastion Booger was not last eliminated in ANY Royal Rumble but this was the Rumble that ended with Bret Hart and Lex Luger eliminating each other at the same time. Weirdest story from the 1994 Royal Rumble is that Bastion Booger was supposed to enter the Rumble as the 25th entrant but was unable to make it due to “not feeling good.” Luger and Bret would go on to both face Yokozuna in separate singles matches at Wrestlemania X with Bret leaving as the new WWF champion.

    What would have happened:

    If Bastion Booger felt well enough and won the Rumble, Wrestlemania X would have featured the dream match that never came to be – Yokozuna vs. Booger. Given how convoluted the plan for Wrestlemania X was with the multiple title matches, even this would have been a better call. Big Show vs. Akebono, eat your heart out.

    Would Wrestlemania X have been better?

    alternateYES

    1995 Royal Rumble winner British Bulldog?

    What happened:

    One of the more memorable Royal Rumble matches featured Shawn Michaels and “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith entering as entrants #1 and #2 and both going the distance. The finish came where Shawn Michaels looked to be eliminated getting tossed over the top rope but his 2nd foot never touched the floor so he came back and eliminated Bulldog to win the match. Michaels went on to lose in his WWF Championship shot to Diesel at Wrestlemania XI. Bulldog’s consolation prize for WM would be to team with Lex Luger and face the Blu Brothers. Ouch. What a fall in match stature.

    What would have happened:

    Pamela Anderson was slated to manage the winner of the ’95 Royal Rumble at Wrestlemania. If Bulldog won, maybe Pam would have grown some dreadlocks to live the gimmick? Otherwise, Shawn winning was the better choice in every way that year.

    Would Wrestlemania XI have been better?

    alternateNO

    1996 Royal Rumble winner Diesel?

    What happened:

    Shawn Michaels won 1996 Royal Rumble making him the 2nd ever back to back Royal Rumble winner last eliminating Diesel. Michaels would go on to defeat Bret Hart for the WWF Championship in an Iron Man Match in one of the most memorable Wrestlemania moments. Diesel had a pretty cool feud with The Undertaker in which, of course, ‘Taker won at Wrestlemania.

    What would have happened:

    Nothing as cool as what actually did happen.

    Would Wrestlemania XII have been better?

    alternateNO

    1997 Royal Rumble winner Bret Hart?

    What happened:

    One of the most controversial Royal Rumble matches featured Steve Austin technically winning the match. While the referees were not looking, Austin was eliminated but re-entered the ring to eliminate the remaining candidates, the last being Bret “Hitman” Hart. The controversy mixed with Shawn Michaels relinquishing the title due to “losing his smile” led to a bit of a clusterfuck and hot-shotting of the title which culminated in the Wrestlemania 13 main event featuring The Undertaker defeating Sid to win the WWF Championship. Bret Hart and Steve Austin would have one of the greatest matches of all time on the event. Shawn Michaels ended his “retirement” a few months later.

    What would have happened:

    If Bret won, Shawn Michaels would have “lost his smile” a show or two earlier and the same chain of events would have happened. Sid main eventing Wrestlemania 13 was a matter of fate.

    Would Wrestlemania 13 have been better?

    alternateNA

    1998 Royal Rumble winner The Rock?

    What happened:

    Now becoming the most loved wrestler of his era, Steve Austin won the Royal Rumble as a babyface eliminating The Rock last to get the Wrestlemania title shot. Much like Austin the year prior, this was a big deal for The Rock as he would was the new hot property in WWF. Austin would win the WWF Championship for the first time defeating Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XIV. The Rock faced Ken Shamrock for the IC Championship on the event.

    What would have happened:

    As cool and awesome as a Rock/HBK match would have been and as unfortunate it was that the match-up never happened, no way it would have surpassed or even matched the whole angle with Steve Austin and Mike Tyson. I will say a match between Michaels and The Rock in their prime would have been electric. Pun intended.

    Would Wrestlemania XIV have been better?

    alternateNO

    1999 Royal Rumble winner Steve Austin?

    What happened:

    Vince McMahon won the Royal Rumble by eliminating hated arch-rival Steve Austin. It was stupid. Austin would win his title shot back and go on to defeat The Rock for the WWF Championship at Wrestlemania XV.

    What would have happened:

    The same thing except it would have been less stupid. Big Show would not have debuted in WWF via hiding under the ring all night.

    Would Wrestlemania XV have been better?

    alternateNA

    2000 Royal Rumble winner Big Show?

    What happened:

    Now as a face, The Rock won the 2000 Rumble after eliminating The Big Show. Much like 1997 (except far less interesting), things would get weird with hot-shotting of the Wrestlemania title shot. It would eventually become a Fatal 4 Way match of Rock vs. Big Show vs. Mick Foley vs. WWF Champ Triple H with a McMahon in every corner. The match ended with Triple H and Vince McMahon hugging. 14 years later, here we are.

    What would have happened:

    Not much would have changed except the awesome Royal Rumble 2000 event would have had a much lesser ending with Big Show celebrating with his stupid earring. (Yes, Big Show wore an earring at one point as a fashion statement.)

    Would Wrestlemania 2000 have been better?

    alternateNA

    2001 Royal Rumble winner Kane?

    What happened:

    Steve Austin became the first ever three time Royal Rumble winner by lastly eliminating Kane. It was also a record making night for Kane as he had the most eliminations in a single Rumble with a total of 11. At Wrestlemania X7, Austin defeated The Rock for the WWF Championship. Not to be outdone, Kane defeated Big Show and Raven to win the Hardcore Championship! (Kane’s best match ever. I said it.)

    What would have happened:

    While this was probably the best year of Kane’s career, if he won the Rumble, Wrestlemania X7 clearly would not have gone down as one of the greatest wrestling events of all time. On that beautiful evening, pro wrestling would have been met with hell, fire and brimstone.

    Would Wrestlemania X7 have been better?

    alternateNO

    2002 Royal Rumble winner Kurt Angle?

    What happened:

    Returning from injury, Triple H won the Royal Rumble as a babyface last eliminating his nemesis at the time, Kurt Angle. Hunter would win the WWE Undisputed Championship off of Chris Jericho in a very disappointing WM main event considering both wrestlers reputations of being ring generals at the time. Kurt Angle would go on to be wasted in one of the most forgettable matches of all time vs. Kane. Wrestlemania 18 is remembered as the night Hulk Hogan and The Rock stole the show.

    What would have happened:

    Kurt Angle vs. Chris Jericho would have surpassed the short standards set by HHH/Y2J on that fated night. Also of note, Maven was technically never eliminated by a legal combatant in the 2002 Rumble. Maven vs. Angle vs. Jericho?

    Would Wrestlemania X8 have been better?

    alternateYES

    2003 Royal Rumble winner Undertaker?

    What happened:

    In a very predictable Rumble, Brock Lesnar eliminated The Undertaker to go on to Wrestlemania XIX where he won the WWE Championship from Kurt Angle. Undertaker would go on to be in one of his many pre-2004 wasted Wrestlemania matches vs. The Big Show and A-Train.

    What would have happened:

    A few years later in 2006, Kurt Angle and Undertaker would have a classic match that many wish took place at that year’s Wrestlemania. Wrestlemania 19 didn’t seem to be the right time, though, as Angle and Lesnar had a classic so I’d have to say it wouldn’t have improved WM.

    Would Wrestlemania XIX have been better?

    alternateNO

    2004 Royal Rumble winner Big Show?

    What happened:

    Entering the Rumble as entrant #1, Chris Benoit won the Royal Rumble by eliminating the Big Show last. Benoit would win his first World Championship at Wrestlemania XX defeating Shawn Michaels and Triple H. The Big Show would open the show and lose to a young John Cena making his way up the card.

    What would have happened:

    If Big Show was in one of the World Championship matches on Wrestlemania XX, it would have been uglier than his Wrestlemania 21 outfit vs. Akebono.

    Would Wrestlemania XX have been better?

    alternateNO

    2005 Royal Rumble winner John Cena?

    What actually happened:

    Batista and John Cena had a 1994 moment when both were last eliminated at the same time. Vince McMahon came out to re-start the match between those two but humorously tore his quad power-walking to the ring. Batista won the Rumble and would defeat Triple H for the World Championship at Wrestlemania 21. Don’t feel bad for Cena as he would win the WWE Championship himself on the event off of JBL. A few months later, WWE switched Cena and Batista from their respective places on RAW and Smackdown because they realized Cena was better and more well suited for RAW.

    What would have happened:

    The same matches would have happened and would have been equally as dull as they turned out to be.

    2006 Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton?

    What actually happened:

    Rey Mysterio Jr. won the Rumble as the #2 entrant and broke the record for most time being in a Rumble match at 62 minutes and 12 seconds. Last person eliminated, Randy Orton would get a place in the Wrestlemania 22 World Championship match with Mysterio and Kurt Angle by insulting the recently deceased Eddie Guerrero. Seriously, this was WWE’s booking.

    What would have happened:

    Perhaps the positive of Orton not needing to claim Eddie Guerrero was in hell to get the title shot would occur but knowing WWE, it probably would have been said anyway.

    2007 Royal Rumble winner Shawn Michaels?

    What actually happened:

    One of the cooler moments in the Rumble, the last two men left in 2007 were The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. ‘Taker would win the match and defeat Batista for the World Championship at Wrestlemania 23. Last eliminated HBK would find his way into the ACTUAL main event of WM 23 losing to John Cena in the WWE Championship match.

    What would have happened:

    The same exact thing. Luckily both Wrestlemania 23 matches were awesome.

    2008 Royal Rumble winner Triple H?

    What actually happened:

    John Cena made an early return from an injury in one of the best kept secrets by WWE in the internet era to win the Royal Rumble eliminating Triple H last. Cena chose to cash in his title shot a PPV earlier and Triple H weaseled his way into the Wrestlemania WWE Title match that somehow made for a triple threat between Hunter, Cena and champion Randy Orton. The match was actually enjoyable.

    What would have happened:

    Cena vacated the WWE Championship via injury before this and never received his rematch so he would have ended up in the triple threat anyway.

    2009 Royal Rumble winner Triple H?

    What actually happened:

    Randy Orton last eliminated Triple H to win the Royal Rumble in very predictable fashion as Orton punted Vince McMahon in the head on the go-home RAW before the Rumble to start his big push. After failing to win the Royal Rumble, Triple H went on to win the WWE Title on the next PPV, Elimination Chamber. Orton chose to face Hunter at Wrestlemania and lost in one of the worst Wrestlemania main events of all time.

    What would have happened:

    If Triple H won the Rumble, he probably still would have won the WWE Title at the next PPV. This would have led to the first ever Triple H vs. Triple H Wrestlemania main event.

    2010 Royal Rumble winner John Cena?

    What actually happened:

    Edge returned from a six month hiatus due to an injury and eliminated John Cena last to win the Royal Rumble. After getting injured, Edge was ferociously insulted by friend turned enemy Chris Jericho. Come Wrestlemania, Jericho was conveniently The World Champion so of course Edge chose to face him and they then had a forgettable match in which Jericho won. The other title match featured Batista defending the WWE title vs. who? That’s right. John Cena.

    What would have happened:

    John Cena would have been way too smart to challenge for the lesser title like Edge did so things would have been equally forgettable.

    Would Wrestlemania 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26 have been better?

    Have you been keeping score? For 6 years in a row, the person last eliminated still ended up in one of the World Championship matches.

    alternateNA

    2011 Royal Rumble winner Santino Marella?

    What actually happened:

    Alberto Del Rio won the Royal Rumble twice in 2011. After his original assumed victory, it was discovered Santino Marella injured on the outside for most of the match was never eliminated and the match would continue between those. Del Rio survived the scare and would eliminate Santino and officially win the Royal Rumble which led to him losing to Edge at Wrestlemania in the opening match for the World Title . As for the WWE Title, The Miz would defeat John Cena in the main event to retain.

    What would have happened:

    Santino Marella ain’t no sucka. He would have chosen to face The Miz in the main event for the WWE Title. Given how abysmal the Miz/John Cena match was, this timeline would be a clear improvement. Imagine Santino hitting Miz with The Cobra to win the WWE Title and close out Wrestlemania. This timeline understands the only way to capitalize on a Miz Wrestlemania main event.

    Would Wrestlemania XXVII have been better?

    alternateYES

    2012 Royal Rumble winner Chris Jericho?

    What actually happened:

    Sheamus eliminated Chris Jericho last in the Rumble as Sheamus would go to Wrestlemania where he faced Daniel Bryan. In the opening match, Sheamus defeated Daniel Bryan to win the World Title in a match that listed 18 seconds. Jericho ended up in the WWE Title himself, losing the first of a few matches in a feud with CM Punk.

    What would have happened:

    Chris Jericho would have chosen CM Punk if he had won the Royal Rumble so it’s irrelevant. Regardless of if Sheamus or someone else faced him, WWE would have found a way to embarrass Daniel Bryan so no differences would occur there.

    Would Wrestlemania XXVIII have been better?

    alternateNA

    2013 Royal Rumble winner Ryback?

    What actually happened:

    John Cena eliminated Ryback to win the Royal Rumble. Cena went on to Wrestlemania to win the WWE Title by defeating The Rock. Ryback would go on to lose in seven of his eight 2013 PPV matches and fall way down the totem pole after this.

    What would have happened:

    Ryback would have main evented Wrestlemania vs. The Rock. Given how The Rock didn’t live up to many’s expectations vs. the top wrestlers in WWE of John Cena and CM Punk, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Ryback of all people would have gotten a better match or program.

    Would Wrestlemania 29 have been better?

    alternateNO

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