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WWE Royal Rumble: Relive the five greatest shocks as we count down the days until the main event

From Vince McMahon's victory in 1999 to Shawn Michaels' balancing act in 1995 - sit back and enjoy a trip down memory lane

by Josh Powell | January 23, 2016

It’s January. The days are fairly dark and miserable. Everyone is skint after Christmas. Some are trying desperately to give up smoking/go to the gym/stop binge watching Netflix as a New Year’s resolution. It’s a tough month.

Luckily however the Royal Rumble is here to brighten up even the bleakest January day. On Sunday 24th we will be treated to 30 WWE superstars battling for one chance to win and go on to headline the greatest stage of them all, WrestleMania.

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And as the build up has got us giddier than good ol’ JR at a Sunday BBQ, we’ve collated our five favourite Royal Rumble shocks for you to enjoy. So kick back, take 10 minutes away from work, and enjoy. Feel like we’ve missed one that deserves to be up there? Stick it in the comments section below and we promise to at least read and consider them.

5. Big Daddy Cool returns (2011)

One of the greatest elements that adds to the unique cocktail of a Royal Rumble match, is that you sometimes have no idea who is going to make an appearance. While internet rumours and wrestling forums might have the inside line on a guest appearance, sometimes they are completely unexpected. And when said return is of Big Daddy Cool, Diesel – who hadn’t featured in a WWE ring for 15 years – it is glorious.

4. Stone Cold steals it (1997)

In the first of his record-breaking three Rumble victories, Stone Cold Steve Austin lived up to his nickname of the Rattlesnake by re-entering the ring to win after previously being eliminated. Austin was thrown over the top rope by Bret Hart, but the officials didn’t see it as they were attempting to seperate Terry Funk and Mankind who were fighting outside of the ring. Stone Cold slithered back in, dumped out Vader, Undertaker and finally Hart, to win the Rumble while the Hitman complained to the hopeless referees.

3. A win for the owner (1999)

After his steal in 1997, Austin followed up with another Rumble win in 1998. His arch-nemesis and owner of the company Vince McMahon was convinced that Stone Cold wouldn’t make it three-in-a-row and put a $100k bounty on his head for anyone who could eliminate him. McMahon also made sure Austin would be drawn number one for the Rumble, while the boss himself ended up entering as number two. Inevitably it came down to McMahon and Austin, and with a little assistance from The Rock, McMahon was shockingly victorious.

2. Cena returns three months early (2008)

In October 2007 John Cena managed to tear his pectoral muscle completely off the bone. Now we’re not doctors but that sounds horrific, and WWE sources said it would be at best, probably seven months before Cena stepped back into the squared circle. Consequently no-one expected the final man to enter the Royal Rumble four months later to be none other than the returning Cena. Madison Square Garden exploded, and The Face of the WWE went on to win the Rumble.

1. HBK wins from number 1 (1995)

The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels made history over two decades ago, by becoming the first man to enter the Rumble first, and remain the last man standing. In one of the most iconic Rumble moments of all time, it appeared HBK was eliminated after The British Bulldog threw him over the top rope. However, only one of Michaels’ feet had touched the floor, and he ran in to eliminate the celebrating British Bulldog and win the Rumble himself. Any man who tops it off by celebrating in the ring with Pamela Anderson deserves to be top of the list, right?

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