5 WWE stars denied at Royal Rumble

Wed Jan 25 2023 at 11:39 AM

There have been a lot of great WWE Superstars who have won the Royal Rumble, but also a surprising number of them who have not.

With January being the month WWE hosts the Royal Rumble match, fan excitement usually seems to be at an all-time high during the new year. The winner of the Rumble is guaranteed a marquee match at WrestleMania, WWE’s biggest show of the year. So, who are some of the best WWE Superstars to never win the 30-man over the top rope battle royal? Here’s five of our top choices:

1. Christian

Currently known as Christian Cage in AEW, “Captain Charisma” had quite the run in WWE. Christian made his WWE debut in 1998. His early career was highlighted with his successful tag team run with Edge.

The multiple-time WWE tag team champion would leave the WWE in 2005, not returning until 2009. Hopefully, with some time away from the company, fans could get behind him and finally see him pushed to the main event scene. While Christian did finally win the World Heavyweight Championship in 2011, he deserved a much better run as world champion.

The best case for Christian to win a Royal Rumble match was in 2011, where his best friend, Edge, was world champion heading into WrestleMania. Christian would turn heel later that year, so why not have him win the 2011 Royal Rumble Match and turn on Edge on the road to WrestleMania. It would have been a perfect way to end Edge’s career (or so we thought) and give Christian the big win he never got in WWE.

2. Chris Jericho Royal Rumble 2012

One of the greatest of all-time. Six-time WWE world champion. The first ever AEW World Champion. Truly a generational talent, who is still one of the biggest stars in the business. But somehow, Y2J never won a Royal Rumble Match.

Perhaps you are familiar with the 2012 Royal Rumble, the match everyone claims Jericho should have won. Chris had just made a big return to WWE and a WrestleMania feud with CM Punk was on the horizon.

Jericho entered at number 29 and eliminated two men, lasting until the final two, before being eliminated by Sheamus. Chris Jericho was heavily rumored to win the match, so that is why WWE could have potentially swerved the fans and gave it to Sheamus instead.

3. Kurt Angle

Kurt Angle, perhaps one of the best technical wrestlers of his era, accomplished great things in WWE. From his WrestleMania classics with Brock Lesnar, Shawn Michaels and Eddie Guerrero, Angle was a special talent.

One thing Angle was never able to accomplish, was being the last man standing in the Royal Rumble match, although having some impressive performances in the 2000s.

Angle was the last man eliminated in the 2002 Royal Rumble, a match won by Triple H. In 2004, Angle was one of the final three men before being eliminated by the Big Show.

With Angle leaving WWE for TNA in the late 2000s, a Rumble win never materialized for the gold medalist, a truly disappointing fact of the Rumble’s history.

4. CM Punk

One of the more polarizing figures of the 2010s, Punk truly did reach heights in WWE only a few could. His passionate promos, solid in ring ability and connection with the fans made him the hottest thing in wrestling in 2011.

Punk would never main event a WrestleMania, something he stated clearly was one of his goals in WWE. Perhaps a Royal Rumble win could of pushed the “Best in the World” in the main event spot he thought he deserved.

The two Rumbles you can make the best case for Punk to win, is 2011 and 2014. Punk’s legendary run in 2011, deemed the “Summer of Punk,” could of been started early with a Rumble win. A match with John Cena at WrestleMania could have been intriguing.

2014 is another good option, as Punk lasted until the final four before being eliminated by Kane, which in turn would be Punk’s last appearance in WWE.

5. Daniel Bryan

Perhaps no WWE Superstar deserved a Royal Rumble win more than Daniel Bryan. His popularity reached heights in 2014 only men like the Rock and Stone Cold have seen.

The 2014 Royal Rumble match was Bryan’s to win. But in one of WWE’s biggest creative blunders of the 2010s, Bryan was not even in the match. This lead to fans booing number thirty entrant Rey Mysterio.

Bryan would eventually find his way into the WrestleMania 30 main event, but a Royal Rumble win would have been one of WWE’s best moments in recent memory. Other Rumble matches you can argue Bryan to win, is 2015 and 2021.

Photo Credit: Michael Longo/For USA Today Network

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