And here we are, my favorite time of year, it’s time to find out who’s going to Wrestlemania, it’s time for the annual professional wrestling playoffs, it’s time for the Royal Rumble. Over the last 25 years, the Rumble match itself has seen numerous moments that will be forever captured in time. Be it Roddy Piper vs Jimmy Snuka in 2008, Shawn Michaels being the first person to go from bell to bell in 1995, or Rey Mysterio setting the longevity mark which to this day hasn’t been broken in 2006. However, today we’re not going to talk about the Royal Rumble match, or for the most part any of the World Title matches that have happened at that event, no today friends we discuss the best under card matches in the history of the Rumble PPV. Now granted, one of the matches on my list is a WWE Championship match, that year was all about Brock Lesnar’s chase for the Wrestlemania title shot therefore, it counts.
Now, before we get to the top 5, I have some honorable mention matches I’d like to get out of the way.
Honorable Mention 1: Edge vs Shawn Michaels in 2005
This match was the culmination of what was a months long feud between the man who would become the Rated R Superstar and the Heart Break Kid. This match did a lot to establish Edge as a main event talent and would help springboard him to becoming the first Mr. Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania 21.
Honorable Mention 2: Ric Flair vs Vince McMahon’s Street Fight in 2002.
Talk about a match that had no right to be as good as it was. Two aging men who at the time were the co-owners of the WWF, fighting for pride. This was one of the better matches in 2002 as well as one of Vince’s best matches ever and what a blood bath, if you ever get a chance definitely check it out.
Honorable Mention 3: The Rockers vs The Orient Express from 1991
This was the hardest match to strike from my list and not have on the top 5. The only reason it isn’t is because the Orient Express is represented in another match, and really I didn’t want to overload the list too much. A great opener to an underrated Royal Rumble.
And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for the Top 5 Under card Matches in the 25 year history of the Royal Rumble
5. The New Foundation vs the Orient Express from 1992.
Widely Held to be the greatest Royal Rumble match of all time, 1992 also had a fantastic offering in the under card as the Orient Express kept their streak of awesome Royal Rumble tag matches alive against Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart. Both teams really bust their asses to stand out on a show really about one match, both do a great job of that and really help you remember just how awesome tag team wrestling the 90’s really was.
4. Edge vs Dolph Ziggler for the WHC Title in 2011
Look, I know I said I was going to try and keep World Title matches out of this list, but as you see here and will see later on in the list, it’s impossible to ignore some of the great championship matches in the history of the Royal Rumble. This match, along with having the distinction of being one in a handful of last matches in the career of Edge also helped launch Dolph Ziggler into the stratosphere This was a great, great opening match to the Rumble that year and showed just how great both guys were, arguably the leader of this generation of WWE superstars going up against the tried and true veteran, telling a great story that unfolded over 20 minutes.
3. Goldust vs. Razor Ramon for the IC title in 1996.
Talk about great storytellers, you will be hard pressed to ever find anyone half as good as Dustin Rhodes when it comes to telling a story in the ring, or even outside of the ring. This match, the culmination of a months long rivalry between the two men over Goldust’s admiration of Razor, and let’s face it, Razor’s incredibly homophobic aversion to the Golden one set the tone for a match that saw Goldust pick up the Intercontinental gold. This match also served as the debut of Terri Runnells as Marlena, Goldust’s director.
2. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit Ladder Match for the IC Title in 2001.
One of two matches on this list that are forever lost due to the last few days of Chris Benoit’s life, a great, great ladder match between two guys who will leave everything in the ring when it’s all said and done. This was a fantastically brutal ladder match that also saw the debut of one of the sickest moves I’ve ever seen in a ladder match, Jericho’s top of the ladder Liontamer.
- Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship in 2003.
And now, perhaps the greatest WWE Championship match to ever happen at a Royal Rumble event. I know this isn’t technically an under card match however, in 2003 the spotlight of that show was on Brock Lesnar’s chase for the Rumble as well as the Triple H/Scott Steiner debacle. Both guys were on the absolute top of their game for this one, you had Kurt Angle the multi time champion going up against perhaps his greatest rival in the WWE, Chris Benoit a guy who had always almost gotten there but never had the big one, how could you not get behind that? What followed was a near 30 minute classic between the two that may never be replicated again. Benoit failed that evening to take the WWE Championship from Angle however, in that night showed that the fans can get behind him and make him a star which would greatly benefit him a year later at that same event.
Well, there you have it my list of what I think is the 5 best under card matches in the history of the Royal Rumble. Agree, disagree? I’d love to hear what you have to say. Thank you so much for reading this today and thank you for supporting It’s Raining Meng.
Matt Foster is a longtime pal of the IRM staff and a generally fabulous human being. Check out his appearances on The Programme with Matt and Ben on CstcNetwork.com
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