The Royal Rumble returns to San Antonio, Texas for the 2023 event, but this isn’t the first time we have seen WWE head to the place where everything is bigger. The Rumble has taken place three previous times, 1997, 2007 & 2017, and here at Lace ‘Em Up we want to rank them and give you some cool facts about the events while we are at it.
#3. Royal Rumble 1997 | Alamodome | San Antonio, Texas
Who Was In The Match? Crush, Ahmed Johnson, Fake Razor Ramon, Phineas I. Godwinn, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bart Gunn, Jake Roberts, The British Bulldog, Pierroth, The Sultan, Mil Máscaras, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Owen Hart, Goldust, Cibernético, Marc Mero, Latin Lover, Faarooq, Savio Vega, Jesse James, Bret Hart, Jerry Lawler, Fake Diesel, Terry Funk, Rocky Maivia, Mankind, Flash Funk, Vader, Henry O. Godwinn and The Undertaker.
The match starts with Crush and Ahmed Johnson, not a star-studded first two which is very disappointing but 1997 was a weird time for the WWE. Next is Fake Razor Ramon, we know that iusn’t him come on WWF, but he is out soon enough. Stone Cold Steve Austin is here, which means that the match should pick up. For a Royal Rumble this one isn’t the best, but it feels really set up for Steve Austin to look like a star. There isn’t anything wrong with that and is a great way of doing the Rumble, but was this the right time? in retrospect it definitely was. There is a funny moment between Farooq and Ahmed Johnson involving a 2×4.
Savio Vega should have been in for longer, he is extremely underrated, but that’s not the story being told here. Bret Hart coming out to an empty ring with only Steve Austin to face is a magical moment, those two felt like a “we will do this forever” had things not gone south at the end of this year. When you know you know, bloody Montreal. The Hart/Austin saga is one of my favourites in wrestling history and a big part of the attatuide era getting started.
Ahmed Johnson, Farooq and Mil Máscaras all eliminated themselves during the 1997 Royal Rumble match, you could argue that Farooq didn’t, but he didn’t need to jump over the top rope to escape Johnson. Terry Funk lasts over 15min in the Royal Rumble which is one of my favourite things about this match, cause he is a living legend and deserves a spotlight like this. This is also the Rumble that Austin was ‘accidentally’ eliminated but he snuck back in and eliminated the Undertaker, Vader and Bret Hart. A slow start with a great ending
1 Man Has Appeared In Every Royal Rumble In San Antonio, So Far
And that man is The Undertaker who has appeared in every Royal Rumble in San Antonio so far, the big question is will he appere this year? It is very unlikely as he has all but retired at this point, but wouldn’t it be fun to see him, even if it’s only for ten miniets.
Glen Jacobs, the man behind Kane, has appeared in two San Antonio Royal Rumbles as two different characters. In 1997 he would potray Fake Diesel, which is a role he was actually really good at, then in 2007 he would appear as Kane. Who else has appeared in multiple Royal Rumbles in San Antonio?
Randy Orton appeared in both the 2007 and 2017 Royal Rumble matchs making it to the final four in both, which is a pretty cool accomplishment. The big question with him is, will he be healthy enough to entre this year as a big surprise? The Miz is also someone who has appeared in two, 2007 and 2017, and will most likely be in this years Rumble in San Antonio too. If both appear will either of them win? It seems very unlikely.
#2. Royal Rumble 2007 | AT&T Center | San Antonio, Texas
Who’s In The Match? Ric Flair, Finlay, Kenny Dykstra, Matt Hardy, Edge, Tommy Dreamer, Sabu, Gregory Helms, Shelton Benjamin, Kane, CM Punk, King Booker, Super Crazy, Jeff Hardy, The Sandman, Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, Rob Van Dam, Viscera, Johnny Nitro, Kevin Thorn, Hardcore Holly, Shawn Michaels, Chris Masters, Chavo Guerrero, Montel Vontavious Porter, Carlito, The Great Khali, The Miz and The Undertaker.
The first entrant to the 2007 Royal Rumble is Ric Flair and at number two is Finley in his first Rumble match. The start of this match is star-studded with Matt Hardy and Edge coming in early and bringing some much-needed younger star power to the match. There are also some ECW originals in the form of Sabu and Tommy Dreamer which is always fun and full of chaos. This is also the first appearance of CM Punk. [Chris Benoit is in this match and puts in a fantastic performance as always, it’s always hard to talk about him knowing what comes next for him.]
Rob Van Dam gets a huge pop and is just out of this world when it comes to his kicks and making the crowd go wild. I’ve never understood Visara, I don’t get it but it does take nine men to eliminate him. Shawn Michaels is the hometown boy and comes into the match to make a statement, he wants to win tonight. The final 4 are Shawn Michaels, Edge, Randy Orton and The Undertaker. This is a great fantastic final four with everyone’s history weaving together. But who will come out on top?
The final two are Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker who put in one of the best mini matches in Royal Rumble history, this will all lead to next year’s Rumble and Michaels’ need to destroy The Undertaker. An over-year-long storyline starts here with The Undertaker winning the Royal Rumble.
There Is 1 Rematch on the 2023 Card from A Privious Year
The biggest singles match of the 2023 Royal Rumble, the Universal Championship match between Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns, is actually a rematch from 2017, only this time the roles are reversed. While in 2017 KO was the champion he now has a mountain to climb in the head of the table, Roman Reigns. Their fued has been long standing, exciting and full of some great storyline beats. These two together are always entertaining.
John Cena might not have had any rematches but in both 2007 and 2017 he defended the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. The first was against Umarga and then ten years later he would face off against one of the biggest starts of the independent secne in AJ Styles.
#1. Royal Rumble 2017 | Alamodome | San Antonio, Texas
Who Was In The Match? Big Cass, Chris Jericho, Kalisto, Mojo Rawley, Jack Gallagher, Mark Henry, Braun Strowman, Sami Zayn, Big Show, Tye Dillinger, James Ellsworth, Dean Ambrose, Baron Corbin, Kofi Kingston, The Miz, Sheamus, Big E, Rusev, Cesaro, Xavier Woods, Bray Wyatt, Apollo Crews, Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler, Luke Harper, Brock Lesnar, Enzo Amore, Goldberg, The Undertaker, and Roman Reigns.
Entrant number one is Big Cass, starting the night with him and Enzo Amore is kind of perfect cause it gets the crowd really going. The second man is the United States champion Chris Jericho, who is entering his 10th Royal Rumble match at this point. The first third of this match is fun, Sami Zayn is there, we get a hoss fight between Strowman and The Big Show and this is also the night Tye Dillinger comes in at no.10.
They are soon joined by Dean Ambrose who tries to help them get rid of Strowman but to no avail. But Baron Corbin turns the tide in that department. When Kofi Kingston enters the ring you know it’s gonna be a good time and always expect a mad way that he saves himself. Cesaro gives everyone a spin which is always a fun spot in the Royal Rumble, or any match for that matter.
Seeing Luke Harper in the Rumble alongside Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt is emotional, especially when you realise that he could have been involved in that championship match between Wyatt and Orton at WrestleMania. He was an incredible preformer and will be sadly missed. 💜
Soon enough Brock Lesner is in the ring and lays waste to everyone, cause suplex city is real and full of vengeance. Oh, and poor poor Enzo Amore has to come to the ring and face Lesner. And it goes terribly for him. Lesner is eliminated by a returning Goldberg before The Undertaker arrives at number 29, ready to destroy him, but a nice neat elimination is what we get.
You can tell that this is peak ‘We Hate Roman Reigns’ era. Oh no, here come the boos and Roman Reigns at number 30. The final 4 of the night are Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt and the iron man of the match Chris Jericho. Randy Orton makes the crowd happy by winning the Royal Rumble instead of Reigns. Later Bray Wyatt wins the WWE Championship inside of the Elmination Chamber and that’s when Orton turns on him. So much foreshadowing and so many possible matches were set up for Mania.
3 Winners From The Southern States With 2 From Texas
Stone Cold Steve Austin is from Austin, Texas and won the 1997 Royal Rumble match, a home town hero and a landmark moment in the career of Austin. He would go on to be one of the WWF/WWE’s biggest stars and is still just that to this day. Next we have The Undertaker who hails from Housten, Texas, allowed billed sometimes from Parts Unknown, won the 2007 Royal Rumble match after entering at #30. Last but not least we have the winner of the 2017 Royal Rumble, Randy Orton who was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, but is billed from the Mid-West, St. Louis, Missouri to be exsact.