The Royal Rumble has a long and storied history in the WWE. Whoever wins the contest is instantly shot into the main event scene of the WWE, but what happens after? Below we will take a look at the past Royal Rumble winners and what has become of them.

    1988: Hacksaw Jim Duggan

    The inaugural Royal Rumble winner spent his best years with the WWE running through the roster with his trusty 2×4. When he left the WWE he spent some time in WCW competing for their secondary championships. Nowadays you can find Duggan still competing on the independent circuit around the country.

    1990 & 1991: Hulk Hogan

    Arguably the most popular wrestler in the history of the WWE has accomplished the rare feat of winning two Royal Rumble matches.

    After having been removed from WWE history for some rather controversial remarks Hogan returned to the WWE in 2018. Since then he has been making various appearances for the WWE, with his most recent appearance being on the Legends night edition of Raw.

    1992: Ric Flair

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    In one of the greatest performances in Royal Rumble history, Ric Flair entered the Royal Rumble at number 3 and went over one hour to become the WWE Champion. Flair is no longer involved with the WWE today, and was last seen turning heel on his daughter recently to align himself with Lacey Evans… he was released in 2021.

    1994: Bret Hart and Lex Luger

    For the first time in WWE history, two men won the Royal Rumble and received a championship match at Wrestlemania.

    After a storied career redemption with the WWE in 2005, Bret Hart jumped ship and made an appearance at the first-ever AEW pay-per-view to unveil their world championship.  This was his last public appearance.

    After his unsuccessful title contest at Wrestlemania 10, Lex Luger spent years wrestling for both the WWE and WCW. In 2011, he began a role within the WWE working on their wellness program. He helps wrestlers to avoid the same drug addictions that plagued many in the 80s and 90s.

    1995 & 1996: Shawn Michaels

    HBK became the first man in WWE history to enter the Royal Rumble at number one and win the match. It was a historical night and one of many in the career of Mr. Wrestlemania.

    Since his retirement in 2009, Michaels has made sporadic appearances for the WWE. In 2018, Michaels returned to the WWE in a backstage role for NXT, which he still occupies today.

    1997, 1998 & 2001: Steve Austin

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    ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin is the most prolific wrestler in the history of the Royal Rumble. Over three Rumble matches, Austin has proved that when it comes to the Royal Rumble no one can hold a candle to him.

    After his final match at Wrestlemania 19 Austin has performed several on-screen roles for the WWE. On top of these on-screen roles, which he still does to this day, Stone Cold has also hosted various television shows as well as a very successful podcast on the WWE Network.

    1999: Vince McMahon

    Mr. McMahon was one of the best heels of the Attitude Era. Fans all over the world loathed when the man was on television and this was very much the case when he managed to win the Royal Rumble.

    Outside of Vince being a great heel, he is the well-known owner of the WWE and he continues this role until today.

    2000: The Rock

    With Austin out with an injury, The Rock took over as the top face of the company.  He was headed for a showdown with Triple H so naturally, he would be winning the over the top rope battle royal.

    Since taking his leave from WWE The Rock has become one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Today he splits his time between movies, hosting t.v shows, and making the odd appearance on WWE programming.

    2002 & 2016: Triple H

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    Triple has the distinction of having the longest period go by between Royal Rumble victories. In 2002 he was the returning hero bent on getting back to his former glory and in 2016 he was hell-bent on making sure that Roman Reigns would not retain his world championship.

    Triple H has still maintained a part-time wrestling career since he took over an office role with the WWE. While he still wrestles from time to time his main role within WWE is that of Executive Vice-President of Talent, Live Events, and Creative, whilst having some health issues it’s unsure what 2022 has in-store for Triple H as it seems his power is dwindling.

    2003: Brock Lesnar

    The Beast was getting shot up the card ever since he made his much-anticipated debut. Lesnar had grabbed every brass ring put in front of him and next in his sights was a Royal Rumble match victory.

    After having a successful career in the UFC, Lesnar returned to the WWE in 2012 to once again take the roster to Suplex City. Lesnar then spent the next 8 years dominating the company and winning every major title in the process. At Wrestlemania 36, he lost the WWE Championship to Drew McIntyre. Lesnar is the current (13/1/22) WWE Champion after beating Big E Langston in a multi man match at WWE Day 1.

    2005 & 2014: Batista

    The two Rumble wins by Batista in his career couldn’t have been under more different circumstances. In 2005, he was a star on the rise whose career skyrocketed after winning the Royal Rumble. In 2014, he returned and stood in the way of another man whose star was on the rise.

    Since his retirement from wrestling Batista has been a very successful actor. Dave has appeared in the final two Avengers movies as well as being a huge part of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.  He continues to be a part of some highly anticipated movies such as Dune and the fourth Thor installment, which are due out in the next few years.

    2006: Rey Mysterio

    Dedicating his performance at the Royal Rumble to the memory of Eddie Guerrero, Mysterio entered at number two and went the distance outlasting Triple H and Randy Orton.

    Rey has just recently returned to the WWE as a surprise entrant in the 2018 Royal Rumble. He has since helped to break-in his son on the WWE roster and continues to wrestle for the WWE today.

    2007: The Undertaker

    In the history of the Royal Rumble, interestingly, the Undertaker was the first man to draw number 30 and win the entire contest.  It also marked his first Rumble win which is astounding considering the career that he has had.

    Wrestlemania 36 marked the last time the deadman was in the ring and according to an excellent series on his career it looks like that was his last match. He has currently been doing some podcasts like Steve Austin’s ‘Broken Skull Sessions’ and Joe Rogan’s web show. Both are worth a watch to learn more about the Deadmans’ careers.

    2008 & 2013: John Cena

    Big match John has won everything there is to win in the WWE, that includes taking home two Royal Rumble victories. After taking a step back from a full-time career in wrestling Cena has broken through into the movie industry. He had a starring role in the latest Fast 9 movie and the new Suicide Squad, and is still somewhat involved with WWE.

    2009 & 2017: Randy Orton

    Randy Orton has been one of the WWE’s best heels throughout his career. He has competed for every championship that the company has to offer and winning two Royal Rumbles has helped him to achieve these accomplishments.

    Orton is still an active competitor in the WWE, even going the distance to be a runner up at the Royal Rumble this past Sunday. He is currently involved with Matt Riddle as a Tag Team.

    2010 & 2021: Edge

    The Ultimate Opportunist has spent his WWE career doing whatever it takes to win championships. In 2010, he returned from a year on the shelf to win the Rumble, and while he was unsuccessful at Wrestlemania his return still sits up there with the Greatest Royal Rumble surprises.

    After a forced retirement due to injury, Edge returned at the Royal Rumble last year and nearly won the match. His luck was better at this year’s Royal Rumble when he drew number one and went coast to coast to win the match and punch his ticket to Wrestlemania. Edge recently wrestled at WWE Day 1 against The Miz and is set to team with Wife Beth Phoenix to face Miz & Maryse.

    2011: Alberto Del Rio

    This marked the first, and only, time that the Royal Rumble was extended to 40 men instead of the usual 30. The Mexican Aristocrat won the match and went on to face Edge for the World Championship at Wrestlemania. In May of last year, Del Rio was arrested for aggravated kidnapping and sexual assault. On October.9th he was officially indicted by a grand jury in San Antonio, Texas.

    2012: Sheamus

    Sheamus eliminated Chris Jericho last in the Royal Rumble to become the first Irish born wrestler to win the battle royal. He famously went to Wrestlemania where he beat Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds and sparked the Yes movement. Sheamus has been an active wrestler on the WWE roster ever since his Royal Rumble win, despite a few injuries along the way. Recently beat former Tag Team partner Cesaro & Ricochet in a handicap match which involved new friend Ridge Holland.

    2015: Roman Reigns

    In perhaps the most controversial ending in Royal Rumble history, Reigns last eliminated Rusev to win despite the clear want from the WWE Universe to have Daniel Bryan win the contest.

    Upon returning to the WWE last summer Reigns has embarked on a reign, pun intended, of terror throughout the WWE. He successfully defended his Universal Championship against Kevin Owens at the Royal Rumble. [if you would like to read the results from this Rumble please click here] and has held that Championship for over 500 days (13/01/22).

    2018: Shinsuke Nakamura

    It came as a great surprise to the WWE Universe to have fan favourite Nakamura toss Roman Reigns over the top rope to win the Royal Rumble. It is a shame that they did not carry this momentum forward. Nakamura has been wrestling on Smackdown, usually partnering with Cesaro. He has recently turned face and has begun a pursuit of the Universal Championship, and won the Intercontinental Championship in 2021.

    2018: Asuka

    In the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble, Asuka cemented her WWE legacy by eliminating Nikki Bella and winning the event. Asuka has been taking time off during 2022,

    2019: Seth Rollins

    The Kingslayer entered the Royal Rumble in the 10 positions and last eliminated Braun Strowman to win the match. He went on to Wrestlemania that year to toppled Brock Lesnar and take home the Universal Championship.

    Seth Rollins took some time off from the WWE in November to be with Becky Lynch to celebrate the birth of their child. He made his return to action this Sunday at the Royal Rumble.

    2019: Becky Lynch

    Lynch was the most popular performer in the WWE at the time. When Lana went down with injury and Lynch took her place the Phoenix crowd popped. Becky won the match and went on to be one of the first women to main event Wrestlemania.

    Lynch took time off from the WWE last year for the birth of her child. She is currently still on maternity leave.

    2020: Drew McIntyre

    The Scottish Psychopath did the unthinkable at the Royal Rumble when he eliminated Brock Lesnar, who had been running through every superstar. Drew went on to win the match and wrestle the WWE Championship away from the Beast.

    After a small hiccup against Randy Orton, McIntrye has been WWE Champion for the better part of a year. After defeating Goldberg this past Sunday  Drew has moved onto his next challenger, Sheamus.

    2020: Charlotte Flair

    It was only a matter of time before Charlotte won a Royal Rumble match. The golden girl of WWE creative tossed Shayna Baszler over the top rope to win the contest and challenge for a world title at Wrestlemania.

    Charlotte returned from injury last December to capture the World Tag Team Titles with Asuka. She is also in a feud with Lacey Evans and of all people her father, which will probably result in a Wrestlemania match.

    2021: Bianca Belair

    Bianca entered the Rumble match at number 3 and eliminated 4 other wrestlers on her way to becoming the Royal Rumble winner.  She also broke the record for the longest time spent in the Rumble clocking in at 56 minutes and 52 seconds.

    After her win this past Sunday it is unknown which championship Belair will challenge for at Wrestlemania, only time will tell.

    You can read the results from this years Rumble here.