The road to WWE Wrestlemania 33 begins this Sunday Night with the 2017 WWE Royal Rumble event.
Over the next week here on Fightful, I will be bringing you a “Countdown To The 2017 WWE Royal Rumble.” During these columns, we will be looking at the past history of the Royal Rumble event and while also previewing this years event as well, plus Fightful will be providing the first of its kind Live WWE Royal Rumble Match Stat Tracker as the big match is taking place this Sunday Night.
Click here for Part One, ranking the Royal Rumble Winners, #23 thru #11!
Click here for Part Two, ranking the Top Ten Royal Rumble Winners of All Time!
So, without any further ado, here is Day Three of our countdown, as we rank the best non-Royal Rumble Matches to take place at the annual event.
#10: The Rockers vs. The Orient Express (1991)
This may not seem like a match that belongs on the list, but if you had gone to house shows during this era, the best match of the night was always The Rockers versus The Orient Express. The two teams finally got to bring their brand of tag team action to the big stage at WWE Wrestlemania 6, but the best of the bunch happened at the 1991 Royal Rumble pay-per-view. This match was the WWE equivalent of The Midnight Express versus The Rock N’ Roll Express of NWA/WCW fame. The Rockers would go onto defeat The Orient Express in this match, which was the longest match on the card (20 minutes), other than the Rumble Match itself. An interesting side note to the match, Kato of The Orient Express was portrayed by Paul Diamond, who got the job at the recommendation of Shawn Michaels, who was one half of The Rockers.
#9: Dean Ambrose (Champion) vs. Kevin Owens - WWE Intercontinental Title Match (Last Man Standing Match) (2016)
Although this match only took place at last years WWE Royal Rumble event, it was a plunder filled brawl that will go down as one of the bets matches in the history of the event. These two destroyed each other with every single weapon that was not nailed down, including chairs, ladders, tables, kendo sticks and even a fire extinguisher. Ambrose would retain the WWE Intercontinental Title when it was all said and done, he would also be one of the last two men in the ring a few hours later in the Rumble Match, but would be eliminated by Triple H.
#8: The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz (Tables Match) (2000)
It would be a few months later at WWE Wrestlemania 2000 that The Hardy Boyz, Edge & Christian and The Dudley Boyz would have their historic Tables Ladders & Chairs match, but everything began with this tables match at the 2000 WWE Royal Rumble event. The sheer amount of tables broken in this match was amazing, with bodies going through tables like there was no tomorrow. The tables were used in interesting ways to, such as being propped against guard rails, on top of the ring steps, on top of each other and some were even destroyed in the crowd. The Hardy Boyz would win the match after Jeff Hardy dove off the doorway of the arena to put one of the Dudley Boyz through the table.
#7: Chris Benoit (Champion) vs. Chris Jericho - WWE Intercontinental Title Match (Ladder Match) (2001)
The feud between Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho had in WCW and would continue for many years in the WWE. This ladder match is not only the first of that stipulation to happen at a WWE Royal Rumble event, it has been the only ladder match thus far in the event's history. These two Canadian stars not only did your typical ladder spots, but Benoit did an amazing diving headbutt from the top of the ladder onto Jericho. The match ended when Jericho applied the Walls Of Jericho to Benoit on the top of the ladder, Jericho would then grab the WWE Intercontinental Title to win the historical bout.
#6: Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan (2014)
This is the night where Daniel Bryan’s rise to the top of the WWE mountain would begin, oddly enough, the rise would begin with a loss. Bray Wyatt and Bryan would put on a wrestling clinic for over twenty minutes of time, Wyatt would get the win after hitting Bryan with two Sister Abigails. While the match was fantastic, it was a Batista win in the Rumble Match itself which caused a rebellion from the fans that would prompt the WWE to put Bryan in the main event of WWE Wrestlemania 30, Bryan would win the WWE World Heavyweight Title.
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