WWE likes to promote the notion that anything can happen in the Royal Rumble. And sometimes the unexpected does happen. With so many wrestlers involved and 30 past versions of the event, it's logical that, at some point, a match that is so intricate with so many moving parts would see the unforeseen happen on occasion.
With that, as we prepare for the latest Royal Rumble this Sunday in San Antonio, here are the top five Rumble spots that did not go as planned.
In 2011, WWE was laying the groundwork for a feud between John Cena and The Miz, that would include them facing off in the main event of WrestleMania that year. Part of the plan involved Riley, Miz's lackey at the time, eliminating Cena from the Rumble. Those plans went out the window when Riley accidentally was tossed by Cena and Kofi Kingston. Watch the replay and you can see Cena lunging to try and grab Riley to keep him from falling to the floor.
Just a few months before Austin 3:16 took WWE by storm, Austin accidentally eliminated himself from the 1996 version of the Rumble.
Relating the incident on an episode of his podcast, Austin noted he was supposed to be one of the final four in the match.
“All the guys were oiled up and the ropes were very slippery,” Austin said.
Austin and Fatu did a spot where the plan was for Austin to go over the top rope, prevent elimination by grabbing the rope, then slide back in under the bottom. Instead, when Fatu threw Austin over, he lost his grip and tumbled to the floor.
“I'm thinking, 'Oh man, I'm a new guy in the company. They're trying to give me a little bit of a push here … and I blow it? Really?' ” Austin recalled.
Kevin Nash and Dolph Ziggler
The 1994 Rumble made Kevin Nash a star in WWE when, as Diesel, he eliminated seven consecutive men. Nash made a surprise appearance in the 2011 Rumble as Diesel. He did not throw out anyone that time, but that wasn't the original plan. Interviewed on WWE's “The True Story of the Royal Rumble” DVD, Nash noted he was supposed to eliminate Dolph Ziggler from the match, but that Nash changed that on the fly. Instead, Wade Barrett eliminated Diesel.
O'Neil lasted just four seconds in the 2015 Rumble before he was ousted by Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. O'Neil wasn't even supposed to stay in the match that long. According to PWInsider, the plan was for O'Neil to get tossed after just one second, which would have tied Santino Marella's record for the shortest amount of time in a Rumble.
The conclusion of the 2005 Rumble was a trainwreck. Fans watching saw the last two wrestlers in the match, John Cena and Batista, both go over the top rope simultaneously. Vince McMahon hurriedly came out to the ring, tearing both quads in the process, and ordered the match to resume. Mere moments later, Batista eliminated Cena, and went on to defeat Triple H at WrestleMania for his first major title reign. However, the actual plan was for Batista to win the Rumble decisively with no such shenanigans. Batista later went on record that he made a mistake at the finish.