2012 – Jinder Mahal
Jinder's first WWE run was, in a word, boring. Outside of his initial feud with The Great Khali, does anyone really remember anything he did for the first year-and-a-half of his tenure, until he became a member of 3MB? I didn't think so. His biggest push came when he was sent back to developmental, right after the company rebranded Florida Championship Wrestling into NXT. As a participant in the Gold Rush Tournament to crown the very first NXT Champion, Jinder made it all the way to the finals before losing to Seth Rollins.
3MB happened about eight months after the Rumble, and was as close to entertaining as he ever got. It never went anywhere, of course, because they were just comic relief, but at least it was something. Once he was released from his contract in June 2014, we all assumed that would be the last we would see of him.
Unfortunately, we were wrong. He returned to WWE last year, and still hasn't done much of anything, other than make everyone wonder when his new physique would lead to a Wellness Policy violation. He was cursed with the inability to be exciting and entertaining, but that has nothing to do with this particular curse, which has avoided him to this point.
2013 – Rey Mysterio
The “ultimate underdog”, Rey Mysterio has had himself an amazing career, becoming one of the most popular wrestlers of all-time. He has wrestled an exciting, high-flying style of matches since 1989, and it was taking its toll on his body after all those years.
His appearance in the 2013 Rumble was his first televised match of any kind in about a month-and-a-half, thanks to needing time to rest injuries. After the Rumble, he wrestled two more matches before injuring his knee, sending him back on the shelf for eight months. Five months after making his return from that knee injury, he had to take more time off because of a wrist injury... and he hasn't wrestled for WWE since. That's 15 televised matches wrestled in 2014, which followed 11 in 2013, 30 in 2012, and 42 in 2011. Since his WWE contract expired, he had what a lot of people called an uninspired run with the AAA promotion in Mexico before making his Lucha Underground debut last year.
This is a tough one. Yes, he was hit hard with the injury bug after being in the 2013 Rumble, but he was also hit hard by that bug before the Rumble, as well. What works in favor of the curse is that his injuries became more frequent and more severe after his Rumble appearance, so that's what we'll mark it down as.
2014 – Kevin Nash
While it wasn't as memorable as his surprise return as Diesel in the 2011 Rumble, it was still a surprise to see Nash appear in the 2014 edition. It popped the nostalgia-crazy fans, but it wasn't all that eventful. A couple months later, he inducted his best friend into the WWE Hall Of Fame, which had to be an absolute thrill for him, especially considering everything Scott Hall went through to reach that point.
On Christmas Eve 2014, Nash was arrested for battery against his son. WWE suspended him when they found out, but once charges were dropped, he was reinstated with no problem.
A year after doing an induction speech for the Hall Of Fame, he needed to write a different speech... this time accepting his own induction. It was long overdue. It's tough to say that anything about him was cursed after the 2014 Rumble. Not exactly a lot of in-ring action, but that was by design. On top of that, he saw some great moments in his personal life, also getting to watch his friend achieve a milestone. That's pretty much going in the opposite direction of the curse.
2015 – Diamond Dallas Page
We have history here, ladies and germs. The first person to get the dreaded #14 spot twice. If you have a short attention span, or you have merely skimmed through this column, DDP was hit by the curse after entering at #14 in 2002, thanks to what was a serious neck injury at the time.
With everything that has happened to #14 entrants through the years, you would almost think someone in charge has to have heard something about the curse by now. In that case, giving Page that number for a second time seems like cruel and unusual punishment. This time around, it seems like the curse might have met its match. As mentioned before, Page has gone on to have a successful career pitching DDP Yoga, as well as helping to take some of his best friends from the business and turn their lives around for the better. The work he has done with Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Scott Hall is incredible, and that isn't even counting what DDP Yoga has done for the lives of people like Mick Foley, Big Show, and the countless other wrestlers, past and present. He's out there doing genuine good for the world. He's someone that is easy to root for, and here's to hoping that avoiding the curse the second time around is something that continues on.
2016 – Stardust
Just to get it out of the way... yes, it's only been a year since this took place. Some of the people on this list who have been cursed saw their negativity come their way well after a calendar year had passed. With that said, we can still look back at the last 12 months and come up with an early hypothesis, so that's what is happening here.
Four months after this Royal Rumble appearance, Cody Rhodes was released from his contract.
If we're being fair, he requested that release, and it was granted to him. It's not as if his pink slip caught him by surprise. He had been using the Stardust gimmick for nearly two years, and has gone on record saying that he wasn't enjoying it. He says that he begged and pleaded with members of the WWE Creative Team to end the gimmick for over six months, but was denied each time, even when he pitched his own stories and ideas to make it happen. That frustration built and built, and he couldn't take it anymore.
Since his departure, he has gone on to make several independent appearances that received a lot of hype and publicity. He began working for EVOLVE, facing people like Chris Hero and Zack Sabre Jr. He went to Northeast Wrestling and had a match with Kurt Angle. He went to PWG and participated in their annual Battle Of Los Angeles tournament. He went to Ring Of Honor. He went to TNA. He went to New Japan. He has certainly kept himself busy, so he's damn sure not suffering because he isn't with WWE anymore.
Add him to the list of people who were no longer working for WWF/WWE within months of entering the Royal Rumble at #14, but his story doesn't end there. The others saw personal or professional downfalls continuing after their release from the company. Thus far, Cody has seen his career thrive, and he seems to be a lot happier about things. One year out, the curse has yet to strike.
There you have it. A comprehensive look at the curse of the #14 spot. Now, here we are, as the 2017 edition of the Rumble is right around the corner. Every year, fans get excited when they watch and see the ten-second countdown hit their screens, eagerly anticipating who will be entering the match next. This merely adds a little more intrigue to a certain number. Who do you think will get this year's #14 spot? Hit me up on Twitter (@HustleTheSavage) or leave your comments below, and remember this column when that moment arrives.
By the way, just for the sake of being complete, my personal prediction for this year's #14 entrant is Rhyno. No reason. Just a guess.
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