Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Royal Rumble by (Entry) Numbers: 6

Best ever, win or lose?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Winners: None
Final four: Kane (2nd, 2001)
Multiple draws: Bart Gunn (1994, 1997)
Longest: Kane (2001), 53:46
Shortest: Gillberg (1999): 0:07.
Most eliminations: 11 — Kane (2001)

Not only was it the greatest performance by any No. 6 entrant, but Kane’s showing in the 2001 Royal Rumble gets my vote for the best single performance by any non-winner in Rumble history. As noted yesterday, Drew Carey was alone in the ring when Kane’s music hit. Though Carey eliminated himself, Kane logged the next six consecutive eliminations and 11 in all, which remains the most in one night. He was in the ring for 53:46 (eighth best all time) and lost at the very end to Steve Austin, the only man to win three Rumbles.

By contrast, look at Rick “The Model” Martel in 1991. Sure, he lasted 52:17 — only 89 seconds shy of Kane — but he also made only four eliminations (only three unassisted). Not bad at all compared to what usually happens from the sixth spot — but it doesn’t hold a flame-throwing ringpost to Kane.

What usually happens from the sixth spot? Hardly anything. Thirteen No. 6 entrants — that’s half — failed to eliminate a single competitor. Nine couldn’t last four minutes. One such soul was Beth Phoenix, the second female entrant in Rumble history. She succeeded in eliminating the Great Khali before being dumped herself soon after.

Another of the short-timers was Vladimir Kozlov, who in 2009 came in at six and lasted just 2:40, but also made the first three eliminations of the night, dumping Khali, MVP and Carlito before running afoul of the night’s No. 7 entrant, Triple H. That many eliminations in such a small window is fairly remarkable compared to the average participant.

The post on No. 5 entrants looked extensively at Drew Carey’s entry into the 2001 Rumble, and I ultimately declared his inclusion didn’t really bother me. Perhaps that’s because of things like the 1999 entry of No. 6, Gillberg. While more of another episode in a long-running joke than the one-off celebrity rub given Carey, Gillberg was clearly included only for the sake of being an oddity. He lasted all of seven seconds. That turn came a year after Mick Foley entered the Rumble three times as three different characters. The year before that Fake Diesel finished third. The year before that Jerry Lawler spent most of the match hiding under the ring and mugging for the cameras. In a world where Vince McMahon had been WWF Champion, Carey hitting the ring wasn’t exactly trampling on sacred ground.

The worst noncomic No. 6 performance goes to Bart Gunn’s 26 seconds (and no eliminations) in 1997. He lasted all of 2:30 entering from the same spot in 1994. Rolled in with his 1995 showing (6:19, no eliminations) and Bart’s Royal Rumble record is something of a microcosm of his entire WWF career, minus the Butterbean incident.

Shawn Michaels had already been in two different Royal Rumbles when he appeared as No. 6 in 1992, but this was his first showing since the breakup of the Rockers, which aired on syndicated WWF TV just one weekend earlier. He acquitted himself well enough, lasting 15:46 before he and Tito Santana eliminated each other. There would be far greater Rumble showings in HBK’s future — a major understatement — but this one’s far from his worst.

One “statistic” I’d love to track sometime is how often a Rumble participants faced his eliminator at the subsequent WrestleMania. No. 6 might be a good place to start, as it happened to Roddy Piper, the 1990 No. 6 who faced Bad News Brown at WrestleMania VI. It also happened with the aforementioned Michaels and Santana in 1992 — they squared off in the opening bout of WrestleMania VIII. And Phineas Godwin (No. 6, 1998) was in the WrestleMania XIV tag team battle royal opposite his Rumble eliminator Mark Henry.

Year
Wrestler
Dur.
Out
El.
Elim. By
Elim. 2
1988
Harley Race
0:10:03
4
0
Muraco

1989
Greg Valentine
0:19:52
8
0
Savage

1990
Roddy Piper
0:12:20
7
1
Brown

1991
Rick Martel
0:52:17
25
4
Smith

1992
Shawn Michaels
0:15:46
10
1
Santana

1993
Virgil
0:17:08
7
0
Berzerker

1994
Bart Gunn
0:02:30
3
0
Diesel

1995
Barbarian (Sione)
0:06:50
10
3
E. Blu

1996
Nelson Frazier (Mabel)
0:12:14
3
0
Yokozuna

1997
Bart Gunn
0:00:26
5
0
Austin

1998
Phineas Godwinn
0:28:48
12
1
Henry

1999
Gillberg
0:00:07
2
0
Edge

2000
Scotty 2 Hotty
0:01:02
5
0
Rikishi

2001
Glenn Jacobs (Kane)
0:53:46
29
11
Austin

2002
Al Snow
0:05:12
5
1
Undertaker

2003
Christian
0:09:03
9
1
Jericho

2004
Rhyno
0:14:00
7
1
Benoit

2005
Kenzo Suzuki
0:03:31
4
0
Mysterio

2006
Big Show
0:09:02
7
2
Triple H

2007
Tommy Dreamer
0:06:41
3
0
Kane

2008
John Morrison
0:29:23
14
0
Kane

2009
Vladimir Kozlov
0:02:40
4
3
Triple H

2010
Beth Phoenix
0:01:37
5
1
Punk

2011
Ted DiBiase Jr.
0:12:16
7
1
Harris
McGillicutty
2012
Primo
0:01:57
3
0
Foley

2013
Drew McIntyre
0:02:40
2
0
Jericho

2 comments:

  1. Bart Gunn in 2007? I thought that was an anniversary battle royal not the rumble?

    ReplyDelete