The WWE Royal Rumble is one of the most anticipated nights in the wrestling calendar. The legendary match pits 30 men (and since 2018, women) against one another in an over the top rope battle to earn a spot in the main event of Wrestlemania.
The match is one of the most entertaining matches in the WWE, simply due to how literally anything can happen. Surprise Rumble returns are the norm, with injured stars making their comebacks, new signings and legends back for one last hurrah are commonplace for the end-of-January show.
While the winner earns themselves a match with the World Champion at Wrestlemania, some of the biggest star making performances have been how long the wrestlers can last inside the match. The longest Royal Rumble survivors usually mean that the superstars are valued by the company and are due for big things in the future.
In this article, we’ll look at the longest Royal Rumble survivor’s, while also take a glance at how the controversial “Greatest Royal Rumble” in Saudi Arabia fits into the fray, as well as which WWE superstar has spent the longest time in the match without ever winning the Royal Rumble.
Longest Royal Rumble Survivor
Rey Mysterio spent the longest time in the Royal Rumble match, last 1:02:12 after entering at number 2 in the 2006 Royal Rumble match. He was joined in the start of the match by Triple H, who lasted until the final three with Mysterio and Randy Orton. However, it would be the diminutive Mexican that last eliminated Orton to win the match and set the record for the longest Royal Rumble survivor.
In this match, he broke a record that only stood for two years. The 2004 Royal Rumble match winner did something only two other man have ever done since – enter at number 1 and last the entire match, winning the whole thing. That man was Chris Benoit, who lasted over an hour en route to his Wrestlemania 20 main event against Triple H and Shawn Michaels. Sadly, his real-life troubles and death meant that WWE no long mentions his incredible accomplishment.
Two other men have lasted over an hour in the match. In the previously mentioned 200 edition of the match, Triple H entered at number 1 and nearly went all the way with Rey Mysterio. Despite the pair never wrestling in a one-on-one match in WWE, both men lasted over an hour before being eliminated by the eventually winner Mysterio himself. He was 1 hour and 9 seconds, the longest The Game has ever spent in a rumble match.
The other man mentioned in the breath of these legends is Bob Backlund. The for WWE Champion is the only one of the four to never win the Royal Rumble match, but can take solace in the fact that he is a former two-time WWE Champion. He had an impressive performance at the 1993 Royal Rumble match, lasting an hour and, like Triple H in 2006, was eliminated by the winner and finished third in the match (the bout in 1993 was won by Yokozuna).
However, there is one little snag in the story that came in the form of a one-off match that took place in Saudi Arabia…
Greatest Royal Rumble
In 2018, WWE put on one of their most ambitious matches ever in Saudi Arabia. Due to their billion dollar deal with the Saudi Government, they took the top WWE superstars across to Jeddah to put on the largest Royal Rumble match ever – aptly named the “Greatest Royal Rumble”.
The match saw 50 men – 10 more than the biggest ever match that took place in 2011 – compete to win the “Greatest Royal Rumble championship” – a green WWE Title belt with accompanying trophy. The match was won by Braun Strowman, marking his first championship win in the WWE, although he would not be the star of the match.
Daniel Bryan smashed the Royal Rumble record by lasting 1 hour and 16 minutes in one of the most impressive wrestling performances ever. While he only eliminated three men (Mark Henry, Viktor and Dash Wilder), he used his insane cardio to work with everyone in the match and make everyone look great around him.
The American Dragon finished third in the match, mimicking the performances of Triple H and Bob Backlund before him. He was eliminated by Big Cass, who was eliminated by Braun Strowman and fired by the WWE soon after. This loss added to Bryan’s record of never winning a Battle Royal in his career.
This incredible showing also gives Daniel Bryan (now known as Bryan Danielson in AEW) the unenviable honour of lasting the longest in the Royal Rumble match without winning. He has never won the Royal Rumble match and with his exit from WWE in 2021, looks very unlikely to ever do so. He overtook Bob Backlund’s record, which will be one he is happy to concede.