1995: Shawn Michaels draws No. 1 and Davey Boy Smith draws No. 2. They endure and go coast to coast to become the final two survivors, outlasting 28 others. Both guys were at somewhat of a professional crossroads and the stage was set to launch both men significantly. ‘The Moment’ was when Michaels went over the top rope but only “one foot” touched the floor … hence the “Shawn Michaels Rule” saying that both feet must touch the floor for one to be eliminated. Many feel that Shawn Michael’s individual career was amped up thanks to his performance in this Rumble match. HBK was at his best in big-match scenarios.
1998: The Three Faces of Foley. Yep, lovable Ol Mick knocked two of his peers out of spots in the Rumble match because Michael Francis Foley wrestled three times using three different personas. (Just kidding about that peer thing, Mick) Mick was marvelous that night and added all the subtle nuances exclusive to each persona. We saw it all, including Cactus Jack, Mankind and Dude Love, in that order. As a matter of fact, Dude came in as entrant No. 28 but ran afoul of a Rattlesnake to end Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy’s memorable night of multi-tasking.
2005: Completely surreal. The evil, Mr. McMahon blows out not one but both quads making his way to the ring. It was as if time stopped for a few seconds and we were all on a never-ending, seven-second delay trying to navigate a challenging situation for which no one had prepared. The final two men in the match were John Cena and Dave Batista. You might not believe this but … there was more “controversy.” Ironically, just as I predict will occur this Sunday on PPV, Batista prevailed.
2008: To broadcast from Madison Square Garden is, in homage to the late, Road Warrior Hawk,”What a Rush!” I call my life in wrestling … from the “farm” (in Oklahoma) to the “Garden.” However, few nights in my career was the crowd louder and became more unglued than when John Cena shocked WWE fans by returning from an injury to the Rumble as surprise entrant No. 30 and then winning by eliminating HHH. With Cena not in the Garden all day, who knew? John had been injured and the last that I had heard was that he was “getting better” so I left it at that. When Cena’s music hit it was, a “Monsoonism” is coming, pandemonium. The sold out crowd was so empowered that they almost forgot to boo the polarizing Cena,who eliminated HHH to get the win.