Best Royal Rumble PPV matches (not the Rumble), according to Dave Meltzer



The Royal Rumble is one of the biggest events of the WWE calendar, and there have been plenty of instant classics on the map. These are the best non-Royal Rumble matches of the event, according to Dave Meltzer.

In January 1988, the Rumble Royal was born, and he went on to become one of the most legendary pay-per-views WWE has ever created. The suspense of the Royal Rumble match has captivated audiences for many years. And while the Royal Rumble match may be the most important match on the map, there have been several high-profile matches at the Royal Rumble that have also been instant classics.

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Wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer has covered professional wrestling for decades, and he has developed good relationships with some wrestlers, and bad with others. Nonetheless, he knows a good game when he sees one, and he gives credits where it’s needed by scoring the games very well.

9 Dean Ambrose versus. Kevin Owens – 2016 (4.25 stars)

Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose Royal Rumble 2016 Cropped

The 2016 Royal Rumble opener featured a grueling last man standing match for the Intercontinental Championship between Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens. They brought the intensity here in this competitive championship fight.

Both men went all out, considering they would later aim for the WWE Championship in the Royal Rumble. Weapons were used and KO attempted to squeeze Ambrose through chairs in the ring. The Lunatic Fringe had other ideas pushing Owens from the third string, who suffered a brutal blow across the table, and he retained the Intercontinental Championship in the process.

8 Chris Jericho versus. Le Rocher – 2002 (4.25 stars)

Jericho v The Rock Royal Rumble 2002 Cropped

At the 2002 Royal Rumble, Chris Jericho defended the WWE Championship against The Rock. Jericho and The Rock have fought for nearly three months, with the pair trading gold multiple times at the world championships.

They demonstrated their superb chemistry together by producing an outstanding WWE Championship match. Y2J’s reign for the WWE Championship could have been better, but he always worked well with The Rock. The interference of Lance Storm and Christian on behalf of Jericho was thwarted by The Great One. In the end, Jericho rode The Rock and he used the ropes as leverage to hold onto his WWE Championship.


seven Diesel vs. Bret Hart – 1995 (4.25 stars)

Diesel v Bret Hart Royal Rumble 1995 cropped

Diesel’s WWE Championship title defense against Bret Hart at the 1995 Royal Rumble was his first major title defense during his year-long reign. Their WWE Championship match was brilliant, and the rivalry between Diesel and Bret doesn’t get the credit it should.

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Execution Excellence skillfully worked on Diesel’s legs throughout the match. Diesel looked strong here with his attack. However, both men were protected with the arrival as outside interference from Shawn Michaels, and a few more heels resulted in the game ending in a draw.

6 Kevin Owens versus. Roman Reigns – 2017 (4.5 stars)

Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens Royal Rumble 2017 Cropped

At the 2017 Royal Rumble, Roman Reigns was looking to win the Universal Championship for the first time in his career. He challenged Kevin Owens for the title. KO’s ally. Chris Jericho, who beat Reigns for the United States Championship, was in a shark cage erected above the ring.

The match without disqualification for Reigns and KO was exceptional. The crowd was heavily invested in this hard-hitting game throughout. Nonetheless, Reigns was on the verge of winning the Universal Championship, but Braun Strowman intervened by putting Reigns across the table with his patented racing Powerslam. Owens took advantage and he held onto his championship by a thread.

5 Triple H versus. Cactus Jack – 2000 (4.5 stars)


Triple H was the top heel in 2000, and he entered Madison Square Garden as the defending WWE Champion at the Royal Rumble. The reign of the brain assassin was under siege as Cactus Jack was his challenger in the environment of Cactus, a street fight.

It was a violent WWE Championship match and fans were mesmerized by what they witnessed. Cactus refused to stay on the ground and Triple H showed his tenacity as a piece of wood was etched into his lower leg. Ultimately, a pedigree sealed the deal for Triple H to remain WWE Champion in an instant classic.

4 Brock Lesnar versus. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins – 2015 (4.75 stars)

Lesnar vs. Cena vs. Rollins Royal Rumble 2015 Cropped

Brock Lesnar’s triple threat WWE Championship match at the 2015 Royal Rumble was better than expected. Lesnar had two determined challengers in John Cena and Seth Rollins, who was Mr. Money in the Bank. They hit a home run in a remarkable match with The Architect proving he was more than ready to feature in the WWE Championship photo.

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It was the only good match on a disappointing Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Rollins put Lesnar across the announcement table, which left Rollins and Cena alone to fight. The match was electric and Lesnar emerged victorious once again after planting Rollins with a devastating F-5 to remain WWE Champion.

3 Chris Benoit versus. Chris Jericho – 2001 (4.75 stars)

Chris Benoit v Chris Jericho Royal Rumble 2001 Cropped

The rivalry between Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho over the Intercontinental Championship culminated at the 2001 Royal Rumble in a Ladder match. Benoit and Jericho produced some memorable games, BUT it was their best game together.

This game is not discussed much these days because of the involvement of Benoit. Jericho performed the Walls on Jericho on Benoit at the top of the ladder which was a great visual. Y2J then pushed Benoit up the ranks to win the Intercontinental Championship for the fourth time in his career.

2 AJ Styles versus. John Cena – 2017 (4.75 stars)

Styles v Cena Royal Rumble 2017 Cropped

AT Royal Rumble 2017, John Cena was chasing a 16th world championship, a record, but AJ Styles opposed his way of making history. The Phenomenal One was in his first year in WWE, and he was hoping to make a big mark on Cena.

It was the third game of their breathtaking feud, and they produced magic again. Big Match John nailed Styles with an AA Avalanche, but Styles found a way out. It had a mega-match feel, and they should have shut down the pay-per-view. In the end, the Cenation leader found a way out and he finished Styles with AA to make history as a 16-time world champion.

1 Kurt Angle versus. Chris Benoit – 2003 (4.75 stars)

Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit Royal Rumble 2003 Cropped

Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit were no strangers to each other after a series of matches in 2001. However, they were battling for the industry’s biggest prize, the WWE Championship, at the 2003 Royal Rumble. .

It was a technical fight at the highest level with the two men specialists in the use of submission holds. The knockdowns were brilliant, and the two were unable to hold each other down with their respective finishers. Benoit came very close and was applauded for his efforts afterwards. Angle retained the WWE Championship with its patented Angle Lock.

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