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David Taub

Royal Rumble 2019 Preview: A Case for the Honky Tonk Man



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The 32nd annual Royal Rumble takes place this Sunday (Jan. 27) at Chase Field in Phoenix.
The Royal Rumble is the yearly WWE event, where 30 wrestlers compete in a battle royal-style match. The winner receives a title shot at WrestleMania. Two men start, and every 90 seconds later, a new man enters until all 30 are in.

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David Taub
The women will have their separate Royal Rumble for the second year in a row.
Elimination takes place when a wrestler is thrown off the top rope and both feet hit the floor.
While many Rumble previews will let you know who’s lasted the longest, or eliminated the most rivals, here are more Rumble stats. Plus, I make the case for why Honky Tonk Man should be included in the 2019 affair.

By The Numbers

— 322 different participants have filled the 930 slots in the 31 prior Rumbles, from Bret Hart, the first entrant of the 1988 Royal Rumble, to Adam Cole, who wrestled in his first Rumble match last year.
— 10 is the longest active consecutive Rumble appearance streak, held by two men who debuted in the 2009 Royal Rumble, and have competed every year ever since: Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler. (Note, I’m not including The Greatest Royal Rumble event held in Saudi Arabia last year).
— 2 men have wrestled in all four decades of the Rumble, the 1980s, 90s, 00s, and 10s: Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Shawn Michaels. Only one other man could theoretically join them as an entrant this year: “The Greatest Intercontinental Champion of All Time” The Honky Tonk Man. HTM last competed in a Rumble in 2001. This would be a surprise because for years he’s trash-talked the WWE. However, wrestling is a never-say-never business. And, HTM lives int he Phoenix area. In addition, an HTM appearance would establish the record below.
— 16 years. That is the most years between Royal Rumble appearances, established by Jimmy Snuka and Roddy Piper. Both men wrestled in the 1992 Royal Rumble, then not again until the 2008 edition, as surprise legend entrants.
— 11 of the 31 Royal Rumble winners won in their first year: Jim Duggan (1988), Big John Studd (1989), Ric Flair (1992), Yokozuna (1993), Lex Luger (1994), Mr. McMahon (1999), Brock Lesnar (2003), Chris Benoit (2004), Alberto Del Rio (2011), Sheamus (2012), and Shinsuke Nakamura (2018). Only Studd and McMahon were one and done, never competing again in the Royal Rumble.
— 8th time was a charm for The Undertaker, the most times a man entered before finally winning. He tasted victory in 2007.
— 11 men have had sons or daughters also wrestle in the Royal Rumble, whether it was an actual father-child relationship or one just for the storyline. The daughters of two men wrestled in last year’s inaugural women’s Royal Rumble: Jim Neidhart (Natalya), Jimmy Snuka (Tamina); Ric Flair could join them if Charlotte Flair enters as scheduled. There have been two storyline sons: Andre the Giant (and Big Show, for a brief time in 1995 WCW called him Andre’s son) and Finlay (Hornswoggle). The seven whose actual sons wrestled are Mr. Perfect (Curtis Axel), Dusty Rhodes (Goldust and Cody Rhodes/Stardust), Ted DiBiase the elder (Ted DiBiase the younger), Irwin R. Schyster (Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas, although they are not acknowledged as father/sons); Jerry Lawler (Grand Master Sexay); Rikishi (Jimmy & Jey Uso) and Carlos Colon (Carlito and Primo).
— 8 times has a city hosted at least two Royal Rumbles. Phoenix will become the ninth city, having hosted previously in 2013. Fresno is on the list, hosting in 1996 and 2005 (wins by Shawn Michaels and Batista respectively). San Antonio and Philadelphia are the only cities to host three.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email