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The Royal Rumble is a professional wrestling pay-per-view event, produced every January by professional wrestling promotion WWE. The event was created in 1988 with the inaugural event held on January 24, 1988 at the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario. The event however was not a pay-per-view but was originally shown as a television special on USA Network. The following year's event was the first Royal Rumble pay-per-view event. The first Royal Rumble match was won by Jim Duggan. The event's main feature is a Battle Royal-type match, entitled the Royal Rumble. The pay-per-view is a part of WWE's "Big Four", along with WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series. The Royal Rumble has been classified as being one of WWE's most popular pay-per-view events.
The match is based on the classical Battle Royal match, in which a number of wrestlers aim at eliminating their competitors by tossing them over the top rope, with both feet touching the floor. The winner of the event is the last wrestler remaining after all others have been eliminated.
The Royal Rumble differs from the classical Battle Royal as the thirty contestants do not enter the ring at the same time but instead are assigned entry numbers, usually via lottery, although they can win guaranteed, desirable spots via a number of other means, the most common being winning a match. This usually takes place before the Rumble begins. The match begins with the two wrestlers who have drawn entry numbers one and two, with the remaining 28 wrestlers entering the ring at regular timed intervals, either ninety seconds or two minutes, according to their entry number. These rules are credited to Pat Patterson.
The match has no stipulations or rules other than that elimination must occur by a participant being placed over the top rope and both feet touching the floor. A wrestler who exits the ring without going over the top rope is not eliminated from the contest. For example, during the 1999 Rumble match, both Vince McMahon and Steve Austin left the ring, only to return later in the match. In the 1994 match, the last two participants Bret Hart and Lex Luger were declared co-winners when it was decided that both of their feet touched the floor at exactly the same time. A similar situation occurred in the 2005 match, however the match was restarted after Batista and John Cena eliminated each other at the same time. Batista eliminated Cena afterwards to win the match. Though various referees are charged with observing the match, some eliminations have remained unnoticed with the eliminated participant sneaking back into the ring to continue. For example, Stone Cold Steve Austin was eliminated this way during the 1997 event but re-entered and eventually won the match.
The reward for the 1992 Royal Rumble was the WWF Championship. The tradition of granting a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania started in 1993. Despite being introduced in late 2002, it was not until 2004 that a winner had the option to choose a match for the World Heavyweight Championship instead of the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. With the revival of the ECW World Championship in mid-2006, the title became a third option for the winner to choose since the 2007 event. From 2001 to 2007, the Royal Rumble match winner had gone on to win a World Championship title at WrestleMania. After winning the 2008 match, John Cena became the first winner to use his championship opportunity at an event (No Way Out 2008) other than WrestleMania. He also became the first man since 2000 to win the Royal Rumble match but fail to win the title in his championship opportunity as a result.
The Rumble winner may also put his championship opportunity on the line in a match, if he chooses. This was first done in 1999, when Stone Cold Steve Austin offered to forfeit his title opportunity to the Big Boss Man, who won third place in the Rumble (Austin was actually the runner-up in that rumble, but the winner - Vince McMahon himself - had voluntarily given up his title opportunity) if Vince McMahon could beat him in a cage match at St. Valentine's Day Massacre: In Your House, which Austin would go on to win. The second time that this happened was in 2006, when Randy Orton goaded Rey Mysterio into putting his main event spot at WrestleMania 22 on the line at No Way Out, which Orton would go on to win. Mysterio was eventually reinserted into the main event at WrestleMania and went on to win the World Championship match.
The Royal Rumble is a pay-per-view consisting of the Royal Rumble match, championship matches, and various other matches. The first Royal Rumble took place on January 24, 1988 and was broadcast live on the USA Network. The following year, the event was rebranded as a pay-per-view. It is part of WWE's "classic four" pay-per-views, along with WrestleMania, Survivor Series, and SummerSlam.
The first Rumble match featured only twenty men, and it was called the Rumble Royale. It lasted approximately thirty-three minutes of the two-hour broadcast. The modern Rumble matches are much longer, with the longest match, at the 2002 event, lasting over one hour and nine minutes of an approximately three-hour pay-per-view.
With the brand extension introduced in mid-2002, the 30 entrants from 2003 to 2006 consisted of 15 wrestlers from both the Raw and SmackDown brands. At first, the winner of the match received a shot at their brand's champion. Starting in 2004, the Rumble winner had the option of challenging any brand's champion. For instance, Chris Benoit switched brands in 2004 and won the World Heavyweight Championship. From 2007 to 2010, participants from the ECW brand competed along with the Raw and SmackDown brands, while the ECW World Championship became available for the winner to challenge for regardless of their designated brand. During ECW's participation, the entries for each brand were not evenly divided.
 Dates, venues, & winners
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