February 2, 2005
Statistical survival - breaking down the Royal Rumble
By JON WALDMAN - SLAM! Wrestling

What a Royal Rumble it was.

By most reviews, this year's edition of the modified Battle Royal was a solid output by World Wrestling Entertainment. The Rumble was also interesting not only from a subjective analysis, but from a statistical analysis as well. Here's a look at some of the more interesting stats coming out of the 2005 Royal Rumble.

· In what is a weird alphabetic stat, the last three Royal Rumbles have been won by competitors whose first or last name starts with the letter B (Batista, Chris Benoit and Brock Lesnar).
· This was only Batista's second Royal Rumble. Both years he has been an entrant, he has made it to the final four. He was the 27th competitor eliminated back in 2003.
· Number 28 is definitely Batista's favourite number. He was the 28th entrant in both Rumbles he has entered.
· En route to winning the Rumble, Batista eliminated four men on his own, and one with the help of John Cena. Edge also did the solo job on four men, and helped a group eliminate Muhammad Hassan.
· Only 13 competitors counted solo-elminations this year. Those men include Batista (4), Edge (4), Shawn Michaels (3), Ric Flair (2), John Cena (2), Booker T (2), Eddy Guererro (2), Hardcore Holly (1), Rey Mysterio Jr. (1), Kurt Angle (1), Chris Jericho (1), Gene Snitzky (1) and Kane (1).
· Canadians accounted for five of the 26 solo elimination efforts. Of those five, only one was a Canadian eliminating one of his countrymen (Jericho eliminated Dupree).
· This was the first year that the last two combatants were not both from Smackdown since the brand extension.
· Since the brand extension began in time for the 2003 Rumble, six different superstars have been the last two fighters in the ring. They are Lesnar, Undertaker, Big Show, Chris Benoit, John Cena and Batista.
· Batista is only the second wrestler this Millennium to win the Rumble that got his start in WWE. The other was Lesnar.
· This year marked the seventh consecutive year that at least one heavyweight championship was defended at 'Mania.
· For those curious, Triple H has been in H-Weight matches five of those seven years, including the last three. What did he do in the other years? He was in the Rumble both years. In 1999 he made it to the final six, and 2002 he won the Rumble match.
· In those same seven years, the Heavyweight Title has never changed hands at the Rumble. Guess WWE actually does do some advanced booking on occasion eh?
· This year's Rumble featured three former Rumble winners (Chris Benoit, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair).
· This was the third-straight year that there wasn't a Women's Title match at the Rumble. The last title fight was in 2002 when Trish Stratus defended against Jazz.
· The last time women even had a match at the Rumble was in 2003, when Torrie Wilson battled her step-mother, Dawn Marie.
· Royal Rumble rookies this year included Simon Dean, Hassan, Daniel Puder, Kenzo Suzuki, Luther Reigns, Orlando Jordan, Renee Dupree, Coach, Mark Jindrak, Paul London and Gene Snitzky. Of those 10, only Snitzky was able to eliminate a wrestler on his own, while Reigns was involved in the Hassan elimination.
· As we all know, this was the second straight year that Chris Benoit was one of the first two men in the Rumble. The only other men to be entered in at number one or two more than once are Bret Hart (1988, 1991), Ted Dibiase (1990, 1992), Davey Boy Smith (1992, 1996) and Shawn Michaels (1996, 2003). Benoit is the only man to be number one or two in consecutive years.

Jon Waldman, SLAM! Wrestling stat superman, has submitted superb scripts to SLAM! since the start of the modern Millennium. The self-selected "Almighty of Alliteration" welcomes words of wisdom, worry and wonder delivered directly to his ever-growing expanse of e-mail.


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