Everyone has a lucky number. Some people pick their birthday, others go for the classics – three, seven and 16. But if you’re a WWE superstar and you’re holding a ticket into the Royal Rumble there’s only one number you want to be holding – and surprisingly it isn’t 30.
Logic suggests being number 30 and thus the last man to enter the ring gives you the greatest advantage. Surely, you’d think as you swagger down the entrance ramp, most of my opponents have already taken a trip over the top rope and I am merely left with the tired, beaten-down scraps. But you’d be wrong, kind of. While number 30 has been successful for three men – The Undertaker (2007), John Cena (2008) and Triple H 12 months ago – there is one number that is even more prolific.
In this game folks, you’re lucky number is 27.
With a strike rate of 14 per cent, number 27 can boast of four Rumble wins – Big John Studd (1989), Yokozuna (1993), Bret Hart (1994) and Stone Cold Steve Austin (2001). Last year Bray Wyatt came out at number 27 and despite lasting more than 11 minutes in the squared circle, a double-team from Triple H and Sheamus saw The Eater of Worlds dumped over the top rope. The worst performing entrant from the lucky number 27 slot was Dolph Ziggler in 2009. The Show Off lasted just 21 seconds before Kane ended his Rumble run.
Coming out a touch earlier at number 24 isn’t too bad either – in fact entrants at number 24 have the same win rate as number 30. Hulk Hogan (1991), Steve Austin (1998) and The Rock (2000) all won from the number 24 spot although the trend took a bump from the Beast in last year’s event. Jack Swagger came out at number 24 in 2016 and lasted just 15 seconds as Brock Lesnar dismantled him in double-quick time.
Which numbers do you want to avoid? Simple – nine and 12. Not one superstar who has ever entered at nine or 12 has made the final four of the Rumble. Rob Van Dam got closest in 2003, coming out at number 12 and lasting more than half an hour before being the 26th man ditched out. The worst of this awful bunch was Billy Gunn’s 1994 effort from number nine which lasted all of 14 seconds. Congratulations Mr Ass.
In what seems to fly against the face of logic coming out first or second isn’t bad either. Remember this is WWE, who needs logic when you can just put someone through a Spanish announce table? Shawn Michaels (1995) and erm, some other fella (2004) won the Rumble from number one, while Mr McMahon (1999) and Rey Mysterio (2006) came out on top after being drawn number two. Number one or two have thrown out the same number of winners as 19, 22, 28 and 29! Not only that but 25 per cent of entrants at number one have made the final four so even if common sense isn’t in your favour the WWE Gods probably are.
And so to swiftly conclude… If you’re drawn 27 you’re the happiest man in the locker room. If you’re number 24 or 30 you should also be pretty giddy. Numbers one or two might concern you originally, but you’re as well drawn as the lad that’s 29 so wipe the smug grin off his face. Unfortunately if you pick out nine or 12 you might as well start looking for a WrestleMania ticket now because you’re more likely to be watching the show from the couch rather than being in the main event.