Royal Rumble

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Royal Rumble
The logo for Royal Rumble, since 2011.
The logo for Royal Rumble, since 2011.
Information
Created by Pat Patterson
Promotion(s) WWE
Brand(s) Raw
SmackDown
First event Royal Rumble (1988)
Signature match types Royal Rumble match

The Royal Rumble is a professional wrestling pay-per-view event, produced every January by professional wrestling promotion WWE.[1] The initial 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 take on a Battle Royal match,[2] entitled the Royal Rumble. The pay-per-view is a part of WWE's "Big Four", along with WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series.[3] The Royal Rumble has been classified as being one of WWE's most popular pay-per-view events.[4]

History[edit]

Match[edit]

The Royal Rumble is based on the classic 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.[1][2][5] The winner of the event is the last wrestler remaining after all others have been eliminated.[1][4]

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 a lottery, although they can win guaranteed, desirable spots via a number of other scripted means, the most common being winning a match. This lottery is usually staged right before the event begins.[1] 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 90 seconds or two minutes, according to their entry number.[1] This format is credited to Pat Patterson.[6] To date, only two men have won the Royal Rumble match starting from the number one spot, with Shawn Michaels being the first to do this in 1995, followed by Chris Benoit in 2004, although both Vince McMahon and Rey Mysterio won from the number two spot, which is functionally identical.

Royal Rumble match.

In 2000, Rock was declared the victor, as intended, until replays revealed that his feet had actually touched before those of The Big Show. A rematch was held to determine who got the Wrestlemania title shot and Big Show won with the help of Shane McMahon. Despite this, Rock was still added to the title match by Vince McMahon, and it was held early on a RAW broadcast. Mick Foley was then added to the Wrestlemania title match by Linda McMahon and part of the hype was the idea of a McMahon in each corner (Stephanie McMahon being in her husband HHH's corner). Rock is still officially regarded as the Rumble winner, despite replays and the rematch showing a different result.

Although most eliminations are caused by active participants, eliminations caused by other means have occurred, and have been ruled legitimate, including self-eliminations (such as Andre the Giant jumping out of the ring after seeing a snake in 1989, Kane eliminating himself in 1999 and Drew Carey eliminating himself in 2001; however 1992's Randy Savage self-elimination was ruled illegitimate and he returned to the match) and elimination from previously-eliminated participates (such as The Undertaker eliminating Maven in 2002 and Kurt Angle eliminating Shawn Michaels in 2005). Furthermore, if an injured wrestler is taken away by medical staff, he can return to the match as long as the match is still ongoing (such as Steve Austin in 1999), but if the match ends without the injured wrestler returning, he is deemed eliminated (such as Scotty 2 Hotty in 2005).

The reward for winning the 1992 Royal Rumble was the WWF Championship.[7] The tradition of granting a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania started in 1993.[8] 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.[8] 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.[9] From 2001 to 2007, the Royal Rumble match winner had gone on to win a World Championship title at WrestleMania.[10] 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.[11] He also became the first since The Rock in 2000 to win the Royal Rumble match but fail to win the title in his championship opportunity as a result.

The Royal Rumble winner may also choose to put his championship opportunity on the line in a match. This was first done in 1996, when Shawn Michaels risked his WrestleMania XII title shot in a match against Owen Hart at In Your House 6. The second time was in 1999, when 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 third time was in 2002, when Kurt Angle convinced Triple H to put his WrestleMania X8 championship spot on the line at No Way Out, a match which Angle won. However, Triple H would later defeat Angle and regain his WrestleMania championship spot. The fourth time 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, a match which Orton won. Mysterio was eventually reinserted into the main event at WrestleMania, making it a triple threat match, and went on to win the World Heavyweight Championship. On the February 25, 2013 edition of Raw, John Cena successfully defended his WrestleMania 29 WWE Championship opportunity in a match against CM Punk.

Five non-PPV Rumble matches have taken place. The first on January 17, 1994 at Madison Square Garden when Owen Hart last eliminated Fatu. The second took place on House Show in May 9, 1994, when The Undertaker last eliminated Bam Bam Bigelow. The third took place on Raw is War in 1999, known as the Corporate Rumble, when Chyna last eliminated Vince McMahon to obtain the 30th entry in the Royal Rumble that year. The fourth took place on Smackdown in 2004 when Eddie Guerrero last eliminated Kurt Angle to face Brock Lesnar at No Way Out for the WWE Championship. The fifth took place on Raw in 2011 when Jerry Lawler last eliminated Sheamus to face The Miz at Elimination Chamber for the WWE Championship.

Event[edit]

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.[12] The following year, the event was rebranded as a pay-per-view.[13] It is part of WWE's "classic four" pay-per-views, along with WrestleMania, Survivor Series, and SummerSlam.[14]

The Royal Rumble match is usually located at the top of the card, though there have been exceptions such as the 1988, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2006, and 2013 events.[15] Due to the Rumble match taking up a large amount of time (most Rumble matches last roughly one hour), the Rumble event tends to have a smaller card than most other pay-per-view events, which routinely have six to eight matches per card.

The first Rumble match featured only twenty men,[16] and it was called the Rumble Royale.[12] It lasted approximately thirty-three minutes of the two-hour broadcast.[10] 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.[10]

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.[17] Starting in 2004, the Rumble winner had the option of challenging any brand's champion.[8] For instance, Chris Benoit switched brands in 2004 and won the World Heavyweight Championship.[8] 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.[9] During ECW's participation, the entries for each brand were not evenly divided.[18]

The 2011 edition is the only such match that has had a forty participant field as opposed to the nominal thirty.[19]

The 2008 Royal Rumble was the first WWE pay-per-view to be available in high-definition.[20]

As of 2014, the 1992 Royal Rumble match is the only Royal Rumble contested for the vacant WWF Championship (now WWE World Heavyweight Championship).

Dates, venues and winners[edit]

List of Royal Rumble dates, venues and winners
Event Date City Venue Winner Entry No. Runner Up Ref. Main Event
1 Royal Rumble (1988) January 24, 1988 Hamilton, Ontario Copps Coliseum Jim Duggan 13 [Note 1] One Man Gang [21][22] The Islanders (Haku and Tama) vs. The Young Stallions (Paul Roma and Jim Powers) in a Two out of three falls match
2 Royal Rumble (1989) January 15, 1989 Houston, Texas The Summit Big John Studd 27 Ted Dibiase [23][24] 30-man Royal Rumble match
3 Royal Rumble (1990) January 21, 1990 Orlando, Florida Orlando Arena Hulk Hogan 25 Mr. Perfect [25][26] 30-man Royal Rumble match
4 Royal Rumble (1991) January 19, 1991 Miami, Florida Miami Arena 24 Earthquake [27][28] 30-man Royal Rumble match
5 Royal Rumble (1992) January 19, 1992 Albany, New York Knickerbocker Arena Ric Flair 3 Sid Justice [29][30] 30-man Royal Rumble match for the vacant WWF Championship
6 Royal Rumble (1993) January 24, 1993 Sacramento, California ARCO Arena Yokozuna 27 Randy Savage [31][32] 30-man Royal Rumble match
7 Royal Rumble (1994) January 22, 1994 Providence, Rhode Island Providence Civic Center Bret Hart
Lex Luger
27
23
Shawn Michaels [Note 2] [33][34] 30-man Royal Rumble match
8 Royal Rumble (1995) January 22, 1995 Tampa, Florida USF Sun Dome Shawn Michaels 1 British Bulldog [35][36] 30-man Royal Rumble match
9 Royal Rumble (1996) January 21, 1996 Fresno, California Selland Arena 18 Diesel [37][38] Bret Hart (c) vs. The Undertaker for the WWF Championship
10 Royal Rumble (1997) January 19, 1997 San Antonio, Texas Alamodome Stone Cold Steve Austin 5 Bret Hart [39][40] Sycho Sid (c) vs. Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship
11 Royal Rumble (1998) January 18, 1998 San Jose, California San Jose Arena 24 The Rock [41][42][43] Shawn Michaels (c) vs. The Undertaker in a Casket match for the WWF Championship
12 Royal Rumble (1999) January 24, 1999 Anaheim, California Arrowhead Pond Mr. McMahon 2 Stone Cold Steve Austin [44][45][46] 30-man Royal Rumble match
13 Royal Rumble (2000) January 23, 2000 New York, New York Madison Square Garden The Rock 24 Big Show [47][48][49] 30-man Royal Rumble match
14 Royal Rumble (2001) January 21, 2001 New Orleans, Louisiana New Orleans Arena Stone Cold Steve Austin 27 Kane [50][51][52] 30-man Royal Rumble match
15 Royal Rumble (2002) January 20, 2002 Atlanta, Georgia Philips Arena Triple H 22 Kurt Angle [53][54][55] 30-man Royal Rumble match
16 Royal Rumble (2003) January 19, 2003 Boston, Massachusetts Fleet Center Brock Lesnar 29 The Undertaker [56][57] 30-man Royal Rumble match
17 Royal Rumble (2004) January 25, 2004 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wachovia Center Chris Benoit 1 Big Show [58][59][60] 30-man Royal Rumble match
18 Royal Rumble (2005) January 30, 2005 Fresno, California Save Mart Center Batista 28 John Cena [61][62][63] 30-man Royal Rumble match
19 Royal Rumble (2006) January 29, 2006 Miami, Florida American Airlines Arena Rey Mysterio 2 Randy Orton [64][65][66] Kurt Angle (c) vs. Mark Henry for the World Heavyweight Championship
20 Royal Rumble (2007) January 28, 2007 San Antonio, Texas AT&T Center The Undertaker 30 Shawn Michaels [67][68][69] 30-man Royal Rumble match
21 Royal Rumble (2008) January 27, 2008 New York, New York Madison Square Garden John Cena 30 Triple H [70][71][72] 30-man Royal Rumble match
22 Royal Rumble (2009) January 25, 2009 Detroit, Michigan Joe Louis Arena Randy Orton 8 Triple H [73][74] 30-man Royal Rumble match
23 Royal Rumble (2010) January 31, 2010 Atlanta, Georgia Philips Arena Edge 29 John Cena [75][76] 30-man Royal Rumble match
24 Royal Rumble (2011) January 30, 2011 Boston, Massachusetts TD Garden Alberto Del Rio 38 [Note 3] Santino Marella [77] 40-man Royal Rumble match
25 Royal Rumble (2012) January 29, 2012 St. Louis, Missouri Scottrade Center Sheamus 22 Chris Jericho [78][79][80] 30-man Royal Rumble match
26 Royal Rumble (2013) January 27, 2013 Phoenix, Arizona US Airways Center John Cena 19 Ryback [81][82][83] CM Punk (c) vs. The Rock for the WWE Championship
27 Royal Rumble (2014) January 26, 2014 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Consol Energy Center Batista 28 Roman Reigns [84] 30-man Royal Rumble match

^ 1. This Rumble featured 20 participants.
^ 2. Michaels was the second last man eliminated, therefore making him the runner up.
^ 3. This Rumble featured 40 participants.

Royal Rumble winner's WrestleMania title shots[edit]

Winner Event Year Title shot
1 Yokozuna WrestleMania IX 1993 Yokozuna defeated Bret Hart for the WWF Championship; first instance of the WWF title reward
2 Lex Luger WrestleMania X 1994 Luger lost to Yokozuna by DQ for the WWF Championship
2 Bret Hart WrestleMania X 1994 Hart defeated Yokozuna for the WWF Championship
3 Shawn Michaels WrestleMania XI 1995 Michaels lost to Diesel for the WWF Championship
4 Shawn Michaels (2) WrestleMania XII 1996 Michaels defeated Bret Hart in a 60 Minute Iron Man match (1:56 of overtime) for the WWF Championship
5 Steve Austin WrestleMania 13 1997 Then-champion Shawn Michaels vacated the WWF Championship on the Thursday Raw Thursday special. Due to this and the controversial situation over the Royal Rumble ending, Steve Austin, Bret Hart, The Undertaker, and Vader were pitted against each other at In Your House 13: Final Four in a Four Corners match for the WWF Championship, which saw Hart win the vacant WWF title
6 Steve Austin (2) WrestleMania XIV 1998 Austin defeated Michaels for the WWF Championship
7 Mr. McMahon WrestleMania XV 1999 Vacated title opportunity when McMahon declined to face champion The Rock
WWF Commissioner Shawn Michaels then awarded the title opportunity to runner-up Steve Austin.
McMahon challenged Austin to a steel cage match at St. Valentine's Day Massacre: In Your House; if Austin won, he would get his shot.
Austin won via escape after a debuting Paul Wight (aka Big Show) threw Austin through the steel cage wall, breaking it.
At WrestleMania Austin defeated Rock for the championship.
8 The Rock WrestleMania 2000 2000 Video footage later showed Rock's feet hit the floor first before runner-up Big Show.
After multiple attempts name a rightful #1 contender, both were added to the main event along with Mick Foley.
Triple H was able to successfully defend the WWF title in a four corner elimination match.
9 Steve Austin (3) WrestleMania X-Seven 2001 Austin defeated The Rock in a No Disqualification match for the WWF Championship
10 Triple H WrestleMania X8 2002 Triple H defeated Chris Jericho for the Undisputed WWF Championship
11 Brock Lesnar (Smackdown) WrestleMania XIX 2003 Lesnar defeated Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship
First instance of the World Heavyweight Championship as an option for the Rumble winner
Triple H was reigning World Champion on Raw
12 Chris Benoit (Smackdown) WrestleMania XX 2004 Benoit defeated Triple H (c) and Shawn Michaels in a Triple Threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Eddie Guerrero was the WWE Champion on SmackDown
Chris Benoit "exploited" a loophole that the Royal Rumble winner could choose which brand's world championship to challenge for.
13 Batista (RAW) WrestleMania 21 2005 Batista defeated Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship
JBL was the WWE Champion on SmackDown
14 Rey Mysterio (Smackdown) WrestleMania 22 2006 Mysterio lost his WrestleMania title opportunity to Randy Orton at No Way Out (2006). SmackDown General Manager Teddy Long later added Mysterio to the World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania, making it a triple threat match. At WrestleMania 22, Mysterio defeated Kurt Angle (c) and Randy Orton in a triple threat match for the World Championship
John Cena was WWE Champion on Raw
15 The Undertaker (Smackdown) WrestleMania 23 2007 This was also Streak Match #15.

Undertaker defeated Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship
This was the first year the ECW Championship was an option for the Rumble winner.
John Cena was WWE champion on Raw; Bobby Lashley was ECW Champion.

16 John Cena (RAW) No Way Out
WrestleMania XXIV
2008 Cena used WWE Championship opportunity earned in Rumble at No Way Out against Randy Orton. Orton remained champion due to disqualifying himself.
Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship is held at WrestleMania XXIV, also including Triple H. Orton successfully retains.
Chavo Guerrero was ECW Champion; Edge was World Heavyweight Champion
17 Randy Orton (RAW) WrestleMania XXV 2009 Orton lost to Triple H for the WWE Championship.
Edge was World Heavyweight Champion; Jack Swagger was ECW Champion
18 Edge (Smackdown) WrestleMania XXVI 2010 Edge lost to Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Batista was WWE Champion on Raw; Christian was ECW Champion.
Last year ECW Championship was an option as the ECW brand closed and the title was retired on February 16, 2010.
19 Alberto Del Rio (Smackdown) WrestleMania XXVII 2011 Del Rio lost to Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship
The Miz was WWE Champion on Raw.
This was the last year titles were assigned to brands.
20 Sheamus WrestleMania XXVIII 2012 Sheamus defeated Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship
CM Punk was WWE Champion.
21 John Cena (2) WrestleMania XXIX 2013 Cena defeated The Rock for the WWE Championship
Alberto Del Rio was World Heavyweight Champion.
22 Batista (2) WrestleMania XXX 2014 Daniel Bryan defeated Triple H in the opening bout, with the stipulation being the winner earning insertion into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match
Daniel Bryan defeated Randy Orton (c) and Batista in a triple threat match.
The WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship were unified on December 15, 2013, meaning there was no longer a choice for the Royal Rumble winner.

Royal Rumble records[edit]

Most Rumble Victories

Wrestler Royal Rumble Wins Year
Stone Cold Steve Austin 3 1997, 1998, 2001
Hulk Hogan 2 1990, 1991
Shawn Michaels 1995, 1996
John Cena 2008, 2013
Batista 2005, 2014

Longest Time Spent in a Single Royal Rumble
Top twenty individual superstar longest times in a single Royal Rumble match. As of the 2014 Royal Rumble.

# Wrestler Time Year
1 Rey Mysterio 1:02:12 2006[85]
2 Chris Benoit 1:01:35 2004[85]
3 Bob Backlund 1:01:10 1993[85]
4 Triple H 1:00:09 2006
5 Ric Flair 1:00:02 1992[85]
6 Steve Austin 56:38 1999
6 Mr. McMahon 56:38 1999
8 Kane 53:46 2001
9 Rick Martel 52:17 1991[85]
10 The Rock 51:32 1998
11 Triple H 49:55 2009
12 Dolph Ziggler 49:47 2013
13 Rey Mysterio 49:24 2009
14 CM Punk 49:11 2014
15 Seth Rollins 48:31 2014
16 Randy Orton 48:27 2009
17 Chris Jericho 47:53 2013
18 Chris Benoit 47:26 2005
19 The Miz 45:39 2012
20 Ted DiBiase, Jr 45:11 2009

(Note: Bold letters indicates the winner of that year's royal rumble match.)

Longest Cumulative Time Spent in Royal Rumbles
Only wrestlers who have spent more than 3 cumulative hours are shown. As of the 2014 Royal Rumble.

Wrestler Time
Triple H 3:51:32[86]
Shawn Michaels 3:42:30[86]
Rey Mysterio 3:19:59[citation needed]
Chris Jericho 3:05:09
Kane 3:03:04

Shortest Time Spent in a Single Royal Rumble
Only wrestlers who spent 10 seconds or less in a single rumble are shown.

Wrestler Time Year
Santino Marella 0:00:01 2009[85]
The Warlord 0:00:02 1989[85]
Mo 0:00:03 1995[85]
Owen Hart 0:00:03 1995[85]
Bushwhacker Luke 0:00:04 1991
Jerry Lawler 0:00:04 1997
The Godfather 0:00:05 2013[85]
Gillberg 0:00:07 1999
The Miz 0:00:07 2007
Montel Vontavious Porter 0:00:07 2010
Tazz 0:00:10 2001

Most Eliminations in a Single Royal Rumble
Top wrestlers with most eliminations in a single match. Only wrestlers with at least seven eliminations are shown. As of the 2014 Royal Rumble.

Wrestler # of Eliminations Year
Roman Reigns 12 2014
Kane 11 2001[85][87]
Hulk Hogan 10 1989[85][88]
Steve Austin 10 1997[85][89]
Shawn Michaels 8 1996
Shawn Michaels 8 1995
Steve Austin 8 1999
Hulk Hogan 7 1991
Yokozuna 7 1993
Diesel 7 1994
Steve Austin 7 1998
Rikishi 7 2000
Steve Austin 7 2002
The Undertaker 7 2002
The Great Khali 7 2007
CM Punk 7 2011
John Cena 7 2011

Total Eliminations in Cumulative Royal Rumbles
Top wrestlers with the most eliminations. Only wrestlers with at least 15 eliminations are shown. As of the 2014 Royal Rumble.[90][verification needed]

Wrestler # of Eliminations Rumbles Entered
Shawn Michaels 39 12[85][91][92]
Isaac Yankem/Kane 39 17[93][94]
Steve Austin 36 6[85]
The Undertaker 35 10
Triple H 28 8
Hulk Hogan 27 4
Big Show 25 8
John Cena 22 7
Randy Orton 19 7
CM Punk 18 6
Edge 17 6
Batista 17 5
Chris Jericho 15 8

Most Rumble Appearances
Only wrestlers with at least 7 appearances are shown. As of the 2014 Royal Rumble.

Wrestler Rumbles Entered First Rumble Most Recent Rumble
Isaac Yankem/Kane 17 1996 2014
Shawn Michaels 12 1989 2010
The Undertaker 10 1991 2009
Fatu/The Sultan/Rikishi 1993 2004
Mabel/Viscera/Big Daddy V 9 1994 2008
Goldust 1997 2014
Big Show 2000 2012
Triple H 8 1996 2010
Chris Jericho 2000 2013
Booker T 2002 2012
Papa Shango/Kama Mustafa/The Godfather/The Goodfather 1993 2013
Shelton Benjamin 2003 2010
The Great Khali 2007 2014
Jake Roberts 7 1988 1997
Rick Martel 1989 1995
Owen Hart 1993 1999
Billy Gunn 1994 2004
Thurman "Sparky" Plugg / Bob "Hardcore" Holly 1994 2008
Mark Henry 1998 2011
Matt Hardy 2001 2010
John Cena 2003 2013
Randy Orton 2004 2013
Rey Mysterio 2003 2014
The Miz 2007 2014

Diva Entrants

Diva Rumbles Entered
Chyna 2 (1999,[45] 2000)[48]
Beth Phoenix 1 (2010) [76]
Kharma 1 (2012)

Video box set[edit]

In March 2007, WWE released a complete DVD box set titled Royal Rumble: The Complete Anthology, which showcases every Royal Rumble event in its entirety, up to the 2007 Royal Rumble.[95]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

General
Specific
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Further reading[edit]

  • Harley Race and Gerry Tritz (2004). King of the Ring: The Harley Race Story. Sports Publishing. ISBN 1-58261-818-6. 
  • Davies, Ross (2002). Kevin Nash. The Rosen Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8239-3492-6. 
  • Meltzer, Dave (2004). Tributes II: Remembering More of the World's Greatest Professional Wrestlers. Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 1-58261-817-8. 
  • Brian Fritz and Christopher Murray (2006). Between the Ropes: Wrestling's Greatest Triumphs and Failures. ECW Press. ISBN 1-55022-726-2. 
  • Steve Austin and Jim Ross (2003). The Stone Cold Truth. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-7434-7720-0. 
  • Scott Keith (2004). Wrestling's One Ring Circus: The Death of the World Wrestling Federation. Citadel Press. ISBN 0-8065-2619-X. 

External links[edit]