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Posted in: Hustle Is Posting Right Now
Hustle Is Posting Right Now - The Royal Rumble Curse
By Hustle
Jan 23, 2014 - 4:35:22 PM

You rock, Maricel.

"I think I might be cursed.."

Writer's Note: This column was originally posted before the 2012 Royal Rumble, but has had a couple bits of fresh material added here and there to make it completely relevant and accurate in 2014. Enjoy.

With the Royal Rumble upon us, I think it's only right to do a Royal Rumble-themed column. Several ideas were floating around in my head, and I thought about them all equally. However, there was one column I felt needed to be done, for one reason..

Before the 2008 Rumble, former LoP main page writer sheepster wrote a column just like this, but that means it hasn't been updated for four entire Rumbles. I messaged him, searching for his blessing to do the updated version of his column, but because I'm an impatient man, I couldn't wait any longer for a response, so I'm just going to go ahead with it, but still giving full credit to him.

Some of you already know what I'm talking about, and what today's column will be about, but for everyone else.. it's time to look at the Royal Rumble Curse Of The Number 14.


I'm sure there are some of you out there who don't know about the curse, so let me break it down briefly before I officially get on with the column.

Almost without fail, the person who enters the Royal Rumble in the #14 spot goes on to suffer some sort of personal or professional downfall soon thereafter. Sometimes it's a major downfall. Sometimes it's a minor downfall. Either way, it's still a downfall, to the point where the #14 spot is now cursed, and I have no doubt in my mind that the boys in the back know that. Hell, they probably have little "bets" of who will get the spot every year.

Enough jibba jabba. Let's look at the curse, shall we?

1988 - "Outlaw" Ron Bass
Ron Bass achieved a lot of success wrestling for the NWA in the late-70s, and even saw success in Japan, winning titles all over the place. In the very first Royal Rumble, he got the #14 spot, and he ended up having a bunch of nothing for the rest of the year, followed up by losing his hair in a Hair VS Hair match with Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake on the first episode of Saturday Night's Main Event in 1989. He was out of the company soon after that, and the rest of his career was riddled with pain, until he retired less than two years later. Of course, like is the case with damn near every wrestler that retires, he came back on numerous occasions, but that isn't the point.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 6

1989 - Marty Jannetty
Jannetty, along with his tag team partner Shawn Michaels, made their WWF debuts in the summer of 1988, so they were still relatively new to the company at this point. However, look at what happened with The Rockers. They were supposed to become one of the biggest teams in the business, but never officially won the WWF Tag Team Titles. They "won" them on a taped television episode, but due to Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart re-signing with the company after the taping, instead of negotiating his release, as was originally planned, the company decided to put the belts back on Neidhart and Bret Hart. In December 1990, Jannetty ended up breaking the neck of a jobber named Charles Austin as a result of Austin tucking his head while receiving Jannetty's Rocker Dropper finishing move. Austin sued Jannetty and the WWF, and was eventually awarded $26.7 million. Jannetty would then go on to have legal issues, drug issues, and would go on to watch his old tag partner go on to become one of the biggest names in the history of the business. He's so synonymous with tag failure that John Morrison and The Miz would break their tag team up and fight over which one of them was the "Marty Jannetty" of the duo. Ouch.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 9

1990 - Haku
One of the legit toughest men to ever step foot in a wrestling ring, Haku had some nice success as a member of the World Wrestling Federation roster. He was "King" (before the company had their King Of The Ring events), and was even one-half of the WWF Tag Team Champions, along with Andre The Giant. In fact, he was one-half of the WWF Tag Team Champions going into the 1990 Royal Rumble. However, soon after the Rumble, Haku & Andre dropped the titles, and Haku never achieved the same level of success in the wrestling business as he did pre-1990 Rumble. Sure, he went on to wrestle for well over a decade after the 1990 Rumble, but again, just not to quite the same level as before.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 5.5

1991 - Davey Boy Smith
This is an interesting one. In the ring, Davey Boy would go on to have a really nice career, even after his entrance as #14 in the 1991 Royal Rumble. The following year, he main evented SummerSlam from Wembley Stadium in his home country of England and defeated Bret Hart to win the Intercontinental Title, after all. It's what he was dealing with outside the ring that gets people talking. Marital issues, drug and alcohol problems, terrible luck involving an injury on a trap door in WCW, and ultimately, his name being added to the list of pro wrestlers who passed away before the age of 40. It's hard to say that anything could be considered more of a "curse" than going on to die at a really young age, I would think. However, he does get credit for the in-ring success he had.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 7

1992 - Hercules
In the 1991 Royal Rumble, Hercules lasted nearly 40 minutes before being eliminated. In the 1992 Royal Rumble, after coming in at #14, Hercules lasted nearly one minute before being eliminated. He was out of the company almost immediately thereafter. He went to WCW, but his tenure there only lasted a few months. He saw a little bit of success in Japan, though, teaming with Scott Norton to win the IWGP Tag Team Titles in August 1993. In the end, though, it's his lack of WWF tenure, post-Rumble, that stands out most. On top of that, he became another wrestling statistic, as he passed away in his sleep in 2004, at the age of 47. That's the second death on this list. Let's see how many more we can find.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 7.5

1993 - The Berzerker
During an episode of Prime Time Wrestling in 1992, The Berzerker would win a 40-man Battle Royal. Sounds good, right? Yeah, well, he didn't win the 1993 Royal Rumble, and he was gone from the company not too long after the event. He went to WCW, but had no real success there, either. Not a whole lot to mention here, but he was one of several men who were released from the company within a few months of being #14 in the Rumble.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 6.5

1994 - Doink The Clown
Tell me if you notice a theme here, but within months of entering the Royal Rumble in the #14 spot, the man who originally played Doink (Matt Borne), was released from the company after numerous drug abuse punishments. Those personal issues continued, and would go on to cost him a spot in ECW later in the year. I'm not saying he would have gone on to become a main event player if he stayed clean, but he certainly cost himself an opportunity to find out if he could do it, that's for sure.

*UPDATE* Since the original posting of this column, Matt Borne passed away of an accidental drug overdose, making his spot in this column even more justified, unfortunately.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 7 (*UPDATED* to a 9)

1995 - Jacob Blu
Jacob, and his brother Eli, made their debuts for the company in the Rumble this year. Not even a year later, they were gone. They returned to the company the following year. A few months later, they were gone again. They returned to the company the following year, and this time they actually stuck around for just over two years. Each tenure with the company saw no real success. Under his real name (Ron Harris), Jacob would compete in the company's Brawl For All tournament in 1998, but saw his "tough guy" image take a hit in a loss to 2 Cold Scorpio. What's saving him from an even higher number is that he had some success in WCW after his final WWF tenure, going on to win the WCW Tag Team Titles with his brother on three occasions. When Vince McMahon purchased WCW in 2001, it was apparently the only time he decided not to bring the Harris boys back into the mix, and they were never seen on Titan programming again.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 6.5

1996 - Doug Gilbert
This is another very interesting one, but for a much different reason than Davey Boy Smith. Gilbert, the younger brother of "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert, made his WWF debut here in the Rumble. He lasted all of three minutes before being eliminated. It was his one and only WWF appearance. That's it. Three minutes and gone, just like my sex life. Teaming with his brother to win the ECW Tag Team Titles (when it was still Eastern Championship Wrestling, and not yet Extreme Championship Wrestling) was the highlight of his career, but that came in 1993. Add Gilbert to the list of names of people who showed up as #14 in the Rumble and were gone soon, although he was gone really soon.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 8

1997 - Goldust
Well, I'll be damned.. a curse breaker! Goldust had already achieved some nice success in his career before this Rumble appearance. He was a two-time Intercontinental Champion, and also racked up two United States Title reigns in WCW, as well as an NWA Tag Team Title reign (with Barry Windham), two WCW Tag Team Title reigns (one with Barry Windham and one with Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat), and even one WCW Six-Man Tag Team Title reign (with Tom Zenk and Big Josh). After his appearance in the Rumble, he would go on to win another Intercontinental Title, and would team up with Booker T to win the World Tag Team Titles. He's had his fair share of personal issues, but he continues to bounce back from all of them, and is employed by World Wrestling Entertainment to this day. Hell, he might even be set to have his first (non-dark) match at WrestleMania since WrestleMania 18 in 2002. Congratulations, Goldust, for breaking the curse.

*UPDATE* Not only has he turned his personal life around, but he is enjoying some tremendous success in his professional life, as well. I've said it before, but it can be argued that he is on as good a tear, in-ring, as anyone on the WWE roster. I've made the executive decision to go ahead and lower his score a bit, making him an even bigger curse breaker.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 1.5 (*UPDATED* to a 1)

1998 - Ken Shamrock
Could we actually see two in a row here? Shamrock was a legendary UFC fighter, but damn near all of his major success came before his time with the WWF. In fact, his MMA record after his time with the WWF is 5-10. Compare that to a 23-5-2 record before the WWF, and it looks especially bad. 1998 was a nice year for Shamrock's wrestling career. He competed in his first Royal Rumble. He won King Of The Ring. He won the Intercontinental Title. He teamed with Big Boss Man to win the WWF Tag Team Titles. However, injuries pretty much derailed his wrestling career, and eventually, he made the decision to return to the world of MMA, not even two years after his Rumble debut. At TNA's very first event, back in the NWA-TNA days, Shamrock would go on to become the promotion's first champion, winning the NWA World Title in the main event, but would be gone from the company less than two months later, after dropping the title. He would return to TNA a couple years later, but his second stint with the company was even shorter than the first. He's got things working in his favor as a curse breaker, but he also has things working in his favor as a curse victim, and I know people have made arguments for both sides of the coin, so I'll just split it right down the middle.

*UPDATE* I missed this bit of information when I originally posted the column, but Shamrock's son was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2011, although the affected kidney was removed. Since the posting of the column, Ken has seen some legal woes (facing a possible assault charge in California) and some professional woes (essentially accusing WWE of blackballing him for unknown reasons). I think that's worth another point to his score, and perhaps even more than that.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 5 (*UPDATED* to a 6)

1999 - Kurrgan
..aaaaand we're back on track. Kurrgan's final match with the company was a single month after this Rumble appearance, ending a year-and-a-half stint. That's all he had. The Rumble appearance, and then he's gone. Go ahead and add him to the list. After his wrestling career, he has gone on to act, appearing in such movies as 300, Sherlock Holmes, and The Big Bang. I guess he has that going for him, but there's no ignoring the fact that he only wrestled for the company for another month after the Rumble.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 7.5

2000 - Bob Backlund
Yes, that Bob Backlund. He was only around for a couple months. With Doug Gilbert, we have no idea if he was only supposed to be have that one appearance. With Backlund, it's pretty clear that he wasn't supposed to be a permanent member of the roster or anything, so I can't give him as high a score as Gilbert, but again, he's yet another name to add to the list of those who entered the Royal Rumble at #14 and were gone from the company within months.

*UPDATE* Oh, and that Presidential run didn't exactly work out so great for him, either.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 6

2001 - The Goodfather
This was during his heel turn, when he denounced his pimpin' ways and joined Right To Censor. Before the turn, he was one of the most over faces in the world of wrestling, as The Godfather. A few months after the Rumble, RTC disbanded, and we had no Godfather or Goodfather for the better part of a year. He returned as a face, as The Godfather once again, but the novelty of the gimmick had already worn off, and he was nothing compared to what he once was. A few months later, he was released from the company. He made some random WWE appearances through the years, but even then, it wasn't with the same level of overness that he once had. Making this extra special.. The Goodfather was the 14th person to be #14 in the Royal Rumble.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 7.5

2002 - Diamond Dallas Page
At one point, there was a legitimate argument to be made that DDP was the most over face in wrestling, and one of it's very biggest stars. He won the WCW World Title three times, the WCW United States Title two times, the WCW World Tag Team Titles four times (twice with Kevin Nash, and twice with Kanyon and Bam Bam Bigelow under "Freebird Rules"), and the WCW Television Title one time. When he signed with the WWF, big things were supposed to be in his future, but instead, he was given a dumb "stalker" gimmick and ended up being dominated by The Undertaker in their feud, and then became lost in the shuffle as a member of The Alliance during the WCW "Invasion". His career looked decent after this Rumble appearance. Less than two weeks after the Rumble, he won the European Title, and would go on to successfully defend the title at WrestleMania 18. Good, right? Well, not even a month later, he suffered an injury that would lead to the company deciding not to re-sign him, which would effectively end his career. The curse strikes again. Yet another name that entered the Royal Rumble at #14 and was gone from the company in a couple months.

*UPDATE* I'm going to make another executive decision and say that DDP Yoga, and everything that it has done for DDP and for others all across the world, is good enough to knock this score down a little bit. You gotta give him something for the positive changes he's making.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 7.5 (*UPDATED* to a 6.5)

2003 - Eddie Guerrero
Obviously, you don't need his career history, but for the sake of this column, things were going really well for him after this Rumble appearance. He won the United States Title in 2003. In a two-year span, he won the Tag Team Titles three times (once each with Chavo Guerrero, Tajiri and Rey Mysterio). Then, of course, in 2004, he won the WWE Title and rose to the top of the wrestling world. Less than three years after this Rumble appearance, though, Eddie passed away, stunning the wrestling world. This is a situation like Davey Boy Smith.. both men saw their greatest professional accomplishments after their #14 entries in the Rumble, but both men also succumbed to personal demons (in two variations) only a few years later.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 8

2004 - Rikishi
He's had a long career with the company, spanning several gimmick changes, and went from a tag team wrestler to a singles jobber to knocking on the door of the main event scene. That's fine and dandy. However, would you like to take a guess as to what happened on July 16th, 2004? If you said "WWE released Rikishi", you'd be correct. He's been wrestling ever since, even having a month-long stint with TNA, but come on.. another name that was released from the company only months after being #14 in the Royal Rumble? It's no joke at this point. Not even him winning the WWE Tag Team Titles with Scotty 2 Hotty a few weeks after the Rumble could save him from the curse. He also went on to suffer a tragedy in his blood family, but more on that a few entries from now.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 7

2005 - Orlando Jordan
He did win the United States Title later on in 2005, but lost it to Chris Benoit in less than 30 seconds, before losing the rematch to Benoit in even less time. He then went on to become perhaps the only person in wrestling to officially be released as a result of his sexual orientation. It wasn't directly because he was bisexual or anything, but he was traveling with his "companion" against company rules, and it led to his dismissal. On the indy scene, he went on to become Nu-Wrestling Evolution's champion, which probably says more about that promotion than anything I ever could. He then had a year-and-a-half stint with TNA, where he was allowed to push the boundaries more and more with his bisexual gimmick-that-wasn't-really-a-gimmick. A United States Title reign that was a joke, and ended in historically bad fashion.. and nothing else. Yup.. cursed.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 7

2006 - Joey Mercury
This is a similar situation to what I mentioned with Marty Jannetty earlier. Mercury was teaming with John Morrison (then known as Johnny Nitro), and were a successful tag team. They came into 2006 as the WWE Tag Team Champions, and it was their third reign as champions.. but it was also their final reign. The similarity to Jannetty and Michaels, though, is that, like Jannetty, Mercury had personal demons that took over his life and cost him professionally, first starting with a Wellness Policy violation that took place a mere four months after the Rumble. It was a 30-day suspension, as per the usual, but his problem was so severe that it needed rehab, and it would be over six months before he was seen on WWE television again. Three weeks after his return, he was on the receiving end of a ladder in the infamous spot during the tag ladder match at Armageddon that year, and it damn near destroyed his face, needing stitches and surgeries to repair. The team could never regain momentum, and Mercury was released three months later. He returned to WWE in 2010, but right after he returned, he tore his pectoral muscle, which effectively ended his career, and has been a trainer in FCW ever since recovering from the injury. That's quite the list of things.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 9

2007 - Jeff Hardy
This was the last entrant in sheepster's column, and even then, the verdict had yet to come in on what would happen. Well, since then, we've seen what has happened. After the following month's pay-per-view, No Way Out, Hardy dropped the Intercontinental Title to Umaga. He got a World Tag Team Title reign with his brother, but that reign was brief and uneventful. He won another Intercontinental Title, and that's cool and all, but.. stop me if you've heard this one before.. his personal demons interfered again, and he was suspended from the company for 60 days after violating the Wellness Policy for the second time. Nearly two years after the #14 appearance in the Rumble, however, he won the WWE Title, marking his official arrival as a major singles star. That reign only lasted a month, though, as Matt Hardy would turn on him, leading to a comically bad feud between the brothers. In June 2009, Hardy won the World Title, only to lose it immediately after CM Punk cashed in his Money In The Bank briefcase. Hardy would win the title back, but drop it right back to Punk, as the two were playing "hot potato" with the title. Punk then defeated Hardy in a match that had a stipulation stating Hardy would have to leave the company if he lost. It was done to give Jeff time away from wrestling to heal his body after the numerous injuries he had suffered through the years. Instead of taking a break, though, Hardy went to TNA, where he has not only won the TNA World Title on two occasions, but has also dealt with a very public breakdown, which caused him to lose a pay-per-view main event in 90 seconds. Throw in the legal issues that he's had to deal with since January 2007, and you have one helluva roller coaster ride, filled with the highest of highs (no pun intended) and some of the lowest of lows.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 7

2008 - Umaga
At one point, it really looked as though Umaga could eventually reach main event status. He was an incredibly gifted athlete for a man of his size, and was a solid in-ring worker that was getting more over all the time. After he was #14 in the Rumble, though.. the train derailed. After doing a bit of nothing for a while, his 2008 was cut short by torn knee ligaments. His 2009 featured a brief return, and then a multiple-month hiatus for no apparent reason, followed by the "humanization" of his character. In June 2009, he was released after refusing rehab, following his second Wellness Policy violation. Six months later, he was dead, the victim of two heart attacks brought on by drug use.

*UPDATE* Looking back on it, there's no reason why this score should not have been higher. He did next to nothing after appearing at #14, then saw drug abuse issues, and then saw death very quickly. I have to bump it up a notch.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 8 (*UPDATED* to a 9)

2009 - Finlay
2009 saw him rise to the main event scene of ECW, but he was unsuccessful in multiple tries to win the ECW Title. Later in the year, he suffered an eye injury which caused him to miss a month of action. At the end of 2009, he was unsuccessful in his quest to win the Intercontinental Title, basically ending his regular in-ring career with the company. In March of last year, he was fired from the company (he was an agent for the company at the time) after an incident at a house show he was in charge of saw the national anthem interrupted by The Miz. Not a whole lot of major downfalls, short of losing his job there at the end, but still nothing but negatives here.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 6.5

2010 - MVP
He's another name that looked to have the main event in his future at one point, but then that pesky #14 spot showed up. A failed attempt at winning the United States Title followed. A failed attempt at winning Money In The Bank followed. A failed attempt at winning the Intercontinental Title followed. Being the first elimination during his match at Survivor Series followed. Before 2010 was over, he asked for, and was granted, his official release from the company. 2011 saw him have a five-month reign as the IWGP Intercontinental Champion, but even the biggest MVP fan would tell you that his time wrestling in Japan has been a bit of a disappointment thus far. Obviously, there's still time for that to change, but so far.. he's just another victim of the curse.

*UPDATE* As a joke, I nearly bumped his score up merely because he's rumored to be heading to TNA, but then I figured the Curse would find some way to strike him for real, and I'd feel terrible for egging it on and making it happen in an indirect way.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 6.5

2011 - Chris Masters
He had a very successful 2011.. on Superstars, so it doesn't really count. After the Rumble, he had five matches on television, and lost them all. He was released from the company in August. So, in nearly seven months, he wrestled on television five times. Not the greatest of averages right there, folks, and he is the latest name to add to the list of those who are released within months of making that dreaded #14 appearance in the Rumble.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 6.5

That's where the previous column ended. Now, it's time to keep things going and move into 2012..

2012 - Jinder Mahal
If you've paid any attention to my columns, you'll know I really don't like Jinder. In my opinion, he brings nothing to the table. He isn't that great in the ring. He has one lame ass facial expression. His gimmick was dated and played out. Despite my opinions, WWE kept trying to push the guy.. and then his 2012 appearance in the Rumble happened. After being #14, he became a jobber the likes of which even Barry Horowitz and "Iron" Mike Sharpe would appreciate, being destroyed left and right on a weekly basis. By the time Jinder was added to 3MB towards the end of 2012, all hope for him as a legit guy was lost. It can be argued that his time with 3MB is providing more entertaining moments than he could have delivered on his own, and while I agree with that, the facts don't lie. His career fell into the toilet once he was given the dreaded #14 spot.
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 6.5

2013 - Rey Mysterio
Oh, hey, a former main event guy at #14! This surely couldn't go wrong, could it? Well, not even two months after Rey's appearance in the Rumble, he suffered what is probably his 972nd knee injury, which knocked him out for nearly the rest of 2013. Perhaps it's just me, but it seems like he returned too soon, because he still, three months after coming back, participates mostly in tag and multi-man matches, where he spends most of the match on the outside. He'll come in to perform one or two of his signature spots, and that will be it. It can't be a cardio thing, because that would have been taken care of by now. He's clearly still not 100%, or as close to 100% as you can be when your knees are probably made of pudding. He's nearing the end of his career (at least he better be), and there's even buzz that he might be on the losing end of a Mask VS Hair match at WrestleMania (VS Alberto Del Rio, because we need to see that match again), which would be his final match. What more needs to be said, really?
Curse, on a scale from 1-10: 7

That brings us to the present. Who will get the #14 spot this year? I'll take a guess in my official Royal Rumble prediction column, set to hit the internet in the next 12-24 hours, but the floor is now yours to deliver your own prediction. Who do you think ends up at #14? Who do you want to end up at #14? Let's see how crazy some of you are.

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