The second ever Royal Rumble took place in Houston, Texas, and was treated a lot more like a major deal. With a lot of the biggest names of the WWE competing at the event, rather than in segments, this event was a pay per view and set up a lot of angles for Wrestlemania V. The Royal Rumble match was stacked, with the undercard quite lacking.

In the match itself, it was implied that Ted Dibiase bought the number 30 entrant from Slick, allowing Big Boss Man & Akeem to have favourable numbers. The match also had former world champions (Andre the Giant & Hulk Hogan), the current world champion (“Macho Man” Randy Savage) and current tag team champions (Ax & Smash – who drew 1 & 2).

The winner was a returning Big John Studd, who was in the midst of a face turn.

Promotional poster for Royal Rumble 1989

15th January, 1989

Houston, Texas

The Summit


  • No Partners...30 Opponents


Notable Records

Record Individual
Winner Big John Studd
Iron Men Mr. Perfect (27:56)
Least time in Match The Warlord (00:03)
Most Eliminations Hulk Hogan (10)
Potential Winners (wrestlers in the ring after last entrant) 8 (Big John Studd, Ted DiBiase, Akeem, Rick Martel, Barbarian, Brutus Beefcake, Hercules, Red Rooster)
Number of debutants 27 (Ax, Smash, Andre the Giant, Mr. Perfect, Ronnie Garvin, Greg Valentine, Shawn Michaels, Bushwhacker Butch, Honky Tonk Man, Bad News Brown, Marty Jannetty, Randy Savage, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Hulk Hogan, Bushwhacker Luke, Koko B. Ware, The Warlord, Big Boss Man, Akeem, Brutus Beefcake, Red Rooster, Barbarian, Big John Studd, Hercules, Rick Martel, Ted DiBiase)
Last Rumble Appearances 6 (Ronnie Garvin, Ron Bass, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Brutus Beefcake, Big John Studd)
Average Time in match10:40
Number of individuals with at least one elimination56.67%

Did You Know?

  • This Royal Rumble has the highest number of debutants ever, with 27. Even more than the previous year, where all entrants were debutants. Only Jake Roberts, Tito Santana & Ron Bass returned from last year.
  • This Royal Rumble had helped introduce rumble lore, allowing people to eliminate themselves (Andre the Giant) and an already eliminated competitor eliminate another wrestler (Hulk Hogan to The Big Boss Man).
  • This Royal Rumble had the first time the recognised WWF Champion (Randy Savage) competed in the match.
  • Big John Studd – the winner of the Royal Rumble – didn’t have a match at Wrestlemania. He refereed the match between Andre the Giant & Jake Roberts at Wrestlemania 5.
  • A lot of the Royal Rumble branding was introduced in this match, with the logo that would last until 1996.


Number of Entrant Wrestler Name Time in Match Finishing Position Eliminations Eliminated By Other Facts
1 Ax 14:39 27 0 Mr. Perfect

Ax was the first entrant to have music playing him to the ring. All of 1988 entrants had no music. Presumably it was to show tag team partners could fight each other (Smash – the number 2 entrant – had the same music as well).

2 Smash 04:58 30 0 Andre the Giant
3 Andre the Giant 13:57 26 3 Self
  • At the time of this show – Andre was feuding with Jake Roberts of his fear of snakes. Post elimination, Jake came back with his pet snake Damien, chasing Andre off and making him eliminate himself.
  • Andre was the first ever entrant who had previously held the WWE championship
4 Mr. Perfect 27:56 20 1 Hulk Hogan

Mr. Perfect was the first entry to have a “buzzer” to notify they were coming to the ring. Andre the Giant didn’t have a buzzer.

5 Ronnie Garvin 02:38 29 0 Andre the Giant
6 Greg Valentine 19:53 23 0 Randy Savage
7 Jake Roberts 02:09 28 0 Andre the Giant

Jake “The Snake” Roberts with this entry becomes the first person to enter two different Royal Rumbles.

8 Ron Bass 12:37 24 0 Marty Jannetty, Shawn Michaels
9 Shawn Michaels 14:31 22 1 Arn Anderson, Randy Savage
10 Bushwhacker Butch 18:15 18 1 Bad News Brown, Hulk Hogan
11 Honky Tonk Man 04:13 25 0 Bushwhacker Butch, Tito Santana
12 Tito Santana 12:46 19 1 Arn Anderson, Randy Savage

Santana’s elimination occurred off camera, so time and eliminators are from Wikipedia.

13 Bad News Brown 16:24 12 1 Hulk Hogan
14 Marty Jannetty 07:52 21 1 Tully Blanchard
15 Randy Savage 12:27 11 3 Hulk Hogan
16 Arn Anderson 10:00 14 2 Hulk Hogan
17 Tully Blanchard 08:02 15 1 Hulk Hogan
18 Hulk Hogan 11:33 10 10 Akeem, Big Boss Man

Hulk Hogan set the record for the most eliminations & most cumulative eliminations with this entry.

19 Bushwhacker Luke 03:18 16 0 Hulk Hogan
20 Koko B. Ware 01:06 17 0 Hulk Hogan
21 The Warlord 00:03 13 0 Hulk Hogan
22 Big Boss Man 04:19 9 1 Hulk Hogan

Hulk Hogan elminated Boss man from the outside, despite being eliminated himself.

23 Akeem 20:31 3 2 Big John Studd
24 Brutus Beefcake 15:10 6 0 Barbarian, Ted DiBiase

Beefcake attacked Akeem before entering the match. As both competitors were legal entrants in the match, his time is taken from then.

25 Red Rooster 11:17 8 0 Ted DiBiase
26 Barbarian 12:16 5 2 Rick Martel
27 Big John Studd 14:16 1 2 Winner
28 Hercules 07:13 7 0 Barbarian, Ted DiBiase
29 Rick Martel 07:06 4 1 Akeem
30 Ted DiBiase 08:20 2 3 Big John Studd


Entrant Waterfall
Elimination Pie Chart
Time by Number
Eliminations by Number

Entrant Waterfall

Elimination Pie Chart

Time by Number

Eliminations by Number

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