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The WWE Superstars who have won the Royal Rumble match from the opening bell

WWE Champion Brock Lesnar will enter the 33rd Royal Rumble from the start, but history suggests the odds are against him if he is to survive the whole match and reign supreme.

“My client, Brock Lesnar, enters the Royal Rumble match… first!

“Although Brock Lesnar takes the ring first, Brock Lesnar will be standing victorious in the ring last.”

That was the gauntlet thrown down by Paul Heyman to the entire WWE Universe, challenging any Superstar from Raw, SmackDown or NXT to topple The Beast.

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The WWE Champion knows how to navigate the brawl having been the last man standing back in 2003, entering at No. 29 and eliminating four rivals on his road to success.

This time around, with his title on the line, he faces an entirely different proposition as he looks to last the distance from the opening bell.

Ahead of the pay-per-view event, live on BT Sport Box Office from midnight Sunday night on 26 January, we look back at some historic Royal Rumble performances.

Shawn Michaels – 1995

The eighth annual event came from the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida, where three title fights preceded the 30-man Royal Rumble.

As well as the usual reward of a then WWF World Heavyweight Championship match at the following WrestleMania, the Royal Rumble winner was also supposed to be accompanied by Pamela Anderson for that match.

But the former Baywatch star actually came to the ring at WrestleMania XI with Diesel rather than the victorious Shawn Michaels.

The Heartbreak Kid made history in January 1995 however, when he became the first Superstar to enter first and see off 29 rivals during his 38 minutes and 41 seconds in the ring.

Michaels eliminated eight Superstars on his way to claiming victory with The British Bulldog, who entered at No. 2, the final wrestler to be thrown from the ring just seconds after it appeared to be all over for Mr WrestleMania.

His other victims were Duke Droese, Tom Prichard, Bushwhacker Luke, Jacob Blu, Bushwhacker Butch, Lex Luger (with the help of Crush) and Aldo Montoya.

As well as taking inspiration from Michaels, Lesnar can look to the successes of the two victors who have started the Rumble at No. 2.

Although it doesn’t quite hold the same cache, the second man in does have to last just as long to claim victory and deserves a callout here.

Vince McMahon – 1999

Mr McMahon made a promise to No.1 entrant Stone Cold Steve Austin that he had “no chance in hell” of winning, with the ongoing feud between the two men engulfing the whole event.

As the pair faced off, the Texas Rattlesnake toyed with the WWE chairman and stopped short of throwing him over the top rope to inflict more pain on the leader of The Corporation.

When Golga entered the ring it distracted Stone Cold and Mr McMahon fled into the crowd under the bottom rope, and therefore wasn’t eliminated.

Austin soon followed, again under the bottom rope, and the two battled through to the public toilets in the venue, where McMahon’s stable brutally beat Stone Cold and left him unconscious.

Pictures of the cult hero being taken to hospital followed, while McMahon chose to join the commentary, before Austin made a dramatic return in an ambulance and headed for the ring.

He battled his way through the rest of the roster until only the first two entrants remained and after attacking Mr McMahon ringside, the Texas Rattlesnake threw him back into the battle.

After dishing out more punishment, the 1997 and 1998 winner looked set for a hat-trick but was distracted by The Rock’s ringside taunts with the WWF Championship in hand.

Vince seized his opportunity and upset the odds to win the Royal Rumble.

Rey Mysterio – 2006

Following 2002 winner Triple H into the ring, Rey Mysterio embarked on the longest match in Royal Rumble history as he remained in the ring for one hour, two minutes and 12 seconds.

During that time he eliminated Simon Dean (with the help of Triple H), Psicosis, Super Crazy (with the returning Rob Van Dam assisting), before he actually went on to end RVD’s evening (again working with Triple H).

With Van Dam hitting the floor, Mysterio was left facing two former Evolution partners, Triple H and Orton, as the final three participants.

His rivals teamed up to eliminate the acrobatic star, but they failed to do so and both suffered a 619, with The Game being eliminated.

Furious that his Rumble had ended, Triple H dragged the masked Superstar from the ring and threw him into the steel steps before rolling him back into contention and seemingly at Orton’s mercy.

Basking in his impending glory, The Legend Killer took his time before carrying Mysterio towards the top rope, but a superb counter actually saw Orton fly over the ropes and hit the floor to settle the match.

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