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Why is the 2004 Royal Rumble forgotten? Shocking tragedy means it’s never mentioned

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The 2004 Royal Rumble, a significant event in the annals of professional wrestling, hosted by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), remains a paradoxical chapter in the sport’s history.

Held on January 25, 2004, at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this event marked the 17th annual iteration of the event, a cornerstone in WWE’s pay-per-view calendar.

Despite its historical importance, the 2004 Royal Rumble is often conspicuously absent from WWE’s celebrated past, a direct consequence of the tragic events surrounding its winner, Chris Benoit.

The 2004 Royal Rumble

The Royal Rumble match, a highlight of the event, featured a unique format where 30 wrestlers entered at timed intervals, battling to eliminate each other with the last man standing earning a world championship match at WrestleMania XX.

Chris Benoit, starting as the first entrant, emerged victorious, a feat that etched his name in the annals of wrestling history.

However, this triumph is now of course overshadowed by the harrowing events that unfolded three years later. And because of that, WWE rightly does not acknowledge it at all.

Chris Benoit and the horrendous act staining history

In 2007, Chris Benoit, in a shocking and heart-wrenching turn of events, murdered his wife and son before taking his own life.

This tragedy sent shockwaves through the wrestling community and beyond, leading WWE to make a decisive decision to virtually erase Benoit from its history.

This includes the now infamous Rumble, where Benoit’s victory, once a celebrated story of endurance and triumph, became a chapter the organization chose to leave unmentioned.

FAQ

  • What is the Royal Rumble?
    • The Royal Rumble is an annual WWE event featuring a battle royal-style match where 30 wrestlers compete, entering at timed intervals, with the winner receiving a championship match at WrestleMania.
  • Who won the Royal Rumble back in 2004?
    • Chris Benoit won the 2004 Royal Rumble, entering as the first contestant and ultimately securing victory.
  • Why is this match rarely mentioned by WWE?
    • The 2004 Royal Rumble is seldom mentioned due to the winner, Chris Benoit, being involved in a tragic murder-suicide in 2007, leading WWE to distance itself from his legacy.
  • What other significant matches occurred at the event?
    • Key matches included Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels in a Last Man Standing match for the World Heavyweight Championship and Brock Lesnar vs. Hardcore Holly for the WWE Championship.
  • Has WWE completely erased Benoit from its history?
    • While WWE has significantly reduced mentions of Benoit in its programming and publications, some archival content, like the 2004 Royal Rumble, remains available unedited on platforms like the WWE Network.
Jake Skudder
Written by
Jake Skudder
Jake is an SEO-minded Combat Sports, Gaming and Pro Wrestling writer and successful Editor in Chief. He has more than ten years of experience covering mixed martial arts, pro wrestling and gaming across a number of publications, starting at SEScoops in 2012 under the name Jake Jeremy.