The 2014 Royal Rumble is one of the most negatively received of WWE’s yearly over-the-top-rope event. Having lost earlier in the night to Bray Wyatt, the fans were adamant that Daniel Bryan should earn a title match at Wrestlemania 30, but he didn’t even enter the match. The crowd was not happy.
Seven years later, a lot has changed in the WWE landscape, with many of the stars that were in the controversial match having seen huge life and career developments.
We take a look back at 10 of the most interesting names to enter the 2014 Royal Rumble and see where they are now.
Batista returned to WWE for the first time in four years, having not been seen on the product since his I Quit match against at Over the Limit 2010.
WWE thought that Batista was about to receive a hero’s welcome upon his return, with the plans of a main event match against former Evolution stable mate set for the main event of Wrestlemania.
Although the Animal did main event Wrestlemania 30, the real story of the night came from Daniel Bryan who overcame the odds to win the world title.
Batista wouldn’t be seen at Wrestlemania again until his retirement match against Triple H at Wrestlemania 35, losing to the Game in a No Holds Barred match which saw his nose ring pulled out with pliers.
The Animal has now turned his attention to Hollywood, most notably playing Drax the Destroyer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is set to play the role once again in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 in 2023.
CM Punk entered the 2014 Royal Rumble at number 1 and lasted 49 minutes before he was eliminated by Kane and then choke slammed through an announce table.
Little did we know at the time that this would be the last ever appearance of CM Punk in WWE, not appearing on the following Raw or Smackdown that he was advertised for.
Punk is married to former Divas Champion AJ Lee and has since turned his hand to UFC, suffering an 0-2 record, as well as acting, starring in 2019’s Girl on Third Floor and Rabid.
Most notably, Punk was a frequent contributor to WWE Backstage in 2020, being contracted to FOX not WWE, before the show was axed last year.
Kevin Nash made a surprise return in the 2014 Royal Rumble for his last ever match in WWE. Big Daddy Cool eliminated one man before being eliminated by Roman Reigns 2 minutes later.
Nash continues to appear sporadically, most recently appearing as part of the Undertakers retirement at Survivor Series 2020.
The six time world champion was set to enter the WWE Hall of Fame for a second time as part of the NWO at the 2020 ceremony until the event was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
John Bradshaw Layfield
JBL was at the announce table for the majority of the night but took his opportunity to enter the match at number 24.
Layfield would only manage to last 49 seconds before he was eliminated by Roman Reigns, making his way back to the announce table afterwards.
JBL announced that he was stepping away from the Smackdown announce table in 2017 to focus on humanitarian work.
Layfield is currently a financial commentator featured regularly on Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network and was set to join the WWE Hall of Fame at the 2020 Ceremony until the event was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Damien Sandow entered the Royal Rumble at number 3, interrupting CM Punk and Seth Rollins. The Intellectual Savior To The Masses would only last 2:17 before being the first man eliminated from the match by CM Punk.
Sandow, now going by the name Aron Stevens, was released by WWE in 2016 and began to tour the independent circuit, with a brief spell in TNA.
Stevens debuted for the NWA on the September 9th episode of Powerrr in a losing effort to Ricky Starks. He would go on to claim the NWA National Heavyweight Championship in a Triple Threat match against champion Colt Cabana and Ricky Starks.
Stevens would be forced into a 8 month break from the ring due to the Covid-19 pandemic, dropping the National Heavyweight Title to Trevor Murdoch in his first match back before claiming the NWA Tag Team Title from Eli Drake and James Storm alongside JR Kratos.
El Torito was the number 20 entrant in the match, lasting only 1:49. However, El Torito did earn an elimination, managing to get Fandango over the top rope before he was thrown out by Roman Reigns.
Torito, now known as Mascarita Dorada, left WWE in 2016, with his most memorable moment coming in the incredible WeeLC match against Hornswoggle.
Dorada now mainly wrestles on the independent circuit, occasionally appearing in AAA.
Corporate Kane entered the match at number five, lasting just 1:10 before being eliminated by CM Punk. He would later exact revenge on Punk, pulling him over the top rope from the apron before choke slamming him through a table.
The Big Red Machine’s appearances would become more and more sporadic as time went on, most recently appearing at Survivor Series 2020 as part of the Undertakers retirement.
Kane, real name Glen Jacobs, has since began a political career, becoming the Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee, recently voting against mask ordinance for anyone inside certain buildings, ironically.
The Great Khali
The Great Khali entered the match at number 16, lasted just 24 seconds before he was eliminated by all three members of the Shield.
Khali would remain with the company until October of that year, coming to the end of his contract. He would not be seen again until 2017, helping Jinder Mahal retain the WWE Championship against Randy Orton in the Punjabi Prison match.
In February 2015, Khali opened his own wrestling school in Punjab, Continental Wrestling Entertainment, which held its first event on 12 December 2015 and has helped a number of Indian wrestlers be signed to a developmental deal with WWE.
Jack Swagger entered the 2014 Royal Rumble at number 7, lasting 12:24 before he was eliminated by Kevin Nash.
Swagger would remain with the company until 2017 before beginning to tour the independent scene. In 2018, Swagger joined Lucha Underground under the name Jake Strong, winning the Lucha Underground Championship on the show’s final episode, cashing in his Gift of the Gods Championship before defeating Pentagon.
Hager now wrestlers for All Elite Wrestling as part of the Inner Circle as well as turning his hand to MMA, with a current record of three wins and one no contest with Bellator.
Ryback entered the match at number 26, lasting 4:01 before being eliminated by eventual winner Batista. The Big Guy would remain with the company until he was released in 2016, losing to Kalisto on the Payback kick-off show in his final appearance.
He would begin wrestling on the independent circuit as ‘The Big Guy’, but has not appeared in the ring since 2018.
He now hosts his own podcast, The Ryback Show, recently starting an argument online with Mark Henry.