For those who don't know, this Sunday is WWE's Royal Rumble pay-per-view event. It's a fan favorite because of the Royal Rumble match, in which 30 men enter the ring at set intervals and compete until 1 is left standing. One of the greatest things about the match are the surprise comebacks and debuts that inevitably happen every year. It's what people typically remember the most about the matches besides the actual winner. So what about in the sports world? Great comebacks and debuts happen all the time. There's too many to count actually. So how about we have ourselves a 15 man (or woman) Sports Royal Rumble right here, right now, with some of the best comebacks I can remember in no particular order. Just so we can do the countdown, let's pretend there's already two people in the ring. Here we go, count it down..10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1...(horn sounding)
1. Tiger Woods (2008 US Open)
Tiger had been out of action for 2 months in 2008 leading up to the US Open after having knee surgery, but was always determined to return for the Open. He would go on to claim the title after beating Rocco Mediate in a playoff.
2. Alex Rodriguez (2013)
Not every return at the Rumble is a popular one. And this was no different. After spending the entire season sidelined with an injury, A-Rod returned to the Yankees lineup amidst a gigantic steroid investigation. He received a mixed reaction from the home crowd and promptly...struck out.
3. Kirk Gibson (1988)
Gibson was injured in the NLCS in 1988, but was plugged in as a pinch hitter in Game 1 of the World Series. He could barely walk, but that didn't stop him from smashing a home run to give the Dodgers the win.
4. Magic Johnson (1996)
Magic Johnson had retired in 1991 due to the fact that he tested positive for HIV. There was strong pressure from other players who didn't want to be on the same court with him. In 1996, Magic made a comeback to the NBA.
5. Lance Armstrong (2008)
After Lance was diagnosed with testicular cancer, there was great doubt whether he would return to cycling or not. In 2008, he put those rumors to rest and confirmed his return. Obviously his career didn't end up in such a great place, but nonetheless, this is was still a big moment.
6. Peyton Manning (2013)
Peyton Manning's exit from Indianapolis following his neck injury was one of the most covered sports stories of the past 10 years. When Indianapolis decided to move on from him, Peyton eventually decided Denver was the best fit for him, and his debut was one that everybody watched.
7. Buster Posey (2012)
In 2011, Buster Posey suffered a brutal leg injury during a home plate collision that cost him his season. In 2012 he made his return, and oh yea, went on to win the NL MVP.
8. Mariano Rivera (2013)
After suffering a freak injury in 2012, many thought Rivera might hang it up. Rivera said no way, rehabbed the injury and eventually made it back to the mound in 2013. The 2013 season would be his last one.
9. Kobe Bryant (2013)
In April of 2013, Kobe suffered a torn Achilles tendon that ended his season. On December 8th, he finally made his return to the court.
10. Curt Schilling (2004)
The infamous bloody sock game. Schilling had been battling injuries leading up to this game, and even received injections right before. Schilling pitched a phenomenal game that went down in history as one of the grittiest performances of all time.
11. Paul Pierce (2008)
In the 2008 Finals, Pierce suffered what appeared to be a serious leg injury. He was wheeled off the court to the locker room and the future didn't look bright for the Celtics. To everyone's surprise, Pierce came running back out of the tunnel and entered back in to the game to a monster ovation.
12. Nancy Kerrigan (1994)
To be honest, I probably would have forgotten about this if I hadn't just watched ESPN's new 30 for 30, The Price of Gold. The story goes that before the Olympics, Kerrigan was brutally attacked on her knee by a hit man hired by Tonya Harding. There was much speculation whether she would be able to compete at the Olympics with only weeks to go. After rehabbing the knee, Kerrigan was able to compete. She skated a gold medal performance, but for some reason was only given the silver.
13. Jon Lester (2008)
After Jon Lester was involved in a car accident, he continued to complain about pain in his back. After doctor's examined him further, they discovered that he actually had cancer. Luckily, the cancer was treatable, and after a long battle, Lester made his return to the mound.
14. Muhammad Ali (1980)
Ali had been out of boxing for about 2 years when he decided to make his return. The return was highly anticipated, however Ali was unfortunately a shell of himself, and would go on to lose to Larry Holmes.
15. Michael Jordan (1995)
After Michael Jordan retired from basketball, he took up a brief, unsuccessful career in baseball. Jordan then decided to return to basketball, this time donning the number 45.
Eric Cooper is an MLB, NFL and Tech writer for TJRSports. When not watching or writing about sports he enjoys spending time with his wife, son and dog. He also thinks Richard Sherman is ready for the move to WWE. You can follow him on Twitter @Eric_TJRSports.