Chris Jericho and Goldust Highlight Early Surprise Returns at WWE Royal Rumble

Stephen SheehanCorrespondent IJanuary 27, 2013

Chris Jericho made a splash at the 2013 Royal Rumble.
Chris Jericho made a splash at the 2013 Royal Rumble.Ethan Miller/Getty Images

It didn’t take long for the first shocker of the 2013 Royal Rumble, as Chris Jericho made a triumphant return as the No. 2 entry.

The six-time world champion entered the ring right after No. 1 entrant Dolph Ziggler.

I can't believe my eyes!!! @wwe #RoyalRumble @heelziggler meets #2... @iamjericho !!! twitter.com/JustinRoberts/…

— Justin Roberts (@JustinRoberts) January 28, 2013

Jericho's return to the ring inspired a raucous roar from the Phoenix crowd.

WWE fans thought they'd seen the last of Jericho when Ziggler ended his career on Aug. 20. Just one night after defeating Jericho at Summerslam, Ziggler retained his Money in the Bank contract and Jericho's WWE contract was terminated, according to a pre-match stipulation made by general manager A.J. Lee.

The former undisputed champ has been touring with his band, Fozzy, so it remains to be seen if his return to the ring is permanent.

The WWE threw another curveball as Goldust became the eighth entrant in the 2013 Royal Rumble. 

#RoyalRumble Entrant No. 8 = GOLDUST!! #ShatteredDreams

— WWE (@WWE) January 28, 2013

PWTorch.com reported in May that Goldust and the WWE had parted ways, so his entry certainly qualifies as a major shock. 

Goldust was eliminated by Cody Rhodes right before Rey Mysterio became the 14th entrant. 

In another throwback, The Godfather made a surprise appearance at the Rumble. However, the Attitude Era legend was also eliminated by Rhodes just seconds after becoming the 17th entrant.

The Godfather is quickly eliminated by Dolph Ziggler in the 2013 Royal Rumble Match, taking his glasses & hat headed back to the locker room

— #RoadToWrestleMania (@WWEAxxess) January 28, 2013