The Royal Rumble provides for some of the greatest drama of the year. From the countdown, to the mystery entrants to the final four. The Rumble is one of the best matches of the year, not just because it’s 30 people coming in and out and there is the endless possibility for things to happen. But, for the fact that it has importance. The Royal Rumble for all intents and purposes is the most important match of the year that isn’t the Wrestlemania main event. You win the Royal Rumble, they intend on making you a star or a bigger star. We as fans know that and that is part of the reason why we love it. But for a lot of us it’s the elements of the match that make it.
Let’s start with the first two men. When Howard Finkel announces “Let’s see who drew number one!” IT causes a litany of emotions. First is “Oh shit, this guy could be the guy who runs the table and break’s Rey Mysterio or (Name redacted)’s record for time in the Rumble!” Then it is Yoshi Tatsu and your sitting there trying to plot out a scenario where Yoshi runs the table. Sadly it involves him shooting eggs out and putting his tongue on Ezekiel Jackson. No one needs that, just stick to the fan fiction…
The same thing happens with Number two but to an almost lesser extent because Number two for the most part never gets the love it deserves. Statistically speaking both have the same shot at winning because they both start the match at the same time. I’ve wondered if the WWE tinkered with the idea to make Number 2 come out after the X amount of time entrants usually come out. Would it be dumb? Yes, but it would be interesting to see Number one try to fill time while waiting for the first guy to take on.
My favorite One and Two has to be the 1989 Royal Rumble. For the first time in the then three year history of the event, we had two tag team partners go at one another to start the rumble. Back then it was just for pride, but still an awesome thing to see. The two men Ax and Smash from Demolition, my favorite tag team so I am biased. But, the thing is IT WAS STILL AWESOME! You have the current WWF Tag Team Champions who just turned babyface two months prior and right now they are going to pummel the hell out of one another till the poor bastard who was number three. But what if in that time they became less then partners and just two men out for each others blood? Fantasy booking aside, it was awesome seeing these two guys brawl with one another because we never saw it before and were probably never going to see it again.
Then number three came out. You’re thinking it’s gonna be Jim Brunzell or some poor unsuspecting bastard who is getting the one night pay day. Nope, its the one guy who could probably kill both of Demolition in one shot. ANDRE THE GIANT! At this point, you have to be all in on this rumble. Because IT’S ANDRE VS. DEMOLITION! Awwman.
The best dramatic element of the rumble has to be the countdown. That Eleven second period where you and million’s of other people countdown in unison awaiting the next person who enters the rumble. That countdown can lead to a lot of joy, or lead to a lot of disappointment. But with the countdown, we get the just live in that moment as fans and wonder who is going to be next. Some people gamble on it, some people pontificate on who it will be and others yell out “ITS GONNA BE MAX MOON!” …. Alright, I’m that guy.
But there are those moments where someone totally random comes out and you think “He’s got a shot of winning the whole damn thing.” Whether its a rational thought or not, you become emotionally invested in the guy. My biggest example 2002 Royal Rumble and Mr. Perfect comes back.
I love Mr. Perfect, he is possibly one of my favorite wrestlers ever and seeing him come back in the ’02 Rumble was just amazing and the best part is he had an amazing run and almost made it to the end. How the hell could one predict that one? That is the best part, for them most part you cannot predict the rumble. Especially how it ends.
The end of the rumble can be some of the greatest storytelling you can do and provide a great look into the next year of WWE storytelling. Whether it be Whose foot touched first in 1994, Austin being eliminated but still winning the Rumble in 97, or (name redacted) making the run of his like in 2004 and eliminating the Big show in a near impossible feat of strength causing people like me to immediately get down on their knees and thank Arn for giving guys like (name redacted) a shot. All these years later, I still remember that moment fondly. Everything after that, not so much.
Will this year’s rumble be a classic? Hard to say, will his year’s rumble be entertaining? Yes, yes it will. Because for that hour, we get to sit back, enjoy ourselves and be 8 years old for just a little while and hope that Max Moon comes back and eliminates everyone.
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