This weekend marks the 23rd ever Royal Rumble. I like many wrestling fans eagerly anticipate the Rumble every year for the simple reason that while clich? it is indeed true that ?The Road to Wrestlemania ? starts at the Royal Rumble and I have said on many an occasion that Wrestlemania is my Christmas which I guess makes the Royal Rumble a really great birthday to me. However the Rumble has lost its luster to me in recent years. I don?t know if it’s because the winners are usually predictable, storylines haven?t been that strong or I just keep looking ahead to Wrestlemania. I am just not enjoying it the same way I used to and I dare to think I am not alone in that. Of course everyone can complain about things and most wrestling fans usually do. I always have seen myself as a problem solver and what better problem to solve than bringing the royalty among events back to the Royal Rumble?you?re reading “Wrestling Rumblings.”
OK anyone who knows anything knows that the main event of the Royal Rumble PPV is the Royal Rumble Match itself. Every match on that card is secondary and in most cases no one tends to even care as the outcomes usually tend to be foregone conclusions favoring the world champions in the event. There have been 7 world title changes in the previous 22 Royal Rumble which puts it at one above Summerslam for title changes amongst the big four. We have seen instances where the challengers in the world title picture are guys that we know have no chance at all of winning the championship. Who could forget the year Bob ?Hardcore? Holly challenged Brock Lesnar for the WWE championship. I think the first change that needs to be made to the Royal Rumble is that if we are going to have undercard matches in which the championships of WWE are at stake than those championship matches are to be of the highest caliber possible. Randy Orton vs. Sheamus may interest some people but with the buildup it has received in recent weeks I almost forgot it was occurring. I do not want to read emails that this was a last minute match up because they have had about 3 weeks now to promote it which is usually the amount of time they take to promote a PPV under normal circumstances anyway. The Smackdown brand is really not that much better as who really thinks Rey Misterio is going to win the World Heavyweight Championship? I really thought WWE missed the boat in not getting Batista involved in that match up. If you are not going to put some emphasis on your championship matchups because you want heavy hitters involved in the Royal Rumble here is an idea; DON?T HAVE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHES ON THE PPV. Who says that they are necessary? I don?t the first few Royal Rumbles didn?t even have a world title match on the card as the champion at the time (Hulk Hogan) usually competed in the Rumble match himself. If you want to make the Rumble match prestigious don?t dilute it with a world championship match up of any kind.
Now I recognize that is probably never going to happen and we are going to get a championship match up every year but there was an instance in the Royal Rumble in 2008 where the ECW Champion at the time (Chavo Guerrero) competed in the Royal Rumble. Now we can argue all day long (and some of you do argue this with me) about whether or not the ECW Championship is a world championship (for the record I still say no) but even though WWE treats the ECW title in a manner not befitting a world championship the winner of the Royal Rumble is entitled to challenge for any brands top championship which includes the ECW Championship. So this is what I propose; if you?re going to open up the rumble for one champion why not open it towards all of them. Again as stated previously we don?t really need to have a world title match at the Royal Rumble and if you allow the top champions to compete in the Royal Rumble match think of the intrigue it carries. Can you imagine if the WWE Champion won the Royal Rumble and challenged the World Champion at Wrestlemania? Who is to say that the WWE Champion would even be WWE Champion at Wrestlemania but he would still be guaranteed a shot at the World Championship. Think about how some angles can be teased and developed based on instances where world champions were thrown out of the Royal Rumble? WWE was able to cultivate the seeds of Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior at the 1990 Royal Rumble by having Warrior show no weakness against the WWE Champion at the time Hulk Hogan. It can happen again. I?d love to see the champions compete against the field.
In 1996 WWE tried something different with the Rumble. They had the first ever ?Free for all? match up which consisted at the time of HHH vs. Duke ?The Dumpster? Drose in a match in which the participants were chosen by whoever were the two wrestlers to draw blank numbers. The winner of the match (Drose by reverse decision) was number 30 and the loser was number 1 that year. Why don?t we bring that concept back? Maybe even have drawings in the weeks leading up to Raw. Or maybe have a tournament leading up to the Royal Rumble for the right to number 30. We always hear what a coveted spot that is every year (It actually never won the Rumble until 2007 and then won again in 2008) so maybe that spot should be sought after in the same manner a title would. I think knowing who may be number 30 adds a bit of intrigue to the Rumble and could even help further an angle if booked properly.
I know I have spent most of the column deriding the world title matches at the Royal Rumble but here is an idea if you feel they are absolutely necessary. I am going to take full credit for this idea and if it ever happens I want them to call it a ?Rumble In?. What’s a ?Rumble In? you ask? Take the losers of the 3 championship matches and put them in some sort of a three way match up in which the winner of the match is the very first entrant in the Royal Rumble. What a babyface story you could tell if your lead babyface lost his title opportunity after being screwed by the heel champion only to somehow overcome the odds and get a spot in the Royal Rumble and last long enough to win. Even if he doesn?t win can you imagine the anticipation of the fact that someone could compete three times in one day and win a main event spot at Wrestlemania?
Since when did competing in another match mean you were disqualified from competing in the Royal Rumble Match? I remember early on when many competitors did double duty and would come back out and compete in the Royal Rumble match. One of my favorite Royal Rumbles was the Royal Rumble in which Bret Hart and Lex Luger tied and Bret Hart competed earlier in the card losing a tag team championship match in which the referee stopped the match due to his ruling Bret unable to continue only to have Bret come back out and somehow co win the Royal Rumble. We could have all sorts of possibilities if participants in earlier matches were not ruled ineligible to compete in the Royal Rumble.
My final suggestion for improving the Royal Rumble match is really a simple one. There used to be a slogan in WWE in the mid 90’s that anything can happen in the WWE. If that is truly the case than shouldn?t anyone be able to win the Royal Rumble? Far too often it is made that guys in the lower card and mid card are simply fodder for the main event wrestlers and well that really shouldn?t be the case when you consider the luck aspect that could occur in a Royal Rumble match. Why can?t you have a year where someone out of the blue like a Santino Marella wins the Royal Rumble? Could you imagine the weeks of TV to follow with Santino boasting of having a shot at Wrestlemania and all the main event wrestlers on the roster trying to figure out a way to extract that opportunity from him. He doesn?t have to make it to Wrestlemania but just imagine the level of interest it would put in a Royal Rumble Match to know that realistically anyone can win the Royal Rumble. WCW used to have an event called Battlebowl in which wrestlers would compete in a series of random draw tag team matches with the winners competing in a battle royal for a world title opportunity and the moniker ?The Lord of The Ring?. The last such event of this nature to be held was Slamboree 1996 and a low on the card Diamond Dallas Page went on to win the event. Bear in mind this isn?t the DDP you all know today but this was a DDP who was losing matches to Johnny B. Badd and was homeless in the weeks that preceded this event in storyline. DDP would never go onto get his world title opportunity from winning the event as he would try to sell the title shot only to have it stripped from him in storyline for cheating during the event. However the rub he received from winning the event would help him become a 3 time, 3 time world heavyweight champion. Why can?t WWE really open the floodgates to Royal Rumble domination?
I?m going to wrap this one up by saying I love the Royal Rumble and like many of you I will be watching it this weekend. Here is hoping for a great PPV and for many more eventful Royal Rumbles. I had the privilege this week of being the very first Wrestleview columnist to be invited to participate in the ?Wrestleview Conference Call? so those of you who are VIP subscribers I trust you will give that a listen to this weekend. I am in the final stages of planning my travel arrangements to Phoenix, AZ for Wrestlemania weekend and have been in contact with both Ring of Honor and Dragongate USA about attending there events as well on behalf of Wrestleview (Ring of Honor has been receptive and has been kind enough to provide me tickets to their 8th Anniversary show which I will also be covering for Wrestleview, Dragongate USA is still up in the air but I am pretty sure they will also be receptive) so the next few weeks should be very interesting as we all know ?The Road to Wrestlemania starts at the Royal Rumble? and I am looking forward to traveling that road for my third consecutive year. For those of you who wish to contact me feel free to do so at email@example.com and well that’s it, next week I will try to do better and until then I am out.