It only happens once a year in the WWE. Huge body masses bounce around a specially reinforced ring as young fans watch in wonder as their heroes fight against the most diabolical villains to ever set foot in the squared circle.
It’s the very uniqueness of the Royal Rumble that makes it so enthralling. It’s the last of a dying breed of PPVs dedicated to a single match. King of the Ring has become an episode of RAW, Money in the Bank now happens three times a year, and even the fabled Survivor Series has its concept match doled out over dozens of shows in a given year.
The Royal Rumble remains the one night of the year in which the past truly lives through the present. Statistics tickle the delight of fans. The atmosphere is right in between the testosterone filled NFL weekends of Conference Championships and the Superbowl.
Let’s take a look at the assortment of stars already revealed as participants, and what they need to do on Sunday night to fulfill their dream of main eventing Wrestlemania!
Alberto Del Rio – this is the man who has arguably the biggest target on his back going into the match, bested only by John Cena’s conflict with the post-Nexus factions. Del Rio has been smug and presumptuous with his Rumble aspirations. Easily one of the favorites, but with so many competitors his victory will have to come as a result of attrition and determination. His goal to win the belt at ‘mania must not surpass his presence of mind during the match.
Foe(s): Del Rio has made a lot of enemies and will need to be on the lookout for all them, especially former Rumble winner Rey Mysterio
Big Show – It’s a given that every Royal Rumble Show enters is slanted in his favor. While smaller guys like Rey Mysterio have been victorious, it is the size advantage which matters the most. At least, that’s what we are led to believe. Truth be told, the monolithic superstars never seem to actually win the Rumble.
Foe(s): Big Show needs to watch out for superstars teaming up. Due to his size he will be viewed as an obvious threat, expect multiple superstars to attempt and eliminate Show early
CM Punk – The newly emerged leader of the Nexus has a target painted on his back. The friction between his group and The Corre will complicate his attempts to win. Few superstars will have forgotten his microphone antics from last year’s Rumble. Their humiliation will add fuel to his elimination. Punk needs to play the Rumble smart, and leave all of the risks up to his minions.
Foe(s): John Cena, The Corre, Rey Mysterio
Daniel Bryan – he is at an immediate disadvantage as he has never entered a Rumble. Factor in his size and it is going to be a tough night. Bryan’s key to victory will be in choosing his spots and laying low. The less that other talent realizes he is in the ring, the greater his chance to win.
Foe(s): Ted Dibiase Jr., former NXT Season 1 competitors
Drew McIntyre – The so called “chosen” one is in desperate need of a big win. He is going to need to clear his head and push aside all of his illusions of grandeur. Think of Drew McIntyre as the foolhardy Chimera of professional wrestling.
Foe(s): David Otunga & John Cena ended his run with the Tag Team Championship, and may end his run in this match
Jack Swagger – The former World Heavyweight Champion is looking for another shot at the belt. His over eagerness may well be his downfall.
John Cena – he may be an early favorite to win the Rumble, but Cena has a huge target painted on his back. He is caught smack dab in the middle of the Nexus wars, which could possibly create a nine on one disadvantage if all members manage to be in the ring at the same time. Cena also needs to keep looking over his shoulder for guys like Sheamus that he has feuded with in the past. It’s going to come down to hustle, loyalty and respect for the darling of the WWE.
Foe(s): New Nexus, The Corre, CM Punk, Wade Barret & Sheamus
John Morrison – will need to be very careful in this match. The master of Parkour must ground his game. The usual high flying antics that he has employed will not be of any use in a match where springboards and turnbuckles often lead to doom.
Kane – The Big Red machine holds the record with the most eliminations in a single Rumble, this year he could very well break his own feat. There are an extra ten competitors which will only serve as further carnage for the Devil’s favorite son.
Foe(s): Kane will need to be weary of outside interference in this match. Edge & The Undertaker are people to keep in mind. Undertaker & Kane have a history of mystically interfering in the Rumble
Kofi Kingston – In many ways, Kofi is the Smackdown version of Morrison. He’ll need to ground his game. Instead of looking for a high impact move, Kofi will need to play it smart.
Foe(s): Jack Swagger, Hunter Golden
Mark Henry – he’ll find himself in the same boat as The Big Show. Look for many superstars to eliminate him in a combined effort.
Foe(s): The Big Show
Rey Mysterio – no stranger to this match, Mysterio already has one victory under his belt. Factor that into the fact that he currently holds the record for longest time in the Rumble, and there are few that have a better chance than Rey Rey of winning this match. His size is a factor, but if he maintains his composure, he could very well be headed to Wrestlemania.
Foe(s): CM Punk, Alberto Del Rio
Santino Marella – the record holder for shortest time in the ring is simply not going to win this match. No matter how hard he tries.
Foe(s): Being Santino Marella
Sheamus – It’s been a hell of a year for Sheamus, and it’s not about to slow down. The King of the Ring is a clear favorite in this match. He has the size, strength and stamina to eliminate anyone. The downside is that he needs to be wary of HHH. While his return is just a rumor, it would absolutely ruin the night for Sheamus.
Foe(s): Triple H, John Cena, John Morrison
Ted DiBiase – let’s be frank, it’s not going to happen. Dibiase is on a streak of terrible luck at the moment.
Foe(s): Daniel Bryan, worrying about Maryse
Vladimir Kozlov – sorry, it can’t happen with Santino on his team.
Foe(s): being Santino’s partner
Wade Barrett – It’s been a year of many highs and lows for Wade. As much as he would like to win the Rumble with the aid of The Corre, the conflict between the Nexus factions and John Cena will prove too much for this rookie.
Foe(s): John Cena, New Nexus, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan
Zack Ryder – Oh Radi-NO!
Foe(s): Yes, I know that was corny. I apologize.
Announced, but can’t win:
Chris Masters, Darren Young, David Hart Smith, David Otunga, Ezekiel Jackson, Heath Slater, Husky Harris, JTG, Justin Gabriel, Mason Ryan, Michael McGillicutty, Primo, R-Truth, Tyson Kidd, William Regal, Yoshi Tatsu.
Alberto Del Rio
I didn’t include HHH or any of the other rumored returns as entrants simply because they weren’t officially announced.
Enjoy the Rumble, and I’ll talk to you again Monday Night in my recap!
So ‘that’s a wrap’…. Love it? Hate it? Disagree with everything I said? Just want to chat wrestling? I’m always up for reading your thoughts so send them ’em on over.
Look for the newest edition to the WrestleView Radio Network: “The Teacher’s Lounge” featuring Anthony Valvo (From the Desk of Mr. V) and myself this Saturday!