Royal Rumble 2017 Poster (inquisitr.com (2017)
The Royal Rumble has been one of, if not, the biggest pay-per-view (with the exception of Wrestlemania) in WWE history. The simple concept of a ring filled with 30 men (sometimes Women) trying to throw each other over the top rope with one man left standing, has managed to appeal to and entertain fans for over twenty years. The Royal Rumble embodies what professional wrestling should be – simple, dramatic, and most importantly, fun.
The idea of 30 superstars competing in one ring, has promised fans mayhem which no other sport or entertainment show offers. The Rumble is unique, and hence why it has been able to draw the interest of wrestling fans, casual fans, and even non-wrestling fans. Looking at the pay-per-view numbers before the launch of the WWE network helps prove this argument. Royal Rumble would bring in almost double the buy-rate of any other pay-per-view (again, with exception of Wrestlemania). Royal Rumble 2011 being a perfect example, the event drew 446, 000 buys and the closest competitor that year was SummerSlam which drew 296, 000 (according to 2xzone.com (2015).
Traditionally, the Royal Rumble match has been filled with top stars; look no further than Ric Flair’s Rumble victory in 1992. That match had the likes of Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Macho Man and also superstars like Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker who went on to become household names years later. As well as the star power, it provided dream clashes for fans that they would not get to see anywhere else as the Rumble has had a tradition of surprise appearances from various wrestling legends, celebrities and also with the brand split, the Rumble is the only time superstars like Bray Wyatt and Brock Lesnar may be able to clash.
However, since 2014 the WWE has somehow managed to crush the spirit of the Rumble, the spirit they have worked over twenty years to create. 2014 and 2015 featured two of the most disappointing Royal Rumbles; wrestling fans ever had the misfortune of seeing. Two Royal Rumbles, which left fans with a sour taste in their mouth, as it was clear who the universal favourite among wrestling fans was (just in case you didn’t know, it was Daniel Bryan) and who they wanted in the main event of Wrestlemania. On both occasions, WWE chose to ignore the fans and give two lacklustre Royal Rumble bouts, which had little star power, drama and they were, most importantly, not fun.
Fans generally have an idea of who they think will win the Royal Rumble, and at times WWE will throw a curve ball or plant seeds for other intriguing matches. In 2014 and 2015, there was only one clear winner for the fans and it made perfect sense for Daniel Bryan to win both those Rumble matches, as he had a ready-made storyline waiting for him on both occasions. WWE ignored the fans on both occasions and offered them little or nothing to cheer for instead of Daniel Bryan. But this year, whether intentionally, or unintentionally, WWE has given a plethora of options to fans, allowing them to cheer for whomever and whatever they want.
The 2016 Royal Rumble match, was certainly an improvement and it was highlighted by a phenomenal (pun not intended) debut by AJ Styles. This year the WWE has set itself up to restore the Royal Rumble to its former glory, with stars like The Undertaker, Goldberg and Brock Lesnar all participating in the Rumble match, star power is certainly not an issue. And with fans not pinning their hopes on one superstar, the WWE have many different outcomes available to them. What seeds will be planted for Wrestlemania? We do not know, but we know that the WWE do have stars like the New Day and Heath Slater available to provide fun moments, like Santino Marella and Mick Foley’s battle of the socks from Royal Rumble 2012. Then, when it gets to crunch time they have stars like The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, and Chris Jericho ready to step up and perform, and who knows, maybe we’ll see the return of Finn Balor, the debut of Samoa Joe or maybe Kurt Angle will make his long-awaited in-ring return to the WWE. The WWE have all the cards available, it’s now up to them which ones they want to play, but this Royal Rumble match certainly has all the ingredients to be a very fun one for fans. The expectations for this year’s Royal Rumble match are understandably high and WWE has to deliver. So they better be ready to Rumble!
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