I am a huge wrestling fan. I am a fan of nearly everything 80’s and with that comes Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, Andre The Giant and all the other fantastic wrestlers of that era. One of the best WWF pay-per-views of the late 80’s and early 90’s was a Pat Patterson creation known as the Royal Rumble. The rumble was an event where we would see belts change hands, hero’s rise from the rubble, and new rivalries were born. The mystique of the rumble was that anyone can win this thing and it could catapult someone to the top, if you don’t believe me look at the first two rumbles.
Hacksaw Jim Duggan won the first ever rumble back in 88, this was a 20 man match that followed the classic formula where every two minutes another participant entered the ring and wrestlers were eliminated when they were thrown over the top rope. Hacksaw was a mid-card guy at best, more often than not he was really just a jobber to the heel stars, often losing to the likes of Ted Debiase, The Giant and even Haku. So to have Duggan win the rumble really set the stage that anyone can win this thing and that made the event really something to look forward to.
The following year the event was expanded to 30 men and the event made its pay-per-view debut. The event this year featured even bigger names such as Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant, Ted Dibiase and Macho Man Randy Savage, but the man who emerged victorious was another guy nobody expected to win. When all was said and done Big John Studd threw Ted Dibiase over the top rope and had his hand raised in victory. Not to take anything away from John Studd but he was not that big at the time and had been out of wrestling completely for many years. Yet the WWF felt confident in giving the win to someone who was not on the top-tier of the company pantheon.
The reason the Rumble worked so well was perfectly exemplified in these first two years of the event, anyone can win this match, that is the draw, that is what puts an ass in every 18 inches. This is what also leads me to my point, the WWE Royal Rumble is nearly upon us yet again, and yet again 30 participants will rumble and only one man will stand victorious. The difference is that everyone in the world knows that one of only two, maybe three wrestlers will win the match. The problem is not the participants but rather the prize. Having the winner of the Royal Rumble headline Wrestlemania pigeonholes the Rumble into a very predictable match.
Last year it was almost inevitable that Dave Batista was going to win the rumble, we all figured that was the direction the match was heading in, so much so that I didn’t even watch the match. Why would I want to watch an hour long wrestling match where the outcome is all but guaranteed. It makes no sense to have such a huge match featuring 30 of the top names in the sport when everyone knows the winner this year will be either Daniel Bryan or Roman Reigns. If I had to give a prediction they will be the last two men remaining as that is the only way the WWE can create any drama in this match at all.
The bottom line is that the Royal Rumble is not broken and is easily salvageable. My suggestion is that they reward the winner of the Royal Rumble match with a title shot of their choice at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. This way they could let anyone win the Rumble without interference in the main event of Mania and this could also set up new feuds as the winner could challenge for the Intercontinental, or the US Title. If this were the case you could easily see guys like Harper, Ziggler, or Ambrose having a chance to win the rumble and get the career boost they need.
Also check out my new podcast, AMERICA VS AUSTRALIA for a complete breakdown of which country got what right and what they got wrong.
Look for more wrestling articles soon and thanks for reading!