On last Monday's 1,000th broadcast of Raw, The Rock announced that he would return at January's Royal Rumble to challenge for the WWE Championship.
It was a shocking announcement, if only because most expected the title match to take place at either August's SummerSlam or next March's WrestleMania 29.
The addition of the monumental championship match to the Royal Rumble card immediately restores prestige to an event that, though beloved, has become just another stop on the road to WrestleMania in recent years.
Regardless of whether or not one is a fan of "The Great One," it is difficult to argue that his returns to the ring aren't major occurrences.
Add to his in-ring appearance at Royal Rumble the fact that The Rock is challenging for the most prestigious prize in the company (not including John Cena's merchandise royalties), and you have a match on the undercard that means as much as the Royal Rumble itself.
It has been a very long time since World Wrestling Entertainment has been able to promote a Royal Rumble event with a one-two punch of a main event like it will in 2013. The last time would have been in 2000, when Mick Foley—reprising his Cactus Jack persona—challenged then-champion Triple H in a street fight while The Rock headlined the Rumble match itself.
2013 should eclipse even that show.
With The Rock, CM Punk, John Cena, Triple H, Brock Lesnar, Rey Mysterio, The Big Show and plenty of surprises likely to appear on the three-hour event, the Royal Rumble will be the most star-studded pay-per-view since WrestleMania 28.
The Rock challenging for the WWE Championship will not only result in one of the biggest, most-hyped Royal Rumbles in history, it will be the most watched in—at the very least—10 years.
And that is very good news for a company hoping to put on the biggest and greatest WrestleMania of all time in East Rutherford, N.J., just two months later.
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