The perfect WWE Royal Rumble match is built with a combination of thrilling components.
Showcases of power and longevity, showdowns between enemies, surprises, lasting images and star power are the elements that comprise a Rumble match capable of leaving an audience breathless. The Royal Rumbles from 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, among others offer the blueprint for Rumble perfection.
When WWE puts together the story that is the 2014 Rumble, it would be wise to remember what have been the hallmarks of the most successful versions of the event.
The Rumble match is a compilation of stories, one of which should always feature a narrative of survival. Regardless if he wins or not, the one Superstar who lasts the longest compels the audience as he continues to evade elimination.
In 1993, it was Bob Backlund who played that role. He surprised everyone by competing against a new generation of stars and thriving. He entered second and it was only after he had battled for more than an hour that Yokozuna tossed him out.
Rey Mysterio, Chris Benoit, Steve Austin and Rick Martel have all been the Rumble's iron men. The most memorable man to achieve that honor was Ric Flair, who won the 1992 Rumble by being the last man standing.
His journey, his near-eliminations and ability to outlast his opponents made for great drama. The perfect Rumble match assigns this role to an unexpected star. It milks the energy of seeing a man do the improbable.
When 30 Superstars battle in a single bout, rivals are sure to face off. The ideal Rumble match pits old foes against each other and also creates new enemies.
Austin and Bret Hart were forced to lock horns in the 1997 Rumble. Their rivalry had been escalating and now Hart had a chance to squash Austin's momentum.
Austin won that Rumble despite "The Hitman" eliminating him because the referees didn't see his feet touch the floor. The ensuing controversy drove their rivalry into increasingly heated territory and led to their memorable WrestleMania 13 match.
Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior first faced off at the 1990 Royal Rumble. Austin had long been hungry to tear into Vince McMahon. The 1999 Rumble offered him the chance to do just that when those two men were the first two entrants in the match.
The perfect Rumble would feature a moment like this, shoving two angry animals into the same cage and allowing us to watch the results.
The underdog shall have his day at the Rumble.
A newbie may take out a veteran or a smaller man may toss a giant out of the ring. Either way, a thrilling moment powered by surprise should be in the Rumble.
Bo Dallas made a name for himself by eliminating Wade Barrett in the 2013 Royal Rumble. Maven had a similar moment in 2002.
No one saw a rookie taking out the legend coming.
The unexpected nature of this kind of victory makes it memorable. It creates intrigue for the underdog's future and provides a burst of excitement for the battle royal.
That's why the perfect Rumble needs to have a David ousting a Goliath.
A Run of Dominance
In addition to an underdog's shocking moment of triumph, one man should also tear through the opposition. This is the perfect opportunity to portray one wrestler as a dominant force.
Have them follow Austin or Hogan's lead, eliminating 10 men in the same Rumble. The former achieved that feat in 1997 and the latter went racked up his historic number of eliminations in 1989.
Kane outdid both of them in 2001, tossing out 11 men including The Rock, Raven, Al Snow and Crash Holly.
The perfect Rumble elevates a star in this fashion. It gives them a career highlight to add to their resume and excites fans along the way. Seeing someone get in the proverbial zone, and having them look unbeatable for a long stretch is great entertainment.
It belongs in the ideal Rumble just as much as surprise entrants do.
Chris Jericho in 2013, John Cena in 2008 and Kevin Nash in 2011 are recent examples of big names making unexpected appearances in the Royal Rumble match.
This is a part of what makes the Rumble so special. The makeup of the match allows stars from the past to perform in a short burst, and it is the most dramatic time for an injured or semi-retired wrestler to charge back into the WWE world.
The perfect Rumble would have a handful of entrants that satisfied the crowd's hunger for nostalgia and stars like Jericho who are still at the top of their game, but not full-timers anymore. The bigger the names, and the bigger the surprises, the better.
Should Goldberg, Kurt Angle, Montel Vontavious Porter, Jake Roberts and "The Texas Rattlesnake" all appear at a single Rumble event, the arena would be crackling with energy and the match would feel more momentous with each new surprise guest.
John Morrison began the tradition with his Spider-Man impression in 2011. Kofi Kingston has since run with it.
In the 2013 Rumble, Kingston used an office chair to avoid elimination. The year before that, he did a handstand that will forever be one of the Rumble's most iconic images.
The perfect Rumble would feature one of these creative displays of athleticism.
Perhaps Tyson Kidd or Mysterio provide the crowd with a dazzling moment worth talking about long after the match is over. The Kofi Moment is becoming a Rumble tradition, one that adds another layer to a match built on great moments.
Star-Studded Final Four
Should Cena and 3MB be the last four men in the Rumble, the drama about who will win is immediately drained. The best Rumbles have featured megastars as the last few men remaining in the match.
In 2003, Batista, Brock Lesnar, Kane and Undertaker made it to the match's final moments.
As four marquee stars battled, fans had little idea who would emerge as the victor. Any of those men could have bested the others.
That was true in 1992 as well, when Flair, Randy Savage, Hogan and Sid Justice comprised a memorable final four. Edge, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker and Randy Orton were the last four men of the 2007 Rumble.
The perfect Rumble will end with similarly prominent final combatants. Future Hall of Famers, men in their primes and championship-caliber stars will collide while the crowd watches in awe.
Combine this with underdogs claiming victory, warriors clearing the arena and enemies being forced to cross path and the most complete and incredible Rumble awaits.
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