Through almost three decades, the WWE Royal Rumble remains one of the promotion's most powerful tools in creating new stars.
Most Royal Rumble winners read like an almanac of pro wrestling greats. Unfortunately for some, this is also a glory prone to backfire.
In a perfect world, every Royal Rumble winner goes on to WrestleMania to begin a Hall of Fame career by unseating the incumbent star. More times than not, that very scenario plays out successfully, but when it doesn't it sets the wrestler in question back multiple years at the very least.
Worst case scenario, it can cripple a career.
Given today's era of instant gratification and competition from ubiquitous cable television, the window for a star to manufacture a Royal Rumble win into super stardom has decreased. Even those who have won at WrestleMania tend to struggle finding their sea legs in WWE's high-turnover main event picture.
Indicators of poor performance at WrestleMania include poor match quality and wrestlers who quickly descended down the card in the months following their win.
Winning the Royal Rumble is no longer a sure thing for aspiring legends. In some ways, it has become wrestling's Russian roulette.