This time a year i start thinking about the up coming six months of WWE programing. With my two favorite events being in the next 6 months The Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania. Wrestlemania we know as the World Series or Superbowl of the WWE but i consider the Royal Rumble like the play offs. It’s the stepping stone to Wrestlemania. Its what now gives us at least one number one contender to a world title and starts the road to Wrestlemania. With the rumble coming up on January 25th i thought i’d go over the history of The Royal Rumble.
Credit for the rumble can be given to Pat Patterson who came up with the original idea for this match. The way the match works is thirty participants enter the ring in regular intervals, usually 90 seconds. It starts with with the first two participants in the ring. The rumble is an elimination style match in which the only way to eliminate a participant is by them going over the top rope and both feet touching the ground. The elimination is only valid if a referee sees both feet on the ground.
There have been instances where referees haven’t seen a participant touch the ground such as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Sean “X-pac” Waltman. Some competitors have even gone under the ropes and come back at a later time, Vince McMahon, and Steve Austin have both used this tactic. The winner of the rumble get a title shot in the main event of Wrestlemania. This wasn’t always true as in 1992 the winner of the rumble, Ric Flair, won the WWE Championship for winning the match, also getting the Wrestlemania title shot wasn’t added as a stipulation until 1993.
The Royal Rumble was originally broadcast on the USA network on January 24, 1988, only had 20 participants, lasted thirty three minutes and was called The Rumble Royale. This first rumble was won by “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. The next year it was made into a Pay Per View and was part of the big five of WWE’s pay per views along with Wrestlemania, Summerslam, Servivor Series and the now defunct King of the Ring.
The Royal Rumble is normally the main event of the pay per view, except in 2006 when it was in the middle of the card. The pay per view Royal Rumble besides the rumble match normally has WWE and World championship matches with various other matches. The Royal Rumble is one of the most anticipated pay per views for any wrestling fan there is no denying that. Its importance to the WWE superstars is almost just as important as Wrestlemania.
Lets not look at the pay per view as a whole though but the rumble match its self. Winning the rumble is like winning a championship for superstars its in many cases the match of their career. Most of the greatest ever have won rumble matches. Hulk Hogan in 90 and 91, Ric Flair in ’92, Bret Hart in ’94, Shawn Micheals ’95,’96, Steve Austin ’97,98,’01, The Rock in 2000, Triple H ’02, Chris Benoit in ’04 and The Undertaker in ’07. Looking at this list most of them went on to Wrestlemania to become champions. Normally the winner of this match goes on to main event Wrestlemania and get a title shot. In the past it was only the WWE (was WWF) championship now the winner gets to pick between ECW, World and WWE championships they want to go after at Wrestlemania.
Every winner since 1993 has used their title shot they won at The Royal Rumble at Wrestlemania except this last year John Cena used his before Wrestlemania. Cena still went on to be in the Wrestlemania main event but it was in a match later won at Raw.
We’ve seen big men like Kane go in there eliminate 11 people on his own and some superstars that are in and out of the rumble like Take Michinoku. We see men like Benoit, and Shawn Micheals come in at number one and win the rumble. Until ’07 no man had won that came in at the 30th spot until The Undertaker did. In fact that was Taker’s first rumble win in his illustrious career that started in 1990. The rumble is where dreams can be made and where we see the best the WWE has to offer in one ring at one time.
As we go forward into the Road to Wrestlemania and the superstars prepare for the rumble its time to keep on eye on who has the momentum. As long as our injured stars come back and the WWE can stay injury free this could be on of the biggest rumbles yet. HBK, CM Punk, Edge, Taker, Big Show, Kane, Cena, Batista, Orton, Jeff Hardy, Mark Henry, Finlay... the list can go on and on but the question will be answered in January.... Who will be heading to wrestlemania’s main even and become apart of history.