CM Punk and 5 WWE Wrestlers Who Should Have Won a Royal Rumble
WWE fans await the Royal Rumble every year, anticipating their favourite superstars locking up with one another over a time period of at least 60 minutes. All of this for a chance to headline WrestleMania, the most prestigious event in professional wrestling. Though generally predicting a winner is limited to five or six entrants, there is always an outside chance WWE will surprise fans.
Sometimes, that surprise will be good; other times, it will be disappointing. That, quite simply, is the nature of pro wrestling as a business. Certain ideas work out, while others reveal themselves to be poor decisions. The biggest decision in booking the Rumble, of course, is deciding who should win the event; essentially, such a decision entails the creation of a star, because the winner is given a chance to headline WWE's flagship PPV, WrestleMania.
Unfortunately, WWE haven't always got these decisions right. This list will look at five men who should have won the Royal Rumble, what year they should have won it, and how the angle of their triumph and road to WrestleMania should have been booked.
Chris Jericho (Any year)
A lot of people like the idea of Y2J returning at the Rumble and taking the glory; Jericho would have been a well-received winner at any point in his WWE career really, but he was never at any point the absolute best option to win. There’s still time for this to happen, and it’s certainly not worth ruling out.
Christian (Any year)
Like Jericho, there’s still a chance this could happen. In fact, it is now more than ever that Christian, a main event talent for most of this year, would be a believable Rumble winner. Certainly, it would make up somewhat for his awful reigns as World Champion.
Honestly, his record of eliminations in this match entitled him to a win. Almost. The fact is, creatively and commercially, Stone Cold was the best option to win in 2001, as we know in hindsight of his match against The Rock at WrestleMania X-7. Still, you can't help but feel the Big Red Monster did enough for the win.
Mr. Perfect (1993)
Simply put, Curt Hennig would have been a far superior choice than Yokozuna. If he'd won, fans would have been treated to a wrestling clinic as the main event of WrestleMania X, in a match between him and Bret Hart. Imagine a five star wrestling match both opening (Bret/Owen) and closing (Bret/Hennig) a WrestleMania.
Mick Foley (1998)
Never the best option for a Rumble win, but in hindsight it would have been better seeing him win it than seeing Austin dominate the match every single year of the Attitude Era. If any year would have suited a Foley win, it would be ’98 when he appeared in all three of his gimmicks. The one problem with that is it would have denied fans Michaels/Austin at WrestleMania XIV.
Kurt Angle (2003)
This one involves some speculative booking, and with these events being eight years old, a recap is warranted.
When Brock Lesnar won his first WWE Title at SummerSlam 2002, he became the star of the company, defending the title against the likes of Undertaker and Edge, until at Survivor Series Paul Heyman betrayed him, and he lost the title to Big Show.
As a result of this treachery, Lesnar in turn cost Show the title against Kurt Angle, instantly becoming a babyface. That was a creative mistake.
Lesnar was a natural heel, and if they wanted to separate him from Heyman could have had him destroy the ECW creator while carrying on as a unbeatable champion. Then, Angle would win the Rumble and challenge him at WrestleMania XIX.
From there, WWE would have a multitude of creative decisions to make; the fact Angle was suffering serious neck injuries at the time suggests it would be best for Lesnar to retain.
They could have explained Angle's absence as being because of Lesnar's brute strength, getting him more heat than ever until the Olympic Hero returned to challenge him again.
Muhammad Hassan (2005)
It's almost redundant claiming Muhammad Hassan should have won the Royal Rumble. There are a lot of thing he should have done.
Having Batista win the Rumble wasn't a bad creative decision; it displayed tremendous faith in a fresh wave of WWE talent, with both the Animal and John Cena being the last two competitors in the match. That faith worked out, as both men went on to be faces of the company, particularly Cena.
Still, if Muhammad Hassan had won it would have been shocking, daring and provocative. In other words, everything a Royal Rumble winner should be. The only problem with this is that both World Champions at that time, Triple H and J.B.L., where heels like Hassan.
That could easily have been rectified in Triple H's case though, since the Game has generally been able to transition from heel to face seamlessly. Playing up the religious aspect of the feud, HHH could have easily responded by playing the patriot card for some cheap face momentum.
It would have been amazing seeing Hassan lift the World Championship at WrestleMania 21, and have him hold it for months as the most despised heel in the company. To this day, everyone concludes that WWE dropped the ball by releasing such a fantastic character.
The kicker? He was 23 years old. Muhammad Hassan could have been the biggest heel in the company for at least ten years.
Eddie Guerrero (2006)
In a way, Eddie Guerrero did win the Royal Rumble in 2006. With respect to Rey Mysterio, who is a phenomenal wrestler, he wouldn't have won the match if not for Eddie's untimely passing.
Around 2005/2006, there was probably no one in WWE as over with the fans as Guerrero. So popular was he, that they refused to boo him during his heel run against Mysterio, and maintained the "Eddie" chants whenever he entered the ring.
He was the face of SmackDown.
If you don't believe that, consider the face he was the original captain of Team SmackDown at Survivor Series, before dying tragically in his hotel room on November 13th.
Fans learned later that a triple threat match for the World Championship including him, Batista and Randy Orton was to take place days later on SmackDown. Rumours suggest he may have even been scheduled to win it.
With that only being a rumour, there was a real possibility he could have ended up in the Royal Rumble. Certainly no one would doubt his ability to win it; Guerrero, in the ring, on the mic, and in terms of charisma, was one of the best of all time.
Kurt Angle was champion at the time, meaning they would have faced off in a WrestleMania XX rematch.
Sure, they'd wrestled plenty of times on various Pay-Per-Views, but considering the quality of those matches no one would have been complaining while these two put on one more wrestling clinic.
Big Show (2009)
Replace "(2009)" with "(Anytime!)", and you have a relatively accurate point.
Seriously, it's a massive suspension of disbelief every time Big Show doesn't win the Rumble, and it ruins the suspense involved in the match whenever it comes down to him and one other person.
Audiences knew The Rock and Chris Benoit would win the Rumble as soon as they were left in the ring with the juggernaut that is Paul Wight, because having Big Show win it is supposedly too obvious.
The reason 2009 would have been the ideal for a Big Show win is because he did actually come into the contest with some good heel heat, which, after crossing the face/heel divide so many times, it's nearly impossible for him to do anymore.
He ended up in a WrestleMania main event anyway, so having him toss out Legacy, Undertaker and Triple H would have gave him great momentum going into a match with Edge and John Cena.
If this happened, audiences might have actually believed that he could win at WrestleMania and that Cena wouldn't overcome "insurmountable odds" again. Meanwhile, the actual Rumble winner, Randy Orton, could have easily found a different way to face Triple H.
And even if he didn't, taking into account the underwhelming Orton/HHH match, it certainly wouldn't have been a loss to the event.
CM Punk (2011)
CM Punk was well on his way to the most realistic, convincing Royal Rumble victory in WWE history last year. But what happened?
John Cena happened.
Still, let's forget the infuriating deus ex machina that is the face of the company, and focus on why CM Punk should have won the 2011 Rumble. Firstly, and most obviously at this point in time, Alberto Del Rio wasn't ready for the win. He did next to nothing with the momentum.
The Straightedge Saviour, on the other hand, proved only months later that he was ready for a mega push when he sat down wearing a Stone Cold T-Shirt and cut a promo that resonated throughout the stratosphere of professional wrestling.
As the leader of Nexus at Rumble time, it was gripping watching as Punk and his subordinated tossed every new entrant out of the ring, up until Cena entered the match and derailed them all.
Ideally, the Champ would have come in and survived long enough for others to enter the match; instead, he tossed everybody out and partied with Hornswoggle for the next 15 minutes.
Punk and Edge could have had a great WrestleMania main event; knowing with hindsight that Edge retired straight after the event, sentimentality provokes the idea he should have retained, but Punk winning would have been a fantastic direction to take.
After Edge's retirement, Punk and Christian could have had a great feud, in which Captain Charisma, remaining a babyface, would eventually win the World Heavyweight Championship without dropping it to Orton within two days.
Do you agree with my choices? Did I miss anyone? If so, comment here or follow me @PaulMc7
Read my Creature vs. Creature article on the Greatest Wrestling Match of all Time here.
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