January, it’s a new year with new possibilities, and that also means it’s time for one of WWE’s ‘Big 4’ events of the year. First held in 1988, the Rumble is a 30 man battle royal, but unlike other battle royals where all of the contestants start in the ring, two simple changes makes the Royal Rumble unique.
Firstly, only two men start in the ring at the very beginning, every 90 seconds another competitor enters the ring until all 30 have entered. During the course of the match, any contestant can be eliminated by being thrown over the top rope and both feet hitting the floor. The second wrinkle is the most interesting, in terms of story lines in wrestling. Beginning in 1993, whoever wins gets an instant title match at the biggest event of the year for WWE, WrestleMania, held in April. However, 2016 will mark an important year for the Royal Rumble as this year, the WWE championship will be up for grabs for only the second time in the events history.
It is widely considered one of the WWE’s most fun and interactive event for a number of reasons. Typically the order of entrants is kept under wraps with the exception of the first or second entries and maybe the last entrant. A number of entries are typically surprise entrants, like the return of John Cena from injury in 2008, or when Goldust returned in 2002. A countdown clock appears at the last 10 seconds before each entry is set to appear, leading to a countdown from the crowd and various reactions, depending on who walks out.
THE NEXT LEVEL
The event can also make careers. Legends like Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steven Austin, and The Rock have Royal Rumble wins under their belt. Shawn Michaels was entrant #1 in 1995 and #18 in 1996, he would go on to win the WWE championship at WrestleMania after his second Rumble win. Stone Cold Steve Austin would win his first WWE title in 1998 with a win over Shawn Michaels, he would also win again in 2001 and go on to face The Rock during one of wrestling’s best feuds between it’s two biggest superstars.
A ROBUST UNDERCARD
While the Rumble itself is fun, the undercard matches leading up to it can be great as well. Title matches for the WWE Tag Team Titles and the Intercontinental Championship have added some great performances to go along with the main event. One of this years’ undercard matches will be a Lat Man Standing match between two of WWEs rising stars Kevin Owens and current Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose. Look out for a column later this week showcasing some of the Royal Rumble’s best undercard matches.
This year’s Royal Rumble will take place on January 26 and can be seen on the WWE Network and Pay Per View