WWE’s Royal Rumble, tonight in Pittsburgh, is hands-down the most fun of the annual pay-per-views. The vaunted WWE Universe thrives on two things: seeing things they’ve longed to see and unpredictability. In the era of John Cena, predictability has been hard to come by. However, save for Money in the Bank and its progeny, the Royal Rumble provides WWE with exactly that.
Every 90 seconds, a new superstar’s music hits and said superstar sprints to the ring to prove why he deserves to be the No. 1 contender for the WWE Cham…World Heavywei…whatever it’s called now. No other time of the year does someone like Jimmy Uso get the unadulterated opportunity to win a chance at the main event of Wrestlemania. Despite the fact that the rumble match can be handicapped in favor of a select few possible champions (the favorites this year are some combination of Batista, Daniel Bryan or CM Punk), it is rare that A) more than a select few superstars have a chance to win something (at least in theory) and B) WWE fans have legitimately no idea who’s music is about to hit.
Think of the most recent biggest pops – Cena’s music hitting at the 2008 Rumble in MSG, Dolph Ziggler’s music hitting when he decided to cash in his MITB briefcase against Alberto Del Rio last April, The Rock’s music hitting when it was announced he was the special guest host of Wrestlemania XXVII and so on. These moments were great because fans were in the dark, and that is what makes the Rumble so great.
That being said, the Rumble itself is an opportunity for the WWE to press the reset button and begin new feuds within the match. At a time when we’ve seen feuds pushed to their max (Cena/Orton, Punk/Shield, Bryan/Wyatt), the WWE should use this opportunity to develop new storylines as we begin our journey on the Road to Wrestlemania.
Not to be overlooked, the Rumble is the best opportunity to bring back injured superstars or legends. In recent years, the likes of Booker T, Diesel and Hacksaw Jim Duggan have all graced the squared circle as one of the 30 entrants. This has become an annual tradition and fans relish the chance to see stars from the past. Similarly, it is the ideal platform for the WWE to reintroduce injured vacationing stars. For instance, look for Sheamus, Evan Bourne, Chris Jericho and maybe even Christian to return tonight.
Beyond unpredictability, the Royal Rumble presents the one chance for fans to see superstars interact where they have previously been booked to avoid each other. Imagine a showdown between Big E Langston and Ryback; the crowd would eat that up. How about Cody Rhodes and Goldust finding one another alone in the ring? One confrontation that all fans would erupt at is a three-on-three meeting of the Wyatt’s and the Shield. This was teased a few weeks ago and the WWE Universe could not contain itself. Even if it does not lead to anything long-term, it would be an excellent booking decision, however fleeting.
Finally, the Royal Rumble is the first step on the path to the granddaddy of them all, Wrestlemania XXX in New Orleans. From here on out, every booking decision will be geared towards the Wrestlemania card as the stage gets bigger and bigger every week. If the WWE wants to plant some early seeds (Undertaker v. Sting, cough cough), tonight would be the first opportunity for the writers to do so.
With so many wild cards and chances for the WWE to make this a special night, it is truly one of the most entertaining wrestling nights of the year…as long as Cena doesn’t win. Enjoy everybody!