There are three WWF PPVs that are considered “the big ones”. Summerslam in August, WrestleMania in April, and, in January, The Royal Rumble.
By “big ones”, I mean “these are the PPVs that resolve storylines and provide the big blowoff matches.”
You’ve been watching this guy fight that guy for three (or six, or sixteen) months and THIS IS IT. THIS IS THE FIGHT THAT WILL SETTLE IT ALL. They have lumberjacks surround the ring to make sure that there’s no interference. They have special guest referees to make sure that there’s no interference. THEY PUT IT IN A STEEL CAGE.
And, sometimes, they even end the match cleanly with the babyface going over the heel just like you’d been wishing he would for the last three (or six, or sixteen) months. Sigh.
The Rumble ain’t like that.
The Royal Rumble is the one where they set up the big storylines that will be blown off at WrestleMania (or Summerslam). The big guy has been on top for a while and has been telling the challenger that he’ll fight him later. He’ll fight him later. Well, if the challenger wins at the Rumble, the Champ will *HAVE* to face him.
That’s one storyline. Others include the famous “temporary alliance between two rivals and the alliance remains strong”, “temporary alliance between two rivals and one of them stabs the other in the back”, the “Holy cow, how did that upper-midcarder get the gumption to take out that guy from the top of the card?” storyline, and the ever popular “OH I REMEMBER HIM!” nostalgia entry in the Rumble where a guy from the midcard back in the 90’s or early Oughts comes down, makes a symbolic elimination (as a sign of respect), before getting eliminated himself.
When everything goes right (and by that, I mean “when everything goes right for Summerslam, WrestleMania, and the Rumble”), the Rumble is my favorite PPV of the year.
So, tonight, the matches:
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax Singles match
I love me some Sasha Banks. I’m giving this one to her.
Cesaro and Sheamus vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
Gallows and Anderson need the belts more than Cesaro and Sheamus do. Cesaro can get a pop just by showing up and waving. Sheamus… well. Sheamus is getting a bit of a rub from Cesaro. Gallows and Anderson, however, need belts to demonstrate that they’re dangerous. Cesaro and Sheamus wouldn’t really benefit form the belts.
Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, and Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, and Natalya Six-woman tag team match
I hate six man tags. The only role a six man tag has is in the last show before a PPV when you have the good guys from the top three matches on the card fight the bad guys from the top three matches on the card and you tease but do not deliver the guys in those matches fighting against each other. Then you end that match in a schmozz. Otherwise, six man tags are just awful. I can probably count the number of good six man tags on one hand and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a great one.
Rich Swann vs. Neville
Man, the cruiserweight thing has taken off! I love it! I don’t understand why they put it on Raw rather than Smackdown… but, hey. I’ll take it. My money’s on Neville.
Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley
Charlotte has to win via cheating against the babyfacest babyface I believe I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t even matter who wins, so long as it’s Charlotte and she doesn’t win clean.
Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns
I still hate Roman Reigns and I still love Kevin Owens.
The office, however, hates me. They will put Reigns over and wonder why people are still booing.
AJ Styles vs. John Cena Singles match for the WWE Championship
Cena gets his win back.
2017 Royal Rumble match
For this one, I have no clue. I’m just looking forward to it. Which means that they’ll probably have Orton win it.
But I’d kinda like to see Wyatt or Sami Zayn win it.
The thing to look for is whether they give more eliminations to Braun, to Lesnar, or to Baron Corbin and to see who gets the coveted “survived the longest before getting eliminated” prize.
So… what are you reading and/or watching?