I’m sure that I’ve mentioned before that the Royal Rumble is my favorite PPV of the year.
Sure, WrestleMania is the biggest spectacle, but that PPV seems calibrated to be the “if you only get one PPV a year… GET THIS ONE!” PPV which means that it’s aimed at the people who only get one PPV a year.
If you told me that someone only gets two PPVs a year, I would know automatically that they got WrestleMania but I would have to guess what the second one was… was it Summerslam? I could see it being Survivor Series, I suppose (given that it’s six months opposed to WM). Back when King of the Ring was a thing, I could see someone who loved single-elimination tournaments picking that one. (The eventual problem with King of the Ring was that there were too many Billy Gunns winning the thing and not enough Rocks.) People who like the hardcore stuff might pick the Hell in a Cell PPV or Tables, Ladders, and Chairs. (Allow a small complaint: Hell in a Cell went from being a “holy cow, this will decisively end the storyline of this absolutely epic rivalry!” to being Just Another Hardcore Match.)
But the Rumble is like nothing else the WWE does all year. It’s an hour-long match that intertwines multiple storylines, creates new rivalries, provides comedy moments, has multiple ways to push multiple wrestlers, and does it in such a way that leaves even the most jaded wrestling fan looking forward to the “If You Get Only One PPV A Year” PPV.
The conceit is simple: this is a 30-man over-the-top-rope-elimination Battle Royal. One wrestler goes down to the ring every 90 seconds.
There are different ways to make the audience say “dang, that wrestler is pretty good!” in this particular event. Have the wrestler be one of the first ones out to the ring and just survive for a good long time before being eliminated. Have the ring be filled with 10-12 wrestlers and then have the next wrestler come down to the ring and “clean house” and eliminate five or eight wrestlers in a fairly short period of time. Of course, the big one is “winning the dang thing”.
But even in addition to all of those, you can do little things like have your submission wrestler get a current big wig in a submission hold of some sort and have the current big wig tap out. The announcers need to be yelling that tapping out doesn’t mean anything in these circumstances, you have to go over the top rope… and then have someone else break the hold (or the wrestler breaks the hold himself) and then have the submitter throw the submittee over the top rope. Tah-dah! You now have a new feud! Perhaps you can have a very big name wrestler in the ring and have the announcers talk about how this big name wrestler is one of the favorites to win the Rumble… then have an up-and-coming midcarder eliminate this very big name. Tah-dah! You now have a new feud!
So you walk out of the match looking forward to at least two non-world-title-level feuds, have several different wrestlers that come out of the match looking good (even though they didn’t win) and everything wraps up with everybody looking forward to how these different storylines will play out… including the ones that you know will play out at WrestleMania.
Incidentally, tonight is also the first 30-woman Royal Rumble. So that’s going to be interesting as well. A big night *FULL* of firsts happening there.
And I can’t wait.
So… what are you reading and/or watching?