Next to WrestleMania and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, there is nothing quite as iconic in pro wrestling than the Royal Rumble match. But what is it?
The Royal Rumble is annual occurrence that pits 30 of WWE’s best male and female superstars against one another in a mammoth elimination battle royal, with the respective winners going on to challenge their brands champion at that year’s WrestleMania.
The typically hour-long matches start with just two superstars in the ring and after every 90 seconds, a new wrestler is introduced into the mix. The combatants must eliminate all other 29 entrants by throwing them over the top rope, with both of their opponent’s feet hitting the ground. There have been many attempts to circumvent this rule in the past: HBK utililing the loophole of having just one foot scrape the mat and Kofi Kingston’s various daredevil acts to ensure his safe passage back into the squared circle, proving that any spectacular Rumble moments can happen at any given time.
The Royal Rumble has been a staple in the careers of some of wrestling’s biggest stars. Just to name a few Royal Rumble winners would be nothing short of a Mount Rushmore: John Cena, Hulk Hogan, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, The Undertaker and even the Boss himself, Vince McMahon, truly a who’s who of WWE lore.
You’d be hard pressed to find a WWE fan who doesn’t get giddy around this time of year, as Royal Rumble season truly brings as much excitement, if not even more than WrestleMania itself. It’s about more than just the eventual winner, the Rumble brings with it a slew of possibilities both current superstars and even old-timers to shock the world and return from inactivity. In last year’s Royal Rumble, former World Champion and Rumble winner, Edge, made his triumphant return from almost a decade-long retirement. Fans were left a teary-eyed mess as the ‘Rated R Superstar’ stormed the ring as the 21st entrant.
The legacy of the Royal Rumble is nothing short of a marvel in the tale of sports entertainment, evolving from the humble beginnings of ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan’s victory to a household name in event television. Even the most casual of wrestling’s audience knows of the fun that comes from a Rumble match, whether that be because of its tenured history or it being the most fun exhibition match to choose from on SmackDown games of old.
The Royal Rumble event reaches its 34th instalment this year, and with a landscape full of potential winners from both the Men’s and Women’s Rumble matches, your guess is as good as mine. Yet one question remains, just how many superstars will it take to eliminate Big Show?
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