Why The Royal Rumble Is Even Better Than WrestleMania

Justin C pens a love letter to his favourite WWE event ahead of the 2021 Royal Rumble and asks fans whether the Rumble is the real ‘Show of Shows’.

Ric Flair Royal Rumble Win

Credit: WWE

As you can see from my work this week, I love Royal Rumble week. I love the Rumble match itself. It is probably my favorite “gimmick” match the WWE has going.

For me, there is no better time in the WWE than the Royal Rumble. No matter how good or bad the WWE product is at the time, people tune back to watch the Royal Rumble.

This year RAW has been a struggle to watch. Meanwhile, Smackdown is the best wrestling program on TV today in my opinion. But just because RAW is bad doesn’t mean the Rumble will suffer.

There is something special about going back and listening to the start of the old Rumble matches and listening to Howard Finkel explain the rules. Nothing against the ring announcers since then, but there is just something special in The Fink’s voice when he makes the announcements. Maybe it is childhood nostalgia.

The Royal Rumble sets the tone for WrestleMania. It sometimes can set the tone for the WWE for their entire year. The Rumble match lets you know who the WWE plans on building around for the foreseeable future. Look at the last two years.

Drew McIntyre won the Rumble and was the star of the WWE in 2020. Seth Rollins was the same in 2019. Now are there some duds? Sure. Nakamura didn’t work out as planned in 2018. Neither did Alberto del Rio in 2011. But the Rumble is the WWE’s way of showing you their outline for the year.

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We also get to see breakout performances for certain wrestlers in the Rumble match. That gives you the signal of who might be a future start in the WWE. There was Diesel in 1994, Roman Reigns in 2014 and Shayna Baszler and Bianca Belair in 2020. The Rock in 1998 started his rise with a great performance in the Rumble. So not only does the Rumble match tell you who the now of the WWE is, but it tells you who the future is, too.

Then there are the one of a kind moments a Rumble match can provide to us. Who still doesn’t get goosebumps when they watch the Hogan/Warrior staredown from the 1990 Rumble? How about Steve Austin’s 97 performance? The 2001 Rumble has a good moment at the end of a bloody Stone Cold lifting himself up from the corner to go after The Rock.

I could go on with these. The good ones get the crowd into it. Maven’s career moment was eliminating The Undertaker in the 2002 Royal Rumble. The crowd goes nuts for that. I don’t think Maven ever close to a reaction like that ever again. Edge’s return last year was a great surprise as well as a great moment.

As much as I love the Royal Rumble, I have only been to one in person. That would be the 2014 Rumble. And of course we all know what happened there.

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Batista won the Rumble match while the entire arena chanted for Daniel Bryan. Randy Orton and John Cena fought for the WWE title in a match no one cared about from the opening bell. But being in the arena and being able to count down with every entrant was great.

Plus for me personally, the Rumble event is the one show that I can guarantee to get the majority of my non wrestling watching friends to come and watch. We make food. We place bets on the Rumble match. And we generally have a good time. When I went to the 2014 Rumble, 2 of the 3 people I went with were of the non watching variety. They just wanted to go and experience the Rumble.

Also on a personal note, the Rumble always tends to fall around my birthday, January 29. So it is like a small birthday for me.

There is no better event in wrestling than the Royal Rumble. It can bring you so many great moments even in a bad year. You can experience the highs and lows of wrestling in one match. It gives you everything you want an hour, and that is why it is my favorite wrestling event of the year.

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