WWE Royal Rumble Preview – Who Is “The One” That Is Worthy?
By George Harvey
If there’s one event I look forward to every year – other than WrestleMania – it’s the Royal Rumble. I remember staying awake until 4am last year to watch it live and thinking it was one of the best things I’d ever seen.
However, in recent years, the pay-per-view itself has been poorly received. Millions of fans even wanted to cancel their WWE Network subscriptions after 2015’s event.
The problem, I think, is WWE making bad choices about who should win the Rumble match and why. Let’s look at the past ten winners for example.
In 2006, Rey Mysterio was the shortest superstar in WWE and had never won a World title. But did he deserve to win the Rumble? Yes. He was a huge fan favourite and made a career out of being the underdog. Plus, everyone wanted him to win because he was fighting for Eddie Guerrero. Entering the match at #2 and lasting a record 62mins proved he was worthy.
The Undertaker deserved his win in 2007, just as much as the Royal Rumble deserved him as a victor – there was no greater superstar to be the match’s first #30 winner.
John Cena also earned his victory in 2008; he’d risen to the top of the company and his sudden return from injury only made the win more exciting.
Even heel wrestlers are worthy sometimes.
Randy Orton was arguably WWE’s most hated prick in 2009. Nobody wanted him to win the Rumble. But did he deserve to? Yes. From beating legends to becoming the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in history, he’d certainly earned the honour.
Edge also earned the honour in 2010, because of everything he’d achieved in his career.
The problems for me began in 2011.
I’ll admit the concept of a 40-man Rumble was exciting. But such a big match needed a big winner – Alberto Del Rio had only been in the company 6 months, without doing much to prove himself.
Sheamus was a small improvement in 2012; his career wasn’t long and legendary, but he was at least a worthy winner, being a 2-time WWE Champion.
As for 2013, Cena’s victory seemed more like it was done for convenience; either WWE had no idea who else should win or they just needed an excuse for him to face the Rock again.
And then there were the last two years.
Batista had won the Rumble match before and was a multiple-time World Champion. But 2014 was his first time back in WWE for four years. What had he done recently to earn a Rumble victory? Nothing. What had Daniel Bryan done? Become the most popular superstar in the company.
2015 was no better with Roman Reigns. True he was a big fan favourite. But had he done enough as a singles competitor to earn a World title shot? No. For me, that didn’t come until after Hell in a Cell (2015). There were hundreds of others worthier than him at the time – especially Daniel Bryan.
So what does the Royal Rumble need to do this year to avoid sucking big time? The answer is simple: it all comes down to whether the superstar who wins the Rumble match and thus the WWE Championship, really deserves it or not. I’m not saying it has to be Daniel Bryan. It just has to be someone who’s really proven themselves to the fans, and notsomebody WWE just wants to make into a bigger heel or do a specific storyline with.
As long as WWE remembers it’s the man that makes the match – not vice versa – the Rumble will continue to be one of the most thrilling and unpredictable events of the year, and they’ll be no more #CancelWWENetwork tweets.
Superstars like Kane, Neville, Rusev, Big Show, and Dolph Ziggler have all proven themselves as major in-ring competitors. So they’re perfect contenders to be ‘The One‘ this year.
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