It's the post-Holiday treat wrestling fans look forward to all year, but the Royal Rumble's cursed luck in recent editions has left the legendary battle in danger of becoming obsolete.
The 2009-13 extravaganzas were a little...predictable. WWE had done its usual job of foreshadowing the winner on a sign bigger than the hanging one the poor mugs had to endlessly point at. Even the continued presence of two World Titles didn't infuse the elimination chase with the usual drama. Suddenly though, predictable didn't seem all that bad.
From 2014 onwards, the match was redefined as a festival of fan disdain. The company ordinarily has carte blanche to present any old sh*t and sell it as sugar, but that particular 30-man war triggered an an extremely vocal majority. It fell slap bang in the middle of Daniel Bryan's push, or lack thereof. He'd lose the evening's opener to Bray Wyatt, and infamously be left out of the main event, drawing unrelenting rage towards the remainder of the roster and eventual winner Batista.
2015's was arguably worse. Big Show and Kane were deployed as fun destroyers in a such a manner that the audience would have to cheer obvious winner Roman Reigns. That failed spectacularly too. Triple H's true genius showed itself when him winning the match (and WWE Title) in 2016 was somehow the lesser of two evils, and the company finally steered into the bile in 2017, unleashing 'The Big Dog' as the #30 entrant to an expected hailstorm of hatred.
Does this mean they've learned their lessons? One of these fellas scooping a WrestleMania title shot would certainly imply a long-awaited shift.
Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.