Royal Rumble might be the best support act in wrestling.
WrestleMania is the undoubted headliner (even in the modern, crowd-less era) every year, but the Rumble is where it all kicks off and begins to feel real. Fans know they're going to get boatloads of excitement on the pay-per-view, and they also know they'll see things start to shape up before spring.
Drama is a given, both in front of and behind the curtain. Maybe it's the 'Mania buzz getting to everyone, or maybe it's just that the pressure is on - whatever the case, there's this mad air of controversy surrounding the Rumble.
The stories included here prove it. There have been so many dramatic moments in Rumble history, including backstage arguments that threatened to boil over, tantrums from some of the biggest stars around, injuries that were completely avoidable and left afflicted parties embarrassed, frosty negotiations with celebrities and more.
Add in some boozy brawls nobody could've predicted, production problems that wreaked havoc on site and fans going on the warpath. All this chaos combines to prove the point: Rumble season is controversy central...
10. CM Punk Is Done With WWE (2014)
Might as well start big.
Watching the 2014 Rumble back now is a masochist's dream. Batista's win was booed out of the building, fans wanted Daniel Bryan bad and CM Punk was visibly done with all things WWE. Throughout his whopping 49 minutes in the match, Punk looked like he'd rather be anywhere else.
Behind the scenes, he was close to the edge. Punk could see what was coming at WrestleMania XXX (a loss to Triple H), and he wanted nothing to do with it. So, 24 hours after pulling his pained body through the Rumble, he called it quits and told both Vince McMahon and Trips that he was going home.
There's no way he was chipper backstage at the Rumble. Punk was miserable, wanted off the road and didn't like the thought of being overlooked during the most lucrative period of the year. The fact he was outright laughing through some spots on the pay-per-view says it all.