2023's Royal Rumble could stand to be the most-botched ever based on breaking news as of writing that Vince McMahon is back in Executive Chairman of the Board in WWE and the company itself looks set to be sold to anybody from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, to Disney, to All Elite Wrestling.
Just days before any of this latest chaos kicked off, there was tremendous optimism around the match and the show, such was the relative faith Triple H had reinstalled in the same audiences that profoundly rejected McMahon's 2022 Rumbles just 12 months ago. This was to be the first Rumble-To-WrestleMania season with 'The Game' in sole control of the creative direction, and some slow builds kicking off in and around the Survivor Series suggested like he was going to handle it with care as opposed to his Father-In-Law's reckless and roughshod approach over the last two decades.
Who knows now if any of this will be the case? There have been a number of storyline breadcrumbs dropped heading into the 2023 January classic, but will they just be swept aside like Stephanie McMahon and the rest of the dissenting WWE board if and when McMahon picks his pencil back up?
And if so, will the end result be as rotten as some of these unforgivable Rumble atrocities?
To focus on just one botch from last year's sh*tshow would genuinely be doing it a disservice.
Shane McMahon booking himself to batter Matt Riddle and others before struggling to get over the ropes for a Brock Lesnar elimination was a riot. AJ Styles getting the most eliminations in the entire match and going half an hour only to eat an unremarkable exit himself. The devastating disinterest the live crowd had in 90% of the combatants, or at very least the complete ignorance of their theme songs.
There are sometimes matches - and with Rumbles, it should be every time - that can be best summed up as having The Lot capital-T capital-L. This was the polar opposite and troublingly so. After years of the show and match itself reflecting something a return to form, WWE botched the booking of the men’s and women’s matches in 2022 killed the magic all over again and left the Road To WrestleMania still full of pot - and plot - holes.