Hype. It's pro wrestling's greatest trick until it's weaponised by a p*ssed off or p*ssed on audience, and for many years the Royal Rumble succumbed to the latter at the expense of the former.
The hype for the Royal Rumble has always been heightened because of both the stipulations and the stakes. The "winner goes to WrestleMania" craic still has value despite the barren wasteland made up of 'Show Of Show' sh*thouses over the past several years. Some haven't main evented, plenty haven't won titles, and yet ahead of this year's show - like almost every other - the anticipation for the male and female winners was as heightened as ever. Probably even more so in the case of the latter.
On merit as well as outstanding timing, the women's division never looks better placed to host a WrestleMania main event for the first time ever. Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey may regrettably not be long for Sports Entertainment, whilst Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair - as they reminded audiences of on this very show - are vital components to making the show a solid success.
Hype for what all three women would do was high. Hype for the whole card was high. Hype for the Royal Rumble was real, and it was back. But was it just that, after all?
10. A Very Odd Place To Start
Unannounced, unwelcome and unnecessary, the last-minute extra tag team match between Champions Bobby Roode and Chad Gable aging opponents Rezar and Scott Dawson was as thrown-together as it sounds - even the ordinarily-reliable Gable couldn't Chaos Theory this one over the line against its will.
The odd couple stipulation sort of covered for AOP member Akam's current injury, but was rendered moot when Roode and Gable scored the win anyway after a clunky seven minute snoozer.
Tag team wrestling is back at the WWE crossroads - the division still feels alive on SmackDown despite the fact that a part-timer and singles start just dethroned the most bankable acts on the show, whilst Raw's hasn't ever really from the comedy journey they set away on when Sheamus and Cesaro last lost them to a wrestler and an employee's son too.
Meaningless matches featuring meaningless wrestlers belong on pre-shows in half-full arenas, but surely the roster is big and broad enough to find something with heft for all the early arrivals. It's debatable if this match would have even fulfilled the pre-show's expressed intent, meaning that it was yet again a match for the sake of the match. That's perhaps why, regrettably, it was wrestled as one.