The Lost Royal Rumble
January 27, 2017 12:40 PM   Subscribe

The Royal Rumble is a unique form of the "battle royale" in pro wrestling. Instead of beginning the match with all participants in the ring, the Royal Rumble has a new entrant running in to the ring every two minutes, adding up to anywhere from 12 to 40 total participants. But it almost never happened, because Vince McMahon thought the idea was "stupid."
The Royal Rumble concept quickly proved to have far more subplot possibilities than just the element of surprise with the random entries. There's the iron man, the guy who spends an insanely long time in the ring in a given year. There are partnerships broken, partnerships forged. Sometimes a guy like John Morrison or Kofi Kingston has to find creative ways to get back into the ring without using his feet -- you're eliminated when thrown over the top rope and both feet touch the ground. Sometimes a guy finds himself alone in the ring, waiting for his next challenge. Some entrants never make it to the ring. Some wrestlers get eliminated by people who aren't official entrants.
The 30th annual WWE Royal Rumble is this Sunday.
posted by misskaz (16 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
The 1987 Royal Rumble trial run failed for numerous reasons. For one, the fans were aware of the stipulation that the winner of the match would get a title shot vs. Hogan. In an unfortunate miscommunication, the ring announcer revealed during intermission that the next show would be headlined by Hogan vs. Gang, essentially spoiling the finish.

I just did an honest to god Ms. Krabappel HA! reading this.

Was also glad to discover that the first not-trial Royal Rumble was on the USA Network because I had such vivid memories of it and was afraid they were a Shazam/Bernstein Bears memory trick because I definitely wouldn't have seen it if it was pay-per-view.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:54 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


The Rumble is always the WWE thing I look forward to most*, even though it is objectively terrible wrestling. You can't put on a classic chain-wrestling sequence when there's six other guys in the ring, and even if you get it down to two people, you're gonna get another one in two minutes anyway. So it's an hour of dudes mostly punching weakly at each other, "trying" to lift each other over the ropes, and waiting for their designated elimination spot. But it's still so much fucking fun. Thank the gods for Dick Ebersol.

By the way, there is also the regular WWE (and wrestling generally) FanFare discussion and the Official FanFare Royal Rumble Match Betting Pool, which I am perfectly willing to accept entries for here as well.

* -- And the only non-WWE wrestling thing I look forward to more is Lucha Underground's Aztec Warfare, which is just a spin on the Royal Rumble anyway.
posted by Etrigan at 12:59 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


Man, the Royal Rumble is my favorite WWE event of the year. It doesn't have the gravitas of Wrestlemania, but even when the winner is telegraphed and the match is sort of lousy, it's still exciting to see who comes next, to thrill at the missed-it-by-that-much elimination, to marvel that old so-and-so can still bend his knees after all these years.

Plus it's a party event. We host it at our house nearly every year, usually start at three or four in the afternoon with wrestling video games or old Rumbles. Everybody kicks in $5, draws a number (usually three, actually, depending on how many guests there are). Winner takes all. It's tough when you wind up rooting for Curtis Axel and Tyler Breeze (or, worse, in archive footage, Sparky Plugg and Virgil), but you're obliged to give it your all anyway.

There's an episode of Stone Cold's podcast where he talks to Patterson, who tells the story of the Rumble (more-or-less the one told here). It's nice to hear in Patterson's voice, and he's a hell of a character.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:04 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


The Royal Rumble is my wrestling fandom anniversary - 4 years ago, I illegally streamed the Royal Rumble PPV (after having seen a few minutes of Monday Night RAW episodes here and there) and my fandom began. So it will always be my favorite. And it is just so darn fun and accessible to the "casual viewer." You don't really need to know storylines or canon, it's just a bunch of dudes essentially playing king of the mountain only in a wrestling ring instead of on the top of a snowbank. And the countdown element makes every entrance exciting even if you know nothing about the wrestlers. I love it so. Hoping Sunday will be a nice few hour respite from the real world.
posted by misskaz at 1:06 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


We used to play this in school in a designated rectangle, with a kid on lookout, at one end of a very long and irregular yard, while the teacher on yard duty was at the other end. Probably 1990 or 1991. Good times.
posted by kersplunk at 2:24 PM on January 27


Metafilter: the gravitas of Wrestlemania.
posted by SPrintF at 2:53 PM on January 27 [13 favorites]


It's funny how I love reading about wrestling, find it fucking intolerable to watch, and somehow really enjoy playing wrestling video games with friends. Brains are weird.
posted by wierdo at 3:01 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


"He called it a legal run-in," Patterson said. "You know, when it's a run-in, somebody goes in the ring who are not supposed to be there. But here, there were legal run-ins to the ring, every two minutes. Dick Ebersol went crazy for that."


I've never thought about that way, but Ebersol hit it right there on the head. One of the biggest moments in any wrestling show is when a wrestler who isn't part of the in-ring action (whether it's a match or interview segment) interrupts the event. Heck, Stone Cold Steve Austin practically built his career on it. With the Royal Rumble, you get an entire hour of nothing but these interruptions.
posted by dances with hamsters at 3:53 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


When a PPV match breaks my heart several years in a row and it's still the match to which I look forward the most every year, you know that it's something special.

As long as entrant nine Bobby Roode is eliminated by entrant TEN Ty Dillinger, I am willing to forgive the Rumble for the past few years' results.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 4:14 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


I said this elsewhere today but it bears repeating: the Royal Rumble is the WrestleMania of wrestling.
posted by macdara at 2:58 PM on January 28


The rumors and such for every year are always so much fun, but this year, especially because of the NXT roster making-the-jump candidates, it has an awesome feeling about it. There's the aforementioned perfect 10, Tye Dillinger. Supposedly, the King of Strong Style, Shunsuke Nakamura, might debut (but how do they do it without sacrificing his entrance, which done right, takes so long that the next wrestler would beat him to the ring?), the possible, though unlikely return of Finn Balor, and the almost certain debut of Samoa Joe? It seems the plan for Smojo is to be an unstoppable monster heel, and showing up to the rumble and destroying people seems like a good start.

As long as it's not Batista (played this year by Goldberg) it should be okay.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:33 AM on January 29


Supposedly, the King of Strong Style, Shunsuke Nakamura, might debut (but how do they do it without sacrificing his entrance, which done right, takes so long that the next wrestler would beat him to the ring?)

The unfortunate truth about Nakamura is that unless he's one of the first two entrants where the music can go on long enough (and it almost has to for his debut), you can be almost assured that he's not going to be in the event. (Though I think that missing his time frame to enter because of his theme song and over the top entrance would be an appropriate introduction to Robert Roode's character.)

As long as it's not Batista (played this year by Goldberg) it should be okay.

I will be delighted to be wrong about them using the Royal Rumble to set up a Goldberg/Reigns main event and continuing their streak of Wrestlemania main events no one asked for.
posted by dances with hamsters at 8:10 AM on January 29


The Royal Rumble is my wrestling fandom anniversary - 4 years ago, I illegally streamed the Royal Rumble PPV (after having seen a few minutes of Monday Night RAW episodes here and there) and my fandom began.

It's my wrestling fandom anniversary too: last year, Internet comedians Graham Stark and Adam Savidan (members of LoadingReadyRun) began a wrestling narrative show called Looks Like Some Sort of Sidewalk Slam (L2S4 or SWS for short), and their first episode was about Royal Rumble 2016. I wasn't immediately hooked, especially since most of what they do in that first episode is complain about Roman Reigns plots, but I stuck with it and now know more than I ever thought I'd wanted to about the New Day.
posted by dialMforMara at 11:49 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


It was a terribly booked ending, but that was a fantastic show.

For as much shit as the internet and the crowds give Cena for his booking, it's hard to stay mad at a guy who's managed to deliver a couple of solid MotY candidates every year for most of the last decade. I get that a part of that is that he gets booked with amazing opponents, but I can't help but notice how much harder those dudes work when they're in the ring with him.

Also, I know that expecting WWE to pick up gold when someone tosses it in their collective lap is a recipe for heartache, but I hope that they noticed that Tye Dillinger, a workhorse who I don't think has ever won a big match, got into a match with 29 much more established guys (including a bunch of former champions) and was the most over guy at the show.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 7:35 AM on January 30 [4 favorites]


I hope that they noticed that Tye Dillinger, a workhorse who I don't think has ever won a big match, got into a match with 29 much more established guys (including a bunch of former champions) and was the most over guy at the show.

If the rest of you people don't get Parasite Unseen's comment up to exactly 10 favorites, I don't know what the hell to do with any of you.
posted by Etrigan at 10:24 AM on January 30


I don't display favorite counts, Etrigan! I've no idea how many faves he has right now.

I screamed so loud when Tye's music hit that I scared the cat right out of the living room and then I started jumping and dancing in front of the TV. I don't even know why I cared that much it but it was fun to root for something and actually get it.
posted by misskaz at 12:59 PM on January 30


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