Down memory lane
One of my favorite events on the WWE calendar is the Royal Rumble. From the first time I saw it in 1993 I became a fan of the event. Even when I was not a regular viewer of the WWF I used to follow the royal rumble every year. For some reason nothing else seemed to surpass the drama and the surprise that the WWE Royal Rumble could generate.
Royal Rumble is one of the big four major event in a WWE calander. The other three being WrestleMania, SummerSlam and SurvivorSeries. The biggest USP of the Royal Rumble is its format. The match starts off with two WWE superstars going at each other with another superstar joining them after a specified interval of time (mostly 1.5 mins). This continues till all 30 participants come out to the ring. The participants try to eliminate each other from the match by throwing them over the ring. A participant is deemed to be eliminated only if he goes over the top rope and both his feet subsequently touch the ground. The last person left on the ring after all 30 participants had entered the ring is deemed the winner.
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Obviously the participants who enter the ring later on have a definite advantage over the earlier contestants. The order of the contestants is supposedly decided based on a lucky draw of the slots. But considering that this is world wrestling entertainment I seriously doubt the authenticity of these draws. Come to think of it, even the authenticity of the matches can be questioned, but that’s another topic all together.
As I previously mentioned the first Royal Rumble match that I saw was in 1993. It was the year when WWF introduced the new stipulation that the winner of the Royal Rumble would get the chance to challenge the WWF champion at WrestleMania. Yokozuna was the winner of the event that year. But what got me going was the thrill of seeing all the superstars in the ring at the same and having a go at each other. The every man for himself theme also brought about delightful scenarios where alliance are made and broken at the snap of a finger.
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But the next year was truly memorable. It is the only time when there was a tie for the winner. Both Lex Luger and Bret Hart went over the top in an attempt to eliminate each other and repeated replays were inconclusive to decide who actually touched the ground first. Hence both were declared winners. But there were other memorable moments too in the match. Diesel came in and absolutely dominated the match. He cleaned house by eliminating 7 others until some 4 or so superstars joined together to get him eliminated.It was also in this match that Shawn Michaels started his impressive record at the Royal Rumble by lasting some 29 mins in the ring.
If in 1994 Shawn Michaels was impressive in 1995 he was absolutely unbelievable. He became the first man to win the Royal Rumble after having entered the ring first. In fact the final two participants were both himself and the British Bulldog, the very two participants who had entered ring first He lasted 58 minutes in the ring and eliminated 8 other participants. He won the royal rumble again in 1996 though this time he entered the ring as the 18th contestant. He however still managed to eliminate 6 others.
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In fact you can’t mention Royal Rumble without mentioning Shawn Michaels. He has won it twice. He won the championship match twice at the Royal Rumble. He is the first man to have won the Royal Rumble after entering the ring in the #1 position. And this year he along with The Undertaker was one of the final two contestants. Recently he was voted the Ultimate Royal Rumble winner by the WWE fans.
But the honor of winning the most Royal Rumbles goes to Stone Cold Steve Austin. And if he were not screwed by Vince McMahon in 1999 he would have won it four times. No other superstar has been able to dominate the Royal Rumble since his last victory in 2001. The six subsequent editions since have produced six different winners, which included Triple H, Brock Lesnar, Chris Benoit, Batista, Ray Mysterio and the Undertaker.
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The Royal Rumble will always remain my favorite WWE event because of its sheer unpredictability. It’s a thrill ride to the very end with the action coming thick and fast from all corners of the ring. It is fun to see the guys go at each other and because of the every man for himself concept you get to see some unlikely alliances being made and broken. This year’s Royal Rumble was a bit nostalgic in the sense that it was two of the veterans who were the final two; Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. I was in a dilemma as to who I should be supporting. Hope to see them again next year and hope that the excitement of the Rumble Royal continues.
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