First of all, I'd like to preface this by saying, thank you to all the feedback I received on the column regarding Scotty 2 Hotty and the 2005 Royal Rumble and the overwhelming majority of you...disagreed with me. I'm not mad about it, in fact, I'm glad you read the column and checked it out. I understand the technicality of his entry not being valid because he never entered the ring. I guess I was hoping for a little more debate from my side, but I'll concede that Scotty 2 Hotty was never an official entrant.
Secondly, everybody and their mother was writing about Shane McMahon and I'll write a column shortly about Shane O'Mac, but not about what everyone else has already covered.
Right now, I want to talk about my personal favorite Pay Per View of the year, even more so than WrestleMania and that's the Royal Rumble. In years past and still true to this day, the Royal Rumble Pay Per View was the beginning of the Road to WrestleMania. It got people excited with a thrilling 60-minute match with twists and turns and surprises and finished with people saying "I can't wait to see him compete at WrestleMania."
However, it seems like the importance of the Royal Rumble has diminished in recent years. Think about it. When was the last time the winner of the Royal Rumble actually competed in the main event and won?
That answer? Batista...in 2005. After that, only one other superstar main evented WrestleMania after winning the Royal Rumble and that would be Randy Orton in 2009, in a losing effort to Triple H (in quite possibly the worst match the two ever had against each other).
You notice though that they've changed the rules explanation of the Royal Rumble and they no longer say the winner gets a spot in the main event. They get a "championship match." There's no guarantee that it will be a main event match and in fact, the last two years, WrestleMania has kicked off with the winner of the Royal Rumble's championship match.
Now, there's some argument as to whether the winner of the Royal Rumble gets screwed by having to kick off the card rather than main event like they're supposed to. Thinking back to past WrestleMania's, the last time the winner of the Royal Rumble had the best match of the night at WrestleMania was the Undertaker against Batista from WrestleMania 23. If not that, then it was Mysterio/Orton/Angle from the year prior. It's been a long time. So is it really a bad thing for the winners of the Rumble?
Think about it. Between 1993 and 2002, the winner of the Royal Rumble was in the main event of WrestleMania (Shawn Michaels in 1995, Stone Cold in 1997 and Mr. McMahon in 1999 aside, but the latter two didn't compete in a title match). After the draft, there were two World Championships. The WWE had to make the decision on which was the bigger match to put on the card and in all honesty, were they wrong in most cases?
2006: Mysterio/Orton/Angle or Triple H/Cena? The triple threat was better, but the draw was Triple H/Cena. Can't really argue.
2007: Batista/Undertaker or Cena/Michaels? Again, the Rumble winner had the better match, but this time, it should have been the main event. Cena/Michaels was underwhelming and a rather predictable end.
2008: Edge/Undertaker or Cena/HHH/Orton? Edge/Undertaker was better and deserved the final spot. The triple threat was alright, but not worthy of the main event spot. WWE made a good call on that one. Right 2, Wrong 1
2009: Show/Cena/Edge or HHH/Orton? I know I said that Orton and HHH had the worst match with each other ever at this show...but the storyline leading up to it was one of the best in years. Gotta give the WWE this one, they were right again. Right 3, Wrong 1
2010: Cena/Batista or Edge/Jericho? The answer was neither this year as HBK/Undertaker was the main event and I agree with the decision. I could see Edge/Jericho having the main event spot. I didn't expect a clinic with Cena and Batista. So, can't argue again. Right 4, Wrong 1
2011: Edge/Del Rio or Cena/Miz? Let's face it. The only reason Cena/Miz main evented was so that the Rock could get involved. Otherwise, that match didn't deserve to main event Raw, much less WrestleMania. Sorry WWE. Edge/Del Rio could've and should've main evented instead. Right 4, Wrong 2
2012: Sheamus/Bryan or Punk/Jericho? The answer again was neither as Rock/Cena main evented and let's be honest. That was never not going to be the main event. Punk/Jericho did belong later than Sheamus/Bryan also although we wouldn't find out until Extreme Rules how good Sheamus/Bryan had a possibility of being. Right 5, Wrong 2
So for those that say the importance of the Royal Rumble is diminished by the fact that they don't main event, I understand your argument, however, you have to think of which matches are going to be better for the audience. More often than not, WWE gets it right. They've been known to get it wrong, but let's face it, they've also been doing this a lot longer than we have.
As frustrating as it may be for us in the remainder of the year, the WWE knows what they're doing in WrestleMania season.
Now, as far as Raw happening tonight and the build to the Royal Rumble, I can't help but say I won't be watching tonight, because I've got a horse playing in the National Championship tonight.
I'm pretty sure the song will say it all, but if it doesn't, I'll say it here. Go Irish!
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