Folks, it’s WWE ROYAL RUMBLE weekend and better yet, thanks to Paid Live Events (PLE) getting moved to Saturdays, it’s freakin’ TOMORROW. Personally, Royal Rumble is my favorite Pay Per View because the Rumble Match is ALWAYS fun because of it’s unique format thanks to its creator, RIP Pat Patterson. Seriously, how lucky was the WWE and we as fans to have Pat Patterson around? The guy not only created the Royal Rumble, but he helped engineered amazing storylines and was always known as the “finish guy”. Pat’s imprint is still there, as many have learned from Pat on how to uniquely end a great match or storyline. Now, thanks to the women having their own Royal Rumble, Pat’s unique idea is represented for over 2 hours for both Rumble matches.
Now, if anyone is looking for discussions on Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis‘s lawsuit that broke many news headlines yesterday, I already covered it HERE. However, this weekend’s Royal Rumble has NOTHING to do with Vince McMahon. He’s just part of the TKO Board now, but his voice can be silenced by Endeavor’s ownership percentage while the organizational chart has zoned him off from even touching WWE’s day-to-day duties. What you’re about to witness this weekend is Triple H‘s show and he’s NOT the one harassing women in the WWE offices. Far from it.
The only significant thing Vince McMahon can do is cash-out his TKO stock and cause Endeavor the need to borrow $2-3 billion in additional debt to cover it… But Endeavor is good for it, as they have UFC and WWE presenting amazing cashflow.
Let’s get back into the Rumble, which matters more than pieces of trash like Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis who have shown their true colors for their past actions. F them. As I’ve said in the past, if aliens happened upon our planet and stumbled upon Pro Wrestling, they could potentially understand a Royal Rumble match versus any other forms of matches. (Credit Matthewmatosis for the alien idea) In other words, they would be able to understand the simple rules of 30 wrestlers being dripped in by a countdown and then being simply eliminated by being tossed over the top rope. Now, they may be confused by Kofi Kingston’s antics of “not touching the floor”, but I think this style of match would make sense to alien outsiders rather than a regular match or setting up a ladder to grab something in the sky (why are they slowly climbing???).
But I also think that the Royal Rumble match is closed that the WWE gets to resembling a true sport. Stay in the ring and if you go over the top rope and hit the ground, you’re eliminated. There are many referees surrounding the ring who are watching for eliminations. To any sports fan, that aligns more with rules based professional sports that have many referees around. For one-on-one singles matches, the referee can get distracted or knocked out and negate any rules enforcement. Listening to sports fans who hate pro wrestling, they really dislike that concept.
Want a wild prediction? The 2024 Royal Rumble PLE will be the MOST VIEWED Royal Rumble Pay Per View/PLE of ALL TIME and by a significant margin.
Because the NFL forced everyone into buying at least 1 month of Peacock to watch the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins NFL Wildcard Weekend game. Whether you have a free trial account or are a paid subscriber, you have ownership of that account for at least until February from the date of that game. Almost 30 million people watched that game on Peacock and I guarantee you that it wasn’t from the 30 million subscribers Peacock had before this NFL game. I’m willing to bet that they gained at least 20 million new subscribers… If we go by that assumption, there are millions of fans trying out Peacock for the first time and they may try the most sports-like WWE show that happens to air this weekend.
If my prediction is true, then the WWE may have a significant chance of gaining new fans this weekend and “OH HAPPY DAY” for Netflix who just bought coverage of the WWE for the next 5-10 years. The incredible luck that the WWE has sometimes just baffles me.
Oh wait, that wasn’t the Prediction(s) that you logged into this column to review? Oh, I’m supposed to make MATCH predictions in this very column that I’ve advertised.
Here’s the deal, folks… I don’t know what the hell is going to happen, nor will I insult your intelligence by trying to look into my crystal ball and give you a boring predictions column.
And that’s 100% OK… I feel REALLY comfortable with the WWE’s Creative Team process right now, with credit due to Triple H. Ever since Sami Zayn joined the bloodline, the WWE has been incredibly enjoyable AT LEAST from the Smackdown brand’s point of view which features the Bloodline.
Honestly for the moment, and this is the FIRST time that I’ve ever felt comfortable saying this since 2001 when WWE’s creative began to really fall apart… I have nothing to advise WWE’s Creative Team on right now. In fact, I’m more curious as to where they are going to go and I’m just going to enjoy the ride. I totally didn’t expect the Sami Zayn/Bloodline to go where it went during late 2022 and through Rumble 2023. I was totally floored by that storyline. How about Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes? Post Wrestlemania 39, everybody was attacking that storyline idea… Yet, what happened? Oh, Brock Lesnar put over Cody Rhodes and made him even stronger than ever as a top superstar.
Then, you have other things… Dominick Mysterio. Did any of you, 3 years ago, predict he’d blossom into a great superstar and possibly the biggest heat magnet on the planet? Look at how great Rhea Ripley is right now. Amazing… LA Knight was a manager for a horrible modeling agency gimmick, but look at him now… He’s a serious WWE player. CM Punk is back in the WWE and thriving! NXT has actually grown as a show and there are many talents awaiting their time to shine.
And who knows? Sasha Banks or Okada may suddenly show up at the Royal Rumble. Do you know? I don’t know? What I do know is that WWE leaking has been tightened up since Triple H took charge of things. We have no full idea whether or not Sasha/Okada have been talked to about appearing at the Rumble (might be tougher with Okada and his 1/31 expiring NJPW deal). Remember what made the ending of Survivor Series 2023 exciting? Nobody knew that CM Punk was coming because WWE was tight-lipped about it…
So I don’t know if Sasha or Okada shows, or other surprises like the rumored return of Brock Lesnar (unless he was really named in Vince & Johnny’s lawsuit)… But ya know what? I don’t care if any of those 3 show up… WWE is in a really great place right now to the point where I’m LESS judgmental and very confident in their creative process. I have ZERO creative advice for them to give and I’m curious where this Triple H-led team will go. Before 2023, I wasn’t as confident in creative with Vince McMahon booking angles that pleased him or were straight out of the 1980s playbook. Triple H has created a comfortable working environment and actually delegates responsibility to empower others, unlike Vince using everyone as pawns and then just rewriting things his way anyway.
But yeah, I have NO REAL predictions to offer and I’m at a point where I’m curious to see where the Rumble and then Wrestlemania goes. This talent roster is LOADED and potentially going to get better as 2024 unwinds, while the creative team is finally free to try new things and present talents in more modern lights.
As you look forward to Wrestlemania 40, it’s still a mystery if Rock vs. Roman Reigns is going to happen or whether Cody Rhodes can “finish his story”. Seth Rollins‘s injury threw a monkey wrench into the deal, and now we’re not sure if he can (a) make it to Wrestlemania or (b) if he wrestles Gunther or CM Punk. But isn’t that great? It being a mystery something that should interest all wrestling fans? WWE has so many good wrestlers and characters that they could go in different avenues and it would still be great.
So yeah, I have nothing to predict…
BUT, you clicked into this column and you’re expecting me to predict this show…
QUICK & DIRTY WWE Royal Rumble 2024 Predictions
– Cody Rhodes wins the Men’s Rumble
– Becky Lynch wins the Women’s Rumble Match
– Logan Paul retains his US Title
– Roman Reigns retains his WWE Title (too difficult to bet against Roman)
It’s VERY tempting to predict against Roman Reigns… Even though I don’t think his title reign is record setting compared to Hulk Hogan, who was champ presiding over 1 WWE brand, I could see WWE wanting to keep him champion until 2025. THAT SAID, if Rock vs. Roman is actually happening this year, I could see someone like Randy Orton sneaking out a win at the Rumble thanks to the Rock interfering with the match. That would set up Cody vs. Orton to “tell the story” and Rock vs. Roman.
But again, I stress that I don’t know what’s going to happen BUT I’m also excited on what could happen. With this roster and creative track record for Triple H since mid-2022 (much better than his 2010s run, which I was heavily critical of), I don’t believe that I’ll be disappointed at all unless something blatantly stupid happens. My expectations of what could happen are low, but my anticipation of the show being great, no matter, what, is high.
Despite Vince McMahon’s past demons and ghosts wanting to rise up to steal headlines, the REAL STORY is that the WWE is in a great place right now under Nick Khan and Triple H‘s leadership as supported by Endeavor. WWE just signed content deals for $1.4 billion for 5 Years with USA Network, $5 billion for up to 10 years with Netflix, and probably something like $100 million or more (just assuming) per year with the CW Network (5 years, $500 million?). WWE has it covered on streaming, Cable/Satellite, and broadcast television. On top of that, wrestlers are getting way over more than they have in years and merchandise is selling. Arenas are seeing booms in attendance, too, while international markets are growing. This Netflix deal is about to cause the WWE to really balloon up internationally.
Folks, I’ve been writing columns since October 1998… Yes, I’m old… But I have perspective through writing over 25 years now. To me, WWE’s best times were through the year 2000 but you kinda felt something changed when they signed with Viacom and transitioned the creative team to Stephanie McMahon. The QUALITY of the WWE product, to me, has been in decline ever since and in my view, began to really decline rapidly during 2014 when WWE went “all-in” with the inexperienced Roman Reigns as the next babyface main eventer. That and the lack of good NXT signings and call-ups during the 2000s made things miserable, along with Vince McMahon excessively micro-managing everything. I’ve written thousands of columns that have racked up millions… AND MILLIONS of page views that have covered the WWE from 1998 through today here in 2024.
I can definitively say that the 2022-2024 WWE is the BEST WWE era since the Attitude Era through the year 2000. I feel that I’m qualified to make that assessment and feel really good about saying that because I’m excited about the 2024 Royal Rumble and don’t feel the need to tell the WWE how to do its creative jobs right now. THEY (Triple H & staff) know what they are doing, so let’s trust them… I trust them, and again, I was the one ripping Triple H for his creative/talent struggles. Many columns out there to read about that.
For all of the haters out there who are mad about Cody possibly not “finishing his story”, just remember the EGG ALL OVER YOUR FACE regarding the Brock Lesnar feud. And with Cody, as I wrote about last year, he’s getting over because of the chase. I wonder what happens once he becomes champion, but the WWE roster through 2024 is loaded and ready to support him.
Trust in Triple H and his process… Aside from trying to shove Karion Kross and the Authors of Pain down our throats (along with other late 2010s failures), he’s doing a great job.
Have fun this weekend!
And a special THANK YOU to the WWE for moving Royal Rumble to Saturdays. Now, we can enjoy the Rumble on Saturday and NFL Playoffs on Sunday. What a weekend!
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