Mark for War

Mark For War: Royal with Cheese

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We are on the metaphoric eve of the most captivating PPV of the year: The Royal Rumble.

We all know The Royal Rumble was invented by Pat Paterson in the late 80s. The first RR was won by Hacksaw Jim Duggan (one that did not lead to a future WWE Championship match). Since then, it’s evolved into a phenomenon of teasing that “anything can happen in the WWE.” But, frankly, I don’t remember ever really being surprised by the winners and losers of any Royal Rumble match, ever.

That tease, though, is key. My favorite Royal Rumble match ever, which I referenced on this blog several months ago, is the Royal Rumble 1992 match. One of the main reasons is because of Hall of Famer Bob Backlund. Hall of Famer Bob Backland came back to the WWE in 1992 as a bland, Rocky Balboa-eque character. I remember saying to myself, as a six-year-old boy, “There’s no way this character will work.” When Backlund entered the Rumble as the #2 entrant, and lasted all the way until the final three, he was over. This Rumble performance is what cemented Backlund’s legit comeback roll, which allowed him to turn heel six months later for an unbelievable feud with Bret Hart. There’s no way this feud would have materialized had it not be for the great Rumble match Backlund had.

If you were to ask me who I think is going to win the Rumble this Sunday, I would say the following have chances to make a dent in this years match:

Daniel Bryan

I think he is the favorite and the no-brainer pick to win the Royal Rumble this year. Sadly, it will not be the spot that he is supposed to be in come Wrestlemania 31. Bryan should be defending his title, which he most certainly would have kept, in my opinion, against Lesnar (had his neck injury not been so well-known). Now that he’s healthy, it just makes sense for Bryan get his shot to recapture the magic at Wrestlemania 31, ideally against Brock Lesnar. Yes, I do think there’s a possibility that Cena wins that night, leading to a Bryan/Cena main event. But, again, I really think Lesnar/Bryan is the best option. Throw that lame “Superstar of the Year”award which Roman Reigns received out the window. We know that Bryan and Lesnar had the best years of any superstars, which is saying something, considering Bryan was injured for a significant portion of 2014. One is a massive heel and one is a massive face. A clash makes sense.

Roman Reigns

Then there’s Reigns, who many actually consider to be the front-runner to win. As much as the Roman Reigns Rumble build-up has been in full swing since the last Royal Rumble, when he eliminated a record setting amount of participants, I still think he’s not ready for a Rumble win. He’s probably about a year away. It’s nothing to worry about, because we all know that Reigns will be a multiple-Rumble-winner in his career. He may, all things considered, go down as the greatest Royal Rumble participant ever. It’d be cool if a character could take on the unofficial title of “Mr. Royal Rumble” at one point or another. Reigns would be the perfect man for this title.

I’m fairly certain that these two men will be the last standing in the Rumble match this year. But we could see an interference from someone in the match to dictate which one wins, in theory, creating a Wrestlemania feud. This makes me take a long hard look at two other potential participants:

Dolph Ziggler

I don’t see Ziggler winning, but he may be this year’s “Iron Man,” if you will. I see him being out there for a long long time, only to cheated in some shape or form. What makes the most sense to me, at this point, is a feud with Dean Ambrose blooming out of the Rumble. It’s often badass to see two dudes doing everything they can to grab the brass ring, getting in each other’s way in the process, and having a killer feud based out of a mutual frustration.

Alexander Rusev

This man is the dark horse to win it all this year. I do not see him winning this, unless Cena wins the strap earlier that night. A Cena vs. Rusev clash seems to make sense at this years ‘Mania, but not in the context of Cena being on top. It for sure doesn’t make sense for Rusev to win and face Rollins or Lesnar. Rusev’s character needs to get put over by a legit face for his first title. More than likely, I see a huge clash between Rusev and Daniel Bryan at this year’s Summerslam.

This should be an entertaining match. There will be a lot of fluff in this year’s Rumble. This year, the match has forty participants. Some legends will arise. Some dudes from NXT will get their first taste of the big PPV. But at the end of the day, we know what to expect. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s still arguably the most entertaining match in wrestling.

Also, make sure to watch this match with friends in a group setting. I know it’s easy to cuddle up with your iPad and watch it in bed, but get out there and brush shoulders with some wrestling fans for this one.

And please, let me know your thoughts on who you think will win!

Match of the Week: Royal Rumble Match, Jan 17th, 1997, San Antonio, Texas

I’ve never seen more lopsided Rumble match then this one. No one had the balls to call anyone but Steve Austin winning this match. Austin’s mannerisms during this match were amazing. He’d check his watch between entrants, waiting for his next victim. If someone told me Austin was on crank during this match, I’d believe ’em. He is beyond fired-up the whole match. This is an example of a great Rumble booking, to some degree. Austin had an amazing match against Bret Hart at the prior Wrestlemania: a match that anyone who saw knew would make Austin a part of the main event at ‘Mania the next year.

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