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   August 20, 2014



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Royal Rumble bout always brings excitement and surprises
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling


Edge rules after the 2010 Royal Rumble when he made a surprise return. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

For most, WrestleMania is WWE's marquee show of the year. But in terms of excitement and unpredictability, nothing tops the Royal Rumble.

Held each January, the Rumble has earned a rightful reputation for being the true one night where the "anything can happen in the WWE" mantra holds true.

Although WrestleMania brings the big name, the glitz, the glamour, the giant, sold out caverns of stadiums, it's the Royal Rumble which sets the pace and kicks off the Road to WrestleMania.

Although very few actual matches from the Rumble itself remain memorable over the years, the Royal Rumble match itself is one of the most exciting matches WWE puts on each year.

For me, some of my most memorable moments as a wrestling fan come from watching the Royal Rumble. How can we forget Ric Flair's incredible performance in the 1992 Rumble (made stronger and even more memorable by Bobby Heenan's commentary)? Or how about John Cena's surprise return in 2008? Or Edge's in 2010? And we can't forget the finishes of the 1994 and 2005, which set up the start of new eras in the company (Shawn Michaels winning in 1994 and Batista and John Cena in 2005).


The Rumble remains memorable, though, for its surprise entrants, which have really begun making the Rumble a must-see event. On one hand, you have the legends returning. My two favorites: Jimmy Snuka and Roddy Piper entering back-to-back in the 2008 Rumble at Madison Square Garden, and Jim Duggan entering to a huge ovation in 2009. Watching these back in recent weeks, what's really funny is watching The Undertaker sell for Snuka and Duggan in these matches.

Then on the other hand, you have superstars returning. Who could ever forget the giant ovation for Chris Jericho last year, when he entered at No. 2? Or the aforementioned Edge in 2010, Cena in 2008, or the Big Show in 2001?

And even though some might not win the Rumble, we often get a look at what's ahead for WrestleMania. In 2004, Brock Lesnar ran in and eliminated Goldberg, setting up their match, and in 2005, Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle had a big run-in which led to their Mania classic.


Who will win the 2014 Royal Rumble?
WrestleMania is rightfully WWE's biggest show, but a lot of its surprise factor has left. It's still great (and a true spectacle to watch), but for my money, no night is more unpredictable and exciting in WWE than the Royal Rumble.

That's why, this Sunday, I am going to be in my recliner, feet up, chicken wings in my hands, enjoying what is going to be a great show.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch for a Royal Rumble preview here on SLAM! Wrestling on Sunday, as well as the PPV report after the show and a photo gallery by ace photographer Mike Mastrandrea on Monday morning.

RELATED LINKS

  • Previous Mat Matters Editorial columns

    Matt Bishop can be reached at bishop20@gmail.com. Please include your name and hometown. Click here to follow Matt on Twitter. Should be a good one!.