Tomorrow morning, 9AM Manila time, is WWE Royal Rumble—the most unpredictable night of the wrestling calendar, and the beginning of the road to WrestleMania 28.
WWE has been promoting it as the “25th Anniversary” of the Royal Rumble, but since it’s the 25th annual, it’s only the 24th anniversary. They made the same mistake with WrestleMania 25 three years ago. Didn’t anyone have the cojones to tell Vince and company that they were wrong about it? Weirdos.
The Rumble is also an annual high point of fan interaction. The anticipation of each new entrant — contrived though it may be — is often exhilarating, with the audience counting down the seconds to every reveal. Moments like that are rare in wrestling — a near-perfect meeting of the crowd’s pure, almost Pavlovian reaction and WWE machers’ careful manipulation.
K Sawyer Paul (of Fair to Flair fame) provided some counterpoints to the Masked Man’s preview, as he is wont to do. It’s useful as an addendum, but also as a preview for the Rumble in and of itself.
A wrestling show will often swing between favouring “characters” and “real people”, often within the same match. Punk’s character is that of a real person with real issues. Jericho and Clay, meanwhile, are 100% characters right now. It’s interesting to watch the audience swing between preferring one over the other, too.
The guys at Droptoehold made their predictions for the Rumble, but threw in some WWE ‘12 commentary as well.
I expect that the WWE will continue to pull storylines from WWE ‘12 in order to validate the game’s weird roster. In the next week or so, there will be a DLC Pack that coincidentally features three people who I think might make an appearance tonight at the Rumble.
And finally, WWE.com’s Royal Rumble page has in-depth, well-written previews of each match, but they also have a fantastic feature on the “Top 25 Stunning Royal Rumble Statistics”. I won’t tell you what number one is, but I will tell you it’s almost a guaranteed mark-out moment. Good stuff.