Lately there has been a lot of talk about the 2011 Royal Rumble and the changes made to the main event, now transitioning from 30 men to 40 men. For the most part opinions seem positive, although there is that crowd of fans who feel that you should stick with the old adage: don’t fix what isn’t broken. There is a certain degree of that sentiment which makes sense, the Rumble has ever been one of WWE’s top PPVs that draw in viewers and has rarely failed to entertain. Is this change truly necessary, will it improve what is already an awesome gimmick is WWE now gambling with the chance of possibly screwing up what has for years been a perfect formula? That is what we’re going to take a look at this week.
The Royal Rumble was always an exciting and entertaining PPV to watch. The first Rumble I’d ever witnessed was 1994 which saw the dual winners being Lex Luger and Bret Hart. I remember how exciting it was every time the 10 second countdown began. You really get into the moment, you’re excited to see who is going to be coming down to the ring next. I also loved the year that Austin was eliminating everybody and then Bret Hart came out and they went insane on each other in the ring. Frankly, I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite year. Each year has exciting moments, each year provides you with guaranteed entertainment. Even if the card for the PPV itself isn’t all that thrilling, you buy it because you want to see who is coming out, when they’re coming out, if anyone will make any surprise returns or cameos and ultimately who is going to win it.
In recent years the Rumble has become somewhat predictable. Everyone knew last year that Edge was returning and there was a high likelihood that he’d win and challenge Jericho for the title. The year before was all about building up Randy Orton, Legacy was in full effect and his feud with Triple H was just brewing so it seemed fairly obvious that he’d take command. The year before that saw John Cena return from injury, and again he took the Royal Rumble as pretty much everyone knew that he would as soon as his music hit. This year we have the possible return of Triple H, however I don’t think he will win it this year. Ultimately I think if Triple H returns at the 2011 Royal Rumble he and Sheamus will most likely eliminate one another to kick off their feud which has been hanging in the balance for quite a while now.
However, we’re forgetting one aspect of the Rumble. It was 30 men. Sometimes they’d enter every minute, other times every minute and a half. It was always 30. You always knew that when the 30th man came out it was either going to be a big name or a big surprise. 30 was usually reserved for someone who was returning from injury, or a big guy to throw a wrench into the works and make you think that he could take the rumble. For instance, Crush was number 30 in 1995 and Atom Bomb was number 30 in 1994. They throw these guys out there, like a Mark Henry or a Big Show, but you know they’re not going to win. It is extremely rare for the winner of the Rumble to be a surprise. I can’t remember the last time I was actually surprised by who won it. Will 2011 be the year of surprises?
The Royal Rumble kicks off the Road to Wrestlemania which is essentially the absolute best, most exciting period of time to be a fan of WWE. We always know that we’re going to crown a number one contender, that they will begin a program with the champion of their choice and that we’re going to see some exciting things happen all the way up to and including Wrestlemania. The question for 2011 really is, how will 40 entrants change the dynamic? Frankly, I don’t think it is going to change much, except for the better, and I’m all for it. Ever since we had the invasion storyline I’ve been looking for the Rumble to expand its number of entrants. There are a lot of superstars on the roster and how can it possibly hurt to throw in ten more? I think it was wise to go with 40 as opposed to possibly 45 or 50.
If you look at the new Nexus and the Corre, they alone represent the new ten entrants. So it makes perfect sense. In addition to that I think by adding ten new names maybe you add in a little mystery to something that has become remarkably predictable over the years. This year you’ve got a lot of possible names thrown around. John Cena, Wade Barret, CM Punk, John Morrison, Sheamus, the possibly returning Triple H. However, if I had to put my money on someone, I’d go with someone who is a little under the radar. I’d also go with someone who is going to challenge Edge rather than the Miz. I think we’re most likely going to see a Miz vs Cena match at Wrestlemania and I don’t think Cena is going to win the Rumble this year. I am thinking this is going to be the year for Alberto Del Rio. He’s been built up a hell of a lot these past few months, they’re definitely grooming him for something big. Why not have him win the Rumble? He may be ready to run with the ball, he certainly knows how to make the crowd hate him.
I imagine over the next few months we’ll see the culmination of the John Cena / CM Punk / New Nexus feud. I think we’ll get to see the Corre possibly feuding with new Nexus as well as the end of the Randy Orton / Miz feud which I think will ultimately end with the Miz retaining his title. The problem with that is where does Orton go after Miz? That is really the one wild card I foresee here that could throw a wrench into all of my visions of the future. At the end of the day however, it appears that 40 entrants into the Rumble can truly mean only one thing: ten extra men, ten extra minutes, ten extra entries. How could you go wrong by making a good thing better? Well, if there is anyone who could destroy a good thing its Vince McMahon. Sunday is definitely going to be an interesting night.