Who’s Ready To Rumble?

Posted: January 25, 2013 in Columns, Dyscyplynary Action, Wrestling
Tags: ,
The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight

With a little more than 48 hours to go, the WWE will hold its 26th annual Royal Rumble from the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix Arizona this Sunday. As far as pay-per-views are concerned, this is looking like the biggest non-WrestleMania show in quite a while with The Rock returning to challenge CM Punk for the WWE Championship. Instead of previewing the entire card for the event, the focus will be strictly held on the Royal Rumble match itself and how this can be a little more interesting.

Ever since its inception in 1988, the 30-Man (sometimes, 40) over-the-top rope spectacle has been known as the most exciting hour in sports entertainment. As an incentive, the winner of the Rumble is guaranteed a Championship Main Event match at WrestleMania. Many superstars such as Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Batista, and Triple H has laid claim to this accomplishment and in turn led to further superstardom and all that good shit.

However, being as it should be a major show as part of “The Big Four” (along with Mania, SummerSlam, & Survivor Series) a lot of its pageantry has worn off. That can be caused by a number of factors, may it be bad booking of the last few Rumbles, the lack of allure of the Rumble match itself, or the lack of promotion for the event. While they did a good job of pushing the Punk/Rock match in three weeks time, the buildup for the Rumble has been subpar at best.

As it stands right now, there are 25 spots secured for the Royal Rumble:

  1. John Cena
  2. Sheamus
  3. Darren Young
  4. Titus O’Neil
  5. Randy Orton
  6. The Miz
  7. Daniel Bryan
  8. Kane
  9. Antonio Cesaro
  10. Kofi Kingston
  11. Wade Barrett
  12. Dolph Ziggler
  13. Heath Slater
  14. Drew McIntyre
  15. Jinder Mahal
  16. Ryback
  17. Great Khali
  18. Cody Rhodes
  19. Damien Sandow
  20. Santino Marella
  21. Zack Ryder
  22. Justin Gabriel
  23. Brodus Clay
  24. Tensai
  25. David Otunga

That’s 25 obvious names for those that have watched WWE television in the past few months or so with an intriguing mix of main event and high midcard talent with a few jobbers and tag teams. That also leaves five spots remaining for surprise return entrants (or more worthless scrub jobbers because we love seeing that). Well who is worth filling out those last five spots to spice up the match? Below there is a list of ten superstars that would find the Royal Rumble the perfect opportunity to make a return.

1. Rey Mysterio

One of the easiest choices to bring back for the Rumble, Mysterio has been lagging around the WWE since his return from suspension in the summer of 2012. Teaming on-and-off with Sin Cara, Rey is also currently dealing with personal issues at home which led to him being off of television for a while. Since the Rumble is in Phoenix and not too far off from San Diego, Mysterio can make a quick trip the day of the show, work a few minutes for his paycheck, and head back home until he’s capable of working full-time.

2. Sin Cara

The second masked luchadore is nursing an injured knee, but there are updates which show that he won’t miss WrestleMania this year. It is possible that he can come through if his health allows it and try to fly around in the 20th spot or so. It is highly unlikely, but I’m sure he’ll be back by the time Rey is able to go full-time so they can build to a singles match against each other at WrestleMania.

3. Shelton Benjamin

Name caught you by surprise, huh? It’s no secret that Shelton Benjamin is one of the most talented performers of the past decade to never have a major title run in WWE before his eventual release. Since then he’s been working all over the world, mainly reuniting with Charlie Haas as part of the World’s Greatest Tag Team in Ring of Honor and teaming with Montel Vontavius Porter (that’s right, MVP) in New Japan Pro Wrestling. He requested his release from ROH a month back as WWE was interested in signing him again as part of their initiative to bolster the midcard. It would be great to see the reaction of the crowd as the opening line “Ain’t No Stopping Me, NOOOOOOW..!!” roars through U.S. Airways.

4. Christian

It really feels like Christian has been all but forgotten in the past year of his WWE tenure, littered with injuries and lower midcard purgatory. With the inclusion of Antonio Cesaro and Damien Sandow (two men he has put over before separating his shoulder), the rise of Dolph Ziggler, and Miz’s push as the next top face, Christian is looking more and more like an afterthought. Hopefully he can find some way back into the upper portion of the roster with a Rumble return and heel turn.

5. Jack Swagger

Speaking of midcarders in limbo, no one has faced a larger fall from grace than the Oklahoma standout, Jack Swagger. A former World Heavyweight Champion, Swagger’s been placed in a disappointing tag-team with Dolph Ziggler then jobbed left and right since separating from Vickie Guerrero. WWE has taken Swagger off of television since September in order to repackage him, but has yet to figure out a way to bring him back. With a simple reintroduction to the roster as part of the Rumble, he can be seen as a heel or brought in as a face to feud with Antonio Cesaro for the US Title.

6. Ezekiel Jackson

Damn, Ezekiel disappeared from WWE TV for so long he has been forgotten about by…everyone. Of course now with Ryback and the subtle muscle-bound replacement in Big E. Langston, there aren’t that many monster workers that can look all too dominate. Jackson was really never given a fair shake in the main event picture and while that is out of reach now, an appearance by the Guyanese mammoth could jog a whole lot of people’s memories back into form.

7. R-Truth

This one may not be too far off as R-Truth has been away for a month healing a gash to his knee suffered at TLC. It’s long enough to know that Truth hasn’t lost his spot as he was going nowhere to begin with. He could show up, do some hip thrusts, say “WHAT’S UP!”, and get toss out of there in two minutes like a quickie in a janitor’s closet.

8. Fandangoo (Johnny Curtis)

The thing about the Royal Rumble is though there would be a cool surprise entrant or return from a superstar, there has rarely been anyone debuted during the match itself. Now let’s not kid ourselves, Curtis has been around the block a few times as a participant of the early NXT seasons and even debuted on Smackdown with a silly cliché gimmick. Now he’s been repackaged as a douchebag of a tango dancer and at the time was given vignettes for a few weeks. They stopped showing them after a while and now it draws concern whether Curtis will be released or not. Whatever the case may be, there needs to be a time to showcase new talent on a big stage in a big way and WWE should continue with that momentum.

9. Goldust

Because it’s fucking Goldust, that’s why.

10. Evan Bourne

So many of these guys get hurt, put on the shelf for a very long time, and end up losing their relevance on the WWE roster (see Christian and Ezekiel Jackson). Evan Bourne is a sad case in part of it was done on his own doing. As he was serving a 60-day suspension for smoking spice, or actual weed, he shattered his ankle in a motorcycle accident. In the meantime, WWE is prepping to bring in their next aerial sensation in Adrian “PAC” Neville (who is great at what he does by the way) and Bourne is quickly fading in the shadows. It would be pretty cool to see Bourne find some way onto the main roster and hopefully he and Neville gives us a jizz session of a spot fest sometime soon.

There are many other options that can be brought in for the Rumble and that’s the true beauty of it as you don’t know who will surprise and dazzle that night. Within that hour of bodies flying over the top rope, the interactions and eventual outcome should have most of WrestleMania set in stone. As for who will win the match itself, it’s gonna go to The Miz.

  1. […] seems like it is déjà vu now.  Last year, I wrote about how the Royal Rumble Match is slowly losing its mystique and it is only getting by for its namesake. The match itself looks to be one of the more stacked […]

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