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MAGIC, MEMORIES AND MANIA: Five Shows to Watch on WWE Network – Royal Rumble Edition
The Royal Rumble has come and gone, and we have officially hit the Fast Lane to WrestleMania. This year’s Rumble had some memorable moments, from the debut of A.J. Styles to Triple H’s “surprise” return. Throughout the years, the show has been a favorite of fans, and it has provided us with some of the most exciting moments in wrestling history. Today, we will look back at five Royal Rumbles you must watch on the WWE Network. This is not necessarily a list of the best Rumbles in history, but a look back at some special moments that make it such an anticipated annual tradition.
(5) Royal Rumble 2007
This match had the best ending in Royal Rumble history. It came down to The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, and they had an epic mini-match that rekindled memories of their classic matches from the late nineties, and they were a preview for the legendary WrestleMania series to come. HBK and Taker have incredible chemistry in the ring, and this was a dramatic conclusion that had fans on the edge of their seat. Surprisingly, they have not followed this formula in other years, but it is doubtful others can live up to this showdown between two of the greatest stars in WWE history.
(4) Royal Rumble 2014
WWE has struggled the last two years to get Roman Reigns over as a major attraction. This match, more than any other, showcased Reigns at his best. He set the record for the most eliminations in Rumble history. However, it was more than that. Pay close attention to his facial expressions, movements, cadence, and ring presence. Every gesture exudes coolness, charisma, and starpower.
I remember watching this with a group of friends, and we remarked that Reigns would be a huge star, and the fans were firmly behind him in this match. He is at his best when following the Batista persona, the cool, silent, dominating presence. Unfortunately, they have not been able to re-capture this magic since then so perhaps WWE should go back and look at this match to study what qualities can make Roman reign.
(3) Royal Rumble 2005
This is an overlooked and underrated edition of the Rumble. It was full of great moments and had a truly surreal finish. It started with the previous year’s Wrestlemania champions facing off as Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit drew the first two numbers. It featured the first confrontation between Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels to plant the seed for their WrestleMania match. We saw the continuing saga of Batista’s turn to main event babyface. Pay attention to the great moment between him and Ric Flair. If WWE had followed a similar slow burn path with Reigns breaking off from the Shield, it is unlikely he would be having so many problems getting over. Also look for the entrance of Mohammed Hassan, an incredible heel segment that reminds us that the character had some serious potential.
The most memorable moment takes place at the end when Vince McMahon enters the ring. If you have not seen the match, I will not spoil it, but it is one of the most ridiculous scenes in wrestling history.
(2) Royal Rumble 2010
Sometimes the Rumble is not so much about who wins but the stories that are told within the battle. The 2010 edition focused on two major stories that tied the match together. The first half showcased C.M. Punk in a brilliant performance as the arrogant cult leader trying to convert entrants to the Straight Edge Society. This was one of the highlights of Punk’s tenure in WWE, and it is a reminder what an absolutely sensational heel performer he was.
The second half was all about Shawn Michaels’s quest to win the right to face the Undertaker and finish his unbeaten WrestleMania streak. Taker had refused Michaels’ request for a rematch so he felt this was his last chance at revenge. HBK gives the match its dramatic weight as he struggles to stay alive so he can face the Dead Man. Watch this match and see how a properly booked Rumble can tell an epic story.
(1) Royal Rumble 1990
In the early years of the Rumble, the winner did not go on to face the champion at WrestleMania, but they rose up the ranks as Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura used to always emphasize. The match was used to create stars and develop feuds. Perhaps the best example of using the Rumble to build to a match was in 1990 when Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior faced off for the first time. The other competitors were eliminated leaving these two larger-than-life titans alone to roaring crowd.
It was a different era focused on cartoonish superheroes, and it felt like Batman facing off against Superman. It led to a legendary showdown at WrestleMania between the two top heroes in the company, but it all began here at the Royal Rumble.
I hope you enjoyed this special Royal Rumble edition of my Top 5 column. Be sure to check out these classic Rumble moments, and keep following my articles to maximize the WWE Network experience.