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Royal Rumble Megapost

January 24th, 2014 Posted by Gavok

Over the years, I’ve written much about my love for WWE’s annual Royal Rumble PPV/match. Back in 2009, I did a countdown of all the matches from worst to best. Then last year, I spent 20 days or so talking about various battle royals. This year, I decided to revisit it as an excuse to write up a bunch of stuff for Den of Geek US.

That meant having to watch all the previous Rumble matches. That’s nearly 30 matches by this point and they’re mostly about an hour. A couple months ago, I decided to use that to my advantage. I’d transfer the matches onto my tablet and make it so that the only time I was allowed to watch them was at the gym. That got me motivated to go to the gym about five times a week, just so I could spend an hour running and watching.

So here’s what I’ve ended up writing.

The 15 Best (and 5 Worst) WWE Royal Rumble One-Timers: I became kind of intrigued by seeing the wrestlers who only made one Rumble appearance. Sometimes they were really obscure and sometimes they were a big deal, but only for a limited time. I wrote a list about those who did really well during their one shot and those who lasted mere seconds.

The 20 Worst Royal Rumble Moments: A lot of stuff that irked me in my massive rewatch. A lot of it was bad booking and storytelling, but the top spots go to stuff that I found legitimately hard to watch.

WWE Royal Rumble 2014 Predictions: Me and some of the other Den of Geek guys discuss who we think will win the various matches at the PPV. Pretty straightforward.

The Top 100 Royal Rumble Moments: This one took a lot of work and effort and is one of the reasons why I’ve been so lax on this site and why This Week in Panels has been regularly delayed. Recently, I’ve been getting overtime at work, so my free time to write has been sparse. Mike, my editor, seemed genuinely concerned about me getting this done in terms of my health, but like many of my gigantic writing projects, I did it out of passion and I saw it through. It ended up being the longest single article I’ve ever written, coming in at 31 pages on MS Word. Not to mention gathering the images took an entire night to do. I’ll admit, I didn’t get as much sleep this week as I would have liked, but I got it done.

I’m proud of how it turned out and that it actually got done. That said, I think I’ve said all that there is to say about the Royal Rumble.

Actually, no! While I have you here, I should probably mention one of the more fun things about the match that I’ve recently become involved in. My friend Bob tends to throw get-togethers for WWE PPVs, especially the big ones like Rumble and Wrestlemania. For the Royal Rumble, he’s created an incredibly fun party game. If you find yourself watching the show with a handful of people, I suggest giving it a try. Here are the rules:

- Everyone picks numbers 1-30 out of a hat. Hopefully your party is made up of enough people to make it even, like how we tend to have ten people, meaning three picks each. You are represented by whoever comes out at those numbers.

- Someone has to keep a tally. The actions in the ring gain points. When a wrestler hits a signature move, it’s one point. When a wrestler hits a finisher, it’s two points. When a wrestler eliminates someone, it’s three points. Reaching third place is three points, second place is four points and winning is five.

- Once the match is over, all the points are added up to see who wins.

There are certain people you want to get in these situations, even though you know they won’t win. For instance, Randy Orton is like hitting the jackpot because he tends to do spots in each Rumble where he hits a series of RKOs. Khali is the same way, as all of his movies count as either signatures or finishers, especially his brain chop.

The first year I was involved with this, it was 2011 when they did the 40-man Rumble. There were 13 of us, meaning we all got three picks and a Macho Man action figure was given #21 (which ended up being Booker T). Before the show, we bought a crappy championship belt from the toy aisle at a store and decided that it would be the prize. One guy brought his girlfriend to watch with us and she didn’t know wrestling. She ended up getting #1, which was CM Punk.

Thanks to the New Nexus helping him out, CM Punk got a ton of eliminations and won this girl a lot of points. Then it was time for her next pick, #22. We joked that with her luck, she’d probably get John Cena. Cena’s music started playing, Bob got up, walked across the room, brought back the title belt, handed it to her and then sat back down.

One year I got zero points because I ended up with Primo, Epico and Hunico. Even if they actually did anything, none of us could figure out what their signatures or finishers were.

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20 Days of Battle Royals: Prelude

January 6th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Later this month, it’ll be time for WWE’s annual PPV the Royal Rumble. Despite the Rock/CM Punk main event, the real draw for me is – and always will be – the 30-man Royal Rumble match. No matter my feelings on the current WWE product, I’ll always be game for this annual match. I’ve already shown my love for it with a big list of my favorites, so it’s not like I can visit that well again.

Instead, I’m going to talk about the pie that the Rumble is a piece of. It’s an offshoot of the whole battle royal concept and while the “one man enters every two minutes” thing makes it the best version of the battle royal, there’s much to be said about the match type. I have no idea when the first battle royal started, but there’s something so fun about a gigantic match of every dude in the area fighting it out at once to see who’s the best. It gives a real feeling of unpredictability as even though a couple guys in there may have a real shot at winning, the idea that it’s anyone’s game from the very beginning is appealing.

Starting tomorrow, I’m going to begin 20 Days of Battle Royals. No list of worst-to-best like I’d usually do. Just a look, in chronological order, of notable battle royals from the various big wrestling companies. A lot of these I’ve seen and recall fondly. Some are terrible pieces of wrestling history that are worth poking fun at. A couple I’ve never even seen before, but recognize them as notable enough to discuss.

Some honorable mentions that I won’t give full entries to because I’ve covered them in some way before over the years:

- The Royal Rumbles, natch. This includes the 15-man Rumble they had on Smackdown in 2004 to create a #1 contender for Brock Lesnar at No Way Out.

- The ECW King of the Hill Battle Royal, which was like a Royal Rumble only tag teams were allowed to enter together under the idea that if they won, they’d split the winnings. Coincidentally, the first episode of ECW TV I’ve ever seen.

- A ridiculous 108-man Royal Rumble put together on New Year’s Eve by Big Japan Pro Wrestling, Dramatic Dream Team and Kaientai Dojo.

- The Wrestlemania battle royals. I’ve also covered these in my old Wrestlemania Countdown and while I suppose I could touch on the dark match battle royals they’ve done, none were notable enough to make the final cut. Though Heidenreich and Hurricane briefly befriending each other sure was fun.

Look how pumped Simon Dean is!

- The Immunity Battle Royal from Survivor Series 2001. With the main event being WWF vs. the WCW/ECW Alliance with the winning side getting complete control, they had a battle royal of midcarders where the winner was immune to being fired. Alliance member Test winning made the main event even more obvious than it already was.

- The 15-man Brisbane Cup Battle Royal in 2009. I haven’t mentioned this one before and I really don’t know who won and there’s no footage of the entire thing. I only mention it here as an excuse to post this clip.

I’ll start it off tomorrow as we go all the way back to 1987.

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30 Things I Currently Enjoy About WWE

January 24th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

About nine months ago, shortly after a really depressingly bad Wrestlemania and the infamous Christian two-day title run, I was ready to stop watching WWE completely. Everything good was being drowned out by bad writing, terrible Superman booking for Cena and Orton and some masturbatory patting of the back about how great the Attitude Era guys were. Though the morbid part of me does find that Wrestlemania funny for getting to see John Morrison commit career suicide live on PPV.

After Christian dropped the title, I decided that I’d give WWE one more week to hold my attention. R-Truth’s heel turn was the only major thing keeping me amused by that point. It ended up being a good thing that I gave WWE a little slack because that led to CM Punk taking the company by storm and the infinitely good Money in the Bank show. Then things started to get a little awkward, with pieces of brilliance in there. Unfortunately, Triple H and Kevin Nash felt the need to interrupt the angle of the year so they could enjoy the spotlight. It was like the bombing scene at the end of Jarhead with the Clique as the asshole commander. I was able to hang onto my love for everything Mark Henry to keep me going and over the past couple months I’ve found the company to be in a pretty good place. There’s been improvement all over the place. I’m feeling pretty positive, especially as they move into Wrestlemania season.

They say that if you have nothing nice to say, you should say nothing at all. Not like that’s ever stopped me, but as it is right now, I have 30 nice things to say about the current state of the WWE. Here are the things I dig in no particular order.

1) The Return and Trolling of Chris Jericho

I mean, this one goes without saying. I have no idea where they’re going with this angle outside of a possible Jericho vs. Punk match at Wrestlemania, but I know they can pull it off. Why? Because Jericho is pretty well-liked by the higher ups and I’m sure he has a lot of creative control in this. One of the things I love about it, other than the pure Dadaist nature of it all, is that Jericho is always insistent on starting things anew. After he became stale as hell during the last couple years of his first run, he realized that he had to constantly reinvent himself. I’d say he’s doing a good job so far.

2) Cody Rhodes Living Up to the Past

It’s got to be hard being the son of a beloved wrestler. It’s like releasing a hit album and having to make a decent follow-up. You have to be good enough, but not too similar or you won’t be able to stand outside the shadow. Cody’s in a bad place because not only is his dad Dusty Rhodes, but his brother is Goldust. It wasn’t until a poll between the Divas named him the most handsome guy in the locker room that Cody finally found a way to make it all work.

See, being a Rhodes isn’t about being a funky and indecipherable southern man of the people or a painted sexual predator film buff. It’s about being fucking crazy. Find a persona and make that persona fucking crazy. It may mean calling yourself “dashing” for several minutes at a time. It may mean wearing a mask and acting like a hybrid of Vega and Dr. Doom. Whatever it is, Cody’s got it and he’s potentially the future of the company.

Not only that, but I’d like to believe that he and Randy Orton have some kind of mentor/protégé relationship behind the scenes, especially seeing as how they’ve not only been in a stable together, but they’ve feuded no less than three times over the years. There are a lot of parallels in their career paths and gimmicks (generic face, unhinged villain, heelishly milking an injury, abusing Ted Dibiase Jr., etc), but while Orton was first, I think that Cody has what it takes to be an overall superior performer.

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WWE Race to the Rumble: If Creative Has Nothing For You, Turn to Page 34…

April 27th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

As a kid, I never read much of the choose-your-own-adventures books. I did read an old Superman one once, which was really good and in retrospect is intriguing for including so many ways that Superman can get taken out in one book. It’s just that those books tended to be just a little too depressing. You don’t just receive bad luck in a lot of those books… you enact nightmare material that I was too young to endure. Where I currently work, I had flipped through several of them and even now I find the stuff questionable. I saw one book where a decision led to the main character getting hit with a car so hard that they needed to check the dental records to see who he was. Jesus…

Then I saw this book: Race to the Rumble: Pick Your Path #1 by Tracey West. It’s a WWE choose-your-own-adventure book and it’s Royal Rumble-based. I kind of had to pick it up and read through it out of principle.

Rey Mysterio actually has very little to do with this book. Same with Edge who appears on the back cover.

The book is nearly 100 pages and exists as being both fun and lacking. Lacking in the sense that there’s no real path divergence in the stories. Instead of branching off into different scenarios, we’re only given two storylines. Each decision, with one exception, gives you one choice that will continue the story or end it in one page. That’ll at least make this write-up easier on me. What is there is at least good stuff. West has a decent grasp on the WWE and really does come up with some good booking ideas for a gimmicky book like this. There are times when I’ve read what’s happened and thought, “I wouldn’t mind seeing that.”

So let’s get into the story. It all begins with you, a nameless and indistinct indy wrestler winning a match against Blockhead in a high school gym. A talent scout from the WWE comes to you and offers you a tryout. You remember news that WWE’s announced a tournament of sorts that’s allowing newly-recruited guys to earn a spot in the Royal Rumble. This sounds awesome and gives you the drive needed to beat another nameless hopeful in your tryout match in front of Vince McMahon himself. Vince thinks your ringwork is impressive, but wants to hear you cut a promo on the spot.

This is where we get our first choice. You can either play a good guy or bad guy. For now, let’s go face and cover the rest later. You give a generic, “What this means to me,” speech and Vince kind of shrugs at it. You’re a good athlete, but you have a month to prove yourself and grow a personality. Off you go to your first match where you’re opening a show against Drew McIntyre. Backstage, Drew takes offense to the idea that you were signed by Vince himself, since he’s Vince’s Chosen One. You get absolutely destroyed in your debut match and the fans call you a loser.

Here’s where we get the one and only side-plot of the choose-your-own story. Chris Jericho meets you backstage and comes up with a gimmick idea that comes off as lame, but he’s a veteran, so maybe you should listen to him. The gimmick is Kid Caveman, where you’d wear a loincloth and carry a big dinosaur bone as a club. Should you listen to his advice? Let’s see what happens with that…

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Wetting Your Whistle for the Royal Rumble

January 30th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Tonight is the 2011 Royal Rumble, which has some meaning to me as the 91 Rumble twenty years ago was my first wrestling PPV after having started following it. Since I’ve talked the Royal Rumble to death here, I thought I’d just post something to pass the time for those getting ready for the show to begin. From the end of 1991, this is a 20-man battle royal taking place in England. Not only is it decently booked, but it’s got a pretty good roster of names in it.

- Animal
- The Barbarian
- Big Boss Man
- “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
- Earthquake
- Ric Flair
- Hawk
- Hercules
- Marty Jannetty
- Brian Knobbs
- Shawn Michaels
- The Mountie
- “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
- Paul Roma
- Jerry Sags
- Tito Santana
- “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith
- Typhoon
- The Undertaker
- “The Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich

Well, a good roster other than Paul Roma. Enjoy.

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Here, Enjoy This ECW Royal Rumble Match!

January 31st, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Tonight is the WWE Royal Rumble. Here’s hoping someone other than Triple H or Cena wins this one. Come on, Kofi Kingston or CM Punk!

What better timing than for me to find this gem that I’ve been looking for for 13 years? In my Royal Rumble Week articles, I made mention of an ECW Rumble match I saw back in the mid-90′s. It was actually my very first ECW experience, so it stuck with me. Finally, I found it.

It’s called the King of the Hill Battle Royal, which is like a Royal Rumble, except for two differences. One, pinfalls and submissions count. Two, tag teams can enter together, as long as they’re willing to split the winner’s purse. The contestants:

Balls Mahoney
The Blue World Order (Stevie Richards, Blue Meanie and Nova)
Bubba Ray Dudley
Chris Candido
D-Von Dudley
The Eliminators (Perry Saturn and John Kronus)
“The Franchise” Shane Douglas
The Gangstas (New Jack and Mustafa)
Little Guido
Louie Spicolli
“Prime Time” Brian Lee
Rob Van Dam
Sabu
The Sandman
Spike Dudley
Tommy Dreamer

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Royal Rumble Week: Day 7

January 27th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

The Royal Rumble was last night, meaning you no longer care about anything I have to say. Yeah, well… shut up, okay?

I thought the event was top notch. Jack Swagger vs. John Morrison is going to make a very fine PPV main event one day.

The Rumble match itself was pretty good. It had a lot of fun spots, but got bogged down by keeping the ring too full. They were so determined to keep every single main eventer in the ring until the end while keeping them scattered on the card that it seemed to blow up in their face.

But the highlight of the Rumble?

MAMA MIA!

(thanks to Jerusalem for the gif)

Let’s finish this off and call it a day.

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Royal Rumble Week: Day 6

January 25th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Here’s a pointless little experiment. During the 2007 Rumble, they made a big deal about it being the most star-studded Rumble yet. That got me thinking about the different Rumble rosters and which one had the best pedigree to it. So I scoured each list and counted how many world champions it featured. I counted the top titles for WWF, WCW, both WWE titles, ECW, TNA and NWA.

88: 3
89: 6
90: 8
91: 6
92: 10
93: 7
94: 9
95: 4
96: 10
97: 10
98: 10
99: 9
00: 9
01: 12
02: 14
03: 17
04: 17
05: 13
06: 14
07: 17
08: 13

Hm. Well, I guess they were onto something after all. Speaking of that match…

7) Royal Rumble 2007

“Everyone back in the pile!”

“DEY TUK OUR JEORBS!”

“DE TUKRJRBS!!”

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Royal Rumble Week: Day 5

January 24th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

My apologies for the slight lateness. I blame sickness and temporary lack of internet connection.

If I were to come up with a list of the best use of the Royal Rumble in a videogame, it wouldn’t even be fair. We all know that WWF Wrestlefest would be #1. That’s as good excuse to post these gifs I made. Feel free to use them as avatars on your favorite message board.



Damn. 5 of those guys are dead.

I do recall having fun in WWE Smackdown: Here Comes the Pain and the way they used the Royal Rumble in career mode. They base it on the Rock/Big Show feud so that whoever you eliminate last has proof that your feet have touched the floor and that he deserves the Wrestlemania title shot. This leads to a match at No Way Out where you wrestle for the title shot. I remember fixing it up so that D-Von Dudley was my last victim, leading to an incredibly easy No Way Out match.

Then again, neither of the two main Dudleys have been in the Royal Rumble. Maybe I’m selling him short.

Let’s get to the top ten. So far the Rumble matches have been from okay to pretty good. The following ten are very much awesome. They’re just in different degrees of awesome.

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Royal Rumble Week: Day 4

January 22nd, 2009 Posted by Gavok

As a goof, I was initially going to keep track of how many times the commentators bring up how the Royal Rumble is “every man for yourself”. That lasted about ten minutes. When you see D’Lo Brown attacking Rikishi and the commentators say it’s because it’s every man for himself, you have to realize you might as well be marking down every punch.

13) Royal Rumble 2006

I bet there are so many confused non-wrestling fans visiting 4th Letter right now.

The set-up: Vince McMahon had been getting on Shawn Michaels’ case for a while for little reason, going so far as to say that he has no chance at winning the Royal Rumble. Meanwhile, the WWE was still reeling from the death of Eddie Guerrero, prompting his friend Rey Mysterio to dedicate the match to him. Other than that… nothing.

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