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5 Reasons The Royal Rumble Is My Favorite WWE Event Each Year

Ric Flair at the 1992 Royal Rumble
(Image credit: WWE)

I had my tonsils removed when I was in the fifth grade and to help with my recovery, my dad grabbed a few VHS tapes from the Blockbuster down the street. I don’t remember every movie in that small collection, but there is one tape that quickly became a favorite: the 1992 Royal Rumble (you know, the one where Ric Flair joined the ranks of other WWE champions). Ever since then, I have been obsessed with the Royal Rumble and eagerly await its arrival each January. 

The thing is, I get more excited about the Royal Rumble than any other WWE event on the calendar, including WrestleMania and its electrifying moments. There is just something about that annual event, its history, and the implications of the match itself that make it a perfect wrestling event. And with the 2022 Royal Rumble right around the corner, now seems like the perfect time to argue my case.

Edge on Monday Night Raw after Royal Rumble 2021

(Image credit: WWE)

The Royal Rumble Kicks Off The WrestleMania Excitement

There’s no doubt about it, WrestleMania is the biggest and most consequential night of the year in terms of wrestling. The excitement of the “Showcase of the Immortals” doesn’t start in late March or early April, but instead in the final days of January when the Royal Rumble kicks off what is known as the “Road to WrestleMania.”

The level of excitement and anticipation that overcomes me throughout the day of the Royal Rumble is comparable to the night before vacation. You know that feeling you get when you’re about to escape your everyday life for a few short days? Well, I get that same feeling with the Royal Rumble as I try to plan out all the possibilities of what’s about to come and how storylines will play out as we work our way to the “Granddaddy of Them All.” With the Royal Rumble, we enter what feels like both a new season and the playoffs wrapped up in one shiny package.

Shinsuke Nakamura, Finn Balor, John Cena, and Roman Reigns square off at the 2018 Royal Rumble

(Image credit: WWE)

The Royal Rumble Is The Perfect Way To Showcase WWE’s Past, Present And Future

Professional wrestling is at its best when it honors its past, showcases its present, and gives a taste of its future, and the Royal Rumble typically does all three in one match. The 30-man (and 30-woman since 2018) over-the-top battle royal often has multiple storylines play out over the course of an hour or so, giving multiple wrestlers time to shine.

In the past, WWE Hall of Famers like the late Roddy Piper and Hacksaw Jim Duggan have shown up to make the crowd pop. Then there have been times when former NXT stars like Adam Cole have made their main roster debut to show fans what is coming down the road. And then you have the current superstars who are either continuing feuds or starting new storylines that will play out as WWE works towards WrestleMania. 

When done correctly, giving all three types of wrestlers some time in the spotlight not only makes WWE better in the short-term but also helps with some great long-term storytelling.

John Cena at the 2008 Royal Rumble

(Image credit: WWE)

The Royal Rumble Is That One Night Of The Year Where It Feels Like Anything Can Happen

Whether it's shocking returns, surprising debuts, or eliminations out of nowhere, the Royal Rumble has long been one of the most unpredictable WWE events each year, a night where it feels like anything and everything can happen with the drop of a hat. And it’s this nature of unpredictability that makes the event so much fun to watch. Well, and because it gives us moments like “The Three Faces of Foley” at the 1998 Rumble.

And like I previously said about Survivor Series deviating from the standard path followed by most WWE events (like WrestleMania and SummerSlam), the Royal Rumble has a unique match (well, two matches now with the women’s version) that is rather refreshing and goes against standard wrestling logic while introducing new rules and situations. And if you’re looking for a way to introduce someone to professional wrestling (or reintroduce a lapsed fan), there’s no better option than this event.

The Rock and Mankind at Royal Rumble 1999

(Image credit: WWE)

The Royal Rumble Undercard Has Also Provided Some Amazing Championship Matches

It’s true that the main draw of the Royal Rumble is the pair of eponymous matches, but let’s not act like the event hasn’t featured some of the most famous, and infamous, matches in WWE history. Over the years, I have watched classics like The Rock defeating Mankind in an “I Quit” match for WWE Championship (a match that became notorious following the release of Beyond the Mat for the series of unprotected chair shots to Mick Foley’s skull while he was in handcuffs). But besides that spectacle, the Royal Rumble has given us Triple H vs. Cactus Jack in a New York Street Match and the Dudley Boyz vs. Hardy Boyz in the company’s first tables match (these happened on the same night in 2000, by the way).

Even in more recent times, there have been championship bouts between The Rock and CM Punk and the WWE Championship triple threat match between Brock Lesnar, John Cena, and Seth Rollins that became the one saving grace from the disastrous 2015 Royal Rumble.

I mean, the Royal Rumble is one of the “Big Four” WWE events for a reason and it’s not just the pair of 30-person matches.

Kofi Kingston at the 2016 Royal Rumble

(Image credit: WWE)

The Royal Rumble Is The Perfect WWE Event For Wrestling Fans' Parties

I have always been a big supporter of people throwing parties for wrestling events (I had many fruitless attempts to have an official WCW Nitro Party at my parents’ house in the ‘90s) and have hosted more than a few myself over the years. And while WrestleMania makes for a good time (especially when the event is held on a Saturday), there is nothing like a Royal Rumble party.

In the past, I’ve thrown Royal Rumble parties where we play a drinking game (for example, take a shot/chug a beer whenever someone points to the WrestleMania sign or Kofi Kingston pulls off some amazing feat) and betting pools (everyone selects a number or numbers depending on how many people are there). Some people (not me) have even had a game where you have to get a small tattoo representing the number you draw. There are so many possibilities!

Basically, the Royal Rumble is not only my favorite WWE events, it’s one of the best nights of the year and is a great way to cut loose and have a little fun on a cold January night. You can catch the 2022 Royal Rumble Saturday, January 29 on WWE Network on Peacock

Philip Sledge
Philip Sledge

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.