WWE’s annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view event was this past Sunday (01/26), and gave fans what is now being talked about as “the best men’s rumble match within the past decade.” Not only did WWE legends such as Edge make an iconic and unexpected comeback, but Drew McIntyre took the events biggest win in what fans are receiving as probably the least controversial and most rooted for win from a Rumble match in a while.
WWE has been heavily criticized within the past year on their pay-per-views in general; the biggest complaint being the four to five hour length of every show. However, this year they’ve not only shortened the length of the Rumble, but delivered entertaining matches that were equally inclusive to all WWE superstars; another complaint regarding the pay-per-views was surrounding the balance between more established wrestlers versus amateur performers getting enough screen time.
The main event of the evening was obviously the rumble match itself, which truly started with a bang. Brock Lesner has become of the most aggressively successful powerhouses the WWE has ever seen, so it makes sense that he would be the first of thirty men to start in the ring. As the clock went down, and more and more wrestlers joined Lesner in the ring a predictable pattern began to emerge, superstars were being eliminated just as quickly as they were entering into the competition.
Fans were waiting for the moment that someone would finally put Lesner in his place, a hope that is often met with disappointment. However, once our winner for the night, Drew McIntyre, entered the ring, it was hard to slow him down. Lesner was quickly eliminated once Ricochet kicked Lesner where the sun don’t shine as an act of revenge (Lesner did the same thing to Ricochet a few weeks prior). Once in a weakened state, McIntyre took the opportunity to throw Lesner out of the ring, thus eliminating one of the biggest threats of the whole match.
As previously stated one of the biggest moments of the night was the completely unexpected return of Edge. Edge was sporadically forced into retirement back in 2011 after sustaining one to many neck injuries, worrying doctors that one minor blow could cause the WWE legend to break his neck. However, the wrestling stars must have aligned right, as Edge entered the ring as if he never left. He even got to reunite with former tag team partner Randy Orton in the middle of the rumble; the two together were called “Rated RKO” and were one of the most successful tag-teams during the attitude era. Their reunion was short-lived, however, as Randy Orton did the most predictable Orton move he could’ve and quickly turned on his former friend. The predictability of the move ended up working against Orton, and led to his elimination.
The real star moment of the evening, however, was McIntyre’s win. WWE set up the ending of the match to make it seem as though Roman Reigns, a former Rumble winner, would take the title yet again, and leave fans disappointed. Reigns even eliminated Edge, which really brought the crowd to the edge of their seats (no pun intended).
McIntyre obviously ended up gaining control of the match in what ended up being one of the most awe-inspiring, unpredictable, yet highly desired, endings to a Rumble match in quite some time. This has now set up the superstar for a guaranteed match against current WWE champion, Brock Lesner, at Wrestlemania 36.
The WWE Royal Rumble this year has given fans a little bit of hope, in what has otherwise been a hopeless year. Between over-extended pay-per-views, an over-saturation of weekly wrestling content, and an unbalanced televised roster, WWE has seen a dramatic drop in viewership. However, they have taken these matters seriously, and have been working on shortening their pay-per-view programs, moving Smackdown back to Friday to give fans a break, and rotating through the many different talents that more underrated performers have to offer. The results have given the network back some of their viewership, and after this Sunday’s Rumble, it’s likely the road to recovery for the WWE Universe is going to be a successful one.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.