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Why Even Non-Wrestling Fans Will Enjoy This Year’s WWE Royal Rumble

Why Even Non-Wrestling Fans Will Enjoy This Year’s WWE Royal Rumble

This weekend it doesn’t matter if you stopped watching professional wrestling years ago, nor does it matter if you have ever watched it, because the WWE‘s annual Royal Rumble is not only the single best, most exciting match the company puts on, it’s the only one that can truly be enjoyed by fans and non-fans alike. And that’s never been truer than it is for this year’s Rumble, which has more legendary names and possible winners than ever.

Not to mention it won’t cost you a dime to watch.

Before we try to convince you why you should watch (and if you’re wondering why we care, it’s because we love the Royal Rumble so much we look forward to it for 364 days a year, and want more people to discuss it with), understand you can see the whole pay-per-view for nothing on the WWE Network (a streaming site that has numerous options to watch), by signing up for a free one-month trial. It starts live tonight at 7 p.m. eastern, but can be viewed any time thereafter on-demand on the Network.

So we’re basically offering you a copy of our favorite band’s album and begging you to listen to it just because we love it so much. WE’RE THAT GUY AND WE DON’T CARE.

If you don’t know what the namesake Royal Rumble match entails, it’s a battle royal that starts with two wrestlers, and every 90 seconds (some years it’s 30, some it’s 60…it varies) another wrestler joins (they enter based on a “random” draw). It continues like that until 29 wrestlers have been thrown over the top rope and have had both feet hit the ground, eliminating them. The winner gets to go on to headline WrestleMania, the professional wrestling Superbowl.

While that stipulation makes the outcome so important and exciting (and trust us when we say there is nothing quite like the Rumble match), it also makes it so only the biggest stars can win. The WWE needs someone famous enough to be in such a prominent position at the company’s signature event, and since this is all booked (a.k.a. scripted), usually at least 20 contestants in the Royal Rumble can’t really win. Though that doesn’t mean they can’t be important.

So while someone like the charismatic (and real life nerd) Xavier Woods won’t win, he could get one of the annual “Iron Man” spots, where he stays in the match for an hour and looks like a star even when he’s eliminated. Or you could get a great, surprise showing from a unimportant guy like Mojo Rawley, whose character is defined by being super high energy all the time (he doesn’t “get hype,” he “stays hype”). Rawley is a giant man even in a company of giant men, and letting him shine in the match could help him be taken more seriously by fans, which could help propel him to bigger and better things in the future.

But we get it; you aren’t necessarily here for two guys you haven’t heard of. But don’t worry, this year’s Royal Rumble is for you, the non-fan, as much as it is for us, the weekly viewers.

Here are the biggest names in the match that you have probably heard of or seen before.

The Undertaker (4/1 odds)

Yes, that Undertaker, who made his WWE debut in 1990, is still wrestling, but unlike almost all other years he is in the Royal Rumble match. He’s a part-timer these days, so any appearance by the Dead Man feels extra special, but considering that he might win and go on to a huge (possibly final) match at WrestleMania makes this one even better.

Goldberg (5/1)

The former WCW superstar returned to the ring after being away for twelve years, and even though he is 50 now he looks amazing. His first match back was against the normally unbeatable Brock Lesnar, whom Goldberg beat in about 90 seconds. It’s still fun to chant “Goooooooold-beeeerg, Goooooooold-beeeerg,” but his presence here is far from being about nostalgia. He might win.

Brock Lesnar (16/1)

Speaking of the Beast Incarnate, the former UFC champion is still the most believable pro wrestler in the world, not only because he looks like a monster, but he can make you believe his opponents are in actual mortal danger when they wrestle him. These odds are way, way too low. Anytime Lesnar fights it’s much-watch, but after what happened between him and Goldberg a few months ago it’s going to be especially crazy this time.

The Miz (16/1)

Not only did the former Real World star fulfill his dream of becoming a WWE wrestler, he is a former world heavyweight champion who just so happens to be doing the best work of his career right now. The Miz would be a slight surprise, but few would be as deserving and capable of being back at the top of the company. Not to mention The Miz has tons of crossover appeal to the mainstream media, which the WWE is obsessed with.

John Cena (MAYBE)

Why maybe? Because John Cena isn’t technically in the Royal Rumble as of now. He has a match for the World Heavyweight Championship earlier and if he wins that he won’t be in the Rumble (though that might mean his opponent and current champ A.J. Styles will be, and he’s been the MVP of the company since making his WWE debut last year, so hopefully the loser of this match is put in). John Cena is still the biggest, most famous current star the WWE has, so he’s going to be involved at WrestleMania one way or another, and in a big role. Even if he’s not in the Rumble, Cena and Styles should have an incredible match.

Big Show (80/1)

“The World’s Largest Athlete” probably won’t win, but the WWE is teasing a showdown between the veteran giant monster versus the new giant monster, Braun Strowman, which means we might get a massive face-to-face during the Rumble, which will be one of the most exciting moments of the entire match.

Chris Jericho (10/1)

Another star that has been around forever, but who just so happens to be one of the best, most loved characters in the company today, even though he is technically a heel (bad guy). Few wrestlers are getting the reaction he does every show, and with good reason–he’s been amazing in his most recent run. (How good as he been? He made a literal list of grievances the most popular part of Monday Night Raw, and has turned calling people a “stupid idiot” into an art form.) Jericho winning would bring down the house, and even though he is on the back nine of his career he’s still one of their most marketable and best stars.

Randy Orton (4/11)

The betting markets all seem to know something since Orton appears to be the favorite to win (though the WWE loves to make changes at the 11th hour to avoid making the match predictable). Orton is one of the most under-appreciated superstars they’ve ever had, with a resume that compares to anyone. His work with Bray Wyatt, the Bayou cult leader he is currently a disciple of (and someone else that could win the match), has been some of the most interesting work he’s done in years, and Orton has been at the top of a WrestleMania card before, so he can pull it off.

Triple H (MAYBE)

Last year’s Royal Rumble winner has only been on one show since the last WrestleMania, but it was a huge moment as he helped Kevin Owens win the Universal Championship.

(Sidenote: Owens is one of the best wrestlers non-fans might not know but should, especially since if he loses his belt to Roman Reigns earlier in the night he could end up in the Rumble and maybe even win it. Reigns, who has headlined the last two WrestleManias–yeah, he’s important to WWE–will probably be in the Rumble if he loses to Owens).

Triple H will definitely be involved with WrestleMania, most likely fighting Seth Rollins (another star you might not know but who is one of the biggest wrestlers in the company), and the Rumble officially starts the “road to WrestleMania,” so odds are he’ll be involved some way in this match, which means he might end up in it. (We also think Rollins, currently not in it, will find a way in himself. We certainly hope he does.)

And these are just the names of people even casual or non-fans will know. It doesn’t include great current wrestlers that have a real claim to deserving a win in this match, like Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, Rusev, Baron Corbin, Sheamus, and Cesaro. Normally the match has way too much filler, but not this year’s. Only 22 of the 30 participants have been named, and while a few of those will go to old-timers (like say a Hacksaw Jim Duggan) in nostalgia spots (which you will get way too excited for), some of them will go to genuine surprises that will blow the roof off the place.

And if all of those mega-stars aren’t enough to get you to watch, or the zero-dollar price tag isn’t enticing you either, just remember this: you can gamble on the match by having people over to watch it and having everyone throw some money into a pot. Draw random numbers 1-30 (groups of 5 or 6 work best), and if the wrestler that comes out in one of your numbers wins, you win the pot.

It’s the most exciting, completely out-of-your-hands gamble that you’ll ever make.

There’s a reason we obsess about the Royal Rumble match all year.

Who do you want to see win? Grapple with our comments section below and tell us.

Featured Image: WWE

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