Iconic match: Royal Rumble 1992
Ah, the Royal Rumble, known around these parts as the most important bad match in wrestling. The ultimate example of “in theory, not in practice,” the Rumble succeeds almost entirely because of what it means, and not the actual in-ring action. 30 men come in, staggered by a certain amount of time, and fight to throw each other over the top rope until only one remains. That one will, traditionally, headline WrestleMania in a title match, rising to a new level of popularity. Along the way, the staggered entrances are used to bring back legends, to unveil new superstars, and to reveal surprise entrants that get a Rumble crowd as fired up as any in wrestling. It’s a shame that the actual match is plodding, boring, and ultimately, relatively predictable.
That’s what happens when you combine way too many competitors with an hour-long runtime and a very limited pool of possible winners. Take this year’s Rumble, for example: Even before everything went to shit, hilariously, the possible winners were, what? Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, and maybe someone from the Dean Ambrose/Dolph Ziggler School of Almost Main Eventers. To sit through an hour of lazy wrestling in between (admittedly great) surprise entrants just to reach an inevitable conclusion (RomanWinsLOL) seems counterproductive to your sanity. Yet, we watch every year because that victory can set not just one year’s worth of story into motion; it can make or break careers for future superstars. So what if you have to sit through an hour to get there? The juice is worth the plodding squeeze.