2017 Royal Rumble Match: Brawny the Strowman

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As late as ten minutes before the 2017 Royal Rumble match, I was undecided on whether to do a write-up or even take notes. But it has been a while since my last post as I have been experimenting with various podcast formats, none of which will do.

I had high hopes for this year’s Rumble match since 2016 was a return to the kind of booking seen in the past, and with this match loaded with (part time) star power. It’s just a shame I saw betting odds beforehand, which kind of ruined it for me.

A quick comment on earlier matches: I was rather bored by much of it and actually fell asleep during Owens vs Reigns. It’s okay, because Reigns went to the back for a nap in the 2016 match so one good turn deserves another. Cena vs Styles was awesome as usual, but because it didn’t take place in the Tokyo Dome or even the Sumo Japanese Steakhouse in San Antonio, it can’t possibly be as good as any New Japan match according to some. With Cena and Owens as champions, it meant either a face or heel could win. Or maybe even a guy who is both. Just don’t let betting odds spoil it. Continue reading 2017 Royal Rumble Match: Brawny the Strowman

1992 Royal Rumble: This is Your Life, Ric Flair

Just over a year ago in my Royal Rumble series, I made clear that the ’92 Rumble is my favorite match ever because it is a This Is Your Life story for Ric Flair. But how exactly can you connect Flair at some point in the Nature Boy’s career to everyone else in the match? I managed to go 28 for 30.

1. British Bulldog: Bulldog was on the set of the Flair For The Gold segment in 1993 that featured the infamous Shockmaster incident.

2. Ted DiBiase: They had been on the same team at the 1991 Survivor Series, but more famous is their 1985 match in Mid-South for Flair’s NWA World Title.

3. Ric Flair: Wrestled himself on numerous occasions, such as a drug addled Kerry Von Erich in Texas in the 80s. Continue reading 1992 Royal Rumble: This is Your Life, Ric Flair

2016 Royal Rumble Match

Time for the 2016 Royal Rumble in Orlando, FL and Roman Reigns is on the poster! What could possibly go wrong? Some things but that was all deferred until later. I can tell you up front that this was better than 2015 in every way and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. However the “smart fans” might not like the reasons for it. Our hosts are Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler because for the love of God we can’t change THAT up. This match is for the WWE title just like 1992 because nothing is sacred anymore. Continue reading 2016 Royal Rumble Match

2015 Royal Rumble Match

Actual footage of the ’15 Rumble

With still a few hours left until the 2016, let’s take a look back at the 2015 edition because why not? Oh right, it was a trainwreck. Perhaps some lessons can be gleaned? Or maybe we should just celebrate the fact that it won’t get much worse than this. Philadelphia was already stuck with the 76ers and didn’t deserve this. The hosts are Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler and they would not be helpful. Continue reading 2015 Royal Rumble Match

2014 Royal Rumble Match – A Requiem for CM Punk

Even more than CM Punk the wrestler, I love the IDEA of CM Punk. He is well known for carrying himself as an iconoclast with a set of firmly held beliefs which I respect. He didn’t care about offending his bosses and spoke his mind. A lot of people think he’s a complete prick who carried a chip on his shoulder against imagined enemies. Looking back at various points in my own life, I can project some of Punk’s personality traits onto myself but really we are all a little bit of CM Punk, the guy fighting the machine but never quite getting what he really wants. Sadly, the 2014 Royal Rumble match would be his last as an active wrestler (for now). Continue reading 2014 Royal Rumble Match – A Requiem for CM Punk

2002 Royal Rumble Match

While taking a journey through all these Royal Rumble matches, I’ve examined my own evolution as a fan. The ’88 Rumble was the first wrestling even I ever saw on TV, with the endless Dino Bravo benchpress segment being the thing I remember seeing first. So it’s a wonder why I stuck around after that. Like many people, I stopped watching in the mid-90s and came back for the Attitude Era. Also like many, I mostly stopped watching after Wrestlemania 17. Continue reading 2002 Royal Rumble Match

2001 Royal Rumble Match

By the time the 2001 Royal Rumble arrived, the WWF was very close to peaking as an organization. The general consensus is that Wrestlemania 17 in April 2001 is the best Mania of all time and perhaps the best PPV ever. However by some factors, the company had already peaked. Leaving USA Network for Spike was a short term financial gain, but they paid a price long term in 2005 by having to crawl back to USA on an unfavorable deal when it comes to advertising dollars. The death of WCW in March would not create new viewers as instead many just stopped watching. Continue reading 2001 Royal Rumble Match

2000 Royal Rumble Match

In the year 2000, the WWF would make more money than any year in their history. While that dividend was probably pissed away with the XFL debacle the next year, the product was still very compelling in 2000, in part due to Vince Russo’s departure. Organized storytelling was in vogue, led by the late Chris Kreski using storyboards in meetings. The Royal Rumble kicked off what is the best PPV year of the monthly PPV era. Continue reading 2000 Royal Rumble Match

1999 Royal Rumble Match

I’ve been dreading this since the Royal Rumble Project started: the 1999 match is one that I saw years ago and hated it, saw it again last year and disliked it, and watched it again now in hopes I could mine something out of it. The Attitude Era was a great period in wrestling, but the booking and storylines for the year 1999 was terrible. To me they were now King Midas in reverse as nothing seemed to work quite as well as it should, for that whole year. Wrestlemania 15 is just an abomination, but it never gets talked about as much because it was in that golden era of high ratings. So here is my attempt to figure out some positives from the 1999 Royal Rumble match. Continue reading 1999 Royal Rumble Match

1998 Royal Rumble Match

In business there is a saying, “you have to spend money to make money” which was close to the heart of WWF’s early 1998 strategy to change the tide of the Monday Night wars. By the time of the 1998 Royal Rumble, Monday Night RAW had lost in the ratings to WCW Monday Nitro for about 70 straight weeks. Vince McMahon knew his 1997 product was better with the rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin, but needed a way to get eyeballs on his product. Enter the controversial Mike Tyson, who was banned from boxing at the time for the ear biting incident with Evander Holyfield.

Continue reading 1998 Royal Rumble Match