I love the Rumble By The Numbers video. It’s actually one of the things I look forward to most in the year because it lets you know what time it is. After all the weeks if not months of waiting around for anything interesting to happen, we are officially on the Road to WrestleMania and that means things are about to get good. Well maybe not good but at least something is happening for a change.
The Rumble By The Numbers video is a cool idea that WWE updates every year: break down the Royal Rumble with a series of records and statistics to show you what it means and how important it is. There are a lot of stats that you probably know, or at least you know the general idea. That’s all well and good, but one of them got me thinking today and that’s rarely a good thing.
It’s always cool to see:
One of the statistics that you’ll usually hear in the video is the percentage of winners who have gone on to win a World Title at WrestleMania. That’s the ultimate prize for the competitors in the match and with good reason. Winning the Royal Rumble is often described as a shortcut to top of the WrestleMania card, but that got me to thinking about something.
Note that for the sake of statistics, I’m only referring to the men’s Royal Rumble matches.
If you look back at the last few Royal Rumble results, you’ll see some success and failures when it comes to the WrestleMania title shot. Here is how some of the winners fared at WrestleMania:
2019 – Seth Rollins – Win
2018 – Shinsuke Nakamura – Loss
2017 – Randy Orton – Win
2016 – HHH – Loss
2015 – Roman Reigns – Loss
2014 – Batista – Loss
2013 – John Cena – Win
2012 – Sheamus – Win
2011 – Alberto Del Rio – Loss
2010 – Edge – Loss
So yeah, kind of a mixed bag there with a 40% winning percentage at WrestleMania in title matches. That’s not too bad and means there is hope for whomever wins the Royal Rumble. It’s exactly what it is as advertised as being: a way to get to the main event (or one of them as there are multiple “main events” on every WrestleMania card these days. However, there’s something you don’t see on there.
Out of all those winners, none of them won their first World Title at WrestleMania. To find that, you have to go all the way back to 2006 with Rey Mysterio. Of the 27 Royal Rumbles since the WrestleMania title shot was established in 1993, a grand total of six wrestlers (Yokozuna, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, Chris Benoit, Batista and Rey Mysterio) have won their first World Title at WrestleMania. That’s not a high amount and shows pretty clearly that the Rumble is not used to make a new star very frequently (Look at that list. Out of those names, only Nakamura and Del Rio were new to the main event scene at the time).
It has been fourteen years since we last saw someone win the Royal Rumble and go to WrestleMania to win their first World Title. That sounds long overdue to me and yet, I have little reason to believe it is going to happen. Odds are we’re getting Reigns winning the Rumble this year and probably going on to challenge the Fiend, because that’s what a WrestleMania crowd is going to want to see.
This is kind of a famous one:
The worst part is that this is a time where WWE is DESPERATELY in need of some fresh main eventers and have all kinds of people seemingly waiting to move up to that level. Look at Monday Night Raw and tell me who your top faces are. Right now you have Kevin Owens, Rey Mysterio, Samoa Joe and Randy Orton as the top faces. They’re talented people, but the one non-former WWE World Champion in there is the soon to be 41 year old, often injured Samoa Joe. Out of all of those names, Owens (35) is the only young(ish) one who would feel fresh as the other three are either around 40, former World Champions, or both.
Look at how many people you have on the main rosters who could be some kind of a next star. That would include Drew McIntyre, Andrade, Aleister Black, Buddy Murphy, Humberto Carrillo, Ricochet, Rusev, Big E., Braun Strowman, Cesaro, Sami Zayn, Mustafa Ali, Chad Gable and more. That’s more than a dozen names who have never been a World Champion in WWE and two of them are over 35. I’m not saying these people should be running the main event scene or even winning the Rumble, but do you think one of them might be worth a try? Look at the audience for Monday Night Raw and tell me they’re not worth a shot.
But, alas, we’re likely (and I hope I’m wrong) in for someone from the same group of people winning the Rumble and going on to challenge for the World Title at WrestleMania. I’m not sure what WWE’s philosophy on this is, but it seems to be something along the lines of “you can only main event if you’ve main evented before”. I know how ridiculous that sounds but when it comes to getting the title win at WrestleMania, it certainly seems like the path they’re taking.
Remember how this one went:
For the life of me I don’t get this. WWE goes out of their way to set up something where you have to win a big match with a bunch of people and then go to win the World Title on the big stage. Instead of going with the one that involves putting in the effort and building a story, it’s much more about Money in the Bank, which is built around going with one single moment instead of workin….I just answered my own question didn’t I?
For a company that is all about history, WWE certainly does not seem interested in creating anything fresh. Instead it’s likely to be more of the same (and that more of the same is from people who are very good) as the fans get more and more frustrated with not seeing someone new get a chance at what is built up as the most important and classic way to get to the main event of WrestleMania. Instead we might get something out of the Elimination Chamber or whatever they do in March (because we couldn’t possibly go a month without a pay per view) but as for the Royal Rumble, I wouldn’t get my hopes up.
So that’s where we are: right back in the same place that we always seem to be, waiting for WWE to let loose on some of this awesome talent that they pay to bring in, build up, and then cast aside for the sake of the same people we’ve seen for years in a desperate attempt to reignite something. They have this big deal that they hype up every year as a near free pass to put someone in the main event but instead, it’s likely going to be someone who has been there before so they can put another number on their resume, because it’s all about the (falling in audience, growing in age) numbers.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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