The Royal Rumble is the most fun show of the year. It’s better than WrestleMania, way better than SummerSlam, and don’t get me started on Fast Lane… But it could be much better. WWE treats the rules of the Royal Rumble so flippantly it weakens the match, and thus draw, of the entire event.
This year, the Royal Rumble match was booked exactly as one would expect. Reigns started strong and was looking like he could go the distance, but was taken out by the dastardly Vince McMahon and the League of Nations (what year is this?), and then made a valiant comeback, only to come up short. Reigns took home the bronze while HHH took home the gold. (Dean Ambrose won the silver.) The story was well executed, and they got where they needed to be in terms of progression, but good Google people, the rules, what happened to the rules?!?!
WWE needs to enforce the rules of the Royal Rumble. As it is explained to the fans, the only way to win is to be the last man in the ring after all 30 (ish) members have entered. Elimination occurs only when a participant goes over the top rope and both feet touch the floor. No DQ, no anything else. It’s a free-for-all. There’s no time limit, there’s no “wrestling” rules. This begs the question… WHY EVER GET IN THE RING!
The huge loophole in the rules is that the wrestlers actually CAN get out of the ring, as long as it’s not over the top rope. Reigns was pulled out of the ring and attacked by the League of Nations and stretchered out. However, since his body never went over the top rope, he was never eliminated. A similar thing happened last year with Curtis Axel. He was never eliminated (yet most didn’t notice). VInce McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin pulled a similar stunt like this in 1999, and it was stupid then. This year, Reigns was carted off, only to re-enter, seemingly fine, and nearly win. Hmmm…. Why wouldn’t EVERYONE get out of the ring, under the rope, and NEVER be eliminated? It’s important, because just like Santino in 2011 hiding under the ring and nearly winning at the end, why wouldn’t everyone use this strategy? It’s so glaring that it’s frustrating. I understand that this is the WWE Universe and every competitor has a larger than life ego and thus wants to ALWAYS fight and ALWAYS win and ALWAYS be the best, but if it were real, even slightly, the obvious strategy would be to wait to actually enter until the very end, then roll in as the fresh man and toss out the final guy.
Obviously, we don’t need to hash out every little detail to really put it on the level but here are some rule changes that would make this match more legitimate and more of a draw.
Amendments to the Bill of Royal Rumble Rights:
1) Make the time a complete shoot.
We need a clock, a real clock, on the Tron / TV at all times. Make it transparent. I realize that they are trying to hit certain spots at certain times and it’s easier to do if WWE works the time, but that’s on the performers. Plus, I hate guessing what number they are on and trying to count backwards. “Was Dolph number 7?” Just tell us! Put all that info up as it happens! The WWE claims this event is all about the numbers, but really it’s just about two numbers, 1 and 30. How cool would it be to see Rey Mysterio’s longest run streak on the Tron and see everyone’s time in comparison? “Oh wow! If AJ Styles lasts two more minutes he’ll break the record!” Instead, we have no clue. The announcers are doing a better job of telling us cool stats than in the past, but why not show us the numbers?
2) Once the time is up and the buzzer sounds, you have 10 seconds to get to the ring.
If you dilly dally, and don’t make it, you’re out. Or make it even simpler and explain that if you’re 23 and number 24 gets in the ring before you because you were jaw jacking with the fans, you’re out.
3) If any part of your body touches ANYTHING (including people) outside of the ring, you’re out.
Screw the top rope. You can still eliminate guys over the top, but it’s just not necessary. None of this hopping on one foot, riding Big E’s shoulders, or putting a cookie sheet on the floor, if you’re outside of the ring at all, you’re out. I’m waiting for the year when someone protests, “My shoes touched the floor, not my feet!” As it stands, get yourself a good lawyer, and you could possibly wind up in the main event of WrestleMania.
4) Yes, you can lose by DQ!
Why don’t these guys enter the ring with guns and knives or steel chairs? Why not enter the ring as a gang? There’s no DQ.
5) No managers or posses at ringside.
There’s enough to keep track of already. We don’t need more distractions.
Of course, WWE will do whatever it does, and ignore all of these suggestions and even their own rules because then they could not do the stupid Kofi Kingston plate spinning juggling act spot which is why we all watch. Right.
Hey WWE, rules are important. We need to know the rules of your universe or else it doesn't make sense and it feels totally contrived. Imagine if we woke up and the rules of our universe just changed. "Uh, red lights now mean green, but just for today. Oh, and when you spit, gravity takes your loogee up." That wouldn't end well. Consistency is important when telling a story, and the consistency lies within WWE enforcing the rules of professional wrestling.