The 2011 WWE Royal Rumble is just days away. The January condition will add yet another chapter to it’s historic book this coming Sunday and one winner will be etched in wrestling history forever. The prize is the sports most ultimate goal, the main event spot for a World Championship at WrestleMania 27.
For the first time in history the WWE has added 10 more wrestlers to the now 40 man event. Marking the first time in twenty four years that the event will not be a 30 man over the top Royal Rumble. Despite the WWE Royal Rumble breaking tradition and adding 10 more wrestlers to the event, it still is one of the most anticipating wrestling event of the year just behind WrestleMania.
No matter how many wrestlers are in the event there is usually a small amount of wrestlers that can actually win the event and get the nod from the creative team to help carry the torch at the biggest wrestling event of the year. Will it be an established star or will it be a up & coming wrestler to move past the glass ceiling?
There is no better chance for the WWE to create a star then using this year’s Royal Rumble. Typically we have seen the WWE use the Royal Rumble to elevate new stars during years of transition.
In 1994 the WWE, coming out of the Hulk Hogan era, put the Royal Rumble victory on Bret Hart & Lex Luger. Marking for the first and only time their have been co-winners for the event. Interesting to note that we will see that instance happen years later as another era closed out (more on that in a few).
In 1998 the WWE was moving out of the “new generation era” and marching into the Attitude era, where wrestling was becoming more “edgy” and was no longer “family friendly.” The WWE would give “Stone Cold” Steve Austin the torch as that year’s Royal Rumble winner, despite winning it a year before in a heelish fashion.
At that time Austin was just starting to become a huge star as the ’97 Royal Rumble elevated him to the historic match he had with Bret Hart where his career was turned upside down and headed into overdrive. It was 1998 where the “Attitude Era” started to kick off and it was a couple month later at WrestleMania XIV where the “Attitude Era” marched into 6th gear.
Once again we saw another era shift into a different direction as the WWE was coming out of the “Attitude era” and starting the “Ruthless Aggression” era in the WWE in 2005. The WWE needed to establish new stars and they decided to once again have co-winners (or so we thought) as Batista & John Cena would (what we thought) win the Royal Rumble.
Vince McMahon saved the co-winner outcome by not only tearing his quad but making sure there was a winner with the first and only overtime in Royal Rumble history. Batista would go onto win the Royal Rumble while John Cena would win a tournament a month later to be crowned #1 contender for the WWE Championship.
Both would win the World Championships at Wrestlemania 21 and once again the WWE ushered in a new era into their historic organization. It wasn’t until the last couple of months that we saw this current era come to a close and begin the current “youth movement” that we are currently seeing in the WWE.
So why not use the same Royal Rumble theory again to usher in a new era by giving the ball to a up & coming superstar rather then have an established star win it (possibly again)?
Sure John Cena could win the Royal Rumble again, they could do the surprise winner like they have done 2 of the last 3 years where John Cena (2008) & Edge (2010) won after what we thought was an injury that would leave them missing that year’s Wrestlemania with Triple H, or they can give the ball to a new star.
There is only a small crop of superstars that can win the Royal Rumble (sorry Yoshi Tatsu) because they are established. Right off the top of my head that would be John Cena, CM Punk, The Big Show, Rey Mysterio, Kane and Sheamus. Since they have been established stars for the company.
Then you have the list of superstars you should immediately write off for the Royal Rumble. That’s anyone who currently wrestles most of their times on WWE Superstars (Zack Ryder, Chavo Guerrero, etc.) and anyone who is not a featured player on Nexus or The Corre. Then when you really look at who is in the WWE right now, there are two superstars that can use the Royal Rumble win to elevate their game to a whole new level.
Those two people that I think can win the Royal Rumble and take the victory to turn their careers into main event players both reside on the Smackdown roster. Those two wrestlers that I think can win the 2011 Royal Rumble are Alberto Del Rio and Wade Barrett.
Despite some ups & downs in 2010, these two wrestlers have been earmarked as future main eventers for the WWE. Both spent 2010 feuding with established superstars, former World Champions and former Royal Rumble winners in Rey Mysterio & John Cena.
Out of Wade Barrett and Alberto Del Rio there is one that stands out as my clear concrete pick as the winner of the 2011 Royal Rumble. That my friends is Alberto Del Rio, but you already knew that.
Reason why I have chosen Del Rio as my 2011 Royal Rumble pick over Wade Barrett is because Barrett has had his time in the sun. Barrett was a feature player on the “A-show” of the WWE on RAW and feuded with the biggest star in the business. It appears now that the WWE has lost interest in him or is setting him for another big match at Wrestlemania 27 (The Undertaker).
What we have seen in recent weeks for Alberto Del Rio is having him become more introduced to the WWE viewers by bringing him on more Monday Night RAW’s. WWE feels that most fans don’t watch SmackDown! due to it being on Friday’s (and they are right) and is introducing him to the RAW fans that may not know him.
We’ve seen him wrestle on Monday Night RAW’s and we’ve most recently seen him have probably the biggest angle in his career when he was in the ring with Shawn Michaels following his WWE Hall-of-Fame induction nomination. It was the first time HBK has been in the ring since the night after Wrestlemania and it was the same night he was announced as the big name going into this year’s Hall of Fame. That’s a pretty big “rub” for a young star trying to get some heat as a heel in the WWE.
Give Alberto Del Rio the ball and have him win the Royal Rumble this year. Del Rio is so over as a heel that he can help Edge become a major babyface heading into Wrestlemania 27. The WWE needs to put a young star in the making over, Cena, Punk, Kane, etc. do not need the rub heading into the biggest PPV of the year.
- Have Triple H return and go after Sheamus similar to when Mick Foley went after Randy Orton at the 2004 Royal Rumble to set up a Wrestlemania 27 match. Triple H doesn’t need the win at all and him going after Sheamus will help put him back as a monster heel on the WWE roster. Sheamus has been stale since Triple H has been gone, now is the perfect time to re-ignite this feud from April of last year heading back into a Wrestlemania rematch.
- Nexus vs. The Corre will happen at some point in the Royal Rumble. I wouldn’t be surprised if all the team members sans Punk & Barrett eliminate each other all at once. Nexus vs. Corre has been rumored for WM27.
- Look for a John Morrison, Ted DiBiase or Cody Rhodes fill the void as a guy who’s been in the Rumble match the longest. Every year there is a wrestler that gets that focus and just like Del Rio winning it, another young up & comer needs that rub. It will give the fans more respect and believability in them as a wrestler.
Who do you think will win the Royal Rumble? Tell us your thoughts on “The Still Real to Us Show” by e-mailing us over at [email protected] and give us your thoughts on whether you agree with more or not! Then go ahead and download the show this Thursday @ 8pm ET/5pm PT at www.wheelhouseradio.com or www.wrestlechat.net to find out if your pick made it to the air!
Jeff also co-hosts “The Still Real to us show” with Eric Gargiulo which can be available at www.wheelhouseradio.com and can be downloaded in the “Real Guy Radio” section of the site..”
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