Tag Archives: John Cena

How I would book SummerSlam (part 2) 

In my last post I listed the matches I would book for SummerSlam on August 20th. Here I will explain why I have booked these matches and who should win. 

But first I must say that events have taken over since I wrote my last post. Kevin Owens dropped the United States Championship to AJ Styles at a Madison Square Garden live event on Friday and his planned match with Styles at the Battleground pay per view has been pulled from the card. This suggests that Owens is injured and he probably won’t be the United States Champion at SummerSlam. I had booked Owens to lose the title to Shinskae Nakamura at SummerSlam and had put AJ Styles in a match against Rusev. 

Now if Owens is fit for SummerSlam I would book his rematch against AJ Styles with Owens regaining while putting Nakamura in a match with Rusev. If Owens is not fit the Styles v Rusev match stays but becomes a title match with Styles retaining while Nakamura would get a match with Baron Corbin (which I suspect would be a rematch from Battleground). 

Back to my original booking plans. Roman Reigns booked himself into the Universal Title match at SummerSlam on RAW back in June and I can’t unbook that. But instead of Lesnar v Reigns at SummerSlam which we have seen before I would have Braun Strowman beat Reigns in an Ambulance match at tonight’s Great Balls of Fire (yes really!) pay per view and then go on the rampage with another wrestler (I’ll explain who later) at RAW tomorrow demanding a title shot. RAW General Manager Kurt Angle capitulates and it is Lesnar v Reigns v Strowman at SummerSlam. I would put the Universal Title on Strowman as I think RAW needs a full time wrestler as Champion and Reigns can get the title before Wrestlemania if the company wants Reigns to be defending the title there. Plus Strowman has improved massively in the last year and improvement should be rewarded. 

Over on Smackdown the Jinder Mahal v Randy Orton feud will hopefully be put out of its misery at Battleground. WWE will probably go with the safety first option of having John Cena challenge Mahal at SummerSlam in yet another American v foreign heel yawn fest. But neither man should win. I would have men’s Money in the Bank winner Baron Corbin cash in during the match (a la Seth Rollins at Wrestlamania 31).  I would not have Corbin cash in on Cena as when Cena breaks Ric Flair’s record and wins his 17th title he deserves a good reign rather than be used to transition the belt to another heel as his 16th reign  was. My plan is a way to get the belt from Mahal to Corbin without the need for a transitional face champion in between. 

The Intercontinental Title feud between the Miz and Dean Ambrose needs to end. Right now. The problem here is that RAW has no mid card apart from these two so the next challenger has to be either be a low card guy elevated or a top of the card guy being demoted. Since RAW is top heavy at the moment I would combine the Intercontinental Title with an existing feud making it a triple threat match. The feud would be Seth Rollins v Bray Wyatt which has been appallingly built and is the least exciting on the Great Balls of Fire card. It will probably go on beyond tonight so why not combine it with the Intercontinental Title and see if we can get fans interested in this feud. I would still have the Miz retain with interference from the Miztourage (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas) but NOT Maryse who should be fired. In fact I would keep the title on the Miz for the foreseeable future. 

That is not the only gold the Miz’s stable should have. I would take the tag team titles off Sheamus and Cesaro tonight (if only because Sheamus is taking a break from the WWE so him and Cesaro need to drop the titles). But the Hardys would only be transitional Champions. I would have the Miztourage (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas) take the titles off the Hardys. That would (a) make the Miz even more unbearably smug than he usually is with his faction holding two titles and (b) it could lead to Matt Hardy becoming “Broken” if WWE can ever get permission to use the “Broken Matt Hardy” gimmick.

As for the other tag team titles I would have the New Day take the titles off the Usos at Battleground and that allows the feud to blow off at SummerSlam. New Day would retain the titles. 

Now the women’s titles. I would have Nia Jax wreck tonight’s RAW women’s title match between champion Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks by attacking both women. Then tomorrow in RAW I would have Jax along with Braun Strowman (see above) go on the rampage demanding a title shot.  Kurt Angle would capitulate and the match would be Bliss v Banks v Jax. I would not have Bliss v Jax as it is two heels and the size difference makes it an unrealistic match. Nor would I put the title on Banks tonight and have her v Bayley for the title at SummerSlam. That match should be kept for Wrestlemania. Plus Bayley needs to be built up after her terrible feud with Bliss. Banks should win the title but not until SummerSlam as she deserves a title win on a big stage (all her titles have been won on random RAW episodes). 

As for the other women’s title it is in a weird place. The Smackdown womens champion Naomi is a baby face but is the third most popular baby face on the roster behind Becky Lynch and Charlotte. One of Lynch or Charlotte has to turn heel and challenge Naomi for the title. I would turn Becky Lynch heel NOT Charlotte. Now I would not have turned Charlotte face to begin with but they can’t undo that so soon or else she would become a female Big Show who is a joke among fans for all the face/heel turns he has had in his career. Besides it kind of makes sense. Lynch has been betrayed by Charlotte and Natalya in the past and was furious about the ending of the Money in the Bank match. It is surely a matter of time before she gets fed up of being secrewed by friends and turns into a “Don’t Trust Anyone” kind of heel. 

I should say I don’t think WWE will turn Lynch – they are more likely to turn Charlotte if anyone – but this is how I would book it. Lynch would win the title and get the long title reign she deserves as I think the WWE have booked her awfully. 

I mentioned in my last post I would say what would happen to the women’s Money in the Bank winner Carmella. Well to make the women’s division different from the men’s I would have Carmella fail in her cash in. It is well known that in the men’s division a Money in the Bank win is virtually a guarantee of winning the title. With the women there is no history so there is a chance of doing something different. I would have Carmella cash in after Naomi defends the title at Battleground (presumably against Tamina). But a couple of minutes into the match I would have Lynch, Charlotte and Natalya attack Carmella throwing out the match. This provides revenge for the women screwed by James Ellsworth in the first Money in the Bank match while protecting Carmella from being pinned. Carmella could if you want turn face by dumping Ellsworth when he comes back from suspension and then have a feud with Lynch for the title later in the year. 

Now the non title matches on the card. Dean Ambrose and Samoa Joe will probably lose their title matches at Great Balls of Fire tonight (both in my booking and WWE’s). I would put them against each other and have Joe win keeping him dominant after he (please) pushes Brock Lesnar to the limit tonight. Ambrose can survive a loss and it has the advantage of being a fresh match up.

The booking of Finn Balor – who became the first ever Universal Champion at last year’s SummerSlam lest we forget – has been baffling. He is not even on the Great Balls of Fire card as of this writing which is quite astonishing. On RAW they have been teaseing a feud with the Drifter Elias Samson but it has not made the Great Balls of Fire card. I would have Balor face Cesaro – who might be without his tag partner Sheamus –  at SummerSlam. You could either have Balor win or have Cesaro win with interference from Samson if you want to continue the Balor/Samson feud.

Finally Mike and Maria Kanellis have joined WWE for some reason going straight to Smackdown and by passing NXT (which only AJ Styles. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows have done lately). Suspect Mike will start either against Tye Dillinger or (more likely) Sami Zayn. I would book Zayn to win although WWE have booked themselves into a corner if they go down this route as Mike Kanellis is new and Zayn has lost too many feuds so neither can lose. But someone has to win and Zayn has more growth potential (to be honest Mike and Maria leave me cold and the fact that Maria is on Smackdown while Auska and Nikki Cross are still in NXT proves that (a) WWE is not a meritocracy and (b) valets and intergender angles must be scrapped). 

So that is how I would book SummerSlam. WWE do it better….

How I would book SummerSlam (part 1) 

You may (or may not) remember that earlier this year I did a couple of posts where I wrote how I would have booked Wrestlemania 33. Now I’ve decided to fantasy book WWE’s second biggest event of the year – SummerSlam – which will be held in Brooklyn New York on August 20th. 

First of all this is how I would book SummerSlam. It will probably have little or no resemblance whatsoever to what WWE actually produces on August 20th. I should say that I’ve seen so many rumors about this event that I think either WWE is deliberately leaking rumours to throw fans off the scent or chairman Vince McMahon does not have a clue what he is doing (both are perfectly believable). For example I have seen rumours that men’s Money In the Bank winner Baron Corbin will cash in on Universal Champion Brock Lesnar although Corbin is on Smackdown and Lesnar on RAW. But I’ve also seen rumours that Corbin will lose the Money in the Bank briefcase. I don’t believe either will happen.

Like with Wrestlemania I’ll list the card I would book in this post and in my next post I will explain why I booked the matches and who I would have winning. 

One note. Sheamus and Randy Orton are not on my card as I have read they are taking a break from the WWE and for the purpose of this post I have assumed they will not be available for SummerSlam. Also as WWE had twelve matches (including the pre show) at last year’s SummerSlam that is the number I have decided to book.

Here is the card I would book : 

WWE Universal Championship – Brock Lesnar (c) v Roman Reigns v Braun Strowman.

WWE Championship – Jinder Mahal (c) v John Cena

Intercontinental Championship – The Miz (c) v Seth Rollins v Bray Wyatt

United States Championship – Kevin Owens (c) v Shinsuke Nakamura

RAW Tag Team Championship – The Hardys (c) v The Miztourage (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas)

Smackdown Tag Team Championship – The New Day (c) v The Usos

RAW Women’s Championship – Alexa Bliss (c) v Nia Jax v Sasha Banks 

Smackdown Women’s Championship – Naomi (c) v Becky Lynch 

Dean Ambrose v Samoa Joe

Finn Balor v Cesaro

AJ Styles v Rusev

Sami Zayn v Mike Kanellis 

(c) = the Champion(s) I would have going into SummerSlam. 

One point : Eagle eyed readers will notice that both of the Money in the Bank winners Baron Corbin and Carmella are not on the card. I will explain what happens to them in my next post as well as why I booked this card and who should win.

WWE do it better…..

How I would book Wrestlemania 33 (Part 2) 

In my previous post I listed the matches I would have booked for Wrestlemania 33. Now I will explain why I booked them and who should win. 

If you read my previous post you will have noticed that only one match on the real card is unaltered – Triple H v Seth Rollins (Assuming that Rollins knee is all right and he can compete). Hopefully Rollins goes over in this match as it fits into a storyline that I would start at Wrestlemania. 

Kevin Owens v Chris Jericho and Goldberg v Brock Lesnar would both still take place if I were booking but Owens v Jericho NOT Goldberg v Lesnar would be for the Universal Title. This is because in my mind Goldberg v Lesnar is one of those matches (like Rock v Hogan and the first Rock v Cena match) that is big enough not to need the title. Plus Owens and Jericho deserve the title slot for carrying RAW through the winter. Lesnar and Goldberg would not be the main event either. It would be in the middle of the card, lasting ten minutes at the very most with Brock getting revenge for his humiliation at Survivor Series. As for Owens v Jericho I’ll mention the winner later as it reveals the new storyline I mentioned earlier. 

So if Jericho and Owens are not fighting for the US title who would be? I don’t understand why they took the US title off Roman Reigns if the plan was not to give him the Universal title (it wasn’t). I’d have kept the US title on Reigns and have him defend it against Braun Strowman – a match that WWE in their infinite (lack of) wisdom wasted at Fastlane. And I would have Strowman win. To my mind the mid card titles should be used to promote new stars and Strowman should be one of them. Plus for his improvement in the last year he deserves a title. 

On the Smackdown side two matches I would get rid of – at once – would be AJ Styles v Shane McMahon and the awful mixed tag between John Cena and Nikki Bella and the Miz and Maryse. Mixed tags and Shane McMahon have no place at Wrestlemania. Instead John Cena would face the Undertaker – a match everybody but Vince McMahon wants it seems – with Taker winning. AJ Styles meanwhile would be added to the real life Randy Orton v Bray Wyatt title match. I would have booked this triple threat this way. Bray Wyatt wins the Royal Rumble, AJ Styles loses the title to Randy Orton at Elimination Chamber and Styles uses his rematch clause to get a title shot at Wrestlemania. Bray Wyatt would get his title winning moment at Wrestlemania but Styles would get his title match at Wrestlemania which he deserves for the matches he has provided in the last year. As for the Miz he should get an Intercontinental title match having made that title relevant again. A disappointing feature of Wrestlemania this year is the lack of a multi man ladder match so I would have had champion Dean Ambrose, the Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Baron Corbin, Kalisto and Luke Harper in an intercontinental ladder match which Corbin would win (I suspect he will win the Intercontinental title for real at Wrestlemania).

Next the women’s titles. Amazingly there has not been a women’s singles match at Wrestlemania since Wrestlemania 23 (the one Donald Trump was in) and there won’t be one this year as there have been two clusterfuck matches announced for both women’s titles. That’s not how I would have booked it. Instead for the RAW women’s title it would be heel Sasha Banks (she would have turned heel at Hell in A Cell last year by defending her title with help from Nia Max and Stephanie McMahon and her and Jax would have formed a female version of the Austin/Triple H two man power trip of 2001) against Bayley in a no disqualification match. Jax and Stephanie would try to interfere but Bayley would overcome the odds to gain a fairytale win and win the title at Wrestlemania (NOT on a random episode of RAW for god sake). 

But what about Charlotte? Well if I’d been booking the Sasha v Charlotte Hell In a Cell match back in October would have been a loser leaves RAW match. Therefore Charlotte having lost the match would be on Smackdown and she would be challenging Becky Lynch (I would not have taken the title off her) for the Smackdown women’s title. Charlotte would win and make history as the first woman to hold both the RAW and Smackdown women’s titles.  

As for the other women they would be put into a pre show Battle Royal – but unlike past women’s Battle Royals at Wrestlemania this one would mean something. The winner would be the number one contender for her brand’s women’s title. I would give the win to Mickie James who has just turned face. Mickie v Charlotte is a potentially good fantasy match we have not seen yet.

That leaves the Cruiserweights the tag teams and the rest. The Cruiserweight title match would be Neville v Jack Gallagher – which again WWE wasted at Fastlane. I’m biased but I want to see two UK wrestlers fight each other at Wrestlemania. Neville would retain. Sadly one of the tag team title matches probably has to go on the preshow – probably the Smackdown title as it has barely featured even on Smackdown (assuming both titles are on the show). The RAW title match would be the same as at Wrestlemania except I would add the New Day to make it a fatal four way (Why the New Day are hosting Wrestlemania instead of wrestling in it I don’t know). I would book Champions American Alpha v the Usos for the Smackdown titles. Both champions would retain. The rest of the male wrestlers would go into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal which I would have Sami Zayn win last eliminating Samoa Joe. 

That leaves the Owens v Jericho match. Owens would win – but not cleanly. Owens would distract the referee and while that is going on Triple H, Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns would attack Jericho. When that is finished Owens hits Jericho with the pop up powerbomb wins – and then Owens, Triple H, Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns celebrate over the prone Jericho. It has been long rumoured that Triple H is planning a new version of Evolution with Owens Joe and others. I reckon it should (a) start at Wrestlemania and (b) be the vehicle for the long overdue Roman Reigns heel turn.

I’m convinced that this Wrestlemania card would be far better than the one we will get on April 2nd. It would still have the part timers but it would also push new champions Strowman, Corbin and Bray Wyatt. It would have no rubbish mixed tags and no Shane McMahon match. I’m convinced it would be a successful show. But let’s hope Wrestlemania 33 is better in the ring than it looks on paper….

How I would book Wrestlemania 33 (Part 1) 

On Sunday April 2nd the WWE’s annual showpiece Wrestlemania will take place in Orlando….And to be honest it does not look good. There are at least three matches on the card that no one wants namely AJ Styles v Shane McMahon, Roman Reigns v the Undertaker and the appalling mixed tag between John Cena and Nikki Bella and the Miz and Maryse. Add to that the fact that Goldberg v Brock Lesnar is for the Universal Title thus ensuring that there will be a part time Universal Champion after WrestleMania. While there are good matches on the card – Kevin Owens v Chris Jericho, Bray Wyatt v Randy Orton and Triple H v Seth Rollins – assuming that Rollins is fit – the show could be another flop like last year’s Wrestlemania without the appalling injury list which was a big excuse for the average (at best) Wrestlemania last year. The card this year – with hardly any injuries – does not look good. And I can do it better!

First of all here is the card that I would have booked and then in my next post I’ll explain why I’ve booked it this way and how I’d have win.

WWE Universal Championship : Kevin Owens (c) v Chris Jericho

WWE Championship : Randy Orton (c) v AJ Styles v Bray Wyatt (Triple Threat).

John Cena v The Undertaker

Brock Lesnar v Goldberg

Triple H v Seth Rollins

United States Championship : Roman Reigns (c) v Braun Strowman.

Intercontinental Championship Six Man Ladder Match : Dean Ambrose (c) v the Miz v Dolph Ziggler v Baron Corbin v Kalisto v Luke Harper.

RAW Women’s Championship : Sasha Banks (c) v Bayley.

Smackdown Women’s Championship : Becky Lynch (c) v Charlotte.

Cruiserweight Championship : Neville (c) v Jack Gallagher.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

Women’s Battle Royal (Winner to get a title shot against the champion of her choice).

RAW tag team Championship :  The Club (c) v Sheamus and Cesaro v Enzo and Cass .v The New Day.

Smackdown tag team Championship : American Alpha (c) v the Usos.

(c) = the champion(s) I would have before Wrestlemania.

So there is my card. My reasons for it (plus my winners) in my next post…

Talking about a revolution

It was one year ago – July 13th 2015 – that Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks made their debuts on RAW and – since they were women who could actually wrestle – unlike the useless models that WWE usually hire – fans and the company – called it a revolution*. One year on how has the revolution got on? The answer is mixed to put it mildly.

The revolution started going wrong on its very first night. Let’s look at the definition of the word “revolution”  :

“Revolution (noun) : The forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favour of a new system”.

So who announced the revolution on RAW last year? Stephanie McMahon the daughter of the owner of the company! In effect the establishment of the WWE announced the revolution which is plainly nonsense as revolutions are the overthrow of the establishment! What should have happened was an ex wrestler like Lita should have announced it or just let the three women debut without a ballyhoo. That was the first mistake.

Their next mistake was to merge the three debutants with six of the existing women on the roster and split them into three teams of three. This led to weeks of mind numbingly dull tag matches between various combinations of the teams. Anybody with a knowledge of history would have known that this would be a disaster as it was merely a female version of Vince Russo’s disastrous  “Gang Wars” of 1997 when the Nation of Domination, Disciples of Apocalypse and Los Boriculas fought in meaningless tag matches. If it didn’t work for the men why on earth did WWE think it would work for the women 18 years on? What they should have done is either have Banks, Charlotte and Lynch as “invaders” – a female version of invading forces like the NWO, the Nexus or the Shield – but the problem with that idea was they for obvious reasons can only attack other women which lessens the element of surprise after their debut – or do what I would have done. Say that the women’s division is a shambles and needs a reboot strip the then champion Nikki Bella of her title get rid of the title belt and launch a new title** and have a tournament to crown a new champion. Just like WCW did with all their titles in April 2000 when that company was a mess and needed a reboot.

But it didn’t happen. And the reason it didn’t happen was because of a male ego. Nikki Bella is the girlfriend of John Cena the biggest star in the WWE. But unfortunately as an ex model she is a relic of the WWE’s toxic, sexist hiring policy and should have dropped the title. Indeed that was the plan. But unfortunately Cena allegedly lobbied the WWE to let Bella break AJ Lee’s record title reign and they accepted. Cena’s ego and the WWE’s determination to stick it to Lee’s ex husband CM Punk meant that Bella kept the title until October’s Night of Champions Pay per view – a dreadful mistake.

Even when Bella dropped the title to Charlotte the company still kept messing the women’s division up. For some reason best known to themselves the company had Paige mention the death of Charlotte’s brother Reid saying “Your brother didn’t show much fight did he?” which was crass and offensive to put it mildly. Then at the Royal Rumble in January this year they had Charlotte’s legendary father Ric Flair force a kiss on Becky Lynch. Yes they showed sexual assault on TV. Quite how showing an old man forcing a kiss on a young woman ties in with the WWE’s family friendly PG rating is a total mystery (they edited the incident out of repeats of the Rumble which tells you all you need to know).

To be fair, at Wrestlemania they almost got it right. They finally produced the new women’s belt they should have had back in July and the three women that had made their debuts back in July – Lynch, Banks and Charlotte – had one of the best matches of the night. Pity they had to have Ric Flair interfere to help his daughter gain victory but the match was a credit to women’s wrestling and it looked like the WWE were finally getting the women’s division right.

Er…they haven’t. Since Wrestlemania it has been going backwards again. Women’s matches are still far too short and the WWE still have a chronic inability to produce more than one female feud at the same time. For example after losing at Wrestlemania the popular Banks virtually disappeared from TV until the end of last month. This is partly because she suffered a concussion but mainly because WWE wanted to hold back her title bid – presumably to August’s SummerSlam – they had nothing for her to do. Imagine John Cena not being on TV because WWE wanted to keep him out of the title scene until August? You can’t. Because they wouldn’t do that that’s why….

It shows how pathetic the WWE is that the fact there are two women’s matches on the next WWE pay-per-view Battleground- Becky Lynch v Natalya and Charlotte/Dana Brooke v Banks and a partner of her choice – is eye catching and a sign of progress when it really shouldn’t be. The fact is while the WWE women’s division has improved since last year it can be said it is only taking the division back to the 2002-4 era where there was Trish Stratus, Lita, Molly Holly, Jazz, Gail Kim…the women’s division should have improved since 2004 but until last year it had actually gone backwards.

Women’s wrestling should by all logic be as successful as women’s tennis. After all the women wrestle at the same venues as the men – just like women play tennis on the same Grand Slam stage as the men. But thanks to WWE sexism it is more like women’s football, rugby , cricket and basketball – regarded by fans as inferior to the real male athletes. A few things I would do are :

Sack the models. The likes of Nikki Bella, Eva Marie, Lana and Maryse must be swept away. Women must be wrestlers – not eye candy or pretty valets for their husbands and boyfriends. Those kind of women should be swept into oblivion.

Scrap Total Divas. Total Divas is a crap reality show on the E channel – think “Keeping up with the Kardashians” only worse. Since the women aren’t known as Divas anymore this show must go. If WWE are contractually obliged to produce this garbage pay the E network whatever they want to get this rubbish off our TV. If they want $10 million give them $10 million. You can’t put a price on gender equality….

Sign more women. There are plenty of good women wrestlers WWE could sign. Kharma, Candice LeRae, Sexy Star, Ivelise, Cheerleader Melissa, Jessica Havok to name but six. If you want to improve the women’s division sign good wrestlers. Its not rocket science!

Treat women the same as men. I don’t mean intergender wrestling I mean what Adam Blampied of What Culture said “Book the angle as if it is starring two men. Change their names to Bayley and Sasha Banks***. And you’re done”! Simple! So why can’t WWE do this? Also have the women in the same stipulation matches as men – a Money in the Bank ladder match, a Last Man Standing Match, a TLC match, even a Hell in the Cell match between two women. Why not?

Oh…and sign Ronda Rousey. You know it makes sense.

There are no excuses. So far it has been more a case of “evolution” rather than “revolution”. In fact the so called ” revolution” has had all the revolutionary impact of a used teabag. What the WWE should be aiming for if not women main eventing pay-per-views – which has never happened -is for women to co main event pay-per-views. It happens at Wimbledon at the Olympics and at UFC 200 last Sunday. There is no reason why it should not be possible in the WWE. And if it happens then we will be truly able to talk about a revolution.

*WWE called it a “Diva’s revolution” but I refuse to use the word “Diva”.

**The WWE did introduce a new belt but at Wrestlamania not in July last year. It is a big improvement on that awful pink butterfly belt.

***Or any other women.

 

Let’s get ready to rumble

As I mentioned in an earlier post (“Why Rousey v Mayweather must never happen”) I am a fan of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and this Sunday sees my favourite WWE event the Royal Rumble. Now the favourite event of most WWE fans is Wrestlemania but mine is the Royal Rumble which is not only unique in the WWE but is rare in sport.

For in the Royal Rumble you do not know who you will see. At all other WWE events you know who are wrestling each other. At the Royal Rumble you do not. This is because of the unique format of the Main Event the Royal Rumble match itself. The match is a 30 man* Battle Royal. The catch is you do not know who is going to appear. This is because the 30 are not all in the ring at the same time. The first two wrestlers (usually decided by a random draw but not this year as I will explain later) start the match. After a fixed time (usually 90 seconds) the next wrestler enters the ring and thus carries on until all 30 have appeared in the match. Elimination occurs when a wrestler is thrown over the top rope with both feet touching the floor (a key caveat this. In 1995 Shawn Michaels was thrown over the top rope but only one foot touched the ground and went on to win the match).

What makes this match unique is that the fans do not know who is going to enter the ring until their entrance music appears. That is why I compare the Rumble to football’s FA Cup in that in the Cup a football fan does not know who their team is going to play until the result of a random draw. And it could be anybody. In the third round say Manchester United could draw Liverpool… or Leyton Orient. The Rumble is the same. I remember for example the 2002 Royal Rumble when Stone Cold Steve Austin had cleared the ring and was waiting for the next entrant. The response of the crowd when the theme music of Triple H another elite WWE superstar was played was amazing. It was like Liverpool bring drawn against Manchester United in the FA Cup!

Another resemblance between the Rumble and the FA Cup is that while usually ( but not always) a rich team/big name superstar wins you get giant killings along the way. By far the Royal Rumble’s biggest giant killing came in 2002. The Undertaker had cleared the ring and was waiting for the next entrant. It was the male winner of the “Tough Enough” reality show Maven who had barely had a WWE match. But with the help of the Hardy Boyz and Lita who distracted the Undertaker Maven eliminated the Dead Man. It would be like Arsenal being knocked out of the FA Cup by a non league team!

The one difference between the Rumble and the FA Cup is it can be a surprise when a big name wins the Rumble. Normally it would not be a surprise that John Cena or Edge won the Rumble. But in 2008 (Cena) and 2010 (Edge) they were injured and not expected to come back thus their appearance and victory was a surprise. The WWE often use the Rumble for surprise debuts/returns. For example the popular AJ Styles has signed for WWE and it would not surprise me if he made his debut during Sunday’s Rumble Match.

Talking of Sunday’s match this year’s Rumble resembles those of 1992 and 1999. Like 1992 the WWE title will be won by the winner of the Rumble match. The difference between now and 1992 is that in 1992 the WWE title was declared vacant due to shenanigans between Hulk Hogan and the Undertaker whereas now the WWE title is definitely not vacant. Reigning champion Roman Reigns is being forced to defend the title in the Rumble Match because he has gotten on the wrong side of WWE owner Vince McMahon who is determined that Reigns will lose the Rumble and the title (to no one’s surprise Reigns has been lumbered with the number one entry in a rigged lottery which means he has to go from gun to tape to win). And that is where the resemblance to 1999 comes in. In 1999 McMahon was determined Steve Austin would not win the Rumble lumbering Stone Cold with the number one entry and even entering the match himself. In fact the 1999 Rumble’s tagline and theme music were both called “No Chance in Hell” – referring to Austin’s chances of winning and still McMahon’s entrance music to this day. McMahon is determined that there will be no chance in hell for Reigns seventeen years on.

McMahon himself – with help from the Rock – won the 1999 Rumble. What I fear is that McMahon’s son in law and WWE chief operations officer Triple H will do the same in 2016. What I’d like to see is either Reigns winning against the odds or Brock Lesnar winning (preferably with Reigns the last man eliminated) thus setting up a Reigns v Lesnar main event match for the title at Wrestlemania 32 in April. Remember there was never a winner between Reigns and Lesnar at last year’s Wrestlemania because Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank so you could have them meet again to see who is the better man.

One thing is certain. The Royal Rumble will again be the most exciting hour in the WWE. All together now. 10-9-8-7….

*Usually 30 man but in four Royal Rumbles women competed. Chyna (1999,2000), Beth Phoenix (2010) and Kharma (2012). Since the WWE is now PG hopefully the abomination of male v female wrestling will not happen again.