I love the holiday season. Every month brings a uniquely special celebration. October

has Halloween, November has Thanksgiving, December has Christmas and New Year’s Eve;

which brings us right into January, for the season’s final holiday: The Royal Rumble.

The Rumble is held on the sabbath for a reason. It’s a high holy day for pro wrestling

fans. And the 2016 Royal Rumble event holds with it some particularly special stipulations and

implications! (Of course I say that, like, EVERY year. Oh, look at me, I’m blushing. Ack!).

But in all sincerity, this will be the first Royal Rumble match where the WWE

Heavyweight Title will be on the line, as well as including the defending champion as a

participant. The 1992 Royal Rumble was the only other time that the winner of the elimination

extravaganza would win the (WWF) Heavyweight Title. However, the title was vacated at the

time, so there was never a moment in the Rumble when the current title holder was eliminated.

The Roman Reigning champ’s (Yuck) potential elimination should prove to be a fun

addition pop for the viewers. And the champ’s odds are slim, since Vince and Stephanie

McMahon fixed the #1 entry slot for Roman Reigns. However, this wouldn’t be the first time the

man who drew #1 would win a Royal Rumble, as that distinction goes to Shawn Michaels

and...that’s it! That’s it, right? He was the only one? Wow, I swore there was another one. Hmm.

Oh well…(It was Chris Benoit).

Anyway! Rey Mysterio also won the match having drawn #2, which should basically

count as #1 since the first two participants start the match. The fact that he doesn’t hold that

distinction irks me a little, but numbers are numbers!

 

Elite Status

Another fact that would make Roman retaining the title and winning the Rumble match a

little too cute and perfect is the fact that he won it last year. He would share this back­to­back

stat with Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. I’m sorry, Roman. But you

are no Hogan/Michaels/Austin, as much as the top brass would like you to be.

If Roman were to win all too expectedly, it would dig him even deeper into the hole of

audience dissatisfaction, as they are all too aware that they’re being sold snake oil in a Samoan

sandwich, which does sound delicious.

So we move on to the other favorite of the Royal Rumble; The Conqueror, The Beast

Incarnate, the God of Violent Retribution: Brock Lesnar. As much as I would like to see Brock

win, I have my doubts. I do think he’s primed to have the most dominant showing at the Rumble,

and will likely have the most eliminations. Not only that, but I see him making it into the final

four...but his victory is also a little too expected. As enjoyable as it would be to watch, I’m

expecting a surprise or three. The Royal Rumble commonly has no shortage of surprises.

What I am expecting is a glorious return from an injury. Just take your pick. Top talent

may be missing the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania due to injuries. John Cena is the most

recently injured, so I won’t expect to see him. Seth Rollins also had a terrible knee injury which

was expected to keep him out of action for the better part of a year, so his appearance is also

very unlikely. And then there’s Daniel Bryan. Daniel Bryan is indefinitely out, but it would make

for a great surprise, even if his actions were limited. But who knows. Maybe Bryan is keeping his

current health status a secret and we could witness a magical Royal Rumble moment in his

return.

Another aspect of the Rumble match that should play a large role is the massive influx of

factions as of late in the WWE. The Royal Rumble is infamously an “every man for himself” deal.

But that doesn’t mean that factions haven’t teamed up to win in the past. With the stables of The

Dudley Boyz with Rhyno and Tommy Dreamer, The Usos, The New Day, The League of

Nations, and the newly formed Social Outcasts, you’re bound to see a good deal of gang war

action.

This kind of strategy could work in certain individuals’ favor. Most notably, The Wyatt

Family could be extremely influential in this year’s Rumble. Monday Night Raw concluded with

an omen of what could become of Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns this Sunday. It would seem

like Bray Wyatt may be the dark horse for the 2016 Royal Rumble. Speaking of horses, it seems

like The Wyatt Family is pushing for a Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse angle. I would be on

board with my bags packed if only The Four Horsemen weren’t already the most recognized

faction of all time. Still, I’m a fan of the premise. Regardless, it’s over­the­top, Godly, cryptic

nonsense, and I love it.

If anything else, it will be interesting to see The God of Violent Retribution clash with The

Eater of Worlds. And hey, I wouldn’t even mind that as a Wrestlemania match. But whether or

not either of them would be wearing the gold after the Royal Rumble is up to the fates (and the

WWE Creative Staff) to decide. The WWE Universe is clamoring for a satisfying finish to the

Rumble, since they really haven’t attempted anything too risky in the past few years.

But if all isn’t exactly how you dreamt it would be, don’t be a Grinch. Have fun this

Sunday. Take it all in. Remember, you have to wait a full year for it to come back around. So,

decorate the Rumble Tree, hang your wrestling boots by the chimney with care, and may you all

have a very Merry Royal Rumble!

Nathan Burke is a standup comedian in Boston. He hosts a comedy podcast, So Now I'm the Asshole on Fans.FM