Thank god for the Royal Rumble.
Or, as we all know, thank the late Pat Patterson. A brainwave his boss and finest mate Vince McMahon wasnt terribly persuaded about back in the mid-1980s has given that become an institution as cherished as WrestleMania, as revered as TakeOver and as longstanding as the Chairmans own unpredictable mood.
Outside of a dreadful mid-2010s run that was thankfully reversed prior to completion of the years, the annual golden ticket fight royal provides a crucial tonic to a product that – too frequently – feels a little unimportant. Title shots fall out of the sky for Randy Orton to such a degree that he might joke about it in programmes with Kofi Kingston and Drew McIntyre in 2019 and 2020. Because its an accepted trope from the monopoly years, midcarders with dodgy win/loss records can attack titleholders and get rewarded with Championship matches at pay-per-views. And Money In The Bank – the one brand-new addition from that accursed duration that was worthy of its own program – has been bastardised beyond reproach of late.
Its the closest thing WWE has to a magic power. The Rumbles timeless quality as a match raises the reward for the winner. That elevation itself raises WrestleManias value, which makes sure that the Show Of Shows remains the companys crown jewel.
All of this status was well-earned …