Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Return to the Royal Rumble

The Royal Rumble viewing at Sam’s house was the first Royal Rumble I had seen in years. The last time I had seen a full Royal Rumble from beginning to end was in 1996 when Shawn Michaels won it for the second year in a row. It just so happens that the Rumble is my favorite WWE PPV of the year. In just three hours, it is able to demonstrate what makes the WWE successful.

The Royal Rumble, in my opinion, is the most action-packed pay per view of the year. There was little filler space, having three championship matches and a 30-man battle royal. Each brand, ECW, RAW, and Smackdown, is able to showcase their champion defending their title against the number one contender. In the three matches we watched, the champions retained their title and put on a showing for the fans in the process. Even if you’ve never watched a match before, you can still sense the importance of each match.

The actual rumble is excited former beginning to end. There’s a lot of unpredictability to the match since nobody knows who will enter next. New and old faces appeared in the ring every 90 seconds. I particularly enjoyed this because I was able to see some of my favorite wrestlers from when I last watched wrestling a few years ago. I was able to better appreciate the way in which the match was organized and how the wrestlers had to work together in order to put on a good show. Older wrestlers took charge of the match, big wrestlers cleaned out the ring, and the announcers kept the excitement level at a maximum. In the end the Undertaker became the first #30 to win the rumble. You could tell that he was going to win when he single-handedly took out Khali and nearly 10 wrestlers were needed to take out Viscera.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Royal Rumble viewing at Sam’s house. It reminded me of why I enjoy watching wrestling. Even though I haven’t been able to keep up with it recently, I was still able to follow every match and wrestling move. The structure of wrestling allows you to pick up on a storyline after a lapse in watching. Hopefully, this will be the start of future viewings of WWE pay per view events.


Sam Ford said...

Ismael, in writing this from a fan's perspective, I think you highlight what I had intended to be the point of watching one PPV in full--the way you structure a PPV event. It's important to have ups-and-downs for the crowd, but to do so without filling like anything is complete filler material. The Royal Rumble is advantaged because the one match takes up so much of the card, but it is one of the reasons why that event is many people's favorite of the year.

You also make another interesting point, which is how wrestling storylines seem so easy to get back into as a fan. Even though the show is serialized, you write that "the structure of wrestling allows you to pick up on a storyline after a lapse in watching." I'd be interested in knowing more about your thought process on that...

katejames said...

I was also surprised about how easy it was to jump bcak in to watching a current wrestling ppv. The last Royal Rumble I saw was at least 16 years ago, but I very easily connected back into the format. This is partly because some of the same wrestlers are in the ring (thankfully having aged so I didn't feel trapped in a total time warp) and the format of the rumble so easily sucks a viewer in. I love the cycle of anitcipation in the rumble-- the whole stage becomes a place where a performance is building up and breaking down at simultaneously. It seems to capture all the up and downs of the match (as we heard about yesterday, the intro, the heel heat, the hopeful face moment, etc.) at the same time, with an added density of performance.

And it was nice to leave the MIT caves of audio-visual inequity... Thanks for having us over Sam!

Sam Ford said...

The traditional mode of describing a match that David points out seems best suited to a one-on-one, but mini-versions of that same structure happen in tag team matches, battle royals, etc. It was our pleasure to have you over, and I enoyed the lack of technical problems probably more than anyone! :)

Omar said...

As a veritable non-fan of wrestling, I must say that one of my favorite wrestling spectacle to date has been the Royal Rumble. With 30 guys going at it at the same time, what's there not to enjoy?

I too like the idea of each wrestling brand featuring their own superstars on the card. In a sense the match is a sort of great equalizer making it seem that almost anybody could become a top contender in the race to the WWE championship.

Sam Ford said...

Omar, I do think the narrative possibilities in a match like the Royal Rumble is key, but as you point out in another thread, it can never replace the one-on-one wrestling match, which has to remain the central focus of the narrative.