WWE Royal Rumble - the 30-man match not to be missed

Thursday, January 12
By: Zach Linder Almost three decades ago, the dream of WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon was made manifest with the birth of the squared circle’s most celebrated spectacle, WrestleMania. More than a quarter of a century later, 30 WWE Superstars will have the ultimate opportunity to realize their dream of performing in main event match at The Showcase of the Immortals. (WATCH: ROYAL RUMBLE 2012 PREVIEW) They can dance on The Grandest Stage of Them All at WrestleMania XXVIII. But first, one Superstar will need to surpass the efforts of 29 opposing competitors with the same aspiration in the 2012 Royal Rumble Match. A celebrated tradition in WWE, the Rumble began in 1988 with a relatively modest figure of 20 Superstars, but has boasted at least 30 competitors since the following year. Last year, 10 additional gladiators brought the count to 40, creating a chaotic environment ultimately won by The Mexican Aristocrat Alberto Del Rio. This year, the Rumble Match honors its heritage by reverting to the classic 30-man format that is so beloved by the WWE Universe. A test of endurance, athleticism and survival at all costs, the Rumble Match is the definitive Battle Royal, where each Superstar’s prime objective is to propel their opponents over the top rope, with both feet touching the floor. Every 90 seconds, an additional ring warrior with a randomly drawn entry number joins the fray. In the end, the last Superstar standing can officially punch a gold-embossed ticket to Miami, where they will contend for either Raw’s WWE Championship or SmackDown’s World Heavyweight Championship. Though luck of the draw can be a critical factor in such a high-stakes situation, past winners have included Superstars who kicked off the Rumble Match at number one (including 1995’s Shawn Michaels victory) or number two (Rey Mysterio in 2006, and The Chairman himself in 1999). Commonly considered the most desired slot, only twice has the Rumble been won by the Superstar entering at the revered number 30: The Undertaker’s sole conquest in 2007, and John Cena’s shocking return and victory at Madison Square Garden in 2008. Surprises and other unique moments have become de rigueur for Rumble Matches, including the aforementioned John Cena victory, Edge’s similar feat in 2010, and last year’s appearances of Diesel and Booker T. Even WWE Hall of Famer Drew Carey got in on the action in 2001. In 1998, all three of Mick Foley’s personas – Cactus Jack, Mankind, and Dude Love – all entered the Rumble Match individually. One can only speculate which Legends, returning favorites, or pop culture icons may make unannounced cameos at this year’s event. However, as the saying goes, “You have to be in it to win it.” Tune in to Raw and SmackDown, and stay logged on to WWE.com as the 25th annual Royal Rumble approaches. Then be sure to watch live on pay-per-view on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 8 ET/5 PT as this epic event defines the path of the coming year in WWE.

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