WWE Royal Rumble 2017: Less is More


The less we know about the participants in the Royal Rumble match, the more enjoyable it will be for fans.

The 2017 Royal Rumble is only a few days away and we still don’t know the names of all 30 competitors, which is a good thing. As of Tuesday, January 24th, a total of 21 wrestlers have declared themselves official entrants into the match with at least a few more likely to announce this week on Smackdown. I estimate that we will know the names of around 25 participants before this Sunday which gives plenty of room for inevitable surprises.

A few months ago there were only handful of interesting names writers and bloggers could play with as we did our usual speculation dance about who will win and why. It’s a fun exercise as we approach the Rumble because until the events happens we all have valid reasons why someone can and/or should win. Some people come with stats and some come with “gut feelings” and until Sunday has come and gone all of have an equal chance of being correct. Well, except the person who wants James Ellsworth to win. I don’t know who you are but I know you’re out there and you’re wrong.

We knew Goldberg and Brock Lesnar were going to be a part of this match and they turned out to be the first men to throw their hats into the proverbial ring. Will their continuing feud be too much of a distraction and cost them a title shot? Mountain men Braun Strowman and Baron Corbin announced their chance to shine and suddenly the match became very interesting. Both men have been receiving favorable pushes lately so it’s unlikely they will be immediately squashed by a bigger star such as Goldberg or Lesnar. All three members of New Day made their case and while I am always excited to see what feat of acrobatics Kofi Kingston will bring to the Rumble I don’t give any of them a legitimate chance of winning. The odds on favorite still remained with one of the big men.

All that changed on January 9th when Undertaker made a surprise visit to RAW and announced his entry. The question no longer revolved around who would win the Rumble but rather who could possibly eliminate the Undertaker. Will we see a rematch between the Dead Man and Lesnar? Will Shane McMahon somehow use this opportunity to exact revenge for last year’s WrestleMania? There are enough uncertainties surrounding the Undertaker himself to keep us guessing and that’s exactly how it should be.

The worst kind of pay-per-view is one where you know the outcome of the main event. I’m looking at you Fastlane 2015 and 2016, Roadblock 2016 and WrestleMania 32. All of these shows featured main events where the winner was overwhelmingly known to the WWE Universe and the IWC which made them borderline unwatchable. It’s worth noting that Roman Reigns was involved in most of these matches and this fact undoubtedly contributes to the current dislike from fans. We knew he was going to win those matches and indeed he did, to the surprise of absolutely no one.

Related Story: WWE Royal Rumble 2017: 5 Stats That Could Hint the Potential Winner

As it stands, the 2017 Royal Rumble is different because there is no clear favorite since the main event of WrestleMania is still undetermined. The odds are slightly in favor of Braun Strowman winning and thus facing either John Cena or AJ Styles for the WWE Heavyweight Championship, but is the company ready to give Braun the brightest spot on the grandest stage? The fact that I honestly cannot say yes or no proves the WWE has done a good job of keeping this event interesting. Let us hope the actual match delivers as well.