WWE’s annual Royal Rumble, a pay-per-view headlined by a 30 man battle royal that usually lasts an hour, takes place on Sunday. The Rumble match itself is one of the most iconic in pro wrestling, and has been won by some of the industry’s biggest stars on the road to WrestleMania, including Shawn Michaels, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, and John Cena.
But while plenty of words will be spilled about the Rumble on this site over the coming days, I thought it might be fun to take things in a different direction. Historically, there are a few “types” of wrestlers that do well in the Rumble – tall guys, super heavyweights, cruiserweights, super athletic guys, and wily veterans.
If sports stars took part in the Rumble, which ones would be the best fits for stereotypes we’ve seen for years? Here are a few that seem to fit some of the stereotypes pretty well.
The Miami Marlins second baseman is a cut from the same cloth as Rey Mysterio Jr, the Rumble winner in 2006. He’s small! He’s fast! He’s durable! I can totally see Dee Gordon entering the Rumble, just sort of hanging around in the corner or on the ring apron, draped around the bottom rope, for 40 minutes. Then all of a sudden, he’s in the final six, and there’s a real chance Dee Gordon is going to win the damn thing.
Hey, this kind of sounds like his MLB career – it doesn’t look like he’s going to do much of anything, and then out of nowhere, Dee Gordon is a top five second baseman in baseball and getting a $50 million contract extension.
It’s too easy to compare Vince Wilfork to 1993 Rumble winner Yokozuna, right? Huge, strong guy that’s impossible to get over the top rope? The Houston Texans’ defensive tackle is listed at “only” 325 pounds, downright svelte compared to Yokozuna, but the man would still be a force in the Rumble. It would take seven or eight competitors to gang up on him and dump him over the top rope to eliminate him, much like it takes a couple of offensive linemen to block Wilfork at the line of scrimmage.
Bartolo is the best of both worlds – a robust individual that also serves as a wily veteran. He’s a plus-sized Ric Flair! Or if you want to go in another direction, he’s an older Rikishi. Everyone gets excited to see him, and then he doesn’t do a whole lot of anything…but hey, he’s dangerous! He’s not someone you can write off! In other words, Bartolo Colon is the guy you see in the Rumble and think “oh damn, now it’s getting real,” but the outcome can be anything from “six guys getting dumped out” to “five lousy minutes”.
Because why not? John Scott’s everywhere lately, so let’s put him in the Royal Rumble too! Let’s be honest here – Scott wouldn’t win the Rumble. He wouldn’t come close. He’d get the Warlord/Santino Marella treatment and get dumped in seconds. But hey, it would be fun! And we’d all forget about it after 30 seconds because really, it’s John Scott.
This one seems a bit obvious – LeBron James is that Undertaker/Kane type guy that just dominates. He’s tall, he’s muscular, and he would be an absolute house of fire in the ring. Imagine LeBron throwing jobbers out left and right trying to finally win the big one.
And hey, it’s not as if the Undertaker and Kane have had a ton of overall success in the Rumble – despite being fixtures in the match for years, Kane’s never won and the Undertaker won just once, back in 2007. Meanwhile, LeBron’s won just two NBA titles over his career, and has fallen short more often than not despite expectations through the roof. Gee, that sounds familiar…
Everyone always wants the young star to win the Rumble every year, be it Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, or further back in the past, Michaels and Austin. Right now in the sports world, Mike Trout seems to be that guy. Everyone wants Trout to succeed and win (well, except Rangers fans), and he’s the face of a sport at such a young age. Trout finishing as the runner-up for AL MVP in three of his first four seasons in the league (while winning the award in 2014) and coming up with zero playoff wins almost feels like that young star coming so close to winning the Rumble each year, only to get thrown over the top rope with just two or three opponents left. So close to taking that step to the next level and yet, so far away.
I needed someone to compare to the Big Show, a wrestler that has been around for awhile, been in plenty of Rumbles and eliminated plenty of opponents, but has never won. Thus…Carmelo Anthony, who has been to once Conference Finals in his career. Melo *is* the Big Show – you can go a long way with him, but never, ever bet on him to win the whole damn thing. You’ll only end up disappointed.
There’s a wrestling meme that always makes the rounds when John Cena is involved at the top of the card: LOL CENA WINS. Because, well, John Cena always wins. And it seems like that’s what happens when Tom Brady is involved in a big game – LOL BRADY WINS. Yes, I’m aware the Patriots have won *just* one Super Bowl over the past decade, but Brady is one of the league’s marquee players and is always fighting for championships. In a couple of weeks, if Brady and the Patriots are raising another Lombardi Trophy, just remember – LOL BRADY WINS, no matter how hard you cheer against him.