By Maximiliano Peralta
For most wrestling fans, the annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view event is the epitome of excitement. It stands as the only night of the year where you could find an hour-long match that promotes throwing other wrestlers over the top rope. The Rumble isn’t quite the Super Bowl of wrestling (that honor belongs to WrestleMania). Yet in the same week that Aaron Rodgers held up the Lombardi trophy, wrestling began its own “playoffs” with the second biggest show of the year.
Not familiar with the Rumble? Two men start the first match, and a new wrestler enters every 90 seconds. Wrestlers thrown over the top rope get eliminated. Last man standing wins.
Royal Rumble began last week with a magical first match. Wrestler CM Punk and his group of devotees dominated the match for more than ten minutes. The numbers game clearly worked to their advantage as they cleared the ring and proceeded to toss anybody who had the misfortune of entering the match in a 5 on 1 predicament. Then, in a veritable miracle, John Cena hit the ring and eliminated them all in the span of 20 seconds. Where every other wrestler — including the seven-foot-plus Great Khali — could do nothing, “Super Cena” pulled off a royal elimination.
WWE gains additional creativity points for a scene where John Morrison was tossed from the ring. Morrison landed on the guardrail separating the fans from the action, a good 8 to 10 feet away from the ring (to be eliminated, both feet need to touch the floor). He then walked the narrow guardrail and made an incredible leap back into the ring. This spectacular stunt will make the highlight reels for years to come.
The shocker of the night came at the end, when rookie Alberto Del Río stunned the wrestling world by pulling off the victory only six months into his career. It was strange seeing such a fresh face win a match traditionally reserved for established main event attractions. The man is far from young—he is already 33 and a renowned lucha-libre champion. He is also one of the most entertaining wrestlers in Rumble history. After all, how many superstars have their own personal ring announcer introducing them in their native language? How many enter the ring in a Rolls Royce that was probably rented before the show? He is flashy, gimmicky, and over-the-top with his persona. He smashes mariachi guitars across the back of good-guy characters and puts lucha-libre masks on Chihuahuas to make fun of other wrestlers. But ridiculousness like this is what makes wrestling so entertaining at times.