Andy Williams once famously sang ‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’. Now, while we can’t be 100 per cent sure he was singing exclusively about the Royal Rumble, we can all agree to be fairly certain.
If you had anything related to a normal childhood, you’d see that solving any quarrel you ever had with a sibling was decided by who could kick the other one off the bed from a scary height first.
Well, add some blokes in makeup and a few ropes and you’ve got this year’s edition of WWE’s most beloved Pay Per View.
But it’s about who wins and loses sometimes. Occasionally, the biggest moments arrive in the unexpected returns or arrivals of a superstar – and on some occasions – they even overshadow the final result.
Here’s some of the very best.
Edge in 2010:
It’s very hard to get someone who’s been an effective heel for so long to take that face turn and become loved by the fans again.
In an unfortunate situation, came success for Edge back in 2009 when he tore his Achilles in San Diego. His original return date was set for Wrestlemania in April, but after a speedy rehab process, he was able to return early.
There haven’t been many louder ovations for any superstar in this match than there were for the Rated R Superstar after this one. The best bit? He went on to win the whole thing.
John Cena in 2008:
I know it’s hard to believe, but there was genuinely a time where John Cena wasn’t completely despised and booed every single week.
Even at this point in time, sentiment was divided but there was genuine goodwill for him. Similar to Edge in the above example, Cena tore his pectoral muscle in October 2007.
Now, for those mathematicians among you, that’s just over two months to return as the Rumble takes place in January.
It is honestly borderline impossible, but there you go. Two months later, Cena returns to eliminate Triple H and win the whole thing.
Triple H in 2016:
This one was weird. In the era of the internet where everyone knows exactly what’s coming, when and how, the fact Triple H entered himself in to the Royal Rumble after months of drawn-out sighs of boredom from fans that expected Roman Reigns to win the match, was incredible.
Sometimes the company listens to the crowd, as unlikely as that may seem. This was one of those cases and to last eliminate Reigns and issue him with the DX-patented ‘Suck It’ taunt was a magic moment.
Even if, in retrospect, this was WWE simply delaying the inevitable and depending on a bloke approaching his 50’s to carry excitement again.
Chris Jericho in 2013:
Chris Jericho has had more returns than your local electronics shop at this stage in his career, so for him to reinvent himself time and time again and still get pulses racing is a testament to his ability and charisma.
As Y2J went touring with his band Fozzy, nobody expected Jericho to be back any time soon, even though he just left a feud with Dolph Ziggler that was heating up really nicely at the time.
But as Ziggler entered number one in the match, Jericho’s music hit the and the arena rose to their collective feet in awe.
It was a special moment for a special performer.
AJ Styles in 2016:
Styles was long considered one of the best performers in the world. He has brilliant runs with TNA where his skill-set was notable.
His switch to WWE rumours went on for nearly a decade, but we got to a point in his career where it began to look doubtful.
So, on the night of the 2016 Royal Rumble, there had been whispers – like there has been for too long.
Strange music hit and attentions turned to the titan tron. It was Styles – and what was a dream for so many wrestling fans was finally realised.
He’s gone on to show just why he was so loved, too.