Bring it Back: The Royal Rumble tumbler
With 30 Superstars involved, every Superstar for himself and a WrestleMania World Title opportunity on the line, the Royal Rumble Match is truly a match like no other. As this classic contest gets set to usher in its 25th anniversary, WWE.com calls for the return of a hallmark of bygone Royal Rumbles: the lottery-ball tumbler.
For those who don’t remember, the tumbler worked this way: Prior to the Royal Rumble Match, each Superstar would draw, at random, a plastic ball from a large, spinning cage. Inside each ball was a number – 1 to 30 – that corresponded to the order in which they would enter the battle. Right then and there, the competitor who drew No. 1 would learn he had to enter first, instantly stacking the odds against him. The ball containing lucky No. 30, on the other hand, secured its owner a highly coveted spot.
With the fanfare of a Super Bowl pre-game coin toss, these ball drawings added a layer of intrigue, stoking the already existing speculation about which Superstars would enter when. In a showdown where the order of entry plays such a pivotal role, bringing back this portion of the ceremonies would further increase the pre-match excitement.
The Royal Rumble ball drawings have provided their share of classic moments. In 1998, a rare bulk drawing involving all 30 competitors erupted into a chaotic brawl. The next year, Mr. McMahon rigged the tumbler, with “luck” dictating that “Stone Cold” Steve Austin enter first and The WWE Chairman enter last.
In 2006, Rey Mysterio drew the No. 2 ball. This allowed the WWE Universe passage into an intimate moment, as Mysterio dedicated the match to his fallen friend, WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero. After choosing his number, The Ultimate Underdog couldn’t help but grin and look to the heavens once he realized he was in store for an uphill battle. This moment became all the more special when The Master of the 619 went on to win that year’s Rumble. (WATCH)
Despite, or maybe because of its tumultuous past, the return of the Royal Rumble drawings is long overdue. But how exactly would such a drawing look in today’s WWE?
It’s easy to guess, regardless of his number, how The Miz might react (“Really?!”). It is not out the realm of possibilities to envision Sheamus Brogue Kicking his ball out of the tumbler. David Otunga, meanwhile, would surprise no one if he were to resort to litigation over an unfavorable selection.
The Royal Rumble Match packs plenty of unpredictability, even if devoid of lottery ball selections. Bringing back the lottery drawings would only serve to elevate the excitement surrounding an already incomparable event.