5 Tips for Surviving the Royal Rumble Match

Form partnerships … selectively

It’s every man for himself inside the Royal Rumble Match, but that doesn’t mean Superstars don’t forge pacts. As counterintuitive as it sounds, there are distinct advantages to building bridges, even if you plan on torching them within the hour.

History shows alliances are particularly useful when a superheavyweight needs to be ousted from competition. In 1990, it took Jimmy Snuka, Smash, Haku, Ted DiBiase and Jim Neidhart — an unusual hodgepodge of rule-breakers and fan favorites — to dump the 400-plus-pound Earthquake over the top rope. (PHOTOS) Four years later, Kurrgan the Interrogator’s dreams of headlining WrestleMania XIV were dashed when a collection of Superstars, including rivals The Rock and Ken Shamrock, banded together to hoist the giant out of the ring. (PHOTOS) Working with fellow Rumblers to toss out big men is a tradition that still lives on today, according to Kofi Kingston.

“For a guy like me to throw someone the size of The Great Khali over, I’m going to need some help,” The Dreadlocked Dynamo admitted. “Usually, everyone is smart enough to realize that if you get stuck in the ring with one of those big guys, you’re going to have a really hard time.”

Shawn Michaels, a two-time Rumble Match winner, is an authority on managing relationships inside the 30-man match. Had it not been for HBK and six other Superstars joining forces to eliminate him, Mabel may have gone the distance in 1994. As Michaels demonstrated in later Rumbles, however, he had no qualms about superkicking Kliq pals Diesel and Triple H over the top rope.

“In the Rumble, everybody is your potential friend and your potential enemy,” The Showstopper told WWE.com in 2012. “You make alliances that you wouldn’t normally make, and you stab anybody in the back that you want to stab in the back.”

Ultimately, all partnerships in the Rumble Match are short-term, and anticipating the breaking point in an alliance is key. The transformation can happen in the blink of an eye. With one quick pivot, Ric Flair went from high-fiving The Barbarian to chopping him in the chest during the 1992 contest.

“You should be the one to break an alliance before it gets broken on you,” Kingston cautioned.