Cathy Kelley gives the WWE Universe a sneak peek inside the Alamodome ahead of Royal Rumble 2017, previewing the weekend ahead, including NXT TakeOver: San Antonio and the Royal Rumble Match itself.01/28/2017 - 16:30
Ready to rumble
In the realm of sports-entertainment, the Royal Rumble Match is the ultimate game of King of the Hill (not to be confused with the dim-witted cartoon by Beavis and Butthead creator, Mike Judge).
In the Royal Rumble Match, two Superstars enter the ring and at 90-second intervals another Superstar, who's chosen at random, enters the competition. In total, 30 Superstars will battle it out, attempting to throw the other 29 competitors over the top rope.
The prize? The winner earns the privilege to main- event WrestleMania and a World Championship opportunity.
This year from San Antonio, the most star-studded Royal Rumble Match in WWE history is set to shake the walls of the AT&T Center. WWE.com obtained a copy of a list of names with some of the Superstars that would be participating.
The Raw Superstars were informed on Monday, and after the story appeared on WWE.com, the SmackDown Superstars and ECW Extremists were filled with questions wanting to know if they made the list.
"I'm in the Royal Rumble? That's pretty sweet," said a stoked CM Punk. "Damn, first Survivor Series and now the Royal Rumble."
His excitement caused him to stumble over his words as he fired questions at a mile-a-minute.
"Who else is in it? Can you give me all of the names? What do you think my odds are?" he asked. "Doesn't matter; I think my odds are good; I'm going to represent Chicago and ECW. Afterwards, hopefully, I'll be seeing everyone in Detroit in the main event of WrestleMania."
Another Royal Rumble first was The Miz. But, when you've starred in "9 top-rated reality shows" it has to be a given, right?
"I brought MTV to the heights it's at today," he said. "When I win [the Royal Rumble Match] I'll win the World Title and then I'll probably run with it until the next Royal Rumble."
Confidence (or is it arrogance?) was noticeable with almost everyone approached. No Superstar showed any doubts pertaining to their skills in one of the most exciting matches WWE has to offer.
Chavo Guerrero wasn't surprised when he heard the news. He acted as if his place in the match was already etched in stone, simply because his experience and last name had reserved him a spot.
"I'm a Guerrero and we're all stars, so the most star-studded Royal Rumble ever needs to have a Guerrero in it," the Superstar bragged. "I'm glad that every star competitor in WWE will be involved -- I wouldn't have it any other way."
"That way" would be the old-school smash-mouth style that Chavo has helped to perfect. Another graduate of that style would be the Belfast native, Finlay -- someone who's always looking for a fight. But he's not just planning to use his brawn.
"There's going to be a lot of guys in there going gung-ho, trying to toss everyone out the first minute they get in there," the Irishman said shaking his head in disapproval. "I'm going to bide my time, sneak around and smack people in the back of the head and then tip them out of the ring; I'm going to win this with no problem."
What could cause a problem is the fallout between two brothers, Jeff and Matt Hardy, if they're forced to go head to head in the Royal Rumble Match.
"Not at all," Matt insisted. "Jeff and I can work together, at least for a little while; of course if it comes down to it in the end, if we have to go, we go."
The Raw locker room was also buzzing when the names were released.
After his first singles match in a pay-per-view, which he won, the egotistical Kenny Dykstra could barely get over the fact that he may not have been considered as a participant.
"At first, I wasn't sure if I would be chosen or not… but with a star like me, who has such a bright future in this industry, it only makes sense to include me in a match of that caliber," bragged Kenny.
Chris Masters doesn't believe Kenny should be the one bragging. If anyone has earned bragging rights, it's The Masterpiece. "[It] doesn't matter if it's Raw, SmackDown or ECW, I am Chris Masters, The Masterpiece, and I'm the most gifted, young Superstar WWE has to offer," said a smug Masters. "It's my destiny to become the top dog in this business, and this is my chance to get back on track."
Someone who is always hungry to make a statement is the 400-pound Viscera. He'll be looking to shove Masters and all of the remaining 28 Superstars into the figurative doghouse come Jan. 28. According to the World's Biggest Love Machine, it's not just his enormous size that gives him the advantage in the match.
"I've been in so many Rumbles that I've lost count," he said. "I have experience, and that's something you can't buy; you have to earn that."
He's right. Using experience is vital to success at the Royal Rumble. This may include teaming up with an old enemy to eliminate someone or eliminating an ally or tag team partner.
Jeff Hardy knows all about the hardships of competing in the Royal Rumble Match. He's competed in the past and has yet to be the last one standing.
"I have yet to win one," he said in a surprisingly animated tone. The normally stoic Superstar and current Intercontinental Champion seemed irked about it too. "I know all the Superstars [involved in the match], and I'm aware of what they're capable of; I'm looking forward to tossing them all over the top rope."
Shelton Benjamin claims no one — not Hardy, Carlito, Nitro or any other Superstar -- will be tossing him anywhere. He also claims that without him, there's no reason to call it a "star-studded event."
"Winning the Rumble is a chance to main-event WrestleMania," he said, "and frankly, it's long overdue for Shelton Benjamin to take that spot. I don't know why I haven't been there already, but after I smack around 29 other Superstars, I'll get there."