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Is the Royal Rumble Match winner cursed?
On Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, Sheamus joined an elite group of Superstars that have outlasted 30 (or 40) other competitors to be crowned the winner of the Royal Rumble Match. With his Road to a WrestleMania XXVIII main event paved and his career immortalized as a Royal Rumble Match winner, all that remains for Sheamus is to choose which World Champion he wants to face.
Will The Celtic Warrior challenge the WWE Champion to recapture his first-ever World Title, the WWE Championship? Or will he attempt to win a title he has never held before - the World Heavyweight Championship? It is not an easy decision for any Royal Rumble winner, but it is his alone to make.
However, The Great White is no stranger to winning high-stakes battle royals and capitalizing on the opportunities they present. In 2009, Sheamus won Jesse Ventura’s “Break-Through Battle Royal” and earned a WWE Title Match against then-champion John Cena. A few weeks later, The Celtic Warrior put Cena through a table and became the first-ever Irish-born WWE Champion.
And yet, as Sheamus weighs his options, there is one statistic that he must consider before making such a monumental decision. The last Royal Rumble Match winner to successfully capture a World Championship at WrestleMania was in 2007, when The Undertaker defeated Batista at WrestleMania XXIII. Since then, John Cena, Randy Orton, Edge and Alberto Del Rio have tried - and failed - to successfully win the WWE or World Heavyweight Titles on The Grandest Stage of Them All. It would seem that since Undertaker's victory, the Royal Rumble winner has been cursed. There's something ironic about that, since many believed that No. 30 entrants in the Royal Rumble Match were cursed until - you guessed it - 2007, when The Phenom became the first to win in that slot. ('CURSED' PHOTOS)
Following a surprise return during the Royal Rumble Match in 2008, John Cena was unable to win the WWE Title at WrestleMania XXIV in a Triple Threat Match against Triple H and then-champion Randy Orton. In 2009, The Viper won the Royal Rumble Match and challenged Triple H for the WWE Title at The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania. In what became a intensely personal rivalry, WWE’s Apex Predator was unable to best The Cerebral Assassin at The Show of Shows.
The World Heavyweight Championship challengers have had eerily similar results. In 2010, Edge made a surprise return to win the Royal Rumble Match and squared off with then-champion Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XXVI. While the contest was physical, Jericho stood tall and retained the title. A year later, Alberto Del Rio won the Royal Rumble Match and believed it was his destiny to defeat Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXVII. Instead, Del Rio’s destiny was left unfulfilled and one of his luxury automobiles left heavily damaged by Edge and Christian after the match. (PHOTOS)
These moments and the statistics since 2007 suggest that since The Undertaker’s victory at WrestleMania XXIII, there has been a curse on the Royal Rumble Match winner when it comes to a championship match on The Grandest Stage of Them All. With challengers for both the WWE and World Heavyweight Titles even in terms of failing to win at WrestleMania, can The Celtic Warrior break the curse and further build his legend? Or should The Great White forgo a title match and go to the source, instead challenging The Deadman to end both The Streak and any potential curse?