wrestling / Columns

411 Wrestling Fact or Fiction: 30 WWE Royal Rumble Questions

January 28, 2022 | Posted by Jake Chambers
WWE Royal Rumble WWE Title - Bobby Lashley vs. Brock Lesnar Image Credit: WWE

Welcome back to the 411mania Wrestling Fact or Fiction. I’m your host Jake Chambers.

Well, move over Mysterio, hit the road Rick Martel, back of the line Bob Backlund, forget about it Flair, we’ve got a new Royal Rumble weekend ironman! And his name is Dino Zee!

In celebration of the Royal Rumble I wanted to do 30 FoF statements to mirror the traditional 30 entrants in the rumble, and I reached out to the one man I knew who was just wacky enough to give it a try!

So without further ado, I present the ludicrously legendary, kayfabe crazy, Impact connoisseur, Hoodslam booster, WWF lifer, gloriously coifed, raconteur, poet, philanthropist, voice of a generation, Master Dino Zee and his phenomenal responses to 30 straight FoF statements!

Statement #1: Royal Rumble matches should only have 20 entrants.

Dino Zee: FICTION – Maybe as a one-off, or on years ending in ‘8’ as a nod to the first Royal Rumble.  Outside of that, nah, I like it with 30 instead of 20.  No big speech about nostalgia or trying to pretend one sucks while the other rules…  I just like 30 more than 20.  And I feel that deep down, we all do.

Statement #2: The 1999 Royal Rumble match has the best in-match story of any Rumble.

Dino Zee: FICTION – Ah, damn it, Jake.  You got me there for a second.  But no, I’m not biting here.  Off the top of my head, Shawn Michaels looking to use the Rumble as a springboard to a rematch with Undertaker at 2010, or even Ric Flair having to finally back up his bluster at the Rumble in 1992 to show I’m OLD and thus KNOW STUFF would be easier calls.  The Austin/McMahon stuff would’ve been all right if they didn’t just leave the match for a while, and then gingerly return.  That 99 Rumble, man…  such a weird card.

Statement #3: Nachos and chips are better snacks for watching a Royal Rumble PPV than candy and cookies.

Dino Zee: FACT – Only because I tend to lean savory if I’m going to be doing anything more than light snacking.  I love candy and cookies, though.  I also like the designation of “nachos *and* chips”, as if you don’t get a lot of B in A.  But yeah, to quote some guys I used to watch on TV, nachos rule!

Statement #4: You are more excited this year to see Mickie James in the women’s Rumble than you were when she was in it last year.

Dino Zee: FACT – I haven’t seen a lot of WWE the last year or two.  Mainly PREMIUM LIVE EVENTS and the super occasional RAW/SmackDown.  I’ve picked up slightly in recent months, but still not much.  So the news that Knockouts Champ Mickie James was in the Rumble really caught me by surprise, and yeah, got me much more interested in her appearance this year compared to last.  I just can’t believe WWE and Impact came to this kind of agreement, in any capacity.  Wrestling can be so damn cool.

Statement #5: TNA was a better brand name than IMPACT.

Dino Zee: FICTION – The entire time TNA was TNA, my wrestling friends and I all wondered aloud how they let this name continue to fly, instead of just going with the obvious change to Impact Wrestling.  I did not like TNA as a name;  I did not like it, it’s simple and plain.  I just see Vince Russo and Jeff Jarrett laughing their asses in an office like “Get it?  Because the action is totally nonstop, but also-”  Love the company, but always hated that name. 

Statement #6: Ryback making a surprise return at this year’s Rumble would make you angry.

Dino Zee: FICTION – I honestly can’t think of anyone that make me angry as a surprise return.  I remember being excited when like the freakin Honky Tonk Man was showing up in ’97 or ’98, and it’s always cool to see just about anyone you weren’t expecting.  Plus, you know the crowd would most likely grow abuzz if Ryback showed up.  Nah, not angry at all.

Statement #7: The Sheamus/Jericho ending in the 2012 Rumble is better than the 2007 HBK/‘Taker ending.

Dino Zee: FICTION – So, I didn’t have the 2012 ending in my memory banks the way 2007 has remained.  Went back and watched it, and was pleasantly surprised.  Jericho and Sheamus got a solid 9 or so minutes of battle before Sheamus ultimately prevailed.  Lots of near eliminations, big moves, it was really cool. 

But, two things stand out to me when I think of Shawn/Taker in 2007:

1 – My group first getting excited when it came down to them, because they hadn’t messed with each other in YEARS and we figured this would just be some cool little tease of maybe something down the road.

2 – The growing sense of “wait a minute, this is going longer than usual” as the two of them continued to fight.  I think we assumed a 2-3 minute appetizer before it was over, and they gave us something in the neighborhood of 7. 

Jericho/Sheamus went longer, and may even be technically better (I don’t think so, but that’s still a debate to be had), but it just didn’t carry the weight of seeing Michaels and Taker standing across from each other, 9 years after a match against Taker led to Shawn’s early retirement.  It just meant more, in my opinion.
Statement #8: You’d rather enter the Rumble at #1 and lose but have a long, eventful run than enter at #30 and win after a few minutes.

Dino Zee: FICTION – That’s that Shawn Michaels “steal the show” school of thought that I cannot get down with.  I’d rather win, always, in any fashion.  Setting records for eliminations, time in a rumble…  all neat, but if you never win the Rumble, then you’re still jealous of those that did. 

Statement #9: Female wrestlers should retire earlier than male wrestlers.

Dino Zee: FICTION – And by answering ‘Fiction’ I do not mean to imply that they should retire *later* than male wrestlers, either.  So, uh – hey look!  A blue car! 

Statement #10: Send Hook.

Dino Zee: FACT – Send Hook.

Statement #11: The long-awaited first singles match between Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley will be disappointing.

Dino Zee: FACT – Probably, but more in the “It was built up for so long” sense than in the “It was underwhelming/boring” kind of way.  I think it’ll probably be a solid, entertaining, hard-hitting match.  But man, we’ve been talking about this match for years!  If tsunamis don’t crash when lariats connect, if the earth doesn’t shake from a Lashley spear, if an F5 doesn’t whip up an actual tornado…  I, for one, will be disappointed.

Statement #12: The best first two entrants in any Rumble match were Demolition’s Ax and Smash in 1989.

Dino Zee: FACT – This is why we’re friends.  It’s 100% fact, there’s no other Rumble that’s even close, it’s the first real example of “every man for himself,” and they did it with the baddest tag team the WWF ever produced.  I love Demolition, loved that opening.  Nothing beats it.  It’s friggin’ science.  Watching them just go at it immediately upon the bell ringing, unrelenting until #3 entered…  absolutely fantastic.  I’m marking out writing this answer for fucks sakes.

Statement #13: A wrestler who wears heavier clothes would have a better chance of avoiding over-the-top rope elimination in a battle royale.

Dino Zee: FACT – I’m not sure how much it’d assist in collision based eliminations (clotheslines, dropkicks, body attacks), but certainly it’d cause anyone trying to simply Lift-and-Dump some extra trouble.  Should probably grease up that heavy clothing.  Or make it really sticky?  I don’t know, but definitely keep it heavy.

Statement #14: AEW needs Cody Rhodes.

Dino Zee: FACT – This might be the first question I actually had to really stop and think.  But I’m going to say that yes, they do.  Obviously, duh, they’d continue to run without him, yes.  Every promotion ever has lost someone super important and still gone on.  Hell, Jeff Jarrett isn’t with Impact anymore.  That said, Cody has always struck me as the most vital of the old EVPs.  Cody’s the one that traveled the world after leaving WWE, obviously taking note of great talent along the way, before making it all happen with Kenny and The Bucks on board.  AEW without Cody would feel wrong to me.  He’s so essential to their existence, I think it’s fair to say AEW needs him without it being disrespectful to AEW.

Statement #15: Since there is now a regular women’s Rumble match, this column should have had an equal amount of statements about women’s wrestling.

Dino Zee: FICTION – It could even have more statements about women’s wrestling!  Whatever has the more intriguing stories as we head into the event, I’d say. 
Statement #16: The Greatest Royal Rumble was the greatest Royal Rumble.

Dino Zee: FICTION – It was better than I thought it’d be, though!  I’m still a ’92 guy for classics, and have a soft spot for 2010 as well.

Statement #17: Jeff Jarrett, ain’t he great?

Dino Zee: FACT – You can choke on that, slapnuts!  I had Jeff Jarrett yellow WCW sunglasses in 1999, so uh, yeah…  I like ol’ Double J.

Statement #18: A Royal Rumble match would be fun if the ring was surrounded by a water-filled moat.

Dino Zee: FACT – I tend to think that a Royal Rumble match would be fun regardless of the surrounding environment.  So many wrestlers, so much chaos, incredible risks for incredible rewards!  Put a moat out there, bounce houses, trampolines, spikes…  it’d still be a fun match!

Statement #19: The AEW women’s division is not big enough for two dedicated singles titles.

Dino Zee: FICTION – I’m always a fan of more than one title, especially in an era where non-title feuds aren’t always given the most attention.  Now instead of everyone wanting to be champion while only one person gets a chance/feud, now everyone can want to be champ while *2* people get a chance/feud.  Everyone wins. 

Statement #20: All the wrestlers who DO NOT win a Royal Rumble match should be excluded from appearing at that year’s Wrestlemania.

Dino Zee: FICTION – I considered this, too, as an interesting stipulation, but obviously we can’t do that unless we want a WrestleMania comprised of people from Main Event or NXT 2.0 or…  hey, you know… 

Statement #21: You still (even if you’re watching alone) loudly do the countdown along with the crowd and clock before every new entrant in a Royal Rumble.

Dino Zee: FICTION – Only with other people.  I just don’t think it’s funny enough when I’m alone, and then I hate myself for doing a dumb routine.  Then it’s awkward for the rest of the show, and I don’t even leave when it’s over.  Best to just save it for group viewings. 

Statement #22: If a 23-man Rumble match featuring all living former winners (Hacksaw, Hogan, Flair, Bret, Luger, HBK, Austin, Vince, Rock, HHH, Lesnar, Batista, Mysterio, ‘Taker, Cena, Orton, Edge, Del Rio, Sheamus, Reigns, Nakamura, Rollins, McIntyre) happened today, John Cena would win.

Dino Zee: FICTION – So many unknowns.  Does he draw #1?  #23?  Is he injured heading into the match?  Sick?  Jet-lagged?  I think Hogan and Cena actually end up getting dumped by Austin at the same time after doing some riff  on Hogan/Warrior in 1990.  After each no-selling a shoulder tackle, they turn to the fans, and Austin dumps ’em.  I’m taking Orton, because this is the kind of thing he’d win to get his own weird accolade that no one else could take from him. 

Statement #23: TNA’s infamous Reverse Battle Royal was actually a cool idea.

Dino Zee: FICTION – Nah, I wasn’t ever a fan of it.  I don’t think it was the worst thing of all time, ever, or anything like that, but it felt a little too silly for me.  Probably some reactionary anti-Russo stuff at the time, too, but I’ll stick with Fiction.  Battle Royals don’t need to be done in multiple phases.

Statement #24: After his surprising return, Mr. Perfect should have won the 2002 Royal Rumble match.

Dino Zee: FACT – I’ve definitely had that thought from time to time.  You can always get him out of the #1 Contender spot the next month or something, but I think that would have been some neat on-the-fly plan changing.

Statement #25: Bryan Danielson will never be AEW World Champion.

Dino Zee: FICTION – He’s too good, and even if he said “I came to AEW to simply out people over and never hold a championship,” I wouldn’t believe him. He’ll get it at some point, even if it’s a short reign.

Statement #26: Giant wrestlers are too easily eliminated from Rumble matches these days.

Dino Zee: FACT – Whatever happened to like 12 guys dog piling onto, like, Mabel and hoping they can make something happen?  Nowadays you have your Ricochets and their spinning heel kicks taking out your Erick Rowans like it’s nothing.  Make Giants Difficult to Eliminate Again.

Statement #27: You would love to see Bray Wyatt return as a surprise entrant in this year’s Rumble match.

Dino Zee: FACT – Yeah, that’d be pretty neat.  Hopefully just a 411mania-inspired one-shot deal so that we can’t be disappointed with the terrible follow-up he’d inevitably get in WWE.  But yeah, sign me up for a Rumble return!

Statement #28: Roman Reigns should remain Universal Champion up to and after Wrestlemania.

Dino Zee: FICTION – I don’t mind the “up to” portion (even though I’d like a Rollins win at the Rumble), but the “after” is where I’m like “whoooa there, big fella!”  I’ma need a Roman Reigns championship loss at WrestleMania if it hasn’t already happened.  Desperately need. 

Statement #29: Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair should win this year’s Women’s Rumble match.

Dino Zee: FICTION – Intriguing – would she challenge herself?  Can the Queen beat the Queen, or is the Queen too good for the Queen?  Nah, I’m good here.  Pulling for Shotzi because #Hoodslam.

Statement #30: Johnny Knoxville should win this year’s Men’s Rumble match.

Dino Zee: FACT – We follow the mentioned plan above of removing the Rumble winner from his #1 contender spot the following month, and I think this could be fine.  Plus, think of the headlines!  The trendings!  The likes!

Standing ovation.

You’ve done it Dino, outlasted 30 statements to be the 2022 Fact or Fiction Ironman Champion! Everyone follow this man on Twitter and give him some props: https://twitter.com/biptronic

Enjoy Rumble weekend, mortals!