wrestling / Columns

What Greg DeMarco Learned Attending The WWE Royal Rumble

February 1, 2019 | Posted by Greg De Marco
Brock Lesnar Finn Balor Royal Rumble

This past weekend I attended the WWE Royal Rumble, along with NXT Takeover: Phoenix, live with Worked Over cohost Miranda Morales. The events were extremely different, yet similar all at the same time. Despite being a wrestling fan for nearly 35 years, and covering it for almost 10 years, the weekend was an extremely eye-opening experience for me.

I learned a ton about the WWE product, and more importantly about the WWE fanbase. Many of us online have it all wrong, and we are greatest barrier to our own happiness. See why here!

The Live Bias Is Real

I was a guest on Chairshot Radio immediately after the Royal Rumble—like I was standing in the stadium when I called in. They had some understandable criticisms of the show, as a viewer. Being there live I had no choice but to give the show an easy 10 out of 10.

I know the Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles WWE Championship match didn’t have an electric crowd, as many took that chance to hit the concession stands But the match itself was still good, and being there live I’m not even upset that it ended with interference from Rowan The Recycler.

The Royal Rumble Match Is All About Counting And Buzzing

By design, it should take 42 minutes for all 30 competitors to enter the Royal Rumble match. During that time, the crowd is sorta paying attention to the match, but really waiting for the countdown to start. After being live in the audience, I now see why the crowd did what they did when Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins battled in an Ironman Match. It’s conditioning.

Live, you’re just counting—chanting, really—down from 9 (it rarely starts at 10) and making a buzzer noise. Then you wait to see who it is, and decide if you want to stay standing, cheer, or wait for the next one.

The match itself is really easy to figure out, when someone comes in it’s a queue for something to happen (you know when you’re supposed to be eliminated because it usually happens right after someone enters). That’s all it’s about.

Once you get to #30 (and it takes longer than 42 minutes, as the clock in itself is a spot that has to fit in with all the other spots), then you’re watching the match. The spots in between were fun, but in the end its all about the final four, and eventually the final two. But for the majority of the match, it’s counting and buzzing.

No One Creates A Moment Like WWE

Becky Lynch coming out and convincing Fit Finlay to give her Lana’s spot, complete with Becky’s music hitting and the crowd going nuts for it, and Becky immediately entering the match face-to-face with Nia Jax is one of the most emotionally driven moments WWE has ever created within the context of a match. And no one does it better.

Show me an in-ring moment from ALL IN that was as organic and emotional as Becky entering the Rumble the way she did. Cody Rhodes winning the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship was an assumption, not a surprise. It doesn’t hold a candle to this.

It’s been decades since someone has connected with an audience the way Becky Lynch has, and it showed on Sunday. Don’t think WWE had nothing to do with it.

Brock Lesnar Is Worth Every Penny And More

The Royal Rumble was full of amazing moments, seven matches that all delivered, and great endings for Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins. But the only match that had 48k+ on their feet the entire time? Finn Balor vs. Brock Lesnar. The Brock Lesnar character—the aura—created that atmosphere.

Brock Lesnar truly is the big bad guy at the end of the game. He’s hard to beat for a reason—so when someone finally beats him it will have meaning. But there’s more to it.

Brock knows how to make you believe. His offense is believable, yes, but even more than that his SELLING is believable. And that’s why you believed that Finn Balor could win…because of Brock Lesnar.

Michael Cole said on commentary that “the mood changes when Brock Lesnar enters the room” and no statement could be more accurate. There is no one wrestling today quite like Brock Lesnar, and that’s why he is worth every cent Vince McMahon is paying him, and more.

The Future Is In Good Hands

This is a quick point, evidenced by the crowd in Chase Field. They had great reactions for talents like Kairi Sane, Io Shirai, Kacy Catanzaro, Rhea Ripley, Candice LaRae, Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne, and Aleister Black when they entered the Rumble.

A talent as green as Lacey Evans controlled a crowd of 48,139 during a promo at the Royal Rumble. Think about that! Those are intangibles you can’t teach, and WWE has a plethora of talent ready to go. Imagine what the product is going to be like in 5 years—it’s insane.

WWE Has Something For Everyone, And It’s OK To Like ALL OF IT

Takeover was amazing. The Royal Rumble was amazing. There was great action at Axxess. Pretty much EVERYTHING WWE did was great.

Fans ate up all of it. I saw a fan on Twitter, who has NJPW in her Twitter handle, in the crowd wearing an All Elite Wrestling shirt, raving about doing “Finn Balor Hands” and “chanting YOU SUCK at Kurt Angle.” The pomp and circumstance is real, and WWE uses it to their advantage.

Guess what—it’s all okay! In fact, it’s great. That’s why WWE is the biggest and more powerful wrestling (sports entertainment) company in the world. Others will come and go (and I really want All Elite Wrestling to be mega-successful), but WWE will always be king.

Some notes for you:

▪ Judging by the YouTube views, WWE is smart to book Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar and Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey as the top WrestleMania matches.
▪ If you thought the Women’s Royal Rumble seemed long, there’s a reason. Many spots were drawn out, and it ended up being 72 minutes long, which is the longest 30-person Rumble in history.
▪ Things got a little crazy at the NXT taping, but I think it’s to mask the news since we have Halftime Heat on Sunday. I’m sure it’ll all make sense after.

That’s it for me this week, enjoy the wrestling!

article topics :

Royal Rumble, Greg De Marco