Every January, anticipation builds for one of the biggest matches of WWE’s year, the Royal Rumble. Often cited as the favorite gimmick match of many a wrestling fan, the Rumble has reached mythical proportions over roughly three decades of existence. At this point, the Rumble is more than just a match, it’s an institution, and in many ways, it was a major factor in shaping WWE over the years. Here’s a list of the many different ideas and concepts that came about thanks to the creation of the Royal Rumble, and how this match massively affected the course of wrestling history.
10. Everyone For Themselves
Before the Attitude Era and the legacy of Vince Russo gave us the nebulous concept of “shades of gray”, wrestlers were sharply divided across heel-face lines. If you were a face, you didn’t ever associate with a heel, and you got along with every other face on the roster, and vice versa. The minute you crossed the line, all previous good or bad deeds were forgotten, and wrestlers who you might have fought with for years would embrace you and become completely trustworthy. But in the Royal Rumble, allegiances meant nothing, because only one person can win (in older battle royals, a traditional booking trick was to have tag partners or allies as the final two decide to share the victory, especially if prize money was at stake). It took a couple years to truly catch on, but the Royal Rumble was, for a long time, the only place where you’d be able to see faces working with heels, and even longtime tag team partners facing off against each other. This became especially important once the winner of the Royal Rumble actually started to mean something.