Another Royal Rumble passes us and another road to WrestleMania begins where we, the WWE universe, must get behind the winner of the Royal Rumble (or their opponent) in time for their world title match at WrestleMania in the time-honored tradition of the winner of the Royal Rumble participating in the main event of that year's WrestleMania.
This year saw a lot of things happen at the Royal Rumble: We saw the number of participants go back to 30 after the experiment of 2011's 40-Man Royal Rumble.
We saw a number of old WWE stars return to the ring in the form of "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Mick Foley and "The Road Dogg" Jesse James.
We saw for the first time ever the entire English-speaking announce team enter the Royal Rumble match.
We saw only the third diva enter the Rumble in the form of the returning Kharma.
And we saw Ricardo Rodriguez compete in his first televised WWE match.
But more importantly, we saw a seemingly wild-card competitor win the Royal Rumble. And his name is Sheamus.
To say Sheamus would win the 2012 Royal Rumble was a hugely unlikely scenario. Yes, he was featured heavily in his promos saying that he would win the match, but considering the number of participants entering the match, Sheamus' chances of winning dropped dramatically.
Yet here we are, talking about Sheamus competing in one of the main events of WrestleMania XXVIII. And a lot is riding on his match come April 1st.
One of the highlights in the build up to the Royal Rumble match is the "Numbers" video package that goes into great detail of the statistics of the Royal Rumble match. And the final statistic that always sets up the Royal Rumble and the road to WrestleMania is the percentage of Royal Rumble winners that go on to win championship gold at that year's WrestleMania.
Over the past four years we have seen every winner of the Royal Rumble fail at WrestleMania, and as a result the percentage this year dropped to an unforgivable 55 percent, meaning that this Royal Rumble needed more than ever a strong winner to help build up that percentage for 2013.
But WWE didn't help the cause.
For the most part, this Royal Rumble felt like it should have been held 12 months ago. There was a lot of "entertainment" with a large number of the entrants that would have been suited in a 40-Man Royal Rumble as entertaining filler, but aside from a handful of entrants, very few of the 2012 entrants gave much clout to being winners of the match.
In the end, WWE's decision to have the sixth favorite choice to win the Royal Rumble has left a lot of people stumped and asks the question, "Can Sheamus win at WrestleMania?"
Sheamus hasn't had a particularly good WrestleMania run. His first match ended in defeat at the hands of Triple H, and his sophomore match wasn't even deemed main-card material, resulting in a dark match Lumberjack U.S. title defense that ended up becoming a Battle Royal (that he didn't even win).
With WrestleMania being heavily shadowed by the Rock/Cena match that may or may not end the show, the Royal Rumble winner's match seems very low on the caring scale.
But now, more than ever, the Royal Rumble needs a shot of adrenaline. For every winner that fails at WrestleMania, the Royal Rumble loses credibility, and after four consecutive failings, WWE needs a winner that they can latch on to and help build up their confrontation at 'Mania and overcome the odds and restore the significance of the Royal Rumble match.
Now, whether or not Sheamus is that person remains to be seen.
Considering how low he was on most people's short lists for winners of the 2012 Royal Rumble, if he is to have any chance of winning at WrestleMania and any chance of proving his value over a Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes or even a CM Punk, WWE will need to invest a lot of time into his program with whichever champion he faces.
This could make his WrestleMania match both a must-see match and could also give him enough momentum to win the match and break the curse of the Royal Rumble.
What do you think?
Are you happy that Sheamus won the Royal Rumble?
Who would you have preferred win the match?
What match do you hope to see Sheamus in at WrestleMania XXVIII?
Please comment below.
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