By Chuck Carroll
The Royal Rumble is known for surprises. You never know what WWE Superstar from the past will come through the curtain. We’ve seen the likes of the Honky Tonk Man, the Boogeyman, Kevin Nash, Road Dogg, and the late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper lace up their boots one more time to enter the over the top rope battle royal. And who can forget the year all three faces of Mick Foley competed. Even Drew Carey made a memorable appearance years before taking over hosting duties of The Price Is Right from Bob Barker, who is a WWE legend in his own right.
And there’s a strong chance there will be some other participants this year that will make you say, “I’ve been wondering where that guy has been.”
But what about the women’s match? What surprises can we expect? The truth is the biggest surprise is that the match is finally happening. It’s long overdue, and WWE should be commended for giving the women in their locker room an equal playing field with the men. They have proven repeatedly that they can compete and deliver storylines on the same level as their male counterparts, and the WWE Universe has embraced them as such. When they were given the opportunity to have the first ever Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match last year, they hit a home run — twice. The Rumble should be no different.
The 30-woman match is a reward for those in recent years who have kicked the “Divas” moniker to the curb and ushered in the women’s revolution. Charlotte Flair, Paige, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Naomi, Bayley, Asuka, Carmella, Natalya, Nia Jax, and Alicia Fox, among others, are the reason for this is happening. Others paved the path for them, but it is this generation of talent that has taken the division to once unimaginable heights. It would be stunning if nearly every woman currently on the main roster isn’t one of the 30 competitors to enter the ring.
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This match is about making history not reliving it. Therefore, don’t expect it to be dripping in nostalgia. To bring back a who’s who of women from yesteryear would be a mistake on WWE’s part and diminish what the company is hoping to achieve. And no, that’s not a knock on the likes of Trish Stratus, Lita or Beth Phoenix, who would do quite well on today’s roster.
But that doesn’t mean the inaugural event will be completely void of twists. You can bet there will be a few “oh wow” moments when the clock hits 0. Even then, it may be current roster members who have been absent for a while. The Bella Twins perhaps? Mike Johnson at PWInsider is also reporting that WWE officials have discussed bringing Michelle McCool and Molly Holly to Philadelphia. None of them are confirmed so there may be even fewer nostalgia spots than that.
According to The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer, the rest of the card will be rounded out by women from NXT. He reports that WWE is expected to bring up as many as nine wrestlers from Orlando to let them be part of the historic event.
NXT… next. Fitting. This match is about looking to the future and not to the past. Exactly how it should be.
Chuck Carroll is former pro wrestling announcer and referee turned sports media personality. He once appeared on Monday Night RAW when he presented Robert Griffin III with a WWE title belt in the Redskins locker room.
Follow him on Twitter @ChuckCarrollWLC.