One word perfectly sums up the annual January pay-per-view event known as the Royal Rumble: fun. It’s just a fun match. Two men start, another randomly-selected competitor comes out every 90 seconds; the chaos leads to fun. In addition to the chaos of all those men (and the occasional woman) trying to throw each other over the top rope, we have an added element in the surprise entrant.
Some are really cool. The 1997 Mexican invasion was fun from a high-flying perspective. Some are a little odd. You’re a liar if you say you weren’t confused seeing Dick Murdoch in the 1995 Rumble match. And, of course, the perfect return was Chris Jericho last year. There are many more. A fun idea for somebody to explore (which WWE already did on their site) would be to look at the top Royal Rumble surprise entrants.
What we’re going to look at here is a list of potential returns this Sunday. With the exception of one, I feel like all of these are possible and logical (the one would just be fun to fantasy book). We’ll look at how popular the return would be, how the superstar would fare in the match, and if it could lead to anything in the future.
Jake Roberts … This is the big one that everybody is talking about. Since getting his life back together, Roberts mentioned that one of his goals was to return to WWE at the Rumble match. He’s in great shape when you consider what shape he has been in for the last 20 years. People want to see it. Not sure if WWE does or not. The only thing stopping this one would be that WWE gave Roberts a potential sendoff on “Old School” Raw a few weeks back. A Rumble spot would receive a huge reaction for Roberts. The crowd would love it. I watched a 6-man tag that Roberts was in over a month ago. While he didn’t take many bumps, he moved well enough that he could function in the over-the-top-rope environment. One last run for the Snake? Ehhhhh… maybe not, but I’d like to see some more one-off appearances.
Diamond Dallas Page … The man responsible for getting Jake Roberts back in such good shape is in amazing shape himself. The "DDP Yoga" guru is incredibly flexible for a 56-year-old grizzled ring warrior. He’s got a great relationship with WWE these days, based on his hosting of the “Best of Nitro” DVD sets and his recent cameo appearances. Imagine the pop if DDP came out in the middle of the match and hit a string of 5 or 6 Diamond Cutters. Imagine the bump Dolph Ziggler would take! Diamond Cutter to Ziggler, throw him over the top, rematch the next night on Raw, Ziggler gets his heat back. How cool would that be?
Scott Hall … This would all depend on Hall getting medically cleared by WWE. His mental health is so much better. He’s a breath of fresh air on twitter, regularly interacting with fans and basically being the opposite of that old, alcoholic mess from the ESPN documentary. He’s on good terms with all the necessary people to bring him in. Like Jake, it would be a feel-good moment. Overcoming the demons. WWE likes to put smiles on peoples faces. In an added twist, maybe WWE could have Jake eliminate Hall. Remember, you can never trust a snake.
Roddy Piper … Piper, probably much to WWE’s chagrin, has pretty much confirmed that he will be involved somehow in WrestleMania XXX. What better way to get there than during the official kickoff to WrestleMania season? The storyline motivation can be there. He wasn’t able to beat Hulk Hogan 30 years ago to win the WWE Championship, so he’s entering the Royal Rumble for one last shot at glory. He doesn’t win, gets angry about it, yada yada yada, WrestleMania XXX.
Hulk Hogan … We have to reintroduce this man to the WWE Universe somehow, right? They’ll need to clean up dust and concrete fragments, because the roof will explode when Hogan comes out. Imagine the buzz! If “Royal Rumble” isn’t already trending on twitter, it will be as soon as Hogan’s red and yellow tie dye makes an appearance. Everybody’s talking about Roman Reigns getting the monster push in this year’s match. It doesn’t get much bigger than eliminating the Hulkster.
Triple H … “The Authority” wants what’s best for business. The way things are looking, it would appear as though CM Punk is not best for business. We know Punk drew the number one slot in the Rumble. They did that so Punk would not last long. What if Punk is going the distance, eliminating everybody around him. Triple H has the power to throw himself in the match with no notice. He tells Zack Ryder he’s taking his spot and runs out to the ring to correct this “miscarriage of justice,” to steal a Gorilla Monsoon phrase. We need a reason to get to Triple H vs CM Punk at WrestleMania. This could be the catalyst.
Shane Douglas … Stranger things have happened. The Rumble is in Pittsburgh, Shane’s hometown. I think that would be enough to give him a huge nostalgia pop. Why does Shane Douglas want to be in the Royal Rumble? He wants to prove the WWE machine wrong for not letting him become a star in the mid 90s. He wants to stick it you-know-where and win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to silence the critics. And twitter would explode. That’s always fun.
Jeff Jarrett … Talk about twitter exploding! Could you imagine JBL’s shock? “Mack-uhl, what’s Double J doing here? Ahhhh love it!” I think it’s sad that I actually think this has a better chance of happening than an AJ Styles appearance. At least Vince knows how Jarrett is. And yeah, he definitely knows who Jarrett is, which is why this is a long shot to happen. But, it would be cool. You might as well get a relationship going with Jarrett again. With the WWE Network coming up, he would be a good interview for several different subjects and shows. The Monday Night War(s) show would be a good one. He went back and forth a few times.
X-Pac … This one is mostly just for me. I’ve never understood the “X-Pac Heat” term, for the simple reason that Sean Waltman has been one of my favorite wrestlers for at least 15 years. Maybe because I’m short and I appreciated that he was a little man doing his thing in the world of giants. I don’t know. He’s one of those odd young veterans, wrestling for over 20 years but only being in his early 40s. He’s still young enough to go and the audience knows who he is. I’m actually surprised he hasn’t come back at this point for more than just a random cameo here. I don’t know if that’s related to his health issues that forced him to stop wrestling in TNA almost four years ago.
Bruno Sammartino … No way this is happening. But it would be a trip, right? He’s the hometown hero, so it’s not like Bruno would have to travel far. And he’s still in remarkable shape for being over 70. The story tells itself: Bruno is tired of the corrupt Authority and the shameful Randy Orton holding the championship. If John Cena can’t get the job done, then Bruno will have to come back and do it himself. No way that will ever happen, but a wrestling fan can dream.