Royal Rumble 2021: Examining fans relationship with the Number 30
Ross McLeod takes a look at the history of the Number 30 in Rumble history, and why it isn’t always as magic as we picture it to be.
3, 2, 1! BUZZZZ!!
The countdown and the buzzer, almost as much fun as the Rumble match itself.
As those numbers count down, we as wrestling fans begin to fantasy book who is next in.
Will we hear the glass shatter? Will it be time to play the game? Or will a new superstar from NXT carve his name into Rumble history?
History of 30
Nine times out of 10, it’s just a Superstar on the current roster. As a result, we are left disappointed as we have let our mind run wild with fantasy booking and over imagination.
Indeed there is no number that gets this treatment more than the Number 30.
This idea that Number 30 should be some sort of surprise return or debut is a strange phenomenon that came about about the time more and more people started using Twitter. We have all seen social media on the lead up to the Rumble “leaking” surprise entrants and returns, with everyone from Boogeyman to One Man Gang has been “spotted in the area”.
I have lost count of how many times James Storm has been “spotted in the area”. Hell, it seems every time there is a surprise opponent, entrant, or tag partner, James Storm‘s name gets thrown around.
But alas it never is. A prime example being last year’s Men Royal Rumble, where Number 30 was Raw’s top heel and one half of the Tag Team Champions, Seth Rollins.
That is seen as some what of a disappointment. But why? A complaint many people have of the Rumbles in 1995, 1997, and 2012 is that there was too much filler.
Too many superstars like Bushwacker Luke, Henry Godwin, and Epico, who had no chance of actually winning the thing.
So why would Number 30 ever be a returning legend or superstar coming for a one off? Surely its better having someone like Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins or Kevin Owens who are full time performers and may actually win the thing.
For years the Number 30 was decided on the go-home Raw or Smackdown. 1999, Chyna won the Corporate Rumble on the go-home Raw. X-Pac was awarded the Number 30 in 2000 thanks to his relationship with the McMahon Helmsley faction. 2001 saw Rikishi win a battle royal, Undertaker was announced ahead of time in 2003, and Goldberg ran through the 2004 Raw Roster.
That’s five out of six Rumbles from 1999 to 2004 that the Number 30 was announced ahead of time.
WWE have even done their best to squash this over expectation. 2018’s Mixed Match Challenge winners were guaranteed the Number 30 spots in the 2019 Royal Rumble.
At time of writing WWE have announced that on WWE Backstage on Fox, they will reveal who Number 30 is in the 2021 Men’s Royal Rumble.
Impact of Twitter
Earlier, I stressed how I felt this obsession with 30 began with more and more people on Twitter. But what was the catalyst? I point the finger at the 2014 and 2015 Royal Rumbles.
Daniel Bryan was at his most popular in 2014, with fans desperate to have him, and not Batista, main event Wrestlemania 30.
With every passing entrant the crowd got more and more excited to see Daniel Bryan. With that came more and more angry that every wrestler who came in that wasn’t Daniel Bryan.
Indeed when the ever popular legendary Rey Mysterio came out last, the crowd lost their minds, and not in a good way.
They hated the decision to not book Daniel Bryan so much that they cheered Rey’s elimination from not only the Rumble, but the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania.
Three months. That’s how long the bad taste lasted that Daniel Bryan wasnt booked in the Rumble.
In 2015, Daniel Bryan was featured in The Rumble, and was eliminated early on. The fans once again turned on the match. Roman Reigns was the company’s chosen superstar. With Daniel Bryan out of the match, it was obvious he was going on to main event Wrestlemania 31.
A saving grace?
Number 30 was looked at as a saviour, someone else to win the thing and give the fans hope. The Rock had ACTUALLY been seen in the area, it was even announced on the Pre Show!
But by the time number 30, Dolph Ziggler by the way, was thrown out of the ring by Kane and Big Show in the same way fellow favourites Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt were, fans had turned on this so much that an appearance from The Great One would neither save this Rumble match or PPV.
Maybe I am looking at it from a pessimistic kind of view. Maybe the obsession with the Number 30 is the fun of fantasy booking, maybe it’s to try erase those bad Rumbles in 2014 and 2015. For some, the Number 30 makes or breaks the Rumble match.
All I am asking is that we don’t let one number out of 30 spoil what could be a great Rumble. It shouldn’t be the catalyst to turn on fan favourites because they are not the guy we want to win.
When you really think about it, would Daniel Bryan being Number 30 and getting eliminated by Batista really have saved the Royal Rumble in 2014? No.
Does it mean Wrestlemania will be bad? No. We have seen in recent years that The Rumble is just the start of a long and winding road to Wrestlemania.
So maybe don’t lose your mind when Number 30 in 2021 doesn’t turn out to be Jay White!
Sliding into the DM’s, Ross is the team’s sweepstakes expert, spending a number of long, painful hours deciding the destination of the ESSR Title.
Ross has been on hand to provide live tweets and commentary from various wrestling shows and PPVs, backed up by his quick wit and creative sense of humour. His ability to remember obscure moments in wrestling still shocks the team to this day.
Apparently he has a weird obsession with memes about Billy Gunn and claims to have numerous ‘best friends’ in the wrestling industry.