The 2017 Royal Rumble is exactly one week away and the 30-man over the top rope battle royal to decide who will main event Wrestlemania 33 will have one of the most star-studded lineups ever.
From current superstars to rising superstars to future Hall of Famers, the Rumble match’s appeal this year is that any number of competitors could be the winner. Triple H, one of four men to win the Rumble match more than once (Stone Cold Steve Austin, John Cena, and Batista are the others), recently spoke to IGN to promote the event.
“This year’s Royal Rumble is one of the biggest, most star-studded Rumbles that I can recall,” he said. “Just look at the people who have thrown their name into the Rumble so far. You’ve got Goldberg and [Brock] Lesnar and the Undertaker. When you start to look at that level of talent and then also see the Bray Wyatts and the Randy Ortons and everyone else that’s going to be a part of it, it really is one of the biggest Rumbles I can think of.”
While the Rumble match is already huge considering the talent scheduled to appear, it’s the element of surprise that makes the match intriguing. Each year, the WWE has several surprise entrants planned for the match to give fans a thrill. These moments range from one-night nostalgia trips to the returns of injured competitors looking to make a statement to superstars making their WWE debut.
Just last year, current WWE champion AJ Styles shocked the wrestling world when he entered the Rumble as the No.3 entrant. In Triple H’s mind, this year’s match holds the
“Sometimes there’s a year in the Rumble where you think ‘Okay, I can see this or that happening. This seems like where the Rumble might be headed.’ But this year, it’s really tough to call. And I think that’s when the Rumble’s at its best, when you can’t really put your finger on what’s going to happen. I can see this year going a lot of different ways and I think it’s going to go in a way that nobody expects.”
It’s not impossible that WWE’s first announced inductee into Hall of Fame Class of 2017, Kurt Angle, could be one of those surprise entrants. The 1996 Olympic gold medalist has not been affiliated with WWE since his departure in 2006 and his induction into the Hall of Fame is the first step of a potential final run with the company.
Triple H was one of Angle’s fiercest rivals in the early 2000s during the height of the Attitude Era. Angle revealed during an ESPN interview that Triple H was the one who called him about the induction; “The Game” is excited to welcome back the former six-time WWE champion.
“I think it’s a very well deserved induction into the Hall of Fame. We’ve had an association with Kurt for a long time but when Kurt was here in the WWE, he was one of the most impactful and memorable and iconic characters probably ever,” Triple H said.
“One of the things that always stands out for me is that I was here when Kurt was coming out of the Olympics and training. And having never done this before, he went from zero knowledge of our industry to being one of the most incredible performers in the ring in the time frame of the Attitude Era where, you know, he was in there with some of the best in the world.”
Compared to other Hall of Famers, Angle’s career perhaps lacks the longevity; he was in the WWE from late 1999 to mid-2006 but his accomplishments and transition from the amateur to professional ranks has been praised by many within the industry. When Angle receives the WWE’s highest honor, he will do so with support from everyone in the company he started his career with.
“I don’t believe I’ve ever seen someone pick it up as fast as Kurt,” Triple H added. “Just on that basis alone, he should be inducted. But then you throw in all that he’s accomplished, that he’s accomplished since leaving WWE even, and will continue to accomplish. I’m really happy for Kurt as a human being. I’m also happy that he’s a really good place in his life right now.”
[Featured Image by WWE]