The 2017 WWE Royal Rumble event has been one of the most anticipated in the entire 29-year series. For the first time in many years, there are a number of names who have been discussed as the winner of the match. Superstars such as The Undertaker, Bill Goldberg, Braun Strowman, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, and Bray Wyatt have all been in talks of winning the 30-man elimination match for an opportunity to headline WrestleMania 33. Out of those names, Undertaker and Randy Orton have accomplished this feat before.
In 2007, The Undertaker outlasted 29 other participants in the match. Interestingly, this event was also in San Antonio, Texas, but at the AT&T Center in front of nearly 14,000 fans. This Royal Rumble match had stars such as Ric Flair, Booker T, Edge, Randy Orton, and Rob Van Dam. The last two combatants were The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, who put together a wrestling clinic during the finale of the match. With multiple teases of who was going to win, The Undertaker eliminated Michaels to win his first Royal Rumble match.
Two years later, Randy Orton was able to be victorious, outlasting names such as former winners Rey Mysterio and The Undertaker, as well as top names such as Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam, Big Show, CM Punk, and Kane. Orton and former winner Triple H were the last two participants of the match, and Orton was able to outwit Triple H and claim the title of 2009 Royal Rumble winner.
The Alamodome has once held the Royal Rumble before, twenty years ago in 1997. This event is the largest Royal Rumble attendance of all time with around 61,000 people, and was headlined by Shawn Michaels against Sycho Sid for the WWE Championship. With the emotional support of then-manager Jose Lothario, Michaels was able to defeat Sid and commence his second reign as champion. While the Royal Rumble match was not the best of the series, having a bunch of filler names, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was able to continue his push and win the bout.
Returning to the Alamodome, the 2017 Royal Rumble has the opportunity to break the record set in 1997. Seemingly, with the battle royal being so stacked, the aim is to indeed break the record and set an new bar. However, during a recent promo on Raw from Roman Reigns, he stated that the expected crowd was going to be 40,000, which is over 20,000 less than the current record.
John Cena was a guest co-host on the Today Show to talk current events and promote his WWE Championship match against “The Guy from Atlanta,” AJ Styles. His projection was much higher than Reigns, landing closer to the 60,000 number. Bayley was recently interviewed about her opportunity at the event to win the Raw Women’s Championship from Charlotte, and she gave a projection as well.
“There will be 60,000-plus fans there, so it will be like a mini-WrestleMania, and it’s one of everyone’s favorite pay-per-views each year, so to be able to be a part of that, well, I’m trying not to get emotional right now thinking about it.”
San Antonio’s KSAT ABC 12, gave a projection that affirms that the record could be broken this year.
“The Royal Rumble is one of World Wrestling Entertainment’s most popular pay-per-view events and part of WWE’s signature “Big Four” along with Wrestlemania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series. A crowd of more than 60,000 is expected at the event.”
The latest ticket sale count is at about 40,000. However, this does not count all the other variables, as explained by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, such as lower ticket costs opening up on Ticketmaster, as well as tickets opening up at the gate. With these factors, this Royal Rumble is projected to be the biggest domestic non-WrestleMania event in WWE history. Outside of the United States, SummerSlam 1992 at Wembley Stadium in London, U.K. drew over 80,000 fans and was headlined by Bret Hart defending his WWE Intercontinental Championship against the British Bulldog.
From a non-televised perspective, The Big Event in 1986 drew over 64,000 fans in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and was headlined by Hulk Hogan defending his WWE Championship against “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff. This would be the target number for this year’s Royal Rumble to reach.
Hopefully, the event lives up to the attendance, and people can go home with some kind of huge reaction, whether it is glee or shock.
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