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Royal Rumble 2013 Preview and Game Rules
January 26, 2013

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com


It's that time of year, kids.... the Royal Rumble: the official start of the Road to WrestleMania. Call it the WWE equivalent of the start of the playoffs. Everything just seems a little bit bigger, better, and more important.
And this year, it seems even a tinch MORE exciting than most years, as it feels like we already had the UNofficial start of WrestleMania season way back on the New Year's free-per-view RAW, and they've just kept the quality TV coming since.

It all adds up to what is usually the second-best night of the year to be a wrestling fan (the exception being years when WrestleMania sucks, in which case, the Rumble stands to be the #1 best night). Sure there are some Rumbles that have been better than others, but by and large, this is the one match out of the year that's foolproof.
The Rumble is almost a lock to be the most fun contiguous 60 minutes of the Wrestling Year. Part of that is the nature of the match itself, and its history of taking advantage of its structure. But the rest of why it's so fun boils down to three words that OO Nation has been lucky enough to know about for a decade:

It started with our crew somewhere towards the beginning of the Attitude Era. And after a few years of keeping it a private matter among friends, I shared the rules with the world, and our Rumble Game has become a mild international phenomenon.

C'mon, admit it: NOTHING is more fun that playing the game so that you actually have a reason to cheer/boo/care-about EVERY SINGLE ENTRY into the Rumble. You can mock your friends when they draw Heath Slater! But then you'll have no choice but to grab the nearest damn bottle and give yourself Instant Liver Damage when you, yourself, get stuck with whatever no-name schlub wins the NXT Tournament to enter the Rumble! [SPOILER ALERT: it's Bo Dallas. And he'll earn you zero points.] 

No more sitting around, only perking up when somebody like Ryback or Cena enters the match. Those jokers get enough of the attention as it is. Playing the Rumble Game spreads the excitement out over the entire hour. Nothing says "Sunday Night Funhouse" like caring So Damned Much that you actually jump around like a monkey, cheering on some worthless choade like Titus O'Neil, in the hopes that he goes nuts and pulls a Diesel '94 out of his ass, somehow! Trust me, just play it: you'll have fun.

Long time readers should be relatively well-aware of the Royal Rumble Game and its rules. For the uninitiated, though, here's how it goes:

(1) Count how many people are in your group
(2) Put that number of pieces of paper in a hat (or baggie or box or whatever; though a University of Dayton baseball-style cap IS the traditionally appropriate vessel), each piece containing a number (1 through however many people there are)
(3) Each person draws his/her number out of the hat-like object; your will be assigned wrestlers, in a rotating fashion, based on this number. For instance, if you draw #3 in a five-person game, you will get entries 3, 8, 13, 18, 23, and 28. If you are #1 in a three person game, you get 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, and 28. You get the idea, right? 
(4) Sit on the edge of your seat and start murmuring every time one of your wrestlers is about to enter; hope for the best, but prepare for Hornswoggle! React accordingly, and preferably profanely
(5) You accumulate points thusly: 

- one point (1) for every solo elimination made by your wrestlers...

- one-half point (0.5) for every tandem/group elimination aided by your wrestlers (yes, if eight men team up to get Khali, they each get 0.5 points, even though that adds up to 4.0 points instead of 1.0; this is a game, people, not quantum mechanics!)....
- two points (2) for each wrestler you have that makes it to the Final Five of the Rumble (yes, final FIVE; the final FOUR are usually all bigger stars, but this opens things up for one last surprise guy to net you a bonus, plus it helps level the point distribution between "elim points" and "survival points")...
- an additional five points (5) if your wrestler is the runner-up.... 
- ten big points (10) if your wrestler is the winner of the Rumble. 

If the scoring seems overly-simple, take my word for it: it's time tested. For one, true fans will be drinking their faces off for the annual spectacle that is the Rumble, so simple math is the best math. For two, it's actually quite an elegant set-up, with around 30 points determined by eliminations and spread out evenly, but 25 bonus points "back-loaded" and concentrated into the Final Five. This invariably means that several people will be vying for the point lead during End Game, which makes it all the more exciting.

Oh, and for the sake of full disclosure: the game is fair and "even" with 3, 5, 6, or 10 players (or with 2 or 15, I guess, though it's never come to either of those with our group)... meaning that everybody gets the same number of wrestlers with those numbers of players. In cases of uneven games where some players will get one less wrestler than others, it is permissible to give the handicapped players a "head start." We've settled on giving the handicapped player(s) 2 points to make up for being one wrestler short. Feel free to do the same, should the situation arise in your unique gaming situation.

Also, the most recent rule amendment we've made was this: it is now legal for a player with an "extra" wrestler in an Unfair Game to TRADE his last wrestler (ONLY his last wrestler, since then he's taking a huge risk of it being a Final Five Wrestler, and really has to ponder whether it's worth it or not) to one of the handicapped players in exchange for the guaranteed 2 points, if he can find a willing partner.
According to our rules, this transaction must be agreed upon before the Rumble Match starts, though you're certainly free to tweak that particular regulation if you think it'd be fun to have heated in-match negotiations as two guys are keeping track of what wrestlers are still "on the board" (basically, the Rumble Game equivalent of Card Counting in blackjack).

It is completely appropriate to append a Cash Prize to the game, as well. You can have each player post an entry fee deemed appropriate (with "winner-take-all" being the payout format), but we've also done it where the winner simply has his share of the PPV price tag (and perhaps the accompanying food delivery from a local sub shop) waived, and it's absorbed by the others for a less-intense and more-friendly game. Your choice.
So there you have it, your rules for the Royal Rumble Game, and another year of my hearty encouragement that you play along at home with your friends. You'll have nothing short of a blast, you have my word on it!
And since we're both here, why don't we look at Sunday's card, really quickly. And I do mean quickly; they've only officially announced 4 matches. Here's what's on tap for the PPV:

  • 30 Man Royal Rumble Match. Only about a dozen guys have been officially entered, which has got to be a record ("topping" even last year's Rumble, where there were still about 15 guys announced ahead of time). But it's not too hard to fill in most of the blanks in a sensible fashion, leaving a few spots open for surprises.
    For months, the conventional wisdom has had John Cena winning, so that he and The Rock can have a WrestleMania rematch for the WWE Title (Cena would get his win back from last year, and Rock would pass the torch). Then, the Elimination Chamber poster came out, and seemed to back up a rumor that Ryback would win and choose to face the unstoppable Big Show. But then Alberto del Rio stopped Big Show, and that changed everything. Now, your guess is as good as mine...
    Although, I'd recommend that your guess still include Cena and Ryback as favorites. By process of elimination, they do still seem the most likely winners, even if the exact follow-through to WM isn't as clear...
    Even though it's gonna be a star-studded Rumble (perhaps one of the deepest in a long while, with very few "who cares?" entries), it's hard to make a case for Ziggler (already has MitB, doesn't benefit from Rumble win), Sheamus, or Orton (seem destined to face each other at WM, rather than one of them facing the champ). The rest of WWE's upper-card guys (Kane, Bryan, Sandow, Rhodes, Cesaro, Barrett, Miz, Kofi, Rey, etc) will pop the crowd and be able to contribute to a lot of fun and compelling spots, but aren't necessarily credible WM headliners.
    The annual tradition of surprise returns/cameos at the Rumble MIGHT provide at least one potential winner: Brock Lesnar's fighting somebody at WM. We just don't know who, or why. Showing up and winning the Rumble would go a long way to answering those questions, don't you think? Then again, there's an even better idea for Brock, if you ask me (keep reading below).
    Other possible "surprises": Christian and/or Mark Henry (both returning from surgery), Rey Mysterio (absent for 6 weeks to deal with a personal matter, but returned to house shows last weekend), and Jack Swagger (said to have undergone a complete repackaging)... also, a couple of legends usually show up (especially if they are backstage agents, and already there)... and in his role as Overseer of Talent, Triple H has been quietly reaching out to old mid-card talent who are seasoned and polished, in hopes they'll come back to work with today's younger roster, and a few are said to be considering it (Shelton Benjamin and MVP are two most commonly talked about; I've been hoping this initiative results in John Morrison's return since I first heard about it)...
    For that matter: would HHH himself be a viable surprise entrant? And if so, to what end? I had an idea a few weeks ago that a great way to work Hunter back into storylines for Mania would be to have him cross paths with the Shield. They are the anti-establishment, HHH is now the establishment. Then set up a 6-man for WM (I thought HHH/Orton/Sheamus vs. the Shield would work, with the simmering hostilities between Orton/Sheamus being held off until after WM; or, better yet, DURING WM, with Orton walking out on his team).
    But I digress. Should be an awesome 60 minutes. It almost always is.
  • CM Punk vs. The Rock (WWE Title, Punk stripped if the Shield interferes). Mark it down: first Rumble PPV since 2006 where the Rumble is NOT the main event! No one in their right mind is picking Punk to retain. The WWE Title seems destined to be involved in a Rock/Cena WM rematch. And due to Vince's edict, Punk's best chance for a cheap win is out the window...
    Or is it? You know who else, besides Punk, is a Paul Heyman guy? You know who else is not barred from interferring?
    Brock Lesnar.
    I'm not saying. I'm just saying. This would be even cooler than him winning the Rumble, as it could shake up the entire perceived "obvious" WrestleMania matches. Suddenly, you could have Rock vs. Brock as a match, and the WWE Title still on Punk for a separate high profile match (Punk vs. Taker, streak vs. streak?).
    Or maybe we should just brace ourselves for Rock landing the People's Elbow, and ending Punk's remarkable reign at 433 days.
  • Alberto del Rio vs. Big Show (Last Man Standing Match for the World Heavyweight Title). By all accounts, Alberto's face turn was a kneejerk reaction to uncertainty over Randy Orton's injury status back in December. And then, his title win was a kneejerk reaction to contract negotiations with Big Show hitting a snag. But now that Orton's back and Big Show signed his extension, there's a problem: Alberto is KILLING it as a babyface, and may have earned the chance to hang on to the title.
    So maybe this isn't just a "reset button" match, where the belt goes back on Big Show?
    Thing is, it's harder to come up with a really compelling WM Match with del Rio as the champ, than it is with Big Show. A month ago, I'd actually talked myself into the idea that Show/Ryback might be an entirely valid (and entertaining) spectacle for WM29. So maybe it is best if Show wins?
    Either way, the LMS match these two had 3 weeks ago was surprisingly outstanding. I think they'll repeat that performance, and we'll all be winners.
  • Team Friendship vs. the Rhodes Scholars (Tag Title Match). Kind of a throw-in... it's getting to the point where if Sandow and Cody won't win, there's no point to them remaining a team. So my feeling is they finally take the titles, jumpstarting the break-up of Kane and Bryan (they'll make it through a few rematches, and then, who knows?, either feud with each other for WM, or maybe something more amicable).
    All four guys are also gonna be in the Rumble match (per Friday's episode of SD), so I fully expect this to be the opener.
  • Other Stuff. WWE's announced Antonio Cesaro defending the US Title versus Miz on the internet pre-show (both men are also in the Rumble, I gather).... and I'd expect them to throw a women's match out there as a palate cleanser between the WWE Title and Rumble Matches; I fully support any decision that results in Kaitlyn being on my TV more often... and that should be more than enough show to fill 3 hours...
There you have it... everything you need to know about the Rumble PPV in order to have a hell of a time on Sunday night. Including how to play the legendary Royal Rumble Game!
So kick back and have a good time, if it is your wont. And if it isn't? Just come on back to OO on Sunday night around midnight or so, and I'll have Pyro's recap posted for all you cheapskates out there! See you then, kids....

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Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.



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