At the beginning of each year in WWE, as the Royal Rumble is approaching, there is lots of talk about numbers. Though usually that talk is centered on the Rumble itself, I think there are some pretty interesting numbers when it comes to other matches at the January "Big Four" event.


Consider this: from 2003-2013, the WWE had two world championships, each loosely representative of the top superstar on Raw, and on Smackdown. In those 11 years, there were 24 world title matches at the Rumble (2 per year), and only *three* title changes. The belts (SORRY, one small slip-up, I meant titles) would get unified and de-unified a couple of more times, but regardless of it was one title or two, it continued to be defended at the January pay-per-view, and the trend of successful defenses by the champion would continue.

In total, since the first title defense at the 1993 Royal Rumble, there have been only 7 instances, in 39 total matches, where the world title has changed hands--that's 18% of  the time.

Point blank, there's no suspense left in the Rumble title match. It barely ever results in a title change, and even when it does, the change itself wasn't in doubt. In 1999, we all knew that the title needed to go back on the Rock in order to set up a match with Stone Cold Steve Austin. And at the most recent Rumble, with Ric Flair in attendance, and the commentary team talking non-stop about the chance to tie the Nature Boy's record, Cena's claiming of the title from AJ Styles was never really in doubt.

So why not use the champion in another way? Have a tag or six-man tag where the champion is involved but the outcome isn't so obvious. The plethora of Rumble retaining has been done to make a champion look strong heading into his title defence at Wrestlemania, but this can still be accomplished in a tag team affair. If the champion's involvement is him dominating the competition, but he's not a factor in the outcome of the match, the WWE can accomplish their objective of making the champ look good, while also creating suspense. And suspense over who's winning, is, to my mind, the most fun part of watching a wrestling match. Besides the actual in-ring quality, one of the best things about watching an all-time classic is having absolutely no idea of who is going to win, and buying every hot near-fall as a result. For two great examples, look no further than John Cena vs The Rock at Wrestlemania 28, and Shawn Michaels vs the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 25.

So, with respect, let's retire the Royal Rumble title match. Just remember that to do so, it has to be thrown over the top rope, with both feet touching the floor.