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Decline of the Rumble

How you doing, Scott?

Can't help but notice that at most, Sheamus' match against Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania will be the fourth in importance after Rock vs. Cena, Undertaker vs. Triple H, and CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho.

Also can't help but notice that there has been a decline in the way the Royal Rumble winner is positioned at Wrestlemania. When they started having the "Royal Rumble winner gets a title shot Wrestlemania" deal, the winner of the Royal Rumble would main event Wrestlemania. His match would be the most important one on the card, if not the one that actually closed it. Things like LT vs. Bam Bam in 1995, Undertaker vs. Sid in 1997, and Austin getting into the main event despite losing the Rumble in 1999 were exceptions to the rule that the Royal Rumble winner would main event Wrestlemania. But increasingly, the Royal Rumble winner not main eventing Wrestlemania or even having his match established as the most important one on the card. Rey Mysterio and Undertaker had their title matches play second fiddle to the other brand's title matches in 2006 and 2007, Cena used his title shot at No Way Out in 2008, Edge's match was third in line after Cena vs. Batista and Undertaker vs. Shawn II in 2010, and Del Rio jerked the curtain last year. Orton's main event against Triple H was the exception rather than the rule in 2009. I can see the Royal Rumble winner's match dropping to second fiddle at most, but sliding to third in line, curtain jerker, and fourth in importance is a bit much.

I guess my question to you and the folks at the blog of doom is what do you all make of this? What's your explanation of it? Is it a positive/negative trend?

Definitely a negative trend.  Like really, has there been a Rumble winner in recent years who wasn’t even BOOKED on the February PPV?  Luckily for them, people still believe in the Rumble concept enough to keep the show from bombing ala Hell in the Cell, but really winning the Rumble has become a lot of work for little reward.  Especially when there’s title shots available so many other ways.  Del Rio’s win basically did nothing for him, as they had to waste MITB on him as well to get him the belt, and as noted John Cena didn’t even bother to cash in his shot at Wrestlemania the year he won it!  And don’t forget that Mysterio actually lost his shot to Orton in 2006 and only got back into the match via booking twist.  Plus it kind of detracts from the drama of the Rumble when you know there’s only certain people who can win it. 

Plus I wouldn’t hold your breath at the prospect of Sheamus winning the belt this year.  Seems pretty clearly set up to stick Orton in there as a three-way and have him win it instead.  Frankly the Sheamus win makes less and less sense with every show where he does nothing.