"meep meep meep meep meep" - Gallo Images
The Road to WrestleMania begins with the annual Royal Rumble. Who will win an automatic title match at the granddaddy of them all?
The 2013 Royal Rumble will take place on Sunday at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Ariz. The annual event kicks off the Road to WrestleMania and will be main-evented by arguably the most beloved gimmick match of all time: the titular Rumble.
Thirty wrestlers will compete in the Royal Rumble, each vying for an automatic title shot at WrestleMania 29 on April 27 in New York . Two combatants will begin the match, with another participant entering every 90 seconds. The only way to be eliminated is to be thrown over the top rope and have both feet touch the floor. The last person standing will be the winner.
We will be posting results as part of a live chat on Sunday, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. Please join us right here at SB Nation.
There will be other matches, too! Here is the full rundown.
U.S. Title Match: Antonio Cesaro (c) vs. The Miz
Who? Antonio Cesaro speaks five languages and is very European. The Miz is that guy from The Real World and is actually a wrestler now!
Why you should care: Antonio Cesaro is one of the strongest guys you've ever seen and one of the very best and most entertaining performers in the company. Meanwhile, The Miz is self-destructing in hilarious fashion, as not even an endorsement from Ric Flair himself can seem to stop his breakneck downward slide. He's been "given" the figure-four leglock by Flair, so watch for him to incorrectly apply it on Sunday.
Tag Team Title Match: Team Hell No (c) vs. Team Rhodes Scholars
Who? Team Hell No is Kane (a guy from Hell) and Daniel Bryan (a guy who likes to say "no"). It ain't Shakespeare, folks! Team Rhodes Scholars is Cody Rhodes (a guy who is somehow Dusty Rhodes' son) and Damien Sandow (an intellectual). Get it?
Why you should care: The intro video package recapping this feud should be worth the price of admission. Team Hell No was brought together through anger management counseling, while Team Rhodes Scholars features a guy in a bathrobe doing cartwheels and talking down to people and a guy with the world's worst mustache. There is nothing not to like about this.
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. The Big Show
Who? Del Rio is an aristocrat from Mexico who is suddenly a good guy. The Big Show is that massive giant dude who lost a wrestling match to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. a few years ago.
Why you should care: This is a last-man-standing match, which should be interesting. The Big Show is sort of going through a career renaissance where everything he does is compelling. Honestly though this is the least-interesting match on the card.
WWE Championship: CM Punk (c) vs. The Rock
Who? CM Punk is that tattooed guy who made a bunch of salacious comments about Vince McMahon and WWE in June of 2011 and consequently got a bunch of mainstream attention. The other guy is The Rock.
Why you should care: Heading into the match on Sunday, CM Punk will have held the title for 434 days. It's the longest world title reign in 25 years. He claims he's better than the Rock. The Rock vehemently disagrees. Oh, also, there's these three guys called "The Shield" who appear to be in cahoots with Punk. They keep beating people up. If they interfere in the match, Punk will be stripped of the title. But that's the stupid part. The important part is "CM Punk vs. The Rock."
The Royal Rumble
Who? Man, just everybody.
Why you should care: Because of the way the match is set up. It's the best gimmick ever devised and the only good way to have a battle royale. You'll get to see who is going to WrestleMania to challenge for a world title. There are storylines to watch every year, like who will last the longest (can anyone last for an hour? Dolph Ziggler will probably get the "longevity" nod this year), who will last the shortest amount of time, who will eliminate the most people, who will be eliminated most painfully and who will get the creative "OH NO THEY HAVEN'T ACTUALLY BEEN ELIMINATED BECAUSE THEIR FEET DIDN'T TOUCH THE FLOOR" spot. Past examples of that spot include John Morrison getting thrown onto the guardrail and Kofi Kingston LANDING ON HIS HANDS and hand-walking back to the ring.
WWE has even put out a printable scorecard this year! The Royal Rumble is awesome.
The Rumble will begin at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday and is available only on pay-per-view. The pre-show and opening match will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET and will stream live on WWE.com, Facebook and YouTube.