What A Difference A Year Makes (Royal Rumble)

by C. House on 27th January 2011

The 2011/24th Annual Royal Rumble is fast approaching and instead of doing a “Top Royal Rumble Moments Ever” piece, I’ve decided to focus on what has changed in the last year. It seems like just yesterday we were all excited about the return of Edge to take the win.

The 23rd Annual Royal Rumble event took place on January 31st 2010. The show opened with Christian defending the ECW Championship against the goliath, Ezekiel Jackson. I personally thought this was the best match of the night, not only showing that Big Zeke had potential but also absolutely cementing Christian as one of the best in the business.

What’s Changed?: The ECW Championship (along with it’s brand) was retired on February 16th 2010. Christian is currently injured and Ezekiel Jackson is part of The Corre.

Next, we saw The Miz defend his United States Championship against MVP. This impromptu match saw Miz sneak away with his gold only to then be taken down by MVP when all was said and done.

What’s Changed?: The Miz went on to win the Unified Tag Team Championship with Big Show in February. He won another United States Championship over the summer after losing it briefly to Bret Hart. He captured the RAW Money in the Bank briefcase at July’s “Money in the Bank” event and successfully cashed in on Randy Orton in November to win the WWE Title for the first time.

MVP is no longer employed, having been released on December 2nd.

Sheamus, the unproven champion who had shocked the world by winning the WWE Championship from John Cena at TLC put his gold up against “The Viper” Randy Orton. This was Sheamus’ strongest PPV performance up until this point and although it ended with Orton being disqualified due to the interference of Legacy member Cody Rhodes,  it helped build Sheamus and set in motion the break up of Ortons group leading into Wrestlemania 26.

What Changed?: Sheamus is currently the reigning King of the Ring (having tweaked his name to King Sheamus) – Legacy descended into chaos and had their final showdown at Wrestlemania 26 where Randy Orton came out victorious. Orton is now working as a face, having won the WWE Championship for the 6th time at Night of Champions in September. He challenges Miz at 2011’s event.

Mickie James got her revenge against Laycool who had been taunting her for months with fat jokes, pinning Michelle McCool in just 20 seconds to win the Women’s Championship.

What Changed?: The Women’s Championship is now retired, having been unified with the Divas Championship at Night of Champions on September 19th. Laycool are still at the forefront of the divas division and Mickie James is working for TNA Wrestling having been released in April.

Rey Mysterio challenged The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship and put up a decent performance only to fall to The Last Ride.

What Changed?: The Undertaker is currently sidelined with an injury and Rey Mysterio, having won the World Heavyweight Championship for a second time in 2010 is expected to enter this years match.

As for the Royal Rumble match itself.

What Changed?: Five of the participants are no longer with the company (MVP, Carlito, Matt Hardy, Shelton Benjamin and Chris Jericho)

Shawn Michaels who played a big role in 2010’s match is now retired.

Dolph Ziggler, who entered #1 last year is challenging for the World Heavyweight Championship vs. last years winner, Edge.

Edge lost to Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania, making him the third Royal Rumble winner in a row to unsuccessfully win a World Championship at the event.

2010 was an interesting year for World Wrestling Entertainment and 2011 is sure to be no different.

Going into the Royal Rumble, exactly who will earn the right to main event Wrestlemania? Will this be the last event for somebody involved? What will things look like next year? Only time will tell.

What are your predictions for this year’s Royal Rumble? Let us know in the prediction thread on our Forums.

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