Entering at Number One

WWE.com has a neat article up today, interviewing Shawn Michaels in regards to his number 1 entry into the Royal Rumble, and the advice he’d give to The Miz, the number 1 entrant into the 2012 Rumble (and the only known number entrant this year). There’s a lot to reflect on here:

“It never really looked like being No. 1 was not something you wanted to be,” Michaels said. “I recognize that you’ve got longer to go, and you’ve got to face everybody and endure to the end, but I saw that as a badge of honor.”

This gels with my theory from earlier today that no. 1 entrant-style Rumbles (where the guy goes the whole way) end up feeling like gauntlet matches more than Royal Rumbles.

Royal Rumble 1995 marked the first time ever the match’s first two competitors – HBK and The British Bulldog – were also the final two competitors in the ring, giving hope to every Superstar unlucky enough to draw a low number.

Considering the entrant list to the 95 Rumble, can you blame them for going that route? The British Bulldog was the only other guy in the match that posed any sort of threat.

“At that point in my career,” he explained, “I was so into wanting to be a ‘WWE Iron Man’– the match a couple years later notwithstanding. I can remember at that time very vividly being a fan of Ric Flair. The protégé of going long distances and working hard for a long period of time … it’s what I wanted to be.”

I don’t care what TNA tries to tell us, 30 minutes ain’t an Iron Man. The 1995 Rumble was a cheat.

“In the Rumble, everybody is your potential friend and your potential enemy,” the WWE Hall of Famer said. “You make alliances that you wouldn’t normally make, and you stab anybody in the back that you want to stab in the back.”

Much like Scott Keith, I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments.

Michaels acknowledged that, at the end of the night, “only one guy can be standing there …. Pride and all of those things get thrown out the window, and you do whatever you’ve got to do to win. Miz is a sleazy enough dude – that fits him – so I think that’s gonna be his strength.”

This article is telling: The Miz, as a character, has something to prove in this Rumble after two months of a negative push (why don’t we call these “pulls”?) How long Miz lasts in this Rumble—and who defeats him—will say a lot about how much faith WWE has in the guy that won the main event of the previous Wrestlemania.