This Sunday Night, World Wrestling Entertainment presents its 28th annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view right here in Philadelphia. The main attraction on the card is the always hotly contested Royal Rumble match.
According to the “entry numbers, usually via a lottery… … usually staged right before the event begins. The match begins with the two wrestlers who have drawn entry numbers one and two, with the remaining 28 wrestlers entering the ring at regular timed intervals, either 90 seconds or two minutes, according to their entry number.”
The Royal Rumble match is one of the most highly regarded, star making, and historically significant matches in WWE history. For me personally, this will be my second straight Royal Rumble that I will be live in attendance for. My affinity for the Royal Rumble started as a child when imagining who would emerge victorious after all 29 eliminations. Trying to figure out if friend and foe alike would forge alliances or backstab one another for a chance to win the match. Afterall, the winner of the Royal Rumble match is guaranteed a title shot at Wrestlemania, the Super Bowl of American wrestling.
So, I thought I would combine my two favorite distractive hobbies, wrestling and Phillies baseball, and attempt to find the answer to an outrageous scenario: What if the 2015 Philadelphia Phillies were booked to compete in a Royal Rumble match?.
I went to Random Results and listed thirty Phillies who would most likely make the 2015 forty man roster. I asked some of Phillies Nation’s foremost baseball/wrestling authorities on their opinions on how they would fantasy book a Phillies Royal Rumble. For other leisurely wrestling-related sports reading, check out Greg Paone’s jawn over at The 700 Level. Firstly, the lottery draw with Ian Riccaboni’s comparable analysis of what wrestler resembles which Phillie:
The Lottery Draw
- Jake Diekman Comparable to 2004 Randy Orton. Tall, lanky entry. Had terrific rookie year, strong second year, full of potential. May get some early eliminations, hangs on until possible house clearing.
- Miguel Alfred Gonzalez Comparable to 2012 Primo. Quick exit for once-hyped talent from outside continental United States
- Jerome Williams Comparable to 1989 Greg Valentine. Veteran who stays in the match to brawl. Possibly eliminates one or two combatants.
- Cole Hamels Comparable to 2010 John Cena. Once a heavy fan favorite now divides vocal males in the crowd. Likely to make a run until the end.
- Johnathan Papelbon Comparable to 1990 Ted DiBiase. Strong heel that is universally disliked. Brought in to give Hamels sympathy.
- Freddy Galvis Comparable to 1988 Sam Houston. No chance at winning the Rumble but a recognizable name known from lower circuit success (Galvis in Reading and Lehigh Valley, Houston in smaller NWA territories) to keep the crowd interested.
- Grady Sizemore Comparable to 1993 Tito Santana. After a slight identity change, Sizemore sticks out in a year of sparse talent.
- Ken Giles Comparable to 1996 Shawn Michaels. Giles is the clear-cut babyface of the group and is the fan-favorite to win this.
- Cliff Lee Comparable to 2002 Mr. Perfect or Goldust. Big-time veteran making a long-awaited return after missing significant time due to injury. Could be a choose your own adventure.
- Phillippe Aumont Comparable to 2004 Rene Dupree. French-Canadian with a lot of potential. Much like Dupree, may end up having his biggest success in Mexico.
- Jonathan Pettibone Comparable to 1996 Tatanka. Largely forgotten in a forgettable roster.
- Ethan Martin Comparable to 2006 Trevor Murdorch. Young, beefy competitor with a heavy southern accent. Dark horse to hang around late in the match.
- Maikel Franco Comparable to 1991 Davey Boy Smith. Big, powerful youngster that relies heavily on upper body strength. Has the potential to last until the end.
- Luis Garcia Comparable to 2012 Hunico. See MAG.
- Tommy Joseph Comparable to 2005 Daniel Puder. Once was seen with a lot of potential. Has seen an unfortunate rash of injuries and was not able to continue to adapt with what he was learning.
- Aaron Harang Comparable to 1991 Rick Martel. Wiley veteran who has the potential to stay in the entirety of the match.
- Ryan Howard Comparable to 1989 Warlord. One of the strongest players on the roster falls victim to one of the quickest eliminations of the night.
- Chase Utley Comparable to 1998 Steve Austin. Veteran that is popular among all demographics. Has the potential to run the table.
- Darin Ruf Comparable to 1988 Jim Neidhardt. Powerhouse with huge upper body strength. Has potential to eliminate a number of entrants.
- Carlos Ruiz Comparable to 2003 Rey Mysterio Jr. Ultra-popular veteran, light-weight competitor who has a good showing but ultimately does not win.
- Domonic Brown Comparable to 1995 Crush. A star in a weak year with potential because of body-type and athleticism.
- Mario Hollands Comparable to 1997 Cibernetico. Not a surprise entrant but a very surprising entrant in a talent-thin year.
- Hector Neris Comparable to 1997 Latin Lover. See Mario Hollands.
- Cesar Jimenez Comparable to 1999 Steve Blackman. Jimenez made his Major League debut in 2006, almost nine years ago while Blackman was an enhancement talent as far back as 1987. Both are veterans who are thought to be younger than they are/were and are solid talents.
- Justin De Fratus Comparable to 1998 Blackjack Bradshaw. A big Texan with a lot of potential in a thin year. May find his footing and graduate to JBL with a solid performance.
- Cameron Rupp Comparable to 1989 Ron Bass. After a brief cameo in the 1988 Rumble, the stocky Texan with his trusted bull-whip Betsy, returned to the Rumble in 1989 with about just as much chance to win.
- Cody Asche Comparable to 1993 Owen Hart. Is he an everyday player? Does he need to go to Japan to hone his craft? These are questions that surrounded both Asche and Hart, who have more than sandy blonde hair and boyish smiles in common.
- Cesar Hernandez Comparable to 1993 Terry Taylor. Recognizable veteran who arrives later in the match. Always perceived as older than he really is due to his early start.
- Ben Revere Comparable to 1989 Koko B. Ware. High energy (no pun intended) cannon fodder for bigger competition.
- David Buchanan Comparable to 1998 Chainz. Journeyman who got his shot at the big-time just as he was peaking.
Winner: Justin De Fratus
Match Highlights:In the early minutes of the Rumble, Cole Hamels would surprisingly eliminate an over zealous Johnathan Papelbon as retribution for blowing a save against the Atalanta Braves last season, costing Hamels a surefire win. Papelbon goes over the top to the floor, setting the stage the eventual Hamels vs. Papelbon Steel Cage showdown at PhilliesMania I. If Papelbon gets traded, the two will square off in an interpromotional grudge match at Wrestle Kingdom 10. While Ryan Howard drew number 17, he wouldn’t make it into the ring until after #19 entrant Darin Ruf because of his ever decreasing mobility and speed. Once inside, Chase Utley would team up with Carlos Ruiz to immediately dump Howard out for all of those missed RBI opportunities in 2014.
At #29, Ben Revere would come rushing down the ramp, sliding into the ring. Revere would run wild on all of the gassed Phillies with vicious chops, kicks, and other various high energy spots. But, he would get cut off by Aaron Harang who miraculous hasn’t been eliminated. Undeterred, Harang would then lift Revere over his head and recreate this classic wrestling moment below:
The Four Four: Justin De Fratus, Chase Utley, Mario Hollands, Cody Asche
The Finish: The final four square off on each side of the ring with the infielders and relievers forming an alliance to dump the other two. De Fratus quickly gets the heat on Asche by raking his eyes and dumping a now blind Asche over the top. Meanwhile, Hollands and Utley are trading blows against the far side ropes. With the two players distracted hitting one another, De Fratus sneaks up from behind and tosses both men over the top at the same time for the win.
Winner: Domonic Brown
Match Highlights: Two of the most remarkable eliminations of the night would come at the hands of Chase Utley. In the midst of a back and forth grapple session, the six-time All-Star’s grey soul patch would lay the smack down on Cameron Rupp’s manly goatee, using a gorilla-press slam, to clinch supremacy as the toughest facial hair in the city.
Carlos Ruiz would set the all-time record for eliminations in a single Rumble match, as the Phils’ mainstay spent his off-season bulking up by carrying around his many, many children. The added muscle helped The Panamaniac oust 13 competitors before running into the patented Utley finisher known as “The F-Bomb”, which ended Chooch’s hopes at putting his name in the history books on this day.
The Final Four: Cliff Lee, Domonic Brown, Chase Utley, Larry Greene Jr.
The Finish: Backstop Tommy Joseph, the Rey Mysterio Jr. of the Philadelphia region (based on his difficulty steering clear of the injury bug), is slated to compete in the 30-man free-for-all. But a strong breeze on his way into the arena that day aggravates his recurring concussion problems. The prized return from San Francisco in the Hunter Pence deal is, once again, forced out of action.
Replacing Joseph in the Rumble is long-time pro wrestling fan Larry Greene Jr, making his debut on the main roster after years of lackluster performances in the developmental ranks. The heavyweight prospect, Greene, nearly pulls off a Santino Marella-near upset, as he appears to be the last man standing, but Philly’s favorite heel Domonic Brown, who had seemingly been eliminated moments prior proved to still be an active participant having exited the ring between the ropes instead of over them, crept back in as Greene celebrated, then dumped the former first round pick with quickness.
Brown would go on to main event PhilliesMania I and challenge for the World Title. After a year or so of executives counting on him to headline events and lead their roster, the six-foot-five 200-pounder would go the way of former reality star Mike “The Miz” in WWE, fizzling out as a featured player the brass can count on, becoming a role player used to fill out the card.
Who do you think would win a Phillies Royal Rumble?