Well it’s that time of year again. The time when WWE turns down their physics engine and Superstars tend to just float over the top rope with little more than a breeze. The time of year where everyone’s finisher, for whatever reason, makes their opponent suddenly pop up to their feet and woozy. The time of year where people start exercising their pointer fingers and gesticulating toward the rafters to reaffirm life goals.
The biggest story of this year’s festivities is that current WWE Champion, Brock Lesnar, has decided to enter the match in the #1 spot and beat every man that enters one by one. This was heralded as “unprecedented,” so long as you forget that Roman Reigns did the same thing four years ago. Elsewhere, there is also a women’s Rumble where…OK, there isn’t really a story being built for the women’s division. They’ve only announced four participants at the time of publication, and the favorite to win the whole thing isn’t technically even on the main roster.
But none of that matters, because the Royal Rumble isn’t about winners and losers. It’s not about kicking off the Road to WrestleMania. It’s not even about the WWE showcasing its hierarchy of Superstar ratings by having (almost) its entire roster in a single match. No, much like the past few years, the 2020 Royal Rumble is about getting drunk. As such, we present to you the 2020 Royal Rumble Drinking Game, a grand way to liven up the middle portion of a match that goes around an hour — of which there will be two! Now, whether you’ll be enjoying the evening with a fine IPA, or perhaps some heavily accented sparkling wine, this will be a long night, so we stress the importance of pacing yourself — and calling an Uber if you’re playing at a friend’s house. With that all out of the way, let’s break down the rules:
The Big Three
If you’re new to the game, there are a few different rules sections, each governing a different aspect of the event. While some won’t apply to everyone playing, these next three rules are the core of the game and MUST be followed by every participant. Fortunately, they’re also the easiest to keep track of. So crack open an ice-cold Steveweiser and swig that sumbitch every time:
1). Drink Every Time a Superstar is Eliminated
The most basic rule in the game, and the one that is going to account for the lion’s share of the drinking you’ll be doing, this one requires you to take a sip every time someone is tossed over the top rope with their feet hitting the floor. This is a biggie (it’s a guaranteed 29 drinks), and why we suggest only playing along with one of the Rumble matches. Drink responsibly, y’all.
2). Drink for Every Returning Superstar
Given that the Rumble is a high-exposure event that doesn’t require a lot from an individual performer, the WWE LOVES to trot out wrestlers returning from injury or legends in the market for a quick payday and a quick showing on the big stage. There aren’t a ton of surprises out there for modern WWE fans, but some of the less impressive names that may or may not make their way down the ramp of Minute Maid Park include Naomi, Ruby Riott, Jinder Mahal and Jeff Hardy. As far as returning legends the list is even more sparse, but fans are still holding out for the returns of seemingly retired luminaries like Paige, Edge, Ronda Rousey and — of course — CM Punk.
3). Drink for Every Debuting Superstar
This one’s a bit wonky this year, as WWE has been trying to make NXT into an actual third brand since November, so it’s hard to consider a Rumble spot a full debut. Alas, until the folks on Wednesday night are making Monday night money, it still counts. Similarly, the birth of AEW has largely drained the well of big name indie talent, so it’s pretty unlikely that we’ll see any defections from elsewhere pop up on the show. That being said, there’s a pretty wide array of people from NXT who could make a move into the Rumble this year, but smart money is on folks like Matt Riddle, Keith Lee and the actual favorite to win the women’s match, Shayna Baszler.
The Player Rules
While The Big Three rules are for everybody, every participant must also choose one rule from the 3 player categories. These will require a little more of your attention and range from “may take a sip or two” to “Adam Page midway through Dynamite” as far as how often they’ll make you drink. So choose wisely!
Not sure if you’ve noticed, but the announce teams on WWE programming tend to follow very simple speech patterns while calling the action. It’s almost as if the same septuagenarian billionaire is screaming the same catchphrases and talking points in the ears of the announcers every week to make everything sound the same? Whether it’s Cole and Gravy, King and his grandson or some kind of combination, you can rest assured the announce team will be playing the hits this Sunday. As such, crack a cold one when you hear the following:
- They mention how long a Superstar has been in the match
- They call attention to a Superstar’s brand
- Cole says “Oh MY!” or “Could it BE!!!!”
- They mention one of WWE’s podcasts
- Whenever someone says “Road to WrestleMania”
- Cole yells “It’s the BIG DOG!”
- They announce a trending hashtag
- King calls one of the performers by the wrong name
- Graves changes his pick to win the match midway through
And down your drink when….
- An announcer enters (and quickly exits) the match.
Rumble Moments Rules
Speaking of familiar patterns, WWE has been running the Royal Rumble match for 32 years now, so they’ve largely worked things down to a science. That’s not to say it’s not a fun formula — far from it, as a matter of fact. It’s just that there’s plenty of familiar tropes and gags to anticipate when 30 Superstars climb into the ring only to then throw each other out of it. Some of these are due to the conventions of the match type, some is to fill out B roll for WrestleMania video packages. Either way, you should take a swig whenever:
- A Superstar points at the WrestleMania sign
- A group of smaller wrestlers teams up to toss out a larger wrestler
- Someone goes under/through the ropes
- One superstar hits multiple finishers and is the only person left standing
- Two performers do the Hockey Fight spot
- One tag team member eliminates their partner
- Someone skins the cat
- A wrestler does their signature pose only to be immediately eliminated
- Two wrestlers go nose to nose and talk trash. Do it again if it’s a smaller wrestler going face to face with a larger competitor and they visibly gulp.
And finish your beverage when:
- A wrestler over-sells an opponent’s finisher in order to more easily get thrown out of the match
Character Specific Rules
Now it’s not all familiar announcer spots and match tropes, it’s also familiar character spots and tropes. Yes, just because it’s the Royal Rumble doesn’t mean WWE stops being WWE, and that means several storylines and character beats are bound to make their way into the match. These are more of a crapshoot and can only happen once, so every one of these rules requires you to down your drink. So lean that Long Island Iced tea back and chug-a-lug whenever:
- Dio Maddin tries (and fails) to get revenge on Brock Lesnar
- Otis thrusts himself awkwardly at someone
- John Morrison/Kofi Kingston/Naomi/Kacy Catanzaro avoid elimination in a neat way
- Someone eliminates both Iiconics at the same time
- Drew McIntyre tries to get the “1-2-3” chant before the Claymore over
- R-Truth does something stupid
- Charlotte “Woooos” in someone’s face
- Bobby Lashley embarrasses Rusev AGAIN
- The number of German suplexes hits a multiple of 5
And of course, guzzle if:
- Keith Lee pounces a guy out of the ring.
The 2020 Royal Rumble takes place this Sunday, January 26 at 7 p.m. EST. If you plan to play along, please drink responsibly and remember, no matter how much you want it, no matter how hard you book it in your mind, no matter what sense you make of it….CM Punk is never wrestling for WWE ever again. SEE YOU SUNDAY!
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