How to make the Andre The Giant Battle Royal more important
When you name a battle royal after a legend, it needs to be special year in and year out.
Throughout the long history of WrestleMania there have been all kinds of stipulations and matches that have taken place. From crude Attitude Era bouts to personal battles for the WWE Championship, you can always expect to find something unique at the show of shows. Hell, we've even seen a gimmick battle royal which truly does prove that anything can happen in this bizarre world of sports entertainment.
Speaking of which, there's an over the top rope contest that's been brought into the fold over the last few years that's certainly made the headlines on more than one occasion. The ‘Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal’ is approaching it's fourth instalment, with WrestleMania 30 playing host to the first ever edition of the match.
We've seen Big Show, Cesaro and Baron Corbin reign supreme since it's inception, however, some people feel as if the importance of the match has diminished since New Orleans. It makes sense given that the King of Swing's victory back in 2014 was treated like a big deal, however there are a number of factors that have contributed to making the ‘Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal’ feel this way.
Year in, year out, we have seen Vince McMahon book a match that includes a whole host of superstars in order to give them all a WrestleMania payday. Now there's nothing wrong with that, but more often than not, the people involved deserve more of a story given how hard they've worked throughout the WWE calendar.
So why not make things feel a little bit more special? After all, Andre The Giant is rightly considered to be one of the greatest superstars of all time. If you neglect the very match type that has been created in his honour, then what kind of message does that send? This shouldn't just be some run of the mill occasion that's thrown together every twelve months.
That kind of mentality is what drags down so many WrestleMania bouts and has done for a long time now. Let's take a look at the entrances as a shining example - one or two bigger names tend to be given a full introduction, while the others wait inside the ring. That automatically throws those guys under the bus, making them feel inferior by comparison.
Every WWE superstar get a 20-30 second entrance for a few reasons - they can hear their music being played at the biggest show of the year, and it helps fans to get behind them that little bit more. Hell, you could even transform it into a Royal Rumble type format where everyone comes in sporadically. It may be a tad messy, but just imagine the potential surprises.
Then you've got the stakes at play. Whilst the trophy is a nice gesture for the winner, it was destroyed within 24 hours in 2014, and in the last two years, it hasn't been utilised that often. It disappears once WWE realise how inconvenient it is to carry around week in, week out, which increases the likelihood of people saying, "who won the Andre Battle Royal last year?" They need to have it with them all year round.
So why not put something else on the line. If the winner of the bout gets a future world title match at a big pay-per-view, then all of the upper midcard talent and past legends will want to give it a go. Instead of the cluster Money in the Bank match where someone pulls it down after every other competitor has been derailed, the final four in this contest would have an actual backstory.
It would feel like they're using their brains as opposed to timing, and you could use that to build the concept up in years to come. How, you ask? Through video packages, of course. They're one of the most effective tools WWE has at their disposal and have increased the interest for a number of big time matches over the years, as it adds a sense of unpredictability and anticipation.
Then we have the legends. It's all well and good throwing Tatanka in there but we want to make this feel like less of a joke in the future. Instead of obsessing over McMahon’s favourites, focus on the people who would thrive under this match type. You could even have qualifying matches on Raw and SmackDown between legends who have to fit a certain criteria.
There are many ways to make things more important here, but it all comes down to how much effort WWE wants to put in. WrestleMania 33 is already looking like a stacked card so this will probably be relegated to the pre-show, but the competitors involved deserve more than that. Go out there and put on a show that's worthy of the namesake and more casual fans will flock to the idea.