This Sunday night, WWE’s Royal Rumble will set us up on the road to WrestleMania.
At 90min, we (well, some of us), really like wrestling. So what better way to celebrate January’s finest event than to fantasy book the 30-man, over the top rope bout ourselves, using footballers, football managers, football pundits, and whoever we can think of, to tell a monster of a story.
The rules? One person enters the match every 90 seconds, until 30 participants have entered.
The last one standing after 29 have been thrown over the top wins. Simple really.
First Entrant: Liverpool FC
Jurgen Klopp leads his players, backroom staff, tea lady and a small selection of the club’s supporters (YouTube personalities, probably) to the ring as the first entrant.
There’s around 62 people coming down the aisle to a dirty guitar version of You’ll Never Walk Alone by Saliva, but it’s already been cleared with the top brass that they all count as a collective one entrant. Think of them as the modern day NWO. And think of
I’ll leave you to match the rest to the remaining 61 NWO members.
Second Entrant: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
You couldn’t write this stuff.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer strolls down the aisle with a beaming smile, completely confident in his own abilities to last from number two in the Rumble match and all the way through to the end. Rey Mysterio and Vince McMahon did it, so why can’t he?
He steps into the ring with the other half full with 62 members of Liverpool Football Club, and the match begins as the entire collective pick Solskjaer apart. Roy Keane is on commentary and screaming for Solskjaer to be given time.
The Norwegian’s attacks come in feeble, slow and weak flurries which are easily dealt with by Liverpool’s defence. It even seems his famed counter-attack tactic will be useless here.
Even in poor performance, at least we can consider this a stride forward.
Number 3: Christian Eriksen
Long-serving, talented, but remarkably uninterested.
Eriksen strolls to the ring with the real-life narrative that his WWE contract is going to expire at 11:59pm on Sunday April 5, 2020 – the night of WrestleMania 36. It’s worked into storyline and the Dane knows he’s still gotta put other guys over because he’s out of contract.
But AEW (in footballing terms, Inter) are out there now, and they offer a much easier schedule and pretty good money. So even though he’s entering a match with 62 members of one team waiting for him, it’s all about participating but not getting injured for Chris.
The future’s bright – he even looks as though he might be able to leave the company early.
Number 4: Steve Ogrizovic
62 years old, but can still go. He’s not fazed by 63 other people in the ring and slides in, broken nose and all, for a good old slugfest with Jurgen Klopp.
James Milner and Jordan Henderson drag the former Coventry ‘keeper to the ground and beat him down a little, before Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson (we did a really good interview with him the other week, read that here) pick him up and whip him against the ropes.
Bobby Firmino pops and fly-kicks him over the top. Light work.
Number 5: Fernandinho
He didn’t get much luck with the draw last year, Fernandinho, coming in at number four. And unfortunately for him it’s five this time around. Another big job for the Brazilian.
Mohamed Salah runs up to him, only to get tripped full sprint. Fernie throws a few hooks and establishes himself in the match.
In the mean time, several of Liverpool’s medical staff are keeping Christian Eriksen quiet. He’s already getting set for a lengthy stint in the ring lying underneath the turnbuckles.
Number 6: Jamaal Lascelles
Here he is, look. Jamaal Lascelles and his little unexplained piece of paper.
A first Royal Rumble appearance for the Newcastle skipper, who is somehow not injured.
Number 7: Pep Guardiola
He’s followed up 90 seconds later by Pep Guardiola, who will provide some timely (but let’s be honest, not very suitable – it’s a wrestling match after all) back up for Fernandinho in the Manchester City quest to stop Liverpool dominating everything – like they currently look like doing.
Pep’s entry has picked up the tempo of the match at least. He’s a bit of a high-flier, even if a little lightweight, and catches Dejan Lovren with a head scissors. Even ‘PowerCube’ Xherdan Shaqiri’s having trouble handling him as Pep briefly cleans house – and Fernandinho and his boss stand tall in the centre of the ring.
The above image of Pep, mind you, is his reaction when the music of the next entrant hits.
Number 9: Dominic Calvert-Lewin
This is the first time they’ve seen each other since that ridiculous 2-2 draw between Everton and Newcastle the other day, when DCL mocked the Magpies’ centre half with a reaction that seems to suggest Jamaal needs to brush his teeth.
Calvert-Lewin, wrestling under the name Big Calv, enters the ring and Lascelles gets in his face again. They threaten to fight, Big Calv struggles to breathe, and then out of the blue Liverpool youngster Curtis Jones dumps the striker out of the ring – just like he dumped Everton out of the FA Cup recently.
Oh no, just what we need. An entire heel stable.
Stuart Pearce, Gordon Strachan and Alan Curbishley emerge first, and all give a glance back to the leader of the pack, Big Sam Allardyce, who is clutching his signature gravy boat in his hand.
Remember when Gangrel used to drink blood on his way to the ring and spit it out? It’s kind of like that. Unfortunately Gangrel’s music was cooler and Sam is swallowing the gravy.
They’ve all made it known they want a piece of Klopp, who is still relatively untroubled in the match, and they’re then joined by their ace in the pack and double-hard bastard Mark Hughes, who arrives as the five-pack make it their mission to eliminate all foreign managers at big clubs.
With all their experience and knowhow, they take on all comers (except those who aren’t foreign managers).
Number 11: Ashley Young
Appears to have been brainwashed by his new club, as he shouts “I was Young” and “HASHTAG NOT FOR EVERYONE” on the way to the ring.
Fancies a crack at the Liverpool lot for old time’s sake.
Number 12: Alexis Sanchez
He’s joined by Alexis ‘Piano Player’ Sanchez, his new teammate.
Number 13: Teemu Pukki
Lovely guy and willing to give things a go is Teemu Pukki, despite not being a favourite.
We’ll use this opportunity to clear up who’s in the match: 62 members of Liverpool FC, Fernandinho, Jamaal Lascelles, Adama Traore,
Oh and Christian Eriksen is still in there too.
Number 14: Ed Woodward
Walks in. Kicks VAR high into the crowd. Leaves.
Peter Odemwingie – September 2010, April 2011, February 2012
Has won the PL Player of the Month award more times than the likes of Torres, Suarez, Roy Keane, Sterling (currently), Giggs, Fabregas, Zola, Fowler and Eden Hazard.
Did it all while playing for West Brom. pic.twitter.com/1oQffx66XW
— Scott Saunders (@_scottsaunders) January 10, 2020
Mourinho then spots Southampton coach Andrew Sparkes in the front row holding a sign which says just one word on it in capital letters – ‘IDIOT’ – and Jose doesn’t like the taste of his own medicine.
He rips up the sign and rolls back into the ring, just hoping he can hang with whoever’s left in there.
Comes down to the ring repeatedly shouting ‘STAMP IT!’ and threatens to stamp all over Alexis Sanchez, who he’s locked his eyes on, because his name his Phil Stamp and his ingenious gimmick involves stamping and/or stamping on things.
Hey don’t blame me for lacking creativity here – Phil made his name in the 90s, when a fella named Sparky Plugg (a NASCAR dude gimmick) and The Goon (an Ice Hockey player) were living it up on the WWE roster with Bastion Booger.
Arteta’s joined by Nuno in the ring, and the two decide to join forces to finally eradicate the Hard Working British Managers Who Just Need a Chance at a Big Club.
Wolves are pretty good nowadays y’know, and the two move to take out the Really Quite Hard tag-team of Stuart Pearce and Mark Hughes, and it really gets the crowd going. Sam Allardyce sees what’s going on and panics, picks up his boat and chugs down some gravy before attempting to spit it out in the pair’s eyes.
They’re too quick, and Allardyce is in a world of trouble. Nuno military presses the guy above his head, but all of a sudden Arteta throws a drop-kick into Nuno’s back – sending both he and Allardyce over the top to the outside. The remainder of the gravy spills everywhere.
Arteta stands there in the ring, completely careless about his heel turn. He’s only there to take care of business. But there’s one team in the match who take care of business better than anybody else – and Arteta is bundled out of town by six members of Team Liverpool.
The Go-Home Moments
VAR, Match Official w/Peter Walton, Paul Pogba, Roy Keane and Liverpool FC are the final five entrants, and i’ll be honest with you – this is going to be the least dramatic finish to a Royal Rumble match in the history of Royal Rumble matches.
Salah, Mane and Firmino combine to put an end to Keane and Pogba’s hopes of winning, and it’s now just down to Liverpool and the officials – since they are probably the only ones even remotely capable of getting in the way of Liverpool’s charge to winning every competition there is to win in 2020.
And just like that, vanquished. Liverpool stand there, all 62 of them, victorious. Not a glove laid on them, only their fans somehow surprised that they’ve managed to actually win an opportunity at the title at WrestleMania.
It’s going to be a long, inevitable few months until they finally get their hands on the title…
For more from Scott Saunders, follow him on Twitter!