One of the more interesting aspects about the Royal Rumble match is not just who wins the match, but also the process of seeing a wrestler or two start the match early and compete for a very long time.
One such person that is familiar with the process of preparing the Royal Rumble from a creative sense is former WWE writer Court Bauer. Bauer spoke with Fightful to talk about how WWE goes about preparing the Royal Rumble and how it selects the men to be the "Iron Man" of that year's Rumble match. He said in the case of 2006, when Bauer was with WWE, the main people planning the Rumble were Michael Hayes, Pat Patterson and Shane McMahon.
"You're collaborating for the few week going into the Rumble. It can be fine tune and stuff, but right now, Michael Hayes, Pat Patterson, Shane McMahon will be in a hotel suite they'll rent out in Stamford, Connecticut. They'll have a lot of food and there will be some liquor and they will gameplan the Royal Rumble: the entrances, the eliminations and by the end of the week, the last week going into the holiday, they'll then pitch and present their gameplan to the creative team and Vince McMahon. This is what it was like for 2006 and I don't know what it's like in 2017," Bauer said.
That 2006 Royal Rumble match that Bauer mentioned did have two wrestlers last more than a hour: Triple H and Rey Mysterio. Both men entered the match at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, and they were the last two men standing before Mysterio won. Bauer said the process itself of finding the iron man goes through the creative team and Vince's final say as well as going through any records that the iron man could break, which wasn't a simple thing to find out in 2006.
"They'll go through it, a lot of it is very impressive. There will be some red flags, some fine tuning, Vince might say, 'Hey, hold on for a second.' They'll go through that whole process and you'll know what they're going to showcase in a guy and tell a story and he's the iron man guy. He'll go the distance. Then you'll go out and ask if he's going to break any records? What records are there? You fire up Google and you go 'hey!' because there is no in-house system that has all the records except for Howard Finkel. He's the in-house Google that can tell you everything about anyone," Bauer said.
Mysterio broke the longevity record that year, lasting 1:02:12 with the previous record being held by Chris Benoit, lasting 1:01:30, in 2004. Other records have been broken in later Royal Rumble matches, such as Roman Reigns breaking Kane's record for most eliminations in a single Royal Rumble match, with 12 in 2014.
The interview can be seen in the video above. As for this year' Royal Rumble, Fightful will have full coverage of Royal rumble weekend, with a post-show podcast after NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia and the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.