The following is an excerpt from Fightful's Inside The Royal Rumble feature. For the full story an additional context, please visit the full article at this link, and when posting quotes from this piece, please link to the original article.
The Rumble match is a proven formula. It works. It's exciting. There's the adage, 'don't fix what isn't broken.' But you can add a NOS pack to the jalopy in hopes of turning it into a ten-second car, right? Thus, the 30-person format has sometimes been adjusted.
"They had done the 40-man Rumble one year, which I really liked. I wish we'd go back to that. The more people involved, the better. The longer it is, the better. If I were to pick any changes to make, I would add more people," Kevin Owens suggested when speaking to Fightful.
Alas, the 2011 40-Man Royal Rumble went a whopping 69 minutes, twenty longer than the prior year. The project was quickly abandoned -- at least for seven years.
In 2018, WWE launched a controversial deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to run huge events there. Odd requests from the Kingdom -- in the form of wanting long-dead wrestlers -- and some tumultuous experiences resulted from the partnership. To kick it off, however, WWE took their Royal Rumble staple and souped it up, bringing an unprecedented 50 wrestlers to the match.
From what Fightful was told, the process was not that much different than a standard Royal Rumble, even though it was halfway around the world. Jamie Noble would lead the production in those matches, and wrestlers would know when they were to be eliminated by taking cues from the referee
"You just knew who a guy or two before you who was going out and got ref cues," one former WWE wrestler told Fightful. "Those events in Saudi are usually laid back and easy. We were just introducing WWE to a whole new audience."
Another source reiterated that point, stating that because they were working to a new audience, they were able to turn the clock back on the match and try things that hadn't worked in years.