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Royal Rumble 2018: Hardy Boyz are dark horses

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The old adage of ‘age versus experience’ extends into all facets of life. It is also a perpetual consideration for anyone placing a bet on such an unpredictable event as the Royal Rumble. Year on year, January’s flagship pay-per-view event has provoked rampant and febrile debate amongst wrestling fans as to just who will triumph.

As of July 2017, John Cena and Roman Reigns are joint-favorites to triumph in the 2018 Royal Rumble. The smart money would currently be with two-time winner Cena, especially combined with a free bet, such as a “bet £10, get £60” offer, via tipping and comparison site Oddschecker.

Victory in the next Royal Rumble would also draw the 16-time world champion level with the current leader Stone Cold Steve Austin. Famously, the Rattlesnake himself was victorious in consecutive years (1997 and 1998), defying the odds on the former occasion by winning after being just the fifth entrant of 30 on the night.

Nobody had a prayer against Stone Cold Steve Austin in the early stages of the 2002 event.

With the long list containing the names of fighters that debuted before the turn of the millennium, the imagination of older wrestling fans is once more being captured. There is, ever-present and undying, the hope that some products of the oft-exalted ‘Attitude Era’ can shine once again, in what will always be a proud fixture of the WWE.

With the swagger of real Americans, and the athleticism of Mexican luchadores, Jeff and Matt Hardy still (surprisingly) have a similar price to some younger stars, of +2000. Both appeared in a Royal Rumble for the first time back in 2001, after featuring on the undercard at the corresponding event in the previous two years.

Famously, Jeff and Matt were drawn to enter first and third respectively. Once they had successfully conspired to eliminate Steve Richards (the second entrant) the tag team partners fist-bumped and duly fought for the cameras. That was the case until entrant number four, Farooq, entered the fray seconds later, but soon after, the Hardy Boyz eliminated each other, getting nowhere near the end of the bout.

The Hardy Boyz have made a recent comeback.

A year later, the duo fared little better. Although entering later, they amassed a total of just 5 minutes and 46 seconds of ring time before being eliminated by The Undertaker. It would not be until 2003 that either of the Hardy Boyz attained a respectable amount of time, with Matt Hardy racking up just over 27 minutes in the ring. However, one troubling record remains unchanged: neither has ever managed to eliminate a Royal Rumble opponent single-handedly.

Time marches on, but the 2018 Royal Rumble could be the time to break this particular curse. With such short odds on either of the Hardy Boyz to win, bookmakers seem relatively confident that 2018 could be the year that said curse is finally broken.

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