It’s October and WrestleMania season is… not yet around the corner, unfortunately, but hey, the road to Christmas starts early this year as I have a look at how the WWE should book the 2016 Royal Rumble.
Over the past few years, the Royal Rumble has suffered from two massive problems, predictability and fan favourites being booked poorly.
In 2013, we all knew John Cena was winning and we were getting Rock vs Cena Two, boo.
In 2014, we all knew Batista was winning and there was no competition for him in the match whatsoever, considering Daniel Bryan never even entered.
In 2015, there were really only three fan favourites in the entire match and they were the aforementioned yes man, Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler and from the moment that Bryan was eliminated, stupidly early, fans knew that Roman Reigns would be winning and proceeded to boo the Rumble into oblivion, which was fair, because the remainder of the Rumble was terrible and, to steal a line, I can do it better.
Before we look at who’s going to be in the Rumble, we have to decide who is NOT going to be in the match and to do that we have to decide the other big matches on the card. So for starters, the other matches on the card are going to be John Cena vs Cesaro for the United States Championship and Seth Rollins vs Sheamus vs Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The assumptions I’m working on include Sheamus cashing in at Survivor Series, Seth Rollins winning back the title at TLC, because nobody wants to see Sheamus as champion and John Cena returning from his hiatus, reclaiming his U.S title and defending here against Cesaro. These matches aren’t set in stone and as you’ll see in the booking of the Rumble, Cena and Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler and Cesaro can more or less be interchangeable depending on who needs to be used outside of the Rumble card. For the record, I would have the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match main-event ahead of the Rumble Match itself, find out why at the end of the article. As a side note, I would not book Brock Lesnar for the Royal Rumble, instead using him at Survivor Series against Seth Rollins, where Sheamus cashes in, because the Rumble match is a big enough drawcard on its own, and let’s get stuck into it.
Number One: Kevin Owens
Your Intercontinental Champion kicks off the Rumble.
Number Two: Neville
The fans of Orlando Florida, the more-or-less home of NXT get two of their finest prodigies going at it for 90 seconds. Towards the end of the timer, Neville knocks Owens down, climbs to the top rope, goes for a Red Arrow, but Owens moves out of the way and both men are down when the buzzer goes.
Number Three: Bo Dallas
Elimination 1: Bo Dallas
Number Four: Big E
Yes, a fourth former NXT Champion comes out next and yes, this has been done on purpose, because why not. Big E eventually takes down both men before proceeding to dance for the fans. Owens attacks Big E from behind, eliminating him. Neville starts attacking Owens, but Owens powerbombs Neville and tosses him over the top rope, he rolls out of the ring, grabs a microphone and gloats about how this is going to be his year, how no one can stop him and other heel shenanigans.
Elimination 2: Big E
Elimination 3: Neville
Number Five: Sami Zayn
Make that five former NXT Champions as Zayn explodes down the ramp and lays the smackdown on the man that injured him. The two beat the hell out of each other for 90 seconds with Sami standing tall when the buzzer goes.
Number Six: Luke Harper
Harper comes in and immediately goes after Sami, beating him down. He forms a temporary alliance with Owens and the two beat down Zayn right until the buzzer goes.
Number Seven: Dolph Ziggler
Out comes Dolph to help Sami, evening the odds. This is assuming Dolph doesn’t turn heel between Hell in a Cell and the Royal Rumble, otherwise Cesaro can be used here.
Number Eight: Kofi Kingston
Number Nine: Bubba Ray Dudley
Number Ten: Stardust
And now the ring starts to fill up after early eliminations.
Number Eleven: King Barrett
At some stage Barrett is tossed over the top rope by Cody, but lands on the apron. Stardust charges at him, but Barrett launches him over his head and eliminates Stardust. Last year too few people got eliminations to their name so the goal is to spread them out a bit more here.
Elimination 4: Stardust
Number Twelve: Xavier Woods
The New Day music hits and Woods comes out, microphone in hand. He waves the music off before talking about how stupid everyone is. How nobody in Rumble history has actually understood how to win this thing and how much smarter he is than everyone else in that Rumble, aside from his dear friend Kofi of course. Woods makes his way to ringside, talking about how the key to success is being there at the end and conserving energy and so he doesn’t actually enter the ring stating that he’s just going to wait on the outside until the final two. He proceeds to commentate the in ring action until the buzzer goes, counting it down with the crowd.
Number Thirteen: D-Von Dudley
D-Von runs down the ramp, throws Xavier into the ring where Sami Zayn immediately clotheslines Woods back over the top rope, eliminating him. Enraged, Kofi goes after Sami, taking him down, but the Dudley’s gang up on Kofi and throw him over the top rope, but Kofi’s feet land on Xavier Woods’ chest, who’s lying on the ground outside the ring. The two start panicking knowing that Kofi hasn’t been eliminated but know they can’t move. Very carefully, Kofi rolls backwards to get his feet back up onto the apron, but as soon as he’s successful and Xavier starts cheering, Bubba Ray simply kicks Kofi’s feet off the apron, eliminating him in the most nonchalant fashion imaginable.
Elimination 5: Xavier Woods
Elimination 6: Kofi Kingston
Number Fourteen: Kalisto
Number Fifteen: Randy Orton
Orton does his thing, RKO’ing everyone and by the end of the 90 seconds, he tosses both Dudley Boyz over the top rope, eliminating both of them. Orton was forced to qualify for the Rumble and had to defeat Erick Rowan to do so meaning Rowan is not in the rumble, again.
Elimination 7: D-Von Dudley
Elimination 8: Bubba Ray Dudley
Number Sixteen: The Miz
Number Seventeen: Goldust
Goldust makes his return and gets revenge for his brother, eliminating King Barrett
Elimination 9: King Barrett
Number Eighteen: Tyler Breeze
Considering Breeze made his debut on the main roster on Smackdown this week, this is no longer a surprise entrant, but that was initially the intention.
Number Nineteen: Sin Cara
Tyler Breeze and The Miz team up to eliminate Sin Cara. Miz compliments Breeze on his ‘moneymaker’ and the two shake hands and have seemingly formed a partnership. Nope, Breeze is the only resident of Cuteville and he doublecrosses The Miz, eliminating him from the Rumble as well. Kalisto attacks Breeze as the buzzer goes.
Elimination 10: Sin Cara
Elimination 11: The Miz
Number Twenty: Bray Wyatt
Similar to Xavier Woods, Bray makes his way down to ringside, but doesn’t get in the ring. He just starts laughing. Soon, Luke Harper rolls out of the ring and stands next to him. Bray continues laughing as the buzzer counts down.
Number Twenty One: Braun Strowman
Strowman comes down and the three Wyatt’s enter the ring and destroy everything. Strowman eliminates Kalisto and Goldust almost immediately. Orton, Ziggler and even Tyler Breeze band together to mount an offense against the Wyatt’s while Owens and Zayn are down in the corners of the ring. The Wyatt’s destroy all three and Bray eliminates Orton. Breeze quickly scurries out of the way and hides in the corner, leaving Dolph by himself. Dolph fights valiantly, but is eventually eliminated by Luke Harper. The Wyatt’s then go to work on the remaining three men before the buzzer goes. Who can stop the Wyatt’s???
Elimination 12: Kalisto
Elimination 13: Goldust
Elimination 14: Randy Orton
Elimination 15: Dolph Ziggler
Number Twenty Two: Dean Ambrose
Cue the Lunatic Fringe who without hesitation storms the ring and takes it to the Wyatt’s. Breeze and Owens go after Strowman in the corner while Zayn battles Bray. Ambrose gets the upper hand and eliminates Luke Harper. Together, Owens, Breeze, Zayn and Ambrose all are able to eliminate Braun Strowman and Bray looks on shocked.
Elimination 16: Luke Harper
Elimination 17: Braun Strowman
Number Twenty Three: Titus O’Neil
Now we need to fill the ring back up again.
Number Twenty Four: Ryback
Number Twenty Five: Adam Rose
Number Twenty Six: Kane
Elimination 18: Titus O’Neil
Elimination 19: Sami Zayn
Number Twenty Seven: Rusev
Rusev comes to the ring and almost immediately eliminates Adam Rose.
Elimination 20: Adam Rose
Number Twenty Eight: Darren Young
Number Twenty Nine: Big Show
Standard, Big Show enters late, “WHO CAN ELIMINATE A FRESH GIANT?” routine with Big Show eliminating Darren Young before going after Ryback.
Elimination 21: Darren Young
Number Thirty: Daniel Bryan
Bryan makes his return to WWE exploding straight into the ring in full Bryan fashion, first eliminating the Demon Kane and then Tyler Breeze while the crowd, probably, goes nuts.
Elimination 22: Kane
Elimination 23: Tyler Breeze
Next, Ryback gets the upper hand and eliminates Rusev using those muscles of his. Owens does his thing again, attacking Ryback from behind and eliminating him. Owens’ strategy continues to work with his fifth elimination.
Elimination 24: Rusev
Elimination 25: Ryback
Big Show goes on a wrecking path, knocking down Bryan, Bray and Owens. Dean Ambrose then on his own eliminates the Big Show, getting revenge for his elimination the previous year.
Elimination 26: Big Show
So we’re down to the final four – Kevin Owens, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose and Daniel Bryan. The four realize that they’re the only ones left and each take a corner of the ring and stare each other down. Four guys who have never won the event, four guys who the crowd would love to see main-event WrestleMania. Here we go. Owens and Bryan lock up while Bray and Ambrose go at each other. The four men go back and forth for a few minutes before Owens gets his sixth elimination, throwing Wyatt over the top rope. Almost immediately and in a completely ironic fashion, Daniel Bryan eliminates Owens from behind. Ambrose is down on the other side of the ring and Bryan drops to his knees. We’re down to two, Dean Ambrose and Daniel Bryan, two absolute fan favourites.
Elimination 27: Bray Wyatt
Elimination 28: Kevin Owens
Bryan and Ambrose go back and forth for at least five minutes and put on one of the more epic final Rumble showdowns in history before Bryan throws Ambrose over the top rope. Ambrose lands on the apron and Bryan charges at him, Ambrose lifts Bryan over his head and now both men are on the apron exchanging kicks, then punches and then finally headbutts. This makes people think Bryan is going to win as he used the headbutt to win the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania, but Ambrose’s head is far thicker than most and he wins the war, Bryan falling, eliminated.
Your winner of the 2016 Royal Rumble,
Roman Reigns goes on to defeat Seth Rollins in the main-event, pinning Sheamus to become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Post-match, Rollins’ incensed that he lost the title without being pinned confronts Roman and the two stare down. Reigns raises the title in Rollins’ face. Ambrose’s music hits and he comes out. The three men stare each other down. Your WrestleMania main-event is set.