This week on Raw, Vince McMahon made the shocking announcement that Roman Reigns had to defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship inside the Royal Rumble Match. In this article I will book the entire match from entrant one to thirty based on how I think the match should go down. This is not a prediction of what will happen, rather what ought to happen.
Firstly, Vince himself stated that Roman would defend the title against “29 other men” which implies that this will be a standard sized Rumble and not a 40 man Rumble, which would be possible given the depth on the rosters. Secondly, while all the signs are pointing towards the fact that WWE have signed AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson, as this hasn’t been confirmed, I’ll be leaving them out. In all likelihood, Nakamura and Styles will come straight to the main roster and a Rumble debut would be a good place to do it. For the sake of simplicity however, I will be leaving them out of this match. I also opted to only have the one ‘surprise return’ in the Rumble this year, and it’s more of a cop out than anything.
Before we get started, here are a few little bits of storyline that will be important to the match. Next week on Raw, Stephanie tells Roman that unless he wins the main-event, which is a 15 man battle royal, he’ll be the number one entrant in the Rumble match. The winner of that battle royal will be given an entrant number between 20 and 30. Kevin Owens wins the match, last eliminating Roman Reigns, forcing him to be the number one entrant. Over the next few weeks, the WWE have superstars randomly drawing numbers out of the lottery crate. Titus O’Neil is the only important one however, drawing his number on the Royal Rumble pre-show and seemingly visibly happy about his number.
Entrant Number One: Roman Reigns
The Royal Rumble Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship kicks off with the champ himself. Reigns brings the title to the ring, takes a microphone and simply says, “So now I literally have to go through 29 other men? Bring it on,” he drops the mic and raises the title.
Entrant Number Two: Rusev
Rusev and Reigns start the match. Coincidentally, they were also the final two men in last year’s Rumble Match. I say coincidentally because I realize that now, as I’m typing it and never actually intended that. Rusev and Reigns collide in the middle of the ring and are both on the mat as the buzzer goes.
Entrant Number Three: Bo Dallas
Bo comes down to the ring, sees his two opponents lying on the mat and proceeds to do a victory lap in celebration. He gets back into the ring… superkick from Rusev, spear from Reigns and Roman chucks him over. Rusev and Reigns exchange a brief look between Bo and each other before continuing where they left off.
Elimination 1: Bo Dallas
Entrant Number Four: Goldust
Entrant Number Five: Xavier Woods
We get a backstage segment before on the Rumble pre-show of the New Day drawing their numbers. Kofi and Big E start celebrating with theirs, before Woods draws his which, by his reaction, is terrible. Woods comes out with a microphone and says that he doesn’t want to get into the ring. Mathematically, the less time he spends in that ring, the more chance he has of winning. He sits down on the ramp and more or less commentates for the full 90 seconds.
Entrant Number Six: Dolph Ziggler
Dolph drags Xavier down to the ring and throws him in.
Entrant Number Seven: Adam Rose
All four members of Heath Slaters’ Social Outcasts will be in this match. Whether they’re actually in it, who knows, but they do take up four spots which minimizes the amount of surprise entrants. I’m going with them for simplicity sake. During these 90 seconds, the commentators realize that Xavier Woods has once again disappeared. Cole states that, he’s found him and the camera pans to find Woods sitting at the commentary desk with headphones on. He joins the commentary for the match, explaining that he can’t actually win the match until there are 30 people in there, so why would he be in there right now? He’ll wait for his friends to show up. Sidenote: Woods on commentary will also just plain improve the otherwise terrible WWE commentary.
Entrant Number Eight: Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio retains the United States Championship over John Cena earlier in the night when mysteriously, the lights momentarily went out while Cena was lining Del Rio up for the AA.
Entrant Number Nine: Sheamus
Cole speculates that the order had been rigged by Vince McMahon in order to get Roman thrown out. Sheamus in particular states on Raw that his number one mission in this match is to eliminate Roman, winning the title comes after that. Sheamus, Del Rio and Rusev, the three non-injured members of the League of Nations gang up on everyone. Goldust, Ziggler and Reigns put up a fight against them, but to no avail. Goldust is eliminated by Rusev and Adam Rose is next eliminated by Sheamus. Dolph Ziggler mounts a comeback, taking out Rusev and superkicking Del Rio before he too is eliminated by Sheamus. It’s now one on three. Reigns versus the League of Nations, but Reigns manages to survive until the buzzer goes. Factions dominating will be a BIG theme in this match.
Elimination 2: Goldust
Elimination 3: Adam Rose
Elimination 4: Dolph Ziggler
Entrant Number Ten: John Cena
Big match John makes his way down to help even the numbers. Super Cena does his thing and eliminates Del Rio, getting some revenge for earlier in the night. Reigns then eliminates Rusev and all of a sudden, Sheamus is the one facing the numbers game.
Elimination 5: Alberto Del Rio
Elimination 6: Rusev
Entrant Number Eleven: Stardust
Entrant Number Twelve: Curtis Axel
Axel makes his way down to the ring with a microphone. He climbs to the top rope and yells, “start the clock!” a giant clock appears on the big screen, counting up. Roman Reigns immediately pushes Axel off the top rope, eliminating him and stopping the clock in under five seconds.
Elimination 7: Curtis Axel
Entrant Number Thirteen: Luke Harper
Entrant Number Fourteen: Big Show
Big Show goes on a path of destruction, not eliminating anyone but knocking out Cena and Sheamus, then chokeslamming Harper. He goes after Reigns who hits a massive Superman punch and Samoan drop on the giant. Regins fires up. Harper charges at him but runs into a spear, Stardust does the same, but Reigns throws him over the top rope, eliminating him. Reigns has taken out everyone. Vince McMahon’s music hits. He comes out and charges down to the ring, taking off his suit and tie as if he wants to fight. He stops short of the ring and smiles. Roman turns around, dodges a Brogue Kick from Sheamus and spears him. Triple H blindsides Roman, grabbing him from behind and eliminating the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Hunter stands in the ring smiling. Roman sits shocked outside the ring.
Elimination 8: Stardust
Elimination 9: Roman Reigns
Entrant Number Fifteen: Erick Rowan
Reigns is angry, he’s about to go after Vince and Triple H, but Rowan blasts him from behind. Triple H then starts pummelling Roman with his bare hands. He hits a Pedigree on Roman outside the ring. Vince adds insult to injury by kicking him while he’s down. The Superstars in the ring get to their feet and are all staring at each other. They know what’s just happened. They’re guaranteed a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Entrant Number Sixteen: Ryback
Entrant Number Seventeen: Cody Rhodes
Cody’s old theme music hits and outcomes Cody with no makeup and in his old wrestling attire. He slides into the ring with that dashing smile on his face while everyone looks at him confused. Like Foley in 1998, Cody has gotten his multiple personalities into the Rumble Match.
Entrant Number Eighteen: Bray Wyatt
Bray comes out and stands on top of the ramp laughing. He sits down. Xavier, still on commentary, accuses him of stealing his moves. Harper and Rowan soon leave the ring and join him at the top of the ramp as the buzzer counts down.
Entrant Number Nineteen: Braun Strowman
Strowman comes out and the four Wyatt Family members make their way down to the ring together. The competitors in the ring stop fighting. They know they have to align to deal with the Wyatt’s. Bray and his family destroy everyone. Cody Rhodes is eliminated first by Strowman. Strowman then faces off with Big Show. Strowman wins a battle of strength and eliminates the Giant by himself. Harper and Rowan beat down Sheamus. They pick him up and toss him out. Ryback and Cena are the only two left. They put up a fight, eventually getting Strowman off his feet, but Bray eliminates Ryback from behind and the Wyatt’s beat down Cena.
Elimination 10: Cody Rhodes
Elimination 11: Big Show
Elimination 12: Sheamus
Elimination 13: Ryback
Entrant Number Twenty: Dean Ambrose
Out comes Ambrose, who retained the Intercontinental Championship earlier in the night against Kevin Owens. However Owens attacked Ambrose and laid him out post-match. He does his thing, managing to take down Harper. Cena goes after Bray. Rowan charges at Dean who drops the top rope, sending Rowan over and out. Strowman then knocks Dean down. The Wyatt’s use their numbers advantage to regain control.
Elimination 14: Erick Rowan
Entrant Number Twenty One: Neville
Neville comes out next and the three babyfaces even the numbers. Eventually they manage to take down Harper and Bray, leaving them to take on Strowman. Cena and Ambrose eventually get Strowman off his feet. Cena hits a five knuckle shuffle and Neville hits a Red Arrow. The three get him up and eliminate the black sheep. Harper and Bray continue attacking. Bray is shocked by Strowman’s elimination.
Elimination 15: Braun Strowman
Entrant Number Twenty Two: Kofi Kingston
Xavier joins the competitors in the ring as Kofi makes his way in. The two New Day members go after Cena initially.
Entrant Number Twenty Three: Heath Slater
Entrant Number Twenty Four: Big E
The New Day takes everyone down before performing a dance number in the ring. Cena grabs Kofi and chucks him over the top rope. Kofi holds on and Cena runs at Kofi to knock him off the apron, but at the same time, Woods slides under the bottom rope and lands on the floor. Kofi is bumped off the apron, but lands on Woods, saving himself from elimination. Big E takes down Cena from behind and Kofi and Xavier get back in the ring.
Entrant Twenty Five: Chris Jericho
Jericho comes out and hits his signature offence. He eliminates Woods and Kofi in succession.
Elimination 16: Xavier Woods
Elimination 17: Kofi Kingston
Entrant Twenty Six: Tyler Breeze
Breeze uses his full 90 seconds to get to the ring. He takes selfie’s all the way down the ramp and doesn’t make it into the ring before the buzzer goes.
Entrant Twenty Seven: Kane
Kane’ pyro goes off, making Breeze jump. He rolls into the ring before charging at Kane who chokeslams him. Towards the end of the 90 seconds, Ambrose eliminates Luke Harper.
Elimination 18: Luke Harper
Entrant Twenty Eight: Kevin Owens
The winner of the battle royal on Raw gets the number 28 spot. Owens quickly eliminates Slater. Kane attacks Owens and the two brawl. Owens gets the upper hand and eliminates Kane. Ambrose then goes after the man who attacked him earlier in the night.
Elimination 19: Heath Slater
Elimination 20: Kane
Entrant Twenty Nine: The Miz
Quick update: Those still in the ring are John Cena, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, Neville, Big E, Chris Jericho, Tyler Breeze, Kevin Owens and now The Miz. Remember, we’re guaranteed a new champion.
As the clock ticks down, JBL points out how Titus O’Neil has to be the next man in as we saw him draw his number earlier in the night. The buzzer goes… and out comes Brock Lesnar. Lesnar jumps up onto the ring apron. It’s revealed the next night that Lesnar attacked Titus backstage and took his spot. Everyone else in the ring has stopped fighting and is watching him. Everyone charges, but Lesnar fights them all off. He throws Big E over the top rope, eliminating him. He does the same thing to Neville and then The Miz in quick succession. I have it specifically in that order so Miz can brag about lasting longer in the Rumble than Neville, should they be continuing that feud.
Elimination 21: Big E
Elimination 22: Neville
Elimination 23: The Miz
Lesnar takes everyone down until it’s just him and Owens standing in the ring. The two stare down and Owens throws the first punch. The two go back and forth until everyone else gets back involved. Jericho hits a codebreaker on Lesnar, who goes down. Breeze comes up from behind and eliminates Jericho. Breeze mocks Jericho who’s lying on the floor, but Breeze quickly joins him as Cena eliminates Breeze.
Elimination 24: Chris Jericho
Elimination 25: Tyler Breeze
Lesnar stays down while the other four men, Owens, Bray, Cena and Ambrose pair up and are fighting in the corners. Eventually Cena overpowers Wyatt and eliminates him. Owens charges at Cena who takes him down with a clothesline. Ambrose and Cena start fighting and Cena takes Ambrose down with shoulder tackles and gets him in the position for the five knuckle shuff– the lights go out again. This time, the lights are out for much longer before a familiar gong is heard, followed by a lightning bolt hitting the stage. The lights come back on and Cena is watching the stage. Owens grabs him from behind and eliminates Cena.
Elimination 26: Bray Wyatt
Elimination 27: John Cena
Lesnar comes after Owens and Ambrose with the two actually working together momentarily to suplex the beast. Owens then immediately takes Ambrose down and hits a running senton on him. Owens charges at Lesnar who grabs him and throws him over the ropes. Owens lands on the apron. He grabs Lesnar by the head and tries to drag him over the top rope, but Lesnar picks him up and suplexes him back into the ring. Owens gets back to his feet and straight back into Lesnar’s grip. Owens breaks the grip and headbutts Brock, stunning him. Brock looks up and smiles. He gives Owens a small clap before locking up with him again. Brock overpowers Owens and eliminates him. Almost immediately, Ambrose comes at Lesnar from behind and trips him over the top rope, Lesnar lands on the apron and survives. We’re down to the final two.
Elimination 28: Kevin Owens
Ambrose and Lesnar go at it and no matter how many times Lesnar hits or suplexes Ambrose, he just gets back up and comes at him again. After the fourth suplex Brock gets him up for the F5, but Dean counters, falling behind Brock. Brock turns around, straight into a large slap across the face. Dean kicks him in the gut and hits a Dirty Deeds. Dean tries to lift Lesnar, but just as he’s gotten his dead weight up, Brock Suplexes Dean again. Lesnar picks him up above his head and is about to dump him over the top rope when Ambrose lands on the apron and grabs Lesnar in a headlock, trying to drag him over the top rope. Dean nearly gets him before Brock, too strong, lifts Dean, who has his arm around Brock’s head, back up and eliminates him. Lesnar wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Triple H comes out and gestures for people to follow him. It’s Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio and Rusev dragging Roman Reigns’ body out onto the ramp, forcing him to watch as Brock and Heyman celebrate in the ring.