The last several years, the Royal Rumble hasn’t been well received. It’s very much known and documented that fans just weren’t happy with the outcomes since at least 2012.
I mean, we saw Sheamus win in 2012, which led to Daniel Bryan’s first actual WrestleMania being an embarrassment with a WWE World Heavyweight Championship win for Sheamus in under 20 seconds. Then, a predictable winner with John Cena led to an even more predictable main event, at WrestleMania 29 with the Rock in 2013. Fans called this one when another predictable winner in 2014 had Batista in peril and led WWE scrambling to save WrestleMania 30 by having to add Daniel Bryan in the match with Randy Orton. Should we even talk about 2015?
The Royal Rumble is so essential to the WrestleMania season. This sets the stage for what’s to come at WrestleMania. The traditional event has been less favorable in recent years with handpicked talent that fans did not want to see in the WrestleMania main event. With a new twist this year, it adds plenty of drama, and potential storylines to come out of the mix. The Royal Rumble is known to have past storylines revisited when two superstars come face to face with one another. It will also add to a growing feud if those who are at odds will figure out ways to eliminate each other. And who can forget the old but gold surprise entrants that only serve to feed nostalgic fans with a couple minutes of fun and good times?
With that being said, WWE must deliver this year for the Royal Rumble. Injuries galore leaves WrestleMania the event for the taking and WWE needing to make good, smart decisions coming out of Sunday to have a successful WrestleMania season. Fans, talent, everyone deserves that.
If Roman Reigns is to win the Rumble, WWE must find a way make him look good, and convince the hardcore fans in Orlando that his fight to keep the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was worth it. And he has a sleuth of hurdles to overcome. Last night, it was announced that he was number one in the Rumble. If that wasn’t daunting enough, that fire that can’t stop burning in terms of AJ Styles rumors are white hot. Then, you got Brock Lesnar in the Royal Rumble. Bryan’s return rumors are new to the mix, too. Who knows what else can happen?
In order for Reigns’ win to go over, the top favorite entrants other than Reigns have to be eliminated within reason. Of course you can get thrown out at any given time, but last year entrants were just “dumped out” in the words of Chris Jericho. There was nothing behind the eliminations; it was just lazy booking, and it showed out there in Philly. The entrants were just going through the motions. After Bryan’s elimination ten minutes later from his entry, everything the Rumble was supposed to be was gone. It will go down as one of the worst Royal Rumbles of all time.
For now, Bryan is still on the injured reserve list, which may not be an issue. However, the Rumble is known for surprise entrants, with a good many of them have made their returns that way. I’ll say this: if Bryan is to make his return at the Rumble, you might as well let him win. The fans will not accept less this time if that is the case. If he returns and gets eliminated, all the work WWE has done with Reigns in recent months is gone. The fans will turn on him again and we’ll be back at square one with Daniel Bryan and the never ending Royal Rumble controversy that’s surrounded him the last two years.
If the rumors are true concerning AJ Styles, fans are in for a treat. I don’t see him debuting to take the WWE World Heavyweight Championship right away (not that I mind at all), but I would like to see him be able to showcase his talent and prove to the fans that are unfamiliar with him that he’s worth the hype that has surrounded him for well over a decade. If in fact he is there Sunday, he will give Reigns and other talent a run for their money. The Royal Rumble also serves for some to make a statement. AJ Styles may very well make himself the statement in Orlando on Sunday.
While I’m not against seeing Reigns vs. Lesnar part two, but if this isn’t the case, I look for Lesnar to be eliminated by someone other than Reigns. Its obvious Lesnar will be around for WrestleMania season, and he will need a program. An elimination in the Rumble will jumpstart that. All eyes are looking towards Kevin Owens, and we could very well see that on Sunday.
I look for Triple H to return on Sunday in some fashion. I originally called for him to be a surprise entrant and win the Rumble to face Reigns at Mania. If Triple H returns and actually wins, imagine the nuclear heat he will get in Orlando. He will be the reason Reigns loses on Sunday if it happens. Unless he makes the appearance after the match and kicks Reigns while he is down, so to speak.
There are so many exciting moments to look forward to with the Royal Rumble this Sunday, but there are many scenarios that could be the wrong call as well. It’s game time with WWE, and it’s now or never. Reigns finds himself in a must-win situation as not only the number one entrant, but overcoming the hurdles along the way. We might see some surprise entrants, storylines being born and storylines that advance. But furthermore this time next week, we will be on the Road to WrestleMania in Dallas. And I, for one, am curious to see how everything will play out.