WWE’s Royal Rumble is tonight at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.
Traditionally, the winner of the 30-man Royal Rumble match is awarded a match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. However, as a culmination of his attempts to deprive WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns of the championship (for attacking his son-in-law Triple H and overall disrespecting the McMahon family), WWE owner/chairman/CEO Vince McMahon decided on the January 4, 2016 episode of Raw that Reigns would defend his title in the match.
Here are five potential winners of Royal Rumble 2016.
This seems the most likely option as Reigns continues his against the odds, march to the top. After the poisonous reaction to his win at the Rumble last year, Reigns has now found a level of acceptance with the wider fan base and that will give WWE will have the confidence to continue his mega-push towards another go at headlining Wrestlemania. Speaking of Wrestlemania things are starting to look like everything and the kitchen sink will be thrown at Reigns until someone gets the title off of Reigns and the final boss, whether it be Brock Lesnar, Triple H or TBC, will be faced at Wrestlemania. In addition the one vs all concept has been set-up as a way to for the evil Authority to bring Reigns down, if it actually works it makes it a bit tougher for the story to continue except for Reigns going after revenge and it would make zero sense for Reigns to get another title shot before Wrestlemania. The drawback with Reigns winning and walking out still the Champion is that feels predictable and that was one of the main factors that took down last years Rumble. Let’s face it does anyone really want to see Reigns go full Superman and go all the way from #1? There are a lot of ways for him to go out that don’t damage him, whether it involves a screw job or not.
On the one hand Lesnar feels like an unlikely pick both to have another title reign anytime soon and because winning the Rumble would do little to enhance his status anymore as opposed to anyone else who could be made by it. On the other hand we’re heading into what could be the biggest Wrestlemania of all time and the WWE needs all the star power they can get going in and Lesnar as champion does that more than anyone else on the full time roster right now, being very over and crucially being something of a mainstream draw. It’s also a way of setting up Lesnar-Reigns 2, something that logically makes all the sense after their match last year was disrupted for the Rollins cash in. The angle could be that Lesnar has seemed to be the only man so far to really have the best of Reigns so it would be okay for the Authority to let Reigns have a title shot if it was against Lesnar, the downside to this theory is why let him have a shot at all, the sense being Lesnar go in as challenger.
At one point the betting favourite to win, which is surprising given he’s not been formally announced as taking part. In the Authority vs Reigns story though it makes all the sense and it furthers the set-up to Triple H vs Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania. It also makes Triple H world champion which from a story point of view is something different and interesting and from a nostalgia point of view would be kind of cool. The downside here is it’s Triple H as World Champion in 2016 and the question would have to be asked if there wasn’t someone on the full time roster who could benefit from playing that part in the story (not sheamus). There would have to also be an almighty screw job for this to play out, whether it be Kane or whoever else helping Trips and after last years Kane and Big Show destroy the world it’s debatable whether that would be the best thing.
This is where things get unlikely but very interesting. It’s become apparent it’s now a case of when not if AJ Styles makes his WWE debut and the timing of all this news makes a Royal Rumble debut a real possibility. While winning the top prize in such a big way on his first night with the company may seem out of the question, the fact Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows are coming in too may mean WWE are looking to bring in the Bullet Club or something similar. It then seems well set-up in the story-line to say the Bullet Club have been brought in by the Authority to get Roman Reigns back in line, by firstly taking the title from Reigns at the Rumble. Imagine these three new faces taking on the rest of the roster in such a big way on their debut then winning. Wishful thinking maybe but there’s surely an outside chance.
Up until the last Raw Bray Wyatt wouldn’t have even been on this list but leading your faction in a beatdown of Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns will do that for a guy. This one has the same kind of reasoning as an AJ Styles in the sense that Bray Wyatt also has guys who will be helping him get the win and a group of guys who are all big men who should be making an impact in the Rumble match regardless. If it was done in this way it would help protect Reigns losing his title while any kind of win would be a massive boost for Bray, rehabilitating him after a year of constant losses. Realistically though it feels too much too sudden for Wyatt, a title win for him now would feel out of place and a total disruption to the main storyline. I’m not saying that couldn’t be a good thing but that’s not the way WWE are doing business right now.
Those are five possible ways things could finish when one man is left standing in the ring but there are thirty guys going in and really it’s about how the match gets to that finish as much as the result itself and that’s the beauty of the Royal Rumble. It’s one of the few events now where it generates excitement and interest every year regardless and I’d say that’s the best thing about the Royal Rumble.