With the Royal Rumble mere days away, I thought I’d take a look at the Royal Rumble match itself, and the story lines and rumors centered around it, and have a talk about it. For my shortened views on the match and the rest of the PPV please seek our “Royal Rumble Predictions” article, which you can read here.
Now for the last couple of the years it’s been pretty predictable who would win the rumble match, but this year, with talent signings, story lines and a real lack of main event talent due to the 2015 injury curse, this years rumble winner is very mysterious indeed. First I want to talk about the two big picks of the rumble, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. We’ll start with Brock, him returning at just the right time with talent being at an all time low makes him a prime contender to win the rumble and become champion. With Roman getting a guaranteed WHC shot at WrestleMania if he loses, who better for him to lose it to then have a rematch for the title, than the man he faced last year. With this we also see the completion of Roman’s story of becoming champion at the grandest stage of them all and having a true run with the title not winning it from Sheamus and losing it on his first PPV defense. With that, in terms of booking and story, I’d place Lesnar at the top for picks to win the rumble in terms of making sense, story and legitimacy. One important thing is, Lesnar is one of few that everyone can cheer for winning, as almost everyone likes Brock Lesnar, the only downside, is him having the title until Mania, but only defending at that PPV as the champion will not have to defend on any PPVs leading up to WrestleMania. This all added up would make Brock’s title reign feel a bit weak.
Next up is our current World Heavyweight Champion, Roman Reigns. An almost fairytale year for Roman, from being the most hated man on the roster to being a legitimate top babyface, Roman really has gotten over since the RAW after TLC. With all the momentum stacked on him right now, it seems silly for them to suddenly have Roman lose the title, but as mentioned above, it would play into a bigger story line. Now with Roman drawing #1 in the Rumble, I’m scared WWE will pull out the superman booking, which the fans will most likely turn on Roman for. Hopefully if WWE are to book Roman to win, they can do it in a way, that doesn’t present him as this almighty being. Or perhaps, book it as if for once, stacking the deck against someone, actually works. Now it’s almost guaranteed Roman will make the final 4 at least, but it would make for a nice twist to have the champion eliminated from the rumble say half way through, this could plant the seeds of a Roman heel turn in which he starts going ballistic, and by the time Mania rolls around, he’s evolved into a full blown heel. If the heel road is taken, Brock’s insertion into the main event would have to be handled cleverly, as Brock has always carried himself in a heelish way even though he’s cheered. I’d say if heel Roman is what WWE go for (Although I doubt it) a clear cut face would have to win, and sadly, there’s just none at the top of the card right now… for now.
Now that the big obvious picks are done, lets move onto big picks, that aren’t guaranteed winners. The main one I’ve heard countless people talk about is HHH, even going as far to say he’ll put himself as #31. For me personally, I wouldn’t want to see this, not because HHH vs Roman Reigns would be a bad match, far from it, it’s just I wouldn’t wan to see these two duke it out for the title. I feel their rivalry is based more on just wanting to kill one another, and not about gold, they could implement this with HHH screwing Roman at Mania, but it’s not often the heel wins in the main event so I don’t think WWE will go that route. It would be nice to have HHH be champion one last time and do one final put over job, but I feel Roman doesn’t need to rub of beating HHH, I feel him doing that with Brock would make much more sense in connection to last years Mania. Plus beating Brock for the gold in 2016 is more legitimate than beating HHH for the gold in 2016, as great as he is, HHH is getting on in years, Brock is still a killer, which would make Roman look stronger? It’s obvious.
The only other picks I’ve been hearing about are: Bray Wyatt, Sheamus & Jericho. I would firstly like to slap a big NO next to both Jericho and Sheamus. I love both men but, no, Jericho it makes no sense what so ever, and Sheamus, he’s not ready, people just aren’t into him at all. Now for Bray Wyatt, although not fitting with his gimmick, having Bray as world champion could be very interesting story wise. First of all it rekindles the Bray Roman rivalry, which could build into a Shield vs Wyatt family storyline if it coincides with Seth’s return. If not, it could have WWE superstars think of the success being in the Wyatt Family brings (If say, Rowan and Harper win the tag gold later down the line) Which could persuade stars to join him through his words and through his accomplishments, kind of like he has a cult leader gimmick, oh wait. Although Bray hasn’t been groomed for world title success right now and is in a feud with The Dudleyz, I wouldn’t be against Bray winning if WWE book it correctly, just make sure he doesn’t lose it to Cena, Bruce Blitz might just scream to the point of combustion.
Now for the final pick. One of 4 men who’s being brought over from NJPW. The Phenomenal One, AJ Styles. He is my personal pick to win the rumble (Remember, from the prediction article you should all check out) I feel him winning would bring genuine surprise and be very reminiscent of when he debuted in NJPW winning their major title on his debut match. That along with the rumors of the Balor Club stable being formed, this could signal that faction having some major gold right off the bat if AJ joins them, which he most likely will. The only problem is, Storyline wise with Roman Reigns, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense unless as mentioned before, we get heel Roman, making it heel Reigns vs face Styles. Which, honestly, would be a stiff contest, and fans would love it and both men can leave that match looking strong. Although I’m probably thinking crazy about picking AJ Styles along with not mentioning Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose or Kevin Owens at all. I’m going to throw a curve ball and say AJ Styles not only will debut at the rumble, he will win the title, and win the rematch at WrestleMania, and go on to be a staple in the Balor Club faction if that comes to fruition.
So those are my thoughts on the picks for the winner of this year’s Royal Rumble match, agree? Disagree? Comment below your thoughts and don’t forget to share this article along with all our other great wrestling articles. Also watch out for my Royal Rumble review after the event itself.