The Royal Rumble is this Sunday, and while programming would lead one to believe that the WWE sees only two viable options to win the match, it’s always possible that we’re thrown a curveball. Or, at least – that’s what we tell ourselves in order to keep tuning in despite the atrocious Raws we’ve become accustomed to each week.
Roman Reigns is certainly the focal point of weekly television as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. The return of Brock Lesnar seems to have place the two on a collision course for a championship rematch at Wrestlemania 32 (Sorry, Vince – I’m still numbering my WrestleManias regardless of whether or not you think that makes the event “feel old”).
That’s all well and good, but to paraphrase the late, great “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, just when we think we have all the answers, WWE changes the plans. Is it possible that neither Reigns nor Lesnar leave Orlando with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship?
If not those two, who would make a credible champion to carry the WWE into Wrestlemania season?
Maybe this isn’t that ‘outside the box’ of an option, but if the WWE elects to really hammer in the Reigns vs. The Authority storyline, there’s no better way than having Triple H enter the Rumble and take the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Reigns himself. It’s a despicable enough act that would garner a lot of genuine and heel heat for Triple H, and in turn, could be a spark to further solidify Reigns’ place as WWE’s top face.
If the desired result of this program is to help Reigns get over by vanquishing The Authority, then the easiest way to achieve that is to have him chase the title. Ultimately, he’d win at Wrestlemania in what would be WWE’s most logical option to headline the show.
Could the rumors of an Owens-Lesnar showdown at ‘Mania be true? I’m still skeptical. However, if this was a contest the WWE wanted to run with, why not make it for the industry’s grandest prize? Have Owens win the Rumble, and let Lesnar chase the championship to Arlington.
Owens is right in his assumption that he’ll win the WWE Title one day, but judging by the way he’s been booked recently, I’m not sure that the WWE shares that sentiment just yet. I’m thinking we’ll be waiting at least until Summerslam for this bout.
Also, can you imagine the promos between Owens and Paul Heyman? These two are the best promos in the business right now.
Could the WWE have been alluding to a Wyatt win on Raw this past Monday? In all likelihood, no – it was probably just an effort to demonstrate that “anyone” could win the match. However, it’s possible they were planting the seeds for a potential showdown between Wyatt and Lesnar (something that I suggested months ago should happen at ‘Mania).
Having Wyatt win the Rumble, and earning his first WWE Championship in the process would reinvigorate the landscape of the WWE without jeopardizing the proposed Triple H/Reigns match.
This is probably the longest of the long shots so far, but Rusev has abundant main event potential and should find himself toting the big golden WWE logo around some day. Why not now?
Giving Sheamus the WWE Championship in late 2015 was an easy move that took virtually no thought to set up considering he was in possession of the Money in the Bank briefcase. Still, someone new could have held just as effective of a championship run and still provided a fresh face atop the card.
That person should have been Rusev.
Having “The Bulgarian Brute” win the Rumble would still allow ample time to really build him up as the legitimately dangerous superstar he should be booked as. While we’re thinking outside the box here – why not have him win and defend the title against Lesnar at Wrestlemania? What about The Undertaker? That would certainly be something unexpected.
What if the conspiracy theorists out there are right? What if the WWE has been holding off on bringing Bryan back to save him for a huge return at the Royal Rumble?
He’s scheduled to meet with WWE doctors this week. Many presume that is to gain clearance to compete in a WWE ring again as the injuries continue to pile up across the main event landscape. Reports are that Bryan has kept in shape, and if he isn’t cleared to compete in the WWE, he will do so elsewhere.
I’d encourage no one to get his/her hopes up.
We’ll have our answer this Sunday night.
Stoney Keeley covers the WWE for WrestlingNews.co, is a Featured Analyst for Pro Football Spot, and is the Editor for The SoBros Network. Follow on Twitter at @StoneyKeeley, @pfspot, and @SoBrosNetwork.