It’s now less than one month until Royal Rumble 2015. All the suggestions are that it will be Roman Reigns that will triumph on 25 January. In this Sunday Sermon the team give their thoughts on Reigns as the Royal Rumble winners as well as other runners and riders.
Craig: So, as I write there are two entrants in next months Royal Rumble. The returning Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns, the most recent superstar that the WWE have strapped a rocket on the back of.
It’s all shaping up for Reigns to be the last man standing next month to earn a shot at the WWE title. Is it that obvious? Is there anyone else that stands a chance of earning a title shot at this year’s Wrestlemania?
Jamie: Without a doubt Reigns and Bryan are the frontrunners, as the first guys announced usually are. I’m actually on the fence between these two. One could argue that Bryan has had his Wrestlemania moment so someone else should get the nod at the Rumble. One could also argue that – based on the crowd reaction on Raw – he is still universally the most popular performer WWE have, so really should be pushed to the moon.
I suppose Rollins is the top heel contender, but I just can’t see a MITB holder also having a Rumble win up his sleeve. I reckon the last spot in the final four could be Ambrose or Ziggler.
I’d honestly be happy to see any of the guys mentioned win it – a Ziggler win would be outstanding, but totally unrealistic. One guy I would not like to see win is Randy Orton. Nothing against Orton – I’m actually looking forward to his return – but the Rumble is one of those events that does actually feature a ‘brass ring’ to be reached for. An Orton win would just make Vince McMahon look stupid.
Brian: At this point, I think it would be a grave mistake to have Roman go over at the Royal Rumble. While still somewhat “over” with most WWE fans…he’s not exactly red hot with them either. I fear it’s a bit rushed at this point and a win over other guys that the WWE wants to see win it ie Daniel Bryan…Dean Ambrose etc…will have fans turn on him in droves ie Batista last year.
Jamie: I’d agree with those sentiments. I don’t buy Roman Reigns as a serious contender yet, there is just something missing that I cannot put my finger on. He does not have an aura about him. I’m also slightly turned off by his ring gear. A small point to make, but main eventers come as a package and he currently looks not unlike Duke ‘The Dumpster’ Droese.
That said, booked correctly I think Reigns could win the Rumble and still avoid the negative backlash of Bryan and Ambrose not winning. This would basically require Bryan to be eliminated, or hampered, by someone like Seth Rollins. It’s not an ideal statement to make, but I think WWE could get away with a Reigns win.
The problem would then be, who does he face at ‘Mania? Reigns is a tough guy, but Brock Lesnar is a tougher guy. Reigns is a powerhouse, but Cena is more of a powerhouse. If Reigns is to win the Rumble then WWE will quickly have to establish what he brings to a Wrestlemania main event, other than being a bit like both Lesnar and Cena, only not as good as either.
Brian: I hear everything what you’re saying about Reigns. If I may add, his theme music…ring gear and entrance to the ring is still stuck as a member of the Shield. Nothing new about his presentation…where as both Ambrose and Rollins have re-imagined their look and entrances. He’s like the only guy left who hasn’t let go of the past so to speak.
Jamie: The Shield attire worked because it was no-nonsense and what a hit squad style group might wear. It matched The Shield gimmick, but why is he still wearing it? Moreover, he’s wearing jazzed up cargo pants. At least John Cena’s gear reflects part of the audience, but who out there is wearing cargo pants with contrast trim?! The point here is that Reigns doesn’t really have a gimmick anymore, so there’s more than just his clothes for us to make sense of. Daniel Bryan on the other hand is good to go, as is Rollins, as is Ambrose, as is Wyatt…
Brian: Bottom line, I really think making Roman win the Rumble is a big mistake…that is if you get someone last in the ring with him who the fans can generally hate. Miz perhaps? John Cena? Big Show?
Jamie: Very true. That would be WWE ‘getting away’ with a Roman Reigns win – the guy just isn’t ready. Don’t get me wrong, I hope he does reach that level, but at the moment (and especially after Monday) I connect more with Ryback than Reigns. Not that I think Ryback will win the Rumble, but there’s an issue if I’m more interested in The Big Guy than WWE’s next chosen one.
With all that said, who else could realistically win the Rumble? I just can’t see it going to anyone other than Reigns or – hopefully – Bryan.
Brian: I think Dolph Ziggler is a dark horse contender…a really dark horse…but the guy has a tremendous amount of momentum on his side since the Survivor Series. Of course, momentum doesn’t mean jack in the world of the WWE…just look at Cesaro. Maybe Sting will somehow show up during the Rumble and assist Reigns to a victory. Reigns needs more seasoning…how they can accomplish that before the Rumble and Wrestlemania remains to be seen. How about bringing back King of the Ring on Raw? It might give Reigns a little jolt?
Craig: Difficult to agree with much that’s been said thus far. Ziggler is a shout on one level but the way he’s been booked the last few years, do you see him heading into Wrestlemania as the number one contender? I’d be delighted if he did though, as I’m a huge fan of Ziggler. I’d love to see a programme between Ziggler and Bryan but that would involve one turning heel and they are two of the company’s top faces so that would be short sighted. Rollins versus Ziggler or Bryan would make for interesting matches so Rollins costing either of the chance or winning by last eliminating one of them would work for me.
As for the return of King of the Ring…absolutely. I think that would work if the WWE brought something like that back. They’d never bring it back as a stand-alone event, I doubt, but a one night only tournament would be col and, if done properly, give Reigns the sort of jolt he could from Survivor Series 2013 and Royal Rumble 2014 but lost through being out of action.
Russ: I’m not in the Reigns camp right now. I watched Raw today for the first time in ages and Bryan got a massive pop and it would be stupid for the WWE not to listen to the crowd (did I really just say that!).
Brian: It makes sense to give the majority of fans what they want. If the authority somehow screw Daniel Bryan from winning the Royal Rumble…it would just be a retread of last year’s angle. Roman needs to be groomed stronger…but even then I just don’t see how him winning will work overall. It’s not like he has the mic skills of a John Cena to help save a bad match etc…
Craig: The lack of promo skills is definitely a big thing. After all, there would be the expectation between the Rumble and Wrestlemania for Reigns and whoever he is challenging to hype their match-up. The most logical way is through a promo. He’s not shown any real improvement in that aspect of his character.
Jamie: Excellent point. If Reigns wins the Rumble and if he faces Lesnar at ‘Mania – as is the long standing rumour – it would likely mean a lot of promo work with Paul Heyman. I don’t doubt that Heyman would do his very best to help Reigns, but this would be a direct compare and contrast between one of the best promos in the business and a guy who has yet to say anything even remotely noteworthy on a microphone. Heck, even the other outcome would mean working promos with John Cena. Either way, I don’t envy Reigns.
I think it would help Reigns if there were a title match at the February PPV. This would give him a few weeks to bask in the glory of a Rumble win and let fans get used to the idea of him in a main event, before throwing him into a programme with one of the big guns.
Russ: Reigns could do well with a mouth-piece. But who?
Craig: There isn’t an obvious option unless you turn Reigns but that undoes all the good working making Rollins a top heel.
You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.