Craig Wilson, Jamie Lithgow & Brian Damage
We’re now two weeks away from this year’s Royal Rumble and this past week on Raw the build up took an unexpected turn when it was announced the winner of the Rumble match would leave as WWE Champion. That’s one of the many Rumble related topics we discuss in today’s Sunday Sermon.
Craig: I was looking forward to the Rumble before this announcement and it’s certainly piqued my intrigue in, what is generally, one of the WWE’s consistently strong events.
I was sorta unsure what would happen. I expected Reigns to win the title match and head to mania to face whoever won the Rumble who could have been, as Brian speculated last week, John Cena.
Now it’s very much up in the air. Does Reigns win the Rumble and head to mania as champ? Is he screwed out of the gold setting up a rematch at the 3 April spectacular? And does botched interference set up another match at a WrestleMania that boasts a blank canvas of a lineup at this stage?
Jamie: I shall start with saying that I have been out of the WWE loop for a couple of weeks and haven’t seen Raw since before Christmas…. and I haven’t missed it one little bit! Upon hearing that Roman Reigns will defend his title in the Rumble match I have actually been put off a little. The Royal Rumble is probably my favourite WWE event, but it’s going to be all about Roman Reigns, and I don’t care about Roman Reigns. The Rumble match is supposed to be about winning but if a babyface enters that match with something to defend then you can be sure he’ll be one of the final two.
Granted, I’m not bothered about the fate of Roman Reigns, but even had this been Steve Austin during the Attitude Era I don’t think I would have liked the title defended in the Rumble match. Granted it’s something fresh and new, but if something isn’t broken then don’t fix it. A title match plus a Rumble match gets fans excited, this scenario I’m not so sure about.
Brian: I have mixed feelings as well and pretty much for the same reasons as Jamie underlined. It now becomes all about Reigns and granted, I like that they are putting a little twist on the Rumble this year, but if it means Reigns dominates over everyone, then there might be a problem.
Keep in mind, the WWE has botched two Rumble matches in a row first in 2014 with Batista winning and second 2015 with Reigns winning. If they really want to shake things up, have Reigns get eliminated early in a shocking moment…maybe a heel turn of some sort and that way you can keep the Rumble unpredictable as it should be. If it is a scenario where it comes down to Reigns and say Sheamus…I think he’ll get booed out of the building again. Not something the WWE needs or wants headed into Wrestlemania season.
Craig: Is there any storyline way that an early Reigns elimination would make sense and not just seem like a swerve for the sake of it?
Brian: Maybe a Dean Ambrose heel turn would make sense…but I see your point. If Reigns gets eliminated early on, it would just be a swerve for the sake of a swerve. To be honest though, I wouldn’t mind that in the least.
Jamie: I’d agree. While I’d like to see that happen in order to restore the unpredictability factor to the match, it would just be a swerve for no real reason. While such an angle could cast Ambrose as a heel, there’s plenty better ways to do that.
I feel a sense of predictability about the Rumble and the road to Wrestlemania in general. If Reigns wins then I truly worry for WWE and their reading of their audience, but I can see it happening. If Reigns loses then he will face whoever wins the Rumble at Wrestlemania, winning the right to his rematch at the February PPV no doubt. Any bets on that person being Triple H?
Brian: Triple H isn’t that stupid is he? If his running NXT is any indication…I’d say no. Perhaps Triple H screws Reigns at the Rumble and the two have a match at ‘Mania without the WWE title on the line. That would be my best guess.
Craig: Well it certainly won’t be John Cena with him out until after WrestleMania due to shoulder surgery.
You’re not the first, and won’t be the last, person to mention Triple H as a potential victor. That said, I think it’s more likely that it will Triple H that costs Reigns rather than wins it himself, right? I mean, you can’t use the title for such a storyline purposes as it reduces the value of it. Right?
Brian: Before we all go in full panic mode…let’s keep some things into perspective. If Reigns were to win the Royal Rumble or even be a finalist…it would be the third straight year of him doing so. Remember, he was eliminated last by Batista when he won and of course he won it himself the next year. I seriously doubt that they will do the same for a third year in a row.
If Roman Reigns won the entire Rumble…what would be left for him to achieve? Meaning, he would have practically defeated everyone on the roster in one match. What else would there be for him to do. I do see Reigns getting screwed by Triple H and the Authority mid way in the match.
Jamie: I’m pretty sure we can all see a Reigns vs Triple H match at Wrestlemania coming a mile off, but if Reigns (or Triple H) does not win the Rumble and make this a title match then who does win the Rumble and headline Wrestlemania? Lesnar is an easy option, but with John Cena added to the injury list you would think that WWE have to go big in terms of pushing someone new up the ladder in time for ‘Mania. Looking ahead – and assuming Reigns and Triple H occupy themselves – who else is there from the active roster capable of winning the Rumble and filling one of the main event slots at Wrestlemania? Be that in a title match or against a Brock Lesnar or The Undertaker.
This is pure fantasy, but how about Bray Wyatt to win the Rumble and successfully defend against The Undertaker in a Wrestlemania rematch? That would certainly establish Wyatt as the main eventer he really should be.
Brian: Bray Wyatt is an excellent choice and I would be really pleased to see him win the Rumble match. Bray has star power and his attack on both the face Ryback and the heel Big Show may be a hint that they intend to push him harder.
Craig: My largely ambivalent feelings on Bray are well documented but even putting that to the side, is he a viable contender to win the title?
That said, am genuinely not sure who else there is?
You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.