Booking the Royal Rumble

Newcomers will highlight the 2014 Royal Rumble match.

Newcomers will highlight the 2014 Royal Rumble match.

By: @TheTravisThayer

This Sunday marks the 27th anniversary of the Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View, and officially kicks off the “Road to Wrestlemania”.  The Super Bowl may be a week away in chilly New York, but things are about to heat up quick in the WWE Universe.  The Royal Rumble continues to be a fan favorite, and it is crucial that WWE creative gets everything right this time around in the wake of Wrestlemania.  So with that in mind, here is my ideal way to book the Royal Rumble.

The Royal Rumble pre-show will see The New Age Outlaws vs. The Rhodes Brothers for the WWE Tag Team Championship.  The Outlaws became the number one contenders after they beat the Rhodes Brothers last week on Friday Night Smackdown.  The Outlaws also recently turned their backs on CM Punk during a six-man tag match with The Shield, and that had to have scored some brownie points with The Authority (Triple H and Stephanie McMahon) who may or may not have a personal vendetta against Punk.  As Mania approaches I see this as a perfect opportunity to take the belts off of the Rhodes Brothers, and make the Outlaws the now SIX-TIME, TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD!! – and set up a potential Rhodes Brothers split during the Royal Rumble match – resulting in a feud between Goldust and Cody Rhodes leading up to Mania.  

Now then, we will move on to the first non-free match on the Royal Rumble card.  What better way to start out the show than with the hottest thing going in the WWE right now, Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt. YES! YES! YES! Daniel Bryan is the hottest thing going right now, and a nice clean win over Wyatt without any interference from Luke Harper or Erick Rowen is what’s best for business.  Bryan has waited a long time to get a one-on-one shot at Wyatt, and he won’t squander his chance on Sunday.  After getting the clean win Bryan should be entered into the Royal Rumble match, but it shouldn’t be announced – and you can imagine the crowd reaction when surprisingly Bryan’s number gets drawn and he hits the ring to save CM Punk from being dissected by The Shield.  Who wouldn’t want to see that?

 It’s seems like nobody knows what to do with the Big Show.  His programs are seemingly always put together last second, and no steam is ever generated.  This time it’s a little different because of his opponent, and because the build has been pretty good in a short amount of time.  Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar is yet another instance of the irresistible force meets the immovable object.  Brock Lesnar came back with a vengeance when he F-5’d the “World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry, and then declared himself the number one contender for Randy Orton’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship.  Lesnar has dared anyone in the locker room to step up to him, and the “World’s Largest Athlete” came a callin’.  Big Show has shown his strength by manhandling Lesnar twice in a three-week span, but it is inconceivable to think Show will win on Sunday.  Paul Heyman’s client Brock Lesnar is back to become champion, and what better way to make him look like the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion than by destroying the “World’s Largest Athlete” at the Royal Rumble.  Lesnar wins with the Kimura Lock, and he walks tall into the Elimination Chamber PPV.

I suspect that there might be a Divas Championship match, and the safe money is on Naomi of the Funkadactyls challenging A.J. Lee – the longest reigning Divas Champion of all-time.  Naomi has come on strong, and is an athletically gifted women, but A.J. Lee is just too good to lose the title now.  A.J. deserves to have a singles championship match at Wrestlemania with whoever steps up and wins the spot, and it could be Naomi with a good showing Sunday, if and when they get the chance to go on.  

Finally, we get to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match which will be one fall to a finish.  In other words, there are no count-outs and no disqualifications.  The champ Randy Orton vs. John Cena in what has become a personal feud after Orton’s actions two weeks ago on Monday Night Raw.  Orton suffered a devastating loss to Kofi Kingston and he reacted by beating down John Cena’s dad who was sitting at ringside.  Orton and Cena’s history goes back much further than that though.  Orton beat Cena last month in a  Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match that unified the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship.  Orton and Cena have battled each other for nearly a decade, and Sunday’s match should be a good one.  The way I see it neither superstar will walk into Wrestlemania as the champ, so the best course of action is for Randy Orton to retain his title.  Orton was hand-picked by the Authority to be their champ, and it would be silly for him to lose a rematch against the man he already beat for the title.  Orton will find someway to win in a match with basically no rules, but it won’t be that easy to retain the titles when he defends it inside the Elimination Chamber.  

And now for the Main Event, the Royal Rumble match. As of today there are only 20 confirmed entrants into the 30-man over-the-top-rope battle royal.  Last Monday on Raw, Director of Operations Kane, announced that CM Punk would be the number one entrant into the Royal Rumble match.  Kane recently attacked Punk on Smackdown, and Punk retaliated on Monday resulting in Kane holding a grudge.  This angle continues to play up the Authority having a personal vendetta against Punk.  Punk the self-proclaimed “Best in the World”, will have the chance to prove it by becoming the third person in history (Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit) to win the Rumble from number one.  2014 will see a stockade of young talent, starting with the Shield.  Shield members Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns are the real deal, and they should shine in their first Rumble.  Their first order of business will be to ensure that CM Punk doesn’t win the Rumble, but the Shield has been showing signs of disfunction, and the Rumble could be the final tipping point.  All three members have expressed their desire to win the Rumble, and we can’t forget that this match is truly “every man for himself.”  Here’s how it will play out, Ambrose will try to pull a fast one on Reigns, but Reigns is too strong – Rollins will then play peace maker.  Reigns annoyed by Rollins plea, throws him and Ambrose over the top rope, and as he stares them down – Punk will eliminate Reigns from behind.  Thus, setting up a future triple threat match between all three Shield members.  

The Wyatt Family will also make their Rumble debut this year, and it is yet to be seen if leader Bray Wyatt will make his debut alongside Luke Harper and Erick Rowen.  It would be in the WWE’s best interest to have all three members in the Rumble, as well as rival Daniel Bryan.  As mentioned earlier, Bryan should be a surprise entrant into the Rumble because I love big pops of excitement when huge stars make their way to the ring.  This scenario would also give closure to the Wyatt’s/Bryan angle, and it would also add some more suspense and unpredictability to the match.  

Other newcomers such as Big E. Langston, Fandango, Xavier Woods, and Jimmy Uso should add some excitement to the match, and maybe even some dancing with Summer Rae.  It won’t be a surprise to anybody if Intercontinental Champions Big E. Langston makes a deep run in the Rumble      , and challenges for the final four.  

And finally the return of “The Animal” Batista. Batista makes his much-anticipated return, and he is back for one reason, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.  Batista is a real threat to win the Rumble and he will surely be in the final four, but I don’t see “The Animal” winning the Rumble for a second time.  He will surely bring some excitement, but he isn’t worthy of the main event at Wrestlemania.  

Every year everyone wants to know who the surprise entrants will be.  Before I can announce a potential final four and a winner, I must first share some potential surprises.  Current superstars who are either part-timers and/or previously injured are always potential entrants.  Rob Van Dam, Christian, and Sheamus seem to be the most likely entrants.  As for the old timers, your guess is as good as mine.  There are only a few limited spots left, and Jake “the Snake” Roberts has expressed his interest in being in the Rumble, and it could be a cool sendoff for a guy who didn’t get to leave the business on his own terms.  Also, there is a chance that Hulk Hogan could make is triumphant return leading up to his all but sure appearance at Wrestlemania XXX.  

Having said all that, the final four that is best for business would be the following.  CM Punk, Daniel Bryan (assuming he enters), Batista, and a returning Sheamus.  Four babyfaces duking it out to be in the main event at Wrestlemania.  If Daniel Bryan does indeed enter the match he should win hands down as the hottest guy going, but because I’m not 100% convinced he will be, I believe CM Punk should win the Rumble and headline Wrestlemania.  Punk wins the Rumble, Bryan wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Elimination Chamber, and we get to see the best possible main event at Wrestlemania. YES! YES! YES!

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