This past Monday on RAW, Vince McMahon made a shocking announcement. At the Royal Rumble PPV, Roman Reigns will defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship not against one man, but 29 as the Royal Rumble Match now is for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The announcement has definitely gotten people talking but it leads me to ask a simple question: did WWE just ruin the Royal Rumble? In my opinion, they did.
I have always loved that the Royal Rumble Match granted the winner a Championship Match in the Main Event of WrestleMania. I know there have been times when guys like Alberto Del Rio won the Rumble and was in the opening match but for the most part the winner was in the Main Event. Think of how special it was in 1996 was Shawn Michaels won or in 1998 when Steve Austin won and you knew that was the beginning to them becoming the top babyface in the company. There are instances like 2001 (Austin) 2002 (Triple H) and 2008 (John Cena) when Superstars were returning from serious injury to win the Rumble and claim their spot back at the top of the card. This has been the formula since 1993 and it has worked so why is there a need to change it?
The aura and mystique of the Royal Rumble is gone with one simple announcement. An announcement made because of WWE’s crippling desire to get Roman Reigns over as the top babyface in the company. Which for the record I have no problem with. I like Reigns and think he has all the tools to be the man especially when he doesn’t spout off nursery rhymes in his promos. The Royal Rumble Match last year was a disaster because fans felt Cena 2.0 was being shoved down their throats. It took nearly a full year for Reigns to start getting over the way WWE wanted him to. The battles with McMahon and Triple H and winning the title after being constantly screwed was a story the WWE Universe was getting behind. Now they are on the verge of throwing it all away. If Reigns goes into the Royal Rumble Match and wins it could and I’ll even say will ruin all the good WWE has done with him since the Survivor Series. Not even John Cena beat 29 guys to retain his title and now Reigns is poised to do it? The fans still on the fence about him are going to have a field day with this and WWE is in danger of having a third straight Royal Rumble Match crapped on by the crowd.
How does WWE get out of this? Reigns has to lose the Championship in the Royal Rumble Match. If the goal of this swerve on the Rumble Match is to screw Reigns out of the title again only to have him have his moment at WrestleMania then I guess I’m ok with it. The problem with that is Reigns just had his “moment” at Survivor Series and that lasted all of five minutes. Then he had another “moment” the night after TLC and that’s going to last about a month in this scenario. How many moments does he get before people don’t care about him and his moments anymore? If he loses at the Royal Rumble is also kills a lot of the drama of who will win the match. The underdog story that makes the Rumble Match so great is gone which means no new hero or villain being born like a Kevin Owens or Dean Ambrose. WWE would need to book him against a monster or legend to cement himself at WrestleMania. That means it is either Brock Lesnar or John Cena. I think WWE is smart enough to realize having Triple H leaving the Royal Rumble as WWE World Heavyweight Champion will cause a riot.
I know a lot of fans, myself included are clamoring for WWE to do something different. This isn’t a good “something different” in my opinion. There’s no need to mess with a match that is the highlight of many people’s year as a wrestling fan. If this was two months ago and Seth Rollins had just forfeited the Championship due to injury than obviously you have the title up for grabs in the Royal Rumble Match. That’s not the case here. To me this falls under the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and the Rumble Match concept isn’t broken. I know the last two Rumble Matches have been a disaster from the way they were received by fans but that’s not because the format was broken. That’s because someone who gets paid a lot more money than I do had no clue how to book. Even a blind gorilla could see how awful the last two Royal Rumble Matches were booked.
Did WWE ruin the Royal Rumble Match? I say yes. What do you say? I’d love to hear what other people have to say on this matter. I’m interested to see if I’m way off base or you guys agree with me. Please let me know in the comments below.
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