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15 Royal Rumble Runners Up: What Would Have Happened If They Had Won?

The Royal Rumble is just around the corner. Hooray! It’s time for people to whinge about the fact that their favourite wrestler didn’t win! Hooray? Yes, for as long as the Rumble has existed, there ha

The Royal Rumble is just around the corner. Hooray! It’s time for people to whinge about the fact that their favourite wrestler didn’t win! Hooray? Yes, for as long as the Rumble has existed, there have been plenty of fans disappointed with the results. Yes, some years like 2001 and 2010 had some pretty great winners, but, as with everything in wrestling, there will always be unhappy people. Also, there will also be deluded fantasy bookers on the internet who think they can do it better. Did somebody call? Yes, before we crown our Rumble winner in 2017, it’s time to look back at the fellas who came so close but achieved no cigar and imagine what would have happened had they got the final elimination. I’m basing this list on what the Rumble win would have done for their character, potential storylines after and generally how it would have affected the company as a whole. I’m also going to give each wrestler a little rating as to how successful their Rumble victory would have been in the long run, because, you know, my opinion really matters to you people, right? Right?!

Anyway, without further ado, sound the klaxon and prepare to be thrown over the top rope, because we’re going back in Rumble history to take a look at some runners up and what would have happened had they been the winner.

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15 Ted DiBiase (1989)

via wwe.com

One of my all-time favourites to begin with. This is what I like.

“The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase had one of the best gimmicks of all time. One of the original “I’m evil because I’m rich” heels in WWE, DiBiase would get enormous heat by forcing plants, whoops, I mean “fans”, to do degrading things for cash, flaunting his wealth and having a black servant called Virgil. Oh. Oh dear. That probably shouldn’t have been allowed. Anyway, slight racism aside, DiBiase was a great wrestler and his career took him to the main event of WrestleMania IV and, more importantly for this list, the final two of the second ever Rumble in 1989.

His opponent was Big John Studd, a man who was big, but possibly not a stud. DiBiase attempted some pretty hilarious bribery, waving money at Studd, which he refused, eventually throwing him over the top rope and winning. His prize? The guest referee slot in the Andre the Giant vs Jake Roberts match at WrestleMania V. Umm, ok? Rumbles before 1991 didn’t really mean much. Or anything, really. DiBiase could have used the win to elevate himself as more of a snobbish, arrogant douchebag than he already was, especially if the bribe thing had worked (call me controversial, but I think it could have). In a time when winning the Rumble match meant literally nothing, it definitely could have been used to bolster DiBiase’s character and I think it should have.

Would it have worked? Absolutely.

14 Mr. Perfect (1990)

via wwe.com

Another favourite. It must be nearly Christmas.

Curt Hennig is one of the greatest pro wrestlers of all time. He was amazing in the ring, a great character worker, by all accounts a nice bloke and he once saved Chris Jericho from breaking his neck in WCW, so we have him to thank for the List. Nice one, Curt. His initial in the WWE had him booked as a cocky jock with an unbeaten streak to back up his words. In fact, he went undefeated for over a year. Impressive. However, no streak can match the most powerful force in all of wrestling – Hulk Hogan’s creative control.

All signs seemed to point towards a Hennig/Hogan feud in late 1989/early 1990 and pitting the biggest icon of the company against arguably it’s most technically sound star would have been a pretty interesting concept. But, Hogan don’t play your games, the only game Hogan plays is “let’s dump on everyone’s career”. I kinda don’t like Hulk Hogan, if you couldn’t tell. Hogan and Perfect came down to the final two of 1990’s Rumble and, with the main event at Mania stipulation not yet in place, I can see no reason as to why Hennig wasn’t given the win. It would have kept his undefeated streak unblemished and allowed him to build some steam heading into WrestleMania VI. Now, I’m not saying he should have fought Hogan at that show, but the match he did have with Hogan’s best friend, Brutus Beefcake, would have made more sense with Beefcake defending Hogan’s honour. Can’t believe Beefcake ended Perfect’s streak. Damn creative control.

Would it have worked? Yes.

13 Sid Justice (1992)

via wwe.com

And the run of favourites comes to a crashing halt. All good things, I guess.

This one is bound to annoy some people, so I’ll jump straight to it. Sid Justice, aka Psycho Sid, aka Sid Vicious, aka, umm, Sid, was actual a massive babyface at the time of the 1992 Royal Rumble, but that didn’t stop WWE from casting him as the heel. Strange, they’ve never done that before... This particular Rumble, though not for a main event at WrestleMania, was still important, as the winner would receive the vacant WWE Championship instead. Not too shabby. The final four in this match, widely regarded as the best Rumble ever, were Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ric Flair and Sid. Spot the odd one out. Somehow, Sid threw Savage and Hogan out, before eventually being taken out by Flair, with some pretty heelish assistance by Hogan. God, the dynamics were all over the place on this one.

Flair won the match and the title, but did not main event Mania with it; that match was reserved for Hogan vs Sid in a grudge match where Hogan was the face, despite costing Sid the Rumble, even though Hogan got eliminated fair and square. WrestleMania VIII was a bit of a mess, to be frank. If Sid had won, then the Hogan match might have fit the main event spot better, but having Flair win the title was definitely the right move. He was a massive star, a fresh face and his match with Savage at Mania VIII was probably the best one on the card. Also, the Sid/Hogan thing ended in a DQ, so Sid would have retained. Oh lord, Sid as champion for even longer. Can you imagine?

Would it have worked? Maybe, but you don’t mess with Ric Flair. WOOOOOOO!!!!

12 The British Bulldog (1995)

via si.com

Final, a Rumble where the winner goes to WrestleMania! I feel at home.

One of the most controversial and best Rumble endings ever here, the match to determine a contender for WrestleMania XI (just wait till I get to talk about that) came down to two men; Davey Boy Smith and HBK. The first two men in the match had made it to the end and it looked like the lad from Wigan had finally won his big match when he threw Michaels over the top rope, causing the crowd to erupt and his music to play. However, as Bulldog got up on the turnbuckle to celebrate, Michaels snuck up behind him and pushed him to the outside. Wait, what? What’s going on? Who am I?! Actually, I know that last one, unfortunately.

Turns out only one of Michaels’ feet had touched the floor and, according to Rumble rules, this meant he was still in the match. Michaels had not only survived, but had won the match, becoming the first man to win from the number one spot and setting him on a collision course with former tag partner, Diesel, at WrestleMania. Michaels and Diesel were the natural pairing and Bulldog would have felt out of place in this match. Yes, Davey Boy more than deserved his Mania moment, but this was the wrong one. Also, he probably did well to distance himself from this truly terrible show. There was a football player in the main event, need I say more.

Would it have worked? Probably not, but I love the Bulldog anyway. And no, it isn’t just because I’m British.

11 Diesel (1996)

via wwe.com

Guess, who’s back, back again? Kevin’s back, tearing quads. Sorry, had to get it in somehow.

The tables had turned on Kevin Nash just a year later, having lost the WWE title to Bret Hart at Survivor Series, he was now the chaser and he’d made it to the final two, once again facing off against HBK. Shawn Michaels was still in pursuit of his first WWE and had battled through another tough Rumble, even being thrown out at one point by an angry Vader, but he was allowed back in because Vader had already been eliminated. Luckily, that rule still exists today. Just ask CM Punk in 2014. Or maybe don’t.

Anyhow, in a pretty fast paced elimination sequence, Michaels clotheslined Bulldog out (again, poor Davey), was then left hanging after Kama nearly eliminated him, then Diesel threw out Kama, only to turn around into Sweet Chin Music, leaving Michaels as the last man in the ring. Phew, I’m exhausted just writing about that. Michaels would go onto the face Bret Hart in the first ever Iron Man match at WrestleMania XII, finally winning his first world title in what was an absolute spectacle of a match. Diesel would battle The Undertaker and then swan off to WCW, where he was never heard from again... Diesel had a story with Bret Hart, so it could have worked, but, considering what was yet to come become HBK and The Hitman, you can’t deny that this was the right choice.

Would it have worked? Maybe, but no one wants 60 minutes of Kevin Nash. No one.

10 Bret Hart (1997)

via bleacherreport.com

More controversy, I love it!

The 1997 Royal Rumble was one of the most interesting from a storyline standpoint. The man who left the show as WWE champion did not wrestle at WrestleMania, the man who was defeated for the WWE title ended up as WWE Champion again at WrestleMania, his challenger at WrestleMania lost to Vader at the Rumble and neither of the final two main evented the show. Jesus. And people say modern day WWE is messed up.

The Rumble itself finished with one of the craziest endings ever. Steve Austin, the eventual winner, was thrown out by Bret Hart, but the referees were distracted by a brawling Mankind and Terry Funk outside of the ring. This allowed Austin to slide back into the ring and eliminate The Undertaker and Vader, whilst Bret threw out Diesel, who was actually Kane (that makes more sense than it sounds, I promise), leading Bret to think he’d won. Whilst technically he might have done, the referees had seen every elimination except Austin’s, allowing the Rattlesnake to sneak up on a celebrating Hart and throw him out, winning the match. A series of events followed that eventually saw Hart and Austin do battle at Mania whilst The Undertaker fought Psycho Sid in the main event for the WWE title. Told you it was weird. If the original plans for WrestleMania 13 – a rematch between HBK and Bret with Hart going over this time – came to be, then yes, having Bret win would have made perfect sense. However, in the long run, Hart’s match with Austin at 13 was far better than anything he and Michaels could have put on and Austin’s win contributed to his record-setting three Rumble match victories, which added to his legend.

Would it have worked? Not under the circumstances, the really, really confusing circumstances.

9 Big Show (2000)

via wwe.com

WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL... just well. What did you think I was gonna do?

The 2000 Royal Rumble joins the long, long, long list of Rumbles that ended controversially and then lead on to pretty terrible WrestleManias. The final two in this match were Big Show and The Rock following a series of false eliminations from Kane and X-Pac and interference from the New Ages Outlaws and Kaientai, who legitimately had no decent reason to interfere. At least there were no “pee-pees” this time. After a bit of back and forth, Big Show looked like he had the match won when he scooped Rock up and paraded him around. After deciding which side he was going to throw the Brahma Bull out of, Big Show ran at the ropes, ready to throw Dwayne over. However, the future Tooth Fairy countered, sending both men over the top and crashing to the ground.

It was later revealed that Rock’s feet had hit the floor last and he had won, but this was contested by the World’s Largest cry baby and the two had a match at No Way Out, which Big Show won, earning him a shot at WWE Champion, Triple H, at WrestleMania. Then The Rock was announced as a third entrant. Then Mick Foley got involved, even though he was retired. Then WrestleMania 2000 was a confusing mess. Oh dear. If Big Show had won, then we could have still had the confusing Four Corners Elimination match, but the main event should have just been Triple H vs The Rock, so I can’t really justify giving The Giant the win here. Although, maybe the hype the announcers give him every year in the Rumble would actually be justified if he, you know, had actually won the Royal Rumble match. Just saying.

Would it have worked? Yes, but only if you want WrestleMania 2000 to be a big confusing mess. If not, then no.

8 Kurt Angle (2002)

via DailyDDT.com

DUN DUNA DUN DUNA DUN DUNA DUN DUN! DUN DUNA DUN DUNA DUN DUNA DUN DUN! What a theme.

Kurt Angle was pretty white hot when he entered the 2002 Royal Rumble. This was his first Rumble match and he had all the hype in the world going in, but he had plenty of competition from the likes of Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Steve Austin, The Undertaker and, of course, Triple H. In one of the best builds to a Rumble ever, no one was quite sure who would be victorious. Would it be Austin, the man who then-WWE Undisputed Champion, Chris Jericho, had beaten for the belt? Would it be Angle riding his wave of momentum? Maybe Triple H, who had just returned from an eight-month long injury spell? Who knows? Well, i do, because this happened nearly fifteen years ago. It was Triple H

Yes, The Game won after lastly throwing out Angle in the longest 30-man Rumble match ever, securing a showdown with Jericho at Mania X-8. Angle would go onto to fight Kane in a match with the botchiest ending ever. A noble prize for a noble runner up. Had Angle won the match then it would have been very interesting to see him face Jericho, another heel, but there is every possibility that Triple H could have taken the title from Jericho at No Way Out and then faced Angle at WrestleMania, in a scenario where either man could have gone over. But, considering Trips was hot off a big return and a massive babyface, maybe it is better that he won this Rumble. Just saying it would have been nice for Kurt Angle to have won the Rumble at least once. Can’t believe Jim Duggan has won more Royal Rumbles than the Olympic freakin’ Hero. The world’s gone mad.

Would it have worked? Yes, but only with massive alterations.

7 John Cena (2005)

via goliath.com

Now this one’s just funny.

John Cena was a big deal in 2005. I say that like he’s not a big deal now, but you know what I mean. The young rapper had gotten himself over big time with his hip-hop gimmick and fans genuinely liked him, a strange concept in 2016. Cena was heading up the Smackdown brand as its new, fresh face, but, on the Red show, fans had Batista, who was then a member of heel stable, Evolution, alongside Triple H and Ric Flair. So, when it came down to these two young stars in the final moments of the 2005 Rumble match, fans knew a star was about to be made. What they didn’t know was that something else was about to be made – a massive, massive mistake.

As the match reached it’s climax, the two men teased their finishers, before Big Dave hosted Cena up, looking to Powerbomb him out of the ring. However, Cena countered with a headscissor. What was meant to happen was Batista holding onto the ropes, displaying his strength, whilst Cena fell out, eliminating him. However, Batista wasn’t as strong as everyone had hoped and fell out of the ring with Cena, causing both men to hit the floor at the same time. Oops. Vince McMahon then came down, so angry that he blew out both of his quadricep muscles getting into the ring (hilarious), and barked orders, eventually resulting in the match being restarted with Cena and Batista. Dave eventually got the win, going to face Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. As for Cena? Well, he would get a shot at JBL’s WWE Championship at the same Mania, so, realistically, either man could have won the Rumble and it would have been fine. However, Batista needed the win to justify taking on his Evolution buddy, Triple H, although he could have just won a number one contender’s match elsewhere, I guess. Either way, both men won world titles at WrestleMania 21 and both men are now mega-stars. So, everyone wins, I guess. Except Vinnie Mac’s quads.

Would it have worked? Yes, and it probably would have saved Vince’s quads, too.

6 Randy Orton (2006)

via wwe.com

Insert joke about an RKO outta nowhere here.

Randy Orton was, to put it bluntly, an a-hole in 2006. Rey Mysterio was entering the 2006 Royal Rumble in honour of his friend, Eddie Guerrero, who had passed away just a few months prior. Now, you’d expect WWE to have treated this storyline with respect and dignity, especially considering how much Eddie had given to the company during his career. Then you remember this is WWE and we’re not allowed nice things. In the build up to WrestleMania 22, Randy constantly tormented Rey, mocking his dead friend and even insinuating he was “in hell”. Jeez. That’s, that’s just awful, really. Whilst this abuse was all in storyline, of course, it was still way too far and it all began at the Rumble.

Rey had entered second (which is exactly the same as entering as number one, by the way, even though WWE make a much bigger deal out of being first) and lasted all the way to the final two, breaking the record for the longest time spent in a single Rumble match. His final obstacle was Orton, the thirtieth entrant, who spent most of the match mocking Rey for his diminutive size. However, just as Orton went to throw Rey out, he countered with a headscissors, throwing both men out and causing Vince McMahon to run down to ringside and blow his quads. Oh, wait, no. That was the year before, sorry. Rey actually threw Orton out with this move, giving him the win and setting him up for a World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 22 against Kurt Angle... and Randy Orton? Huh? Yes, Orton actually went onto beat Rey at No Way Out to win his number one contendership at Mania, but Rey was later re-added because, umm, oh, I don’t want to say it, I really don’t. It was probably because his friend died, there, I said it. Rey would win the belt in a feel-good moment and his Rumble victory was a genuinely heart-warming one. However, the exact same scenario could have happened with Orton winning and then Rey beating Orton at No Way Out to make it a triple threat instead. Christ, what a mess. And the match was only 11 minutes. Hardly seems worth it.

Would it have worked? Yes, but the actual win was nicer.

5 Shawn Michaels (2007)

via wwe.com

He’s might be called Mr. WrestleMania, but maybe Mr. Royal Rumble is a more appropriate nickname.

Shawn Michaels has done very well for himself in Rumble matches. He’s eliminated 39 competitors in total, the second most ever, became the first man to win from the number one spot, is one of only five men to have won multiple Rumbles and has appeared in twelve overall matches, again, the second most ever. However, one Rumble he didn’t win was the 2007 one, but he did comes close… obviously, or he wouldn’t be on this list. Duh. The build to the match was pretty much dormant in WrestleMania storylines, but it would once again be the final two men in the Rumble that would both challenge for world titles at the Show of Shows. And people say modern day WWE is predictable.

At the match’s end, Michaels had eliminated both Edge and Randy Orton to set up a final confrontation with the number 30 entrant, The Undertaker. Michaels and Taker traded blows back and forth before HBK stunned the Deadman with Sweet Chin Music. Looking for the final blow, Michaels tuned up the band one last time and went to kick Undertaker out of the ring. Taker, however, caught Michaels and dumped him out instead in what is perhaps the sloppiest ending to a Rumble match ever. But hey, it’s Shawn and Taker, we can forgive them just this once. Taker used his Rumble win to challenge Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 23, whereas Michaels actually got the main event spot, taking on John Cena for the WWE title. Considering Michaels got the main event spot anyway, changing the outcome of the Rumble wouldn’t have really changed anything for Mania 23. However, it would have meant Shawn would have tied Steve Austin for most Rumble victories, a sacred cow WWE would not have wanted to slaughter in 2007. From a storyline perspective, giving Michaels the win would have been just fine, however, when it comes to Stone Cold, WWE usually don’t like making concessions. And that’s the bottom line!

Would it have worked? Yes, but also, The Undertaker needed to have a Rumble win in his resume. He just did.

4 Triple H (2009)

via pinterest.com

It’s all about The Game, especially considering he’s been runner-up a couple of times.

Trips came short in 2008 when a returning John Cena won the Rumble match by last eliminating him, so, when the next year’s show rolled around, Hunter was keen to go one better than his previous attempt. Sadly, this was not meant to be, as he faced a considerable challenge… from outta nowhere! If you looked at the 2009 Rumble not knowing where it was leading, you’d call me crazy for telling you how WrestleMania 25 shaped up. The WWE title match saw Edge defeating Jeff Hardy to win the gold and John Cena, the World Heavyweight Champion, was taking on JBL, who was managed by Shawn Michaels. This was definitely not how things looked at the Showcase of the Immortals. The Rumble match itself boiled down to Triple H and Randy Orton, who were on separate brands by the way, after The Game eliminated both of Randy’s cronies, Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes. However, eliminating the Viper proved too much and it was Randy standing tall, looking set to challenge his world champion, Edge, at Mania. Creative, however, had other plans. Very, very different plans.

Edge dropped the title to Triple H at No Way Out, who then brought the title over to Raw after he was drafted just two weeks before WrestleMania. This led to Randy challenging the man he had lastly eliminated from the Rumble for the WWE title in the main event of WrestleMania and losing. Right. So, the man who lost the Rumble, who was on Smackdown at the time, left WrestleMania with the WWE title, which was on Raw, after beating the Royal Rumble winner, who had eliminated him to win the match. Wow. That’s just confusing. Edge, by the way, was World Heavyweight Champion at Mania 25, whilst Shawn Michaels fought The Undertaker and JBL lost his Intercontinental Championship to Rey Mysterio in just 21 seconds. Jesus, Hornswoggle could have won the Rumble and it would have made more sense than that. Triple H winning the Rumble would likely have made no difference to WWE’s convoluted booking plans as Randy could have easily won the title from Edge, causing Triple H to swap brands and go after his rival. However, giving Randy the win definitely helped elevate the rising star and positioned him as one of the best of his generation, so, in the long run, this was probably the right move.

Would it have worked? Who knows, this whole thing was a mess. Also, Jeff Hardy fought and lost to his brother at Mania that year. How? Just, how?

3 Chris Jericho (2012)

via f4wonline.com

How has Y2J not won a Rumble? That’s going on the list for sure.

2012 was an interesting time for WWE. CM Punk had just begun his monster WWE title run and Daniel Bryan was World Heavyweight Champion, which seemed like the company was finally building some new stars, but the main event of WrestleMania XXVIII, as had been planned for a whole year, was going to be The Rock vs John Cena. Confusing stuff. Anyway, a number one contender was needed for Mania and in the first full Rumble match I ever saw four men were in with a shot as the last men remaining; Big Show, Randy Orton, Sheamus and Jericho. The Viper and the Giant were quickly disposed of and Jericho and Sheamus actually had a pretty good back and forth in the ring. However, it would be the Celtic Warrior standing tall, eliminating Jericho with a Brogue Kick to secure his shot at the World Heavyweight Championship. Fun fact, Sheamus lasted 22 minutes and 21 seconds in the Rumble, which was 74.5 times longer than his World Heavyweight title match at Mania lasted. I hate wrestling, sometimes.

Imagine then, if Jericho had won the Rumble instead. Now, I know that Jericho fought CM Punk for the WWE title at Mania 28 anyway, so it’s easy to write this option off. However, imagine for a second that Y2J didn’t choose to take on CM Punk with his victory, but, instead, challenge the Smackdown champion for his title – Chris Jericho vs Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania. Oh boy.

2 Roman Reigns (2014)

via wwe.com

Oh no, here come the boos.

Don't stop reading just yet, please. I know the idea of a Roman Reigns Rumble victory is enough to turn anyone's stomach, but let me talk you through it. Back when Roman was actually over as a member of The Shield, Reigns made a huge impression on the WWE fans when he set the record for the most Royal Rumble eliminations in a single match, tossing out 12 guys in the same Rumble. Not too bad. In what is now obvious foreshadowing to Reigns' rise to success, Roman made it to the final two in his debut Rumble match, squaring off against The Animal, Boo-. whoops, I mean, Batista. Sadly, Roman wasn't able to overcome the Guardians of the Galaxy star or the animosity of the crowd towards the two men for not being Daniel Bryan. Everyone knows what happened next; the fans booing got so much that WWE were forced to put Daniel Bryan into the WrestleMania title picture and he eventually forced Batista to tap out in the main event, winning the title. But how different would things have been had Reigns been the victor? In short – very.

You see, as bad as this whole thing was, it was kinda the main reason Bryan got over the extent he did. The unfairness of him not being in the Rumble, the fact that his story with Randy Orton was right there and WWE didn’t pick up on it, the part-timer coming back to win the Rumble over a younger guy; this all contributed to the fans’ support for Bryan and just made them want to see him in the main event of WrestleMania 30 even more. Had Reigns won I suppose it wouldn’t have been that bad, on account of him being a young, then-popular star, but I really don’t see how it could have worked. he have turned heel and split The Shield up early? That makes sense; Bryan could have still beaten Triple H at the start of WrestleMania 30 to earn a spot in the main event, but the Bearded One overcoming Reigns and Orton wouldn’t have had the same effect as him beating two Evolution members and former world champions. Putting Reigns against Orton would have required a natural story to have been developed within three months and, with Daniel Bryan factored into this, I don’t see how they could have done this. Yes, it was doable, but, thanks to the little farm animal that could, it wouldn’t have worked out for the Big Dog.

Would it have worked? No, I literally just said that. Come on, people.

1 Dean Ambrose (2016)

via wwe.com

This one has genuinely kept me awake at night.

The 2016 Royal Rumble, in which Roman Reigns’ WWE title was on the line, was the beginning of a series of bad decisions made by WWE. Yes, the actual match was great and Triple H winning felt massive, but, due to what followed, this great moment was tainted; tainted by a big, Roman Reigns-shaped mess. When Triple H threw out Roman Reigns, we should have known we were going to get Roman vs Trips at Mania and WWE should have known that fans were not going to play their part. Instead of cheering Roman Reigns, who, in storyline, had had everything taken away from him by Triple H, the fans booed him to high hell because they couldn’t connect with him. Instead, they cheered the legend that was Triple H, even though he was being a massive douche. Crazy times. So, what if things had gone differently? Fantasy booking mode, activate!

Here’s the scene; Roman gets eliminated by Triple H, as in real life, but, instead, Dean Ambrose ducks The Game and wins the match and the WWE title. Yes, I know he was Intercontinental Champion at the time, but he could lose that in a multi-man match so he doesn’t get pinned or just vacate, citing that he wanted to focus on being world champ. Easy. Dean would then go onto face Triple H at Fastlane for the title and retain, to be congratulated by Roman Reigns, who had lost an Intercontinental title match earlier in the night. This is important, because Roman had been getting more and more angry as the weeks had gone by, especially at Ambrose, who he saw as having taken his championship. Reigns raises Ambrose’s hand and it looks like the animosity between the two was over. However, as Ambrose turns to leave, Reigns knocks him down with a right hand, then beats him all around the arena, eventually delivering a Shield-style double powerbomb to Ambrose with Triple H through the announce table. Roman then grabs the title, holds it up and announces Triple H has taken him under his wing and he will be invoking his rematch clause... at WrestleMania 32. Heel Roman gets the right response from the fans, people feel sorry for Ambrose as he’s been ganged up on by Triple H and Reigns and can you imagine the hype package. All The Shield stuff, Roman beating Dean at Survivor Series 2015, it just writes itself. Dean Ambrose winning the Rumble would have been bold, but it most certainly could have worked and you can bet your ass that Dean Ambrose holding the world title up at the end of Mania 32 would have gotten a much better response than Roman doing it. And you can believe that.

Would it have worked? Hell yes, and I should work for WWE.

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