This past Sunday was the 2015 Royal Rumble. The annual pay-per-view event took place at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was the 28th annual Royal Rumble event and the first to air on the WWE Network. Overall the event was excellent. World Wrestling Entertainment did an amazing job of promoting and building up the pay-per-view. The triple threat match between John Cena, Seth Rollins, and the reigning and defending WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar certainly delivered. However the Royal Rumble match itself ended up being a huge disappointment. Most fans understood the end result would likely be either Daniel Bryan or Roman Reigns emerging victorious and there were the fair share of wildcards in the match. There was Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, and the constant swirling rumors of a returning Randy Orton, even late rumors of The Rock being a possible surprise entrant. Unfortunately the WWE chose to continue force-feeding us Roman Reigns, having him come out of the Royal Rumble victorious, primed to headline WrestleMania 31.
The reaction of the fans at the Royal Rumble was worse than the reaction at last year’s Royal Rumble when Batista won. In the first half of the Rumble after Daniel Bryan was eliminated, the crowd repeatedly chanted his name for the rest of the match while booing the majority of the other participants as they made their entrance into the match. After Dolph Ziggler, Bray Wyatt, and Dean Ambrose were eliminated the crowd became even more disappointed going as far as chanting “we want refunds” and "bulls***.” When Roman Reigns emerged victorious, the crowd was so mad, even The Rock’s endorsement was unable to stop them from booing.
When the event came to a conclusion #CancelWWENetwork became the top Twitter trend worldwide. Multiple sources even reported the WWE Network online cancellation crashed as a result.
In response to Roman Reigns winning and the understandable backlash occurring, what follows is a list of the top 10 reasons why he shouldn’t have won the Royal Rumble.
10 2014 Royal Rumble
At the 2014 Royal Rumble, the WWE had Batista win the Rumble. The crowd response was beyond negative. All the fans in attendance voiced their opinions by booing Batista continuously while also cheering for Daniel Bryan (who competed earlier in the event but not in the actual Rumble). The backlash from the event was so bad that it was covered by various major news outlets and reported as one of the worst Royal Rumbles.
You would think after everything that happened at the 2014 Royal Rumble the WWE would want to make sure they had an amazing event this year as it begins the Road to WrestleMania, but maybe we were all just putting too much faith into the creative team.
9 Believe That
Believability is a very important and vital factor in an exciting wrestling match. The fans need to actually believe that either party has a real chance of winning otherwise what’s the point of even having a match in the first place?
Brock Lesnar is one of the most dominant athletes on the planet and has succeeded in every avenue he has entertained. The Beast Incarnate even defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX, thus conquering the streak. What has Roman Reigns done in his WWE career thus far? Sure he won the WWE Tag Team Championship with Seth Rollins but that’s about it. He hasn’t even won a singles title yet. When it comes to Roman Reigns versus Brock Lesnar, no one actually believes Roman Reigns can beat Brock Lesnar and you can believe that!
8 Greener Than Chlorophyll
In professional wrestling, the term “green” refers to a wrestler that is inexperienced. Moreover, it refers to a wrestler who is in the early stages of their career and as a result may be prone to making rookie mistakes. Roman Reigns signed a developmental deal with WWE in July 2010 and made his debut in September of the same year. He didn’t make his main roster debut until November of 2012 as a part of The Shield.
Reigns primarily competed as a part of the group until they split in June of 2014. As many will recall, Roman Reigns underwent emergency surgery on an incarcerated hernia shortly thereafter. He didn’t make his return until December 8th, 2014. That’s not a lot of time or experience. Bottom line, Roman Reigns is greener than chlorophyll.
7 Suffering Succotash
Cutting a promo is a huge part of being a successful and marketable superstar. Wrestlers need to have the ability to not only sell the pay-per-view but also be able to sell themselves on a microphone. Roman Reigns is The Rock’s cousin, and The Rock is one of the greatest performers on the microphone of all time. Unfortunately for Roman Reigns, he is the polar opposite of The Rock in this aspect. Roman Reigns is terrible on the microphone. A great example of this was on the January 9th, 2015, episode of SmackDown when Reigns made the WWE Universe and wrestling fans around the world collectively cringe when he uttered the words “Suffering Succotash” during his promo on Seth Rollins.
6 "Superstar" Of The Year
Last month on RAW, the WWE presented the Slammy Awards for 2014. The options for Superstar Of The Year included Brock Lesnar, Dean Ambrose, John Cena, Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, and Bray Wyatt. The right answers were obvious as Brock Lesnar, Daniel Bryan, and Seth Rollins all had incredible years but when the winner was announced, the WWE claimed the fans had selected Roman Reigns. The backlash was instantaneous. Reigns hadn’t taken part in any major feuds, didn't compete in any solo main events, hadn't won any singles championships, and missed one-fourth of the calendar year. Fans immediately began speculating that the voting was rigged because Roman Reigns was definitely not the Superstar Of The Year.
5 More Qualified Competitors
After Daniel Bryan was eliminated in the first half of the Rumble it was blatantly clear (as disappointing as it is) that the WWE was likely going to have Reigns win the entire thing. However there were a slew of other participants that were not only more qualified but would have also resulted in a much greater response.
Dolph Ziggler came in as the last entrant in the Royal Rumble this year and (although he’s not my first choice) would have been a very viable and acceptable choice to win the Rumble especially after his amazing showing at Survivor Series.
Dean Ambrose would have also been a great victor for the Rumble as he’s had a stellar year, really gotten over with the fans, and has shown no signs of slowing down. Furthermore, both of these participants have all the skills to have succeeded in that situation and position.
Additional Note: Randy Orton has been actively working house shows and would have been another excellent choice had the WWE decided to use him in the Royal Rumble.
4 Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt made a statement at the Royal Rumble this year. He was the 5th person to enter the Rumble and immediately made a big impact. Wyatt eliminated five competitors before grabbing the microphone and claiming this was his year. After his promo, Daniel Bryan made his way to the ring as the next participant and was ultimately eliminated by Wyatt. He made it very close to the end of the match before eventually being eliminated by The Big Show and Kane. However, Wyatt has been on a huge roll this year as the WWE has finally started booking him decently and he ultimately would have been able work wonders in that spot especially after being the individual that eliminated Daniel Bryan.
3 Alternative Main Event
Maybe the plan all along was to have Roman Reigns go over in the Royal Rumble. However if that was the case, why would the WWE not execute things in a way that would at least get the fans invested? Bottom line, most people do not want to see Roman Reigns versus Brock Lesnar. The match is not even appealing to me as I struggle to type it out, but if the plan was to always have Roman Reigns go over, wouldn’t a triple threat match between the three former Shield members in the main event of WrestleMania 31 been more exciting?
In that aspect no one would have cared. Hypothetically speaking, Seth Rollins could have won (or cashed in his Money In The Bank briefcase to win) the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble. Then during the Rumble match the final two participants (Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns) could have simultaneously eliminated each other like the WWE did in the 1994 Royal Rumble with Bret Hart and Lex Luger. Now think about it for a second. What really sounds better, Roman Reigns versus Brock Lesnar or Roman Reigns versus Dean Ambrose versus Seth Rollins in a triple threat match? I thought so.
2 Daniel Bryan
The fact that WWE screwed this up not once but twice is ridiculous. The storyline for Daniel Bryan versus Brock Lesnar couldn’t have been written better and was handed to them on a silver platter. It would have been the greatest David versus Goliath matchup imaginable and they blew it. The entire crowd at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania made sure the WWE knew it and so did the millions of people watching around the world. The #CancelWWENetwork Twitter trend became the top trend worldwide for obvious reasons and has resulted with enough people trying to cancel their accounts that the WWE Network online cancellation site crashed as a result.
1 Past Mistakes
Let’s take a look back at the Royal Rumble Winners from the last four years. There was Sheamus in 2012, John Cena in 2013, Dave Batista in 2014, and now Roman Reigns in 2015. That is four years of bad choices. Honestly the backlash from the 2014 Royal Rumble alone should have been enough of a reason for WWE to really evaluate who they were going to have win the Royal Rumble and why. This was the first Royal Rumble to air on the WWE Network and the beginning of the Road to WrestleMania, so one would assume that it is detrimental to their business to promote early excitement for their biggest event of the year. Unfortunately it seems we all just must be putting too much faith into the creative team and/or the powers that be.