By now you all have seen the results of the 2016 Royal Rumble, and if you haven’t you probably shouldn’t be reading this article. Overall the pay per view did some things right, and other things wrong. With that being said, the Royal Rumble match itself may have been the best it has been in the past five years, despite the controversial ending.
With Triple H winning his second Royal Rumble, it sets in motion the road to WrestleMania. Vince McMahon spent the past month stacking the odds against Roman Reigns, giving him the number one spot in the Rumble, as well as putting his WWE World Heavyweight Title on the line in the match. The former Shield member will no doubt continue to carry the title of underdog to the big show, fighting against the uber evil Authority faction.
Despite his loss, WWE management made no bones about making Reigns look strong by not only having the former Champion pull of a Steve Austin-esque mid match comeback, but by having him last until the final two minutes of the Rumble.
Ironically fans cheered as Reigns was eliminated by Triple H near the one hour mark of the match, signifying that one way or another there would be a new champion crowned at the 2016 Royal Rumble. Perhaps the fact that #anyonebutroman was trending prior to the main event, gave WWE just cause to not repeat the mass WWE Network cancellation that occurred last year after the Royal Rumble pay per view.
In any case the Rumble is in the history books, and while some people may be excited that Triple H is the new Champion, it won’t stop us from playing Monday booker. Since today we know all 30 entrants of the Rumble, and have the power of hindsight, we are going to list the top 10 ways the Royal Rumble could have ended.
As always please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
10 Miz Pulls an Upset
Maybe this is too far fetched, but why didn’t The Miz just stay on commentary until the very end of the Rumble and weasel his way to a victory? The guy has legitimate heat, and has actually headlined a WrestleMania before, defeating John Cena on said night.
The fact that the roster is so slim right now, could have given the WWE the perfect opportunity to retry the Miz as Champion experiment that failed a few years back. In the worst case scenario, Miz could have been a transitional Champ for WWE to figure out what to do at the next pay per view due to all of the injuries.
9 Ziggler Shocks the World
Coming in at number 28, and only spending about seven minutes in the Royal Rumble, Dolph Ziggler had one of the biggest reactions in the second half of the match. The Show Off was on fire, delivering Zig Zags, and Famousers to everyone in the ring. The crowd popped pretty big when Ziggler gave a huge Superkick to Triple H, as he was standing outside on the apron. It would have been sweet vindication for Ziggler to finish the match in the final two with Dean Ambrose, after the way both men were treated in last year’s Rumble match. The WWE Universe surely have been ready for another Ziggler reign as WWE Champion.
8 Daniel Bryan Enters at #30
So in order for this scenario to have worked, we would have needed to subtract either Jack Swagger or Mark Henry from the Rumble. After that Triple H would have been pushed to the 29 spot, and Daniel Bryan would have entered at the 30 spot. At that point in time fans everywhere would have marked out watching Bryan eliminate everyone else to regain the Title that he never lost. There have been rumors that Bryan is actually cleared for in-ring action, so why not put him back into the mix of things by having him win the Royal Rumble.
7 Triple H Allows Ambrose to Win
It’s safe to assume that after his match with Kevin Owens earlier that night, that nobody thought Dean Ambrose would be in the final two of the Royal Rumble. WWE could have used it as the perfect opportunity to create a top heel by having Ambrose join The Authority.
When Ambrose and Triple H had their standoff at the end of the match, Trips could have simply jumped out of the ring and given Ambrose the victory. The two could have then embraced, and proceeded to beat Roman Reigns on the outside of the ring, solidifying their partnership.
This scenario would have set up an Ambrose vs. Reigns match at WrestleMania, which may have created more interest than the current matchup will.
6 Roman and Ambrose Eliminate Triple H
Granted the manner in which Roman Reigns was eliminated would have made this outcome a bit hard, but since this is fantasy booking, let’s assume he had a second to gain his composure after eliminating Sheamus.
This would have created a situation with Ambrose, Reigns, and Triple H all in the ring at the same time. Common sense would tell you that the two babyfaces would have teamed up to defeat a common foe. Additionally this would have created another scenario where the crowd was fired up to see Ambrose potentially take the win away from Reigns.
5 The Wyatts Rule
Since apparently The Wyatt Family did not have to adhere to the rules and were able to interfere in the Rumble despite being eliminated, why not have had Bray Wyatt take the win over the rest of the WWE roster?
Braun Strowman’s impressive showing was enough to make anyone believe that The Wyatts were a force to be reckoned with, and a Wyatt screwjob is better than a League of Nations/Authority screwjob. This outcome would have put the strap on Wyatt, and could have still set up a great feud between Bray Wyatt and Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania.
4 Lesnar Outlasts the Wyatts
Brock Lesnar was/is the only person who would be able to defeat the entire Wyatt Family, and actually have it feel believable. Lesnar was the second biggest highlight of the Royal Rumble (behind AJ Styles), and could have easily been booked to win the match. As stated in the previous entry, Bray Wyatt and Brock could have been booked with the Title for their program, giving both men a reason to continue their feud into WrestleMania.
Side note: if nothing else, it would have made the crowd pop to see Lesnar eliminate Roman Reigns #anyonebutroman.
3 Ambrose Wins Clean
No fuss, no tricks, no screwjobs, just a true underdog winning the WWE World Heavyweight Title by outlasting all of his peers. The WWE swerved many fans last night by giving the impression the Ambrose had a chance, but ultimately chose not to make Ambrose a double Champion (he is the current Intercontinental Champion).
Ambrose may not be as mainstream as Roman Reigns, but he serves as a better foil to The Authority, as fans actually want to see him succeed. Keep in mind that the crowd popped when Triple H (the bad guy) eliminated Roman Reigns (the good guy); not exactly the situation you want to have when you are pushing an “underdog”. The better underdog story would have been surviving a Last Man Standing Match, and a Royal Rumble to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion for the first time.
2 AJ Styles Sides With The Authority
Even though we all knew it was coming, and we didn’t actually see him hit the Styles Clash, seeing AJ Styles in the Royal Rumble was AWESOME. Not only did Styles last nearly a half hour, but The Phenomenal One didn’t get buried the way that most non-WWE talents are when they appear on WWE programming for the first time; but enough marking out.
Instead of having Kevin Owens eliminate Styles, he should have lasted until the final three; with Reigns and Triple H holding the other two spots respectively. Styles would never win the Royal Rumble as a debuting babyface, that’s why he would need to turn heel and side with The Authority. Think about it, who signs free agents? Who would gain the most from Styles coming to WWE? Who could use another player on their team while Seth Rollins is out hurt? Yeah you know the answer.
Side note: This outcome could have set up an awesome Rollins vs. Styles angle down the line.
1 Roman Reigns Wins
The outcome that nobody really wanted, may have actually been better for business than anything else. If Reigns would have won the Royal Rumble from the number one position, despite a beating from the League of Nations it may have established him as being unstoppable. This would trigger the other unbeatable force in WWE, Brock Lesnar, to challenge Reigns at WrestleMania creating a rematch of last year. Reigns is a better worker than he was a year ago, and could probably deliver a better match at this year's WrestleMania main event.
Before you get angry, we didn’t say you were going to like all of the ways the Rumble could have ended, we just offered a few suggestions, and you know that this outcome was thrown around the writers room more than once.