The 2015 Royal Rumble match is now in the books but the discussion surrounding the outcome of the event remains a hot topic as anger and outrage continue to flood the internet. Roman Reigns coming out as the winner of the thirty man spectacle has left a sour taste in the mouths of many WWE fans.
The backlash surrounding Reigns' victory is largely the same as the backlash Batista faced following his victory last year. The main reason for this negative reaction: Daniel Bryan. The Daniel Bryan love-fest that began last year continues to roll on with no signs of slowing down. The fans want Daniel Bryan but the WWE wants Roman Reigns.
Last year, Bryan was kept out of the Rumble match all together so when his participation was announced for this year's match, the expectations of a Daniel Bryan win began to run rampant. When Bryan was eliminated shortly following his entry, the life was seemingly sucked out of the building as fans quickly realized that they were once again ignored.
The battle cry of the “Yes Movement” was so strong last year that WWE was forced to take notice and add Daniel Bryan into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania XXX. While many supporters of Bryan will hope for much of the same this year, a repeat of circumstances will not occur.
WrestleMania XXXI is going to be headlined by Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns and all the complaining in the world is not going to change that. In 2014, the fans were given their underdog. In 2015, the fans better get used to seeing the big dog. Where does Daniel Bryan go from here? Who knows, but like it or not, Roman Reigns is on his way to headline the biggest event of the year.
With all the controversy surrounding the Rumble, it seems like everybody has an opinion one way or another. These are the top 15 reactions to the 2015 Royal Rumble:
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15 Roman Reigns
The man in the middle of all the Royal Rumble controversy, Roman Reigns, took to Twitter the following day to address the fans and their reaction towards his victory. Reigns tweeted:
— Roman Reigns (@WWERomanReigns) January 27, 2015
That night on Raw, Reigns gave an exclusive interview which was conducted by Paul Heyman when Heyman kicked Michael Cole out of the interviewer's chair. Reigns proceeded to give his thoughts all while sitting in the company of the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar. The interview went well but a number of fan reports state that they could hear Reigns being fed his lines during the segment. If said reports prove to be true, one must wonder how Reigns will find a way to connect with the audience if he is so controlled by the machine. The tweet sent out by Reigns was meant for the fans but if the WWE really want him to establish a bond, they really should allow his own personality to shrine through.
14 The Iron Sheik
Whenever you are searching for a grand poetic exclamation point to place at the end of any situation or circumstance, do not expect to find one from The Iron Sheik. The former WWE Champion was vocal on Twitter throughout much of the Rumble event – praising the title match and Mizdow while showing his disapproval of Rusev. However, it was The Sheik's elegant thoughts on the Rumble match that stood out most: “WHAT THE F**K #RoyalRumble2015” We were all thinking the same thing – sometimes it takes The Sheik to place things into perspective.
13 Justin Credible
Justin Credible, an ECW alumni, shared his thoughts on the Rumble with an odd but fairly accurate comparison when he placed Vince McMahon along ide an iconic film director, who faced a great deal of fan backlash in regards to his own franchise:
I suppose making fun of Vince McMahon comes easy when you know you will never again work for his promotion.
12 Tommy Dreamer
Another ECW alumni and perhaps the most loyal solider to have even suited up for battle in the land of extreme, Tommy Dreamer provided his own take on the Rumble match – presumably following the elimination of Daniel Bryan:
— Tommy Dreamer (@THETOMMYDREAMER) January 26, 2015
I don't think anybody would believe Tommy Dreamer winning the Royal Rumble, but using a man who is beloved in Philadelphia would have been a good move on the part of WWE.
11 Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler entered the Royal Rumble match this past Sunday at #30 – the coveted spot that every superstar is supposed to want. However, Ziggler was underutilized during the match and, as a result, one of the most over guys in the company was not given a proper amount of time out in front of the live crowd – much like the Daniel Bryan situation. Dolph Ziggler would then take to Twitter and address Daniel Bryan, proposing a possible match that could very well overshadow much of the WrestleMania card:
Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler at WrestleMania really would be a show stealer but would the WWE allow such a match knowing how loud of a fan reaction the bout would receive? It would take away a lot of the energy from the other high profile matches.
10 Lance Storm
The wrestling technician Lance Storm is always very vocal on social media regarding WWE programming. In fact, a few weeks ago, Storm took to Twitter to announce that he was shutting off Raw in protest of a promo cut by The Ascension in which they made reference to The Road Warriors – something which Storm found objectionable.
The opinion Storm voiced on the Rumble rang very true and can be applied to most of the superstars on the current WWE roster:
I'm just glad I'm not a baby face trying to get over in the same company as Daniel Bryan
— Lance Storm (@LanceStorm) January 26, 2015
Ain't that the truth!
9 Kevin Kelly
You may remember Kevin Kelly as a WWE announcer/interviewer during the late '90s and early '00s. Nowadays, Kelly is the voice of the independent promotion, Ring of Honor. While no longer part of the mainstream wrestling circuit, Kelly still finds time to shed light on the WWE product – his tweet about the Rumble is noteworthy:
Kelly made a valid point, as the announcers were bombarding those watching at home with facts regarding the Rumble (who won at this number, which numbers have never produced a winner, etc). The facts were indeed interesting and sadly, at times, even more so than the Rumble.
8 Mark Madden
Mark Madden is always an easy go-to for an opinion on just about anything. The former WCW announcer has been a critic of WWE for many years and, obviously, the Royal Rumble was not going to fly under his radar. Madden had the following to say in regards to Roman Reigns' victory:
Philly's a tough crowd. Mistake2 have Rumble there. But even Rock running in couldn't get Reigns over. He's not ready, &the ppl know it. — Mark Madden (@MarkMaddenX) January 26, 2015
The WWE should have known what bringing the Rumble to Philadelphia meant. Perhaps next year's event should take place in Lincoln, Nebraska.
7 Colt Cabana
It's no secret that the WWE has never really liked or thought much of Colt Cabana – he was never quite suited to make their roster. The dislike of Cabana has surely grown since the airing of his podcast featuring an exposing interview with CM Punk. From his side of things, Colt Cabana could really care less about what the WWE thinks. Colt is happy just being Colt and doing what he is doing. However, Cabana did provide one of the more humorous commentaries on the Royal Rumble when he tweeted the following:
Technically Giant COLT HEAD was never thrown outta the Rumble
— Colt Cabana (@ColtCabana) January 27, 2015
This tweet made reference to a giant Colt Cabana head a fan had brought into the building. The head was clearly visible as the fan was seated ring side and when raised would look as though the head was in the ring. Subtle sarcasm from Colt Cabana.
6 Mick Foley
The hardcore legend Mick Foley voiced a lot of displeasure last year in regards to the exclusion of Daniel Bryan from the Royal Rumble match. Foley posted in a blog stating that he was ready to throw a brick through his TV due to the situation. This year, Foley provided his opinion on Roman Reigns with a sympathetic tone:
Mick Foley and Daniel Bryan have more in common than one would think, so it is easy to see why Foley would back Bryan, but Mick is also an emotional man and his compassion is admirable.
5 Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon was said to be “legitimately surprised” backstage during the Royal Rumble. Somehow, McMahon thought that taking out the massive crowd favorite in favor of his own personal choice was going to get over with the audience. There is no Twitter quote in this entry, just backstage reports of an out-of-touch old man who knows nothing about his current audience. The idea behind the early elimination of Daniel Bryan was that it would give the fans time to cool down before Roman Reigns eventually won the match – which didn't work out very well. Good news for McMahon, the WWE Network has reached one million subscribers. I suppose this means all is well in WWE because all that really matters is selling the network, right?
4 The Rock
The Rock, much like Vince McMahon, was legitimately shocked at the reaction his cousin Roman Reigns was receiving in Philadelphia. The Rock's run-in was not even enough to have the fans cheer Reigns. Following the match, The Rock stood tall in the middle of the ring and raised the hand of Roman Reigns – to an outcry of hatred. The Rock's face during this reaction showed a great deal of confusion. However, in true Rock fashion, he would make sure to save face with the fans by posting an instagram video from the empty Wells Fargo Arena during which he claimed that is was OK that the fans “booed the hell out of his boy.”
3 Jim Ross
Jim Ross will always be the voice of WWE for an entire generation of fans. Nobody could match Ross' intensity and passion for calling a match. Ross is insightful and knows the wrestling business better than Vince McMahon. Perhaps part of the reason why Ross was subject to so much ridicule during his tenure in WWE. Nonetheless, the opinion of Ross is valued greatly by those in the wrestling business. In a recent blog, JR had the following to say regarding Roman Reigns:
“It was obvious that the largely, 'heel crowd' wanted Daniel Bryan to win the Rumble even though Daniel Bryan isn't a heel. It was certainly a unique atmosphere in the Wells Fargo Center Sunday night.
Roman Reigns is now in touchy situation and how he comes out of all this is going to be provocative to follow. The Rock had some of the same issues back in the day when he debuted as in the infamous :"Die Rocky Die" chants and signs we used to see see. Reigns as a big star in the future and I'm curious to see it Sunday night's experiences will help him in the long haul.
What if Reigns shockingly aligned himself with Paul Heyman and the two of them conspired to beat Lesnar at WM31? Stranger things have happened.” Great insight from a great man."
2 Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho was not involved in the Royal Rumble match this year – although he was speculated to be an entrant. Instead, Jericho was a spectator and not a hater like many others. In fact, Jericho praised the decision to have Roman Reigns win the Royal Rumble:
Chris Jericho once lost to Fandango at WrestleMania and is clearly on board when it comes to putting over new talent. Which is actually a great quality to have as a veteran superstar.
1 The WWE Universe
The best or worst reaction – depending on which side you look at it – from the 2015 Royal Rumble came directly from the WWE Universe. The fans are dead-set against Roman Reigns and his quest to become the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Once again, Daniel Bryan – the fan favorite- has been left behind in the dust of monstrous men. The little, bearded guy from the Pacific Northwest will not be headlining WrestleMania and that angers the WWE Universe.
Following the Royal Rumble, the hashtag #CancelWWENetwork was trending on social media. While the actual cancellation movement did not seem to take place, perhaps WWE should take notice.
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