Welcome back to Wrestling Re-Booking, where I take some popular storylines and put my own spin on them, because it’s always fun to wonder what if.
The Royal Rumble is the most important event of the year for WWE because it sets the tone for WrestleMania, which is the biggest event of the year for WWE.
Many great winners went on to do great things. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, The Rock and The Undertaker are a few of those names. Last year’s winner was Triple H, who became the second man to win the WWE title and the third man to win drawing the coveted number 30 spot.
Last year’s rumble match was remarkable if not phenomenal. It featured the debut of AJ Styles, Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose pulling double-duty and Roam Reigns defending his WWE title against 29 other men.
Unfortunately, it could have been a classic.
Reigns was taken out after being booked No. 1 but not eliminated. He had to come back in the match to finish it, only to be eliminated by Triple H. It didn’t help that Triple H was cheered in doing so.
In other words, Reigns didn’t get help from the booking. It only made him worse. This isn’t like Austin driving an ambulance back in the 1999 Royal Rumble. This is far removed from The Rock being chokeslammed by The Big Show through a table only to come back in the 2001 Royal Rumble.
You have to make your champion strong as well as saving the integrity of the bout. If I had to craft the script, here’s how I would do both in one fell swoop.
For starters, keep the opening event with Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental Championship. Keep Ambrose retaining in a brutal bout but have him sell the injuries more. Owens reigns down on him to a point where the referee might consider stopping the bout. Ambrose refuses and prevails the same way. The point of this method is to have Ambrose a shell of himself before the rumble match begins.
Save that thought in your heads for later. Now, let’s head to the rumble match itself.
Let’s keep a lot of the same but tweak the booking for Mr. Reigns’ sake. Have Reigns and Styles dominate the first few men. That includes Rusev, Tyler Breeze and Curtis Axel. Even have them eliminate Kane, Chris Jericho, Goldust, Ryback, and Kofi Kingston. Those were the first eight to enter besides Styles and Reigns.
For the 11th entrant, switch out Titus O’Neil for Kevin Owens. You need someone to stand both men. Why not the former Intercontinental Champion who can hold his own with both men?
That’s when the ring piles up. I’d still have Owens eventually eliminate Styles and Sami Zayn come in and eliminate Owens. This brings us o Dean Ambrose, who entered the match at 19. Have him switch spots with Bray Wyatt, who entered at 27.
This works so you can have them dominate the majority of the match. Remember, The Wyatt Family still had Braun Strowman in the mix. Have them toss out Show, Brock Lesnar and others to name a few.
Keep in mind Lesnar eliminated every Wyatt member except for Bray himself. This is where Bray eliminates Lesnar, only for him to be eliminated by Reigns. Wyatt and Lesnar battle on the outside setting up a potential feud down the line.
Ambrose enters the ring and is in really bad shape. He can barely move but still puts up a fight. Surprisingly, he isn’t tossed out yet.
Triple H enters a No. 30, and now we have our final combatants. Keep them the same as last year: Triple H, Ambrose, Reigns and Sheamus.
Keep Reigns eliminating Sheamus, but alter the script slightly. Triple H tossed out Reigns last year, but this time have him THINK he did and give the crowd a false finish.
Triple H, ever the arrogant heel, looks at Ambrose who clearly should not have been in this bout. He can barely pick himself up. Reigns see this and charges at Triple H blindly.
He misses the spear and gets set up for a Pedigree. Reigns counters and tosses Triple H over the top rope. Reigns eliminates The Game in this version, but then, Ambrose capitalizes and becomes he man who eliminates Reigns.
Dean Ambrose is your new double champion in the Intercontinental and the World Heavyweight Champion.
Here is where you can blur the lines a bit. You can keep Reigns a face, Triple H the heel and Ambrose as a tweener. Ambrose can state how he won all by himself, which would be true. Reigns can state how he was watching Ambrose’s back, which would be a tough sell considering how the match states it’s every man for himself.
In closing, the 2016 Royal Rumble would’ve been an instant classic had WWE took this route instead. Yes, controversy creates cash. But it’s drama hat keeps sports-entertainment going. What wouldn’t be more dramatic than a full implosion of The Shield going up in flames!
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