With the debut of AJ Styles, and the domination by The Wyatt Family, the 2016 Royal Rumble ended with Triple H doing what he does best; feeding his ego over what’s actually best for business. After placing Roman Reigns in an awkward position guaranteed to turn the fans against him, WWE set the stage for a Wrestlemania main event match no one ever asked for; a 46 year old man who believes that he is still the bar of excellence predictably putting over a younger talent whom has always been the company’s pick since he was in developmental. And if that wasn’t enough, we will have to sit through Roman Reigns once again chasing after the title while WWE tries to repair the connection with the fans they just killed with they Royal Rumble booking.
WWE forced Roman Reigns down our throats for weeks by booking him superhumanly strong. And once he was finally over enough to carry the title legitimately, WWE booked the poor guy in to a losing situation. If Reigns would have won the Rumble, he would have been booed out of the building even worse than the reaction he was already receiving in the match. But his gimmick can not remain “guy chasing the title” forever. And taking the title away from him just to give it back at Wrestlemania does nothing for him.
The Royal Rumble should have never revolved around Reigns. WWE should have took the time to allow him to develop as the world champion while setting up for him to face the winner of the Rumble instead. The build up to Mania with a new contender should have been the focus of the company. Because at the end of the day, Triple H could have just booked himself against Reigns whenever he wanted to considering he’s part of the authority. So in the end, there isn’t an acceptable reason as to why he was booked to win the title other than personal ego.
I could go on and on about how Ambrose could have won the title and entered an interesting feud with Reigns while still defending his IC title, or how AJ Styles could have shocked the world and won the WWE title on his first night, or how any scenario involving The Wyatts and any other deserving, but overlooked, superstar could have benefited the company more than Triple H becoming a placeholder for the title. But the truth is we all knew it was either Lesnar, Reigns, or Triple H predictably leaving with the title. But at least the match itself was extremely entertaining, and that counts for something. Plus the reaction Reigns received due to WWE’s booking is interesting enough to see how the fallout of the event has affected his popularity on Raw.
I’m not surprised that the show ended the way it did. In fact, I’ve missed two episodes of Raw in a row due to the booking of Reigns and the Rumble. I had almost no intention of watching WWE anytime soon. But a weekend filled with Lucha Underground got me in the spirit to at least seeing if WWE would throw us a curve ball. So now I’m willing to at least see how WWE will move forward towards Wrestlemania before moving on from their product. Because after the nostalgia of having Vince McMahon on television wears off, and Roman Reigns becomes champion once again for the third time, where will the company go next? And most importantly, how will they repair the damage they’ve done to Reigns with their awful booking? Book him even stronger? If so, I think I’ll pass on their product.