Welcome to the Booking Room! Each week I’ll take a look at a past event and rebook it how I think it could’ve or should’ve gone. So to kick things off I’m going back to January of 2014 and looking at the Royal Rumble. I won’t be reimagining the entire event, just the Royal Rumble match itself. With that said, let’s go!
As we all know, the Royal Rumble is the true kickoff to WrestleMania season and is one of the most exciting matches of the year. 30 men, and now women, try and stake their claim to the main event of WrestleMania. In 2014 the hottest superstar on the roster was Daniel Bryan. I have zero desire to argue against that, and honestly, can’t. But where most will fight that Bryan should’ve been in the Rumble match and won, that’s not what I’ll be doing today.
I will say that Bryan absolutely should’ve been in the match, can’t deny it. The returning Batista was the winner that year and the fans instantly turned on him. It was leaked that upon his return he was the favorite to win and go to WrestleMania for a match against Randy Orton. I won’t speak for anyone else, but that match then and now just sounds bad. Going back and watching the lead-up events and shows coming out of Royal Rumble, I had one guy in mind. And no, it’s not Daniel Bryan.
I’m sure I’ll get some negative feedback and hate for not putting the tried and true white meat babyface on the pedestal like everyone else. At the time I was 100% on board with that thought process and believed it was a travesty Bryan wasn’t even in the match. But hindsight is 20-20 and in the grand scheme of things, the way he got into that WrestleMania main event was a far better story. The guy that I feel should’ve won the 2014 Royal Rumble was…..Roman Reigns.
Now before you slam your computer or throw your monitor at the wall, hear me out. Think of the two matches: Orton/Batista/Bryan or Orton/Reigns/Bryan. The second sounds exponentially better! Orton is the constant as he was the champion but at the time fans were organically getting behind Reigns with each and every SHIELD appearance.
This was far before the fans turned against him due to the machine being behind him. And Bryan would follow the same path and get the double match at Mania. This not only gives one but two fan-favorite talents a shot at the main event. Bryan would still win at Mania, but this would have been a better match and done far more for a still-beloved Reigns.
Rewatching the match recently it was clear with each elimination the fans were behind Reigns that night. He would go on to surpass the previous record set by Kane of 11 eliminations. One of the biggest pops came after Dean had tried to toss out Reigns and Roman bounced back to eliminate Dean, Seth, and Cesaro with one shot. He would eventually find himself in the final two against Batista and, well, we know how that ended. Years later Roman would actually win the Rumble match but it was too late and the crowd was fully against him.
So by rebooking the Royal Rumble match in 2014 for Reigns to win, things could be drastically different now. If they continued to keep him the strong silent type and let him just kickass the fans I truly believe would be full with him still. Bryan would’ve gotten his moment, Reigns would’ve gotten his and history would be much different. And that is how I would’ve booked the 2014 Royal Rumble.
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