WWE Royal Rumble Preview: The Road to WrestleMania 31 Begins
After months of what was presented as informed speculation about the identity of the Rumble winner (and thus WrestleMania 31 co-main eventer) being Roman Reigns, we enter the weekend with some doubts.
Will it be Reigns? Or might Daniel Bryan sneak his way into the WM31 mix?
Bryan won the world title at WrestleMania 30 in a memorable triple threat match with Randy Orton and 2014 Rumble winner Batista, but his reign atop the company was cut short by injury that forced him to vacate the title, which eventually ended up in the hands of Brock Lesnar.
Bryan has only recently returned to the ring, so the idea that he might vault back to the top of the ladder might be a bit premature, but then it’s clear from his first few TV and house-show appearances that Bryan is just as over with fans as he was in the walkup to the title match at ‘Mania last year.
Reigns, for his part, also spent a long spell on the disabled list with injury, and he’s also just getting back into the mix, bogged down a bit in an uninspiring feud with The Big Show that has put to some question his ability to carry the ball.
His mic work has been just short of horrible, to put it bluntly, and the monologues that he’s been handed by the scriptwriters are making him into a cartoon character.
It doesn’t take much of a conspiratorial mind to read into what we’ve been seeing with Bryan being thrust back into the storyline with The Authority and Reigns being pushed to the side with The Big Show.
Similar efforts at swerving fans are ongoing with the world title match. It’s long been assumed that the dance partner for Reigns would be Lesnar, who is reportedly finishing up his most recent WWE run at WrestleMania 31 with a rumored return to UFC upcoming.
But we’ve been getting some reports on the dirtsheets about maybe Cena getting back into the main-event mix for ‘Mania, or a swerve involving Rollins cashing into the Money in the Bank briefcase to win the title at the Rumble to set up a triple threat with Lesnar and the Rumble winner (Reigns?).
Then we have to move on to the questions as to the rest of the card. Where does Rusev fit in, and do we get a WM31 dance partner for the big Russophile on Sunday? Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, Triple H, Sting, Undertaker?
Should be a big night. The fun part for us fans is that we might think we know what’s going to happen, but with Royal Rumbles past as our guide, we really don’t.
– Preview by Chris Graham