Backstage News On Roman Reigns’ Original Plans For The Royal Rumble Changing

(Photo Credit: WWE)

On Friday’s episode of WWE SmackDown, Undisputed Roman Reigns and the rest of The Bloodline interfered in the triple threat main event between LA Knight, AJ Styles, and Randy Orton, with the winner slated to challenge Reigns for the title at the upcoming Royal Rumble PLE on Saturday, January 27, 2024, in Tampa, FL at Tropicana Field.

Following the DQ finish, SmackDown GM Adam Pearce announced that Reigns would defend the title against all three men in a fatal four-way match. This comes after Reigns defeated Knight to retain his title at Crown Jewel in November.

Following the Survivor Series that same month, it was reported that Reigns and Orton would face off at the Royal Rumble. Obviously, plans have changed.

While speaking on Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez discussed the fatal four-way match, noting that WWE did not want to beat Orton so soon after his return, so having Knight and Styles in the match gives them someone other than Orton to beat so they can later book Orton vs. Reigns at another PLE.

Alvarez said, “So what they want here is that no one believes anyone’s beating Roman Reigns. And they’re not going to believe this either. But I think the idea is, well, it’s a fatal four-way. You know, maybe somebody will pin somebody else or whatever. So they’re trying to find something.”

Meltzer added, “So the actual deal here is that the original idea was Roman and Randy Orton for the Rumble. Essentially, there were parties involved who did not want to beat Randy Orton this early, obviously, you know, and just felt that there’s money to be made with Randy Orton and Roman in a program at some point. But it’s too soon to do it. But LA Knight just got beat at [Crown Jewel] and AJ hasn’t isn’t strong enough. I think AJ was the guy that they probably would have wanted because, you know, Roman can beat him. I mean, I presume AJ is the one, the one that’s going to lose. Maybe not. It could be LA. But the basic gist was that AJ gives them someone they can beat.”

(h/t to for the transcription)