This weekend’s WWE Royal Rumble event is going to officially kickoff Wrestlemania season, as the build to the biggest event on the sports entertainment calendar will take shape based on the key winners at this pay-per-view. Different from the past few years, there hasn’t been much of an indication of what the actual WM 36 card will look like or where any potential storylines for the show will start to develop toward the pay-per-view. On AmazingBet you’ll find reviews of a large number of betting sites that some of them offer WWE betting where you can bet on Royal Rumble matches. If I had to guess, I’d say the reason for the lack of any clear direction right now is that WWE brass doesn’t necessarily have a nostalgia act or a novelty to boost the profile of the card this year. The Rock or Ronda Rousey aren’t there to bring the spectacle to the event. This is one of the many problems when the current roster takes a secondary position to celebrities or part-timers for several years, you have a roster that are viewed as stars to the diehard wrestling fans, but not anyone that has the star power that transitions to the general public.
To be honest, the last performer of the modern era that had some of the crossover draw is still John Cena, who has shifted toward movies in recent years. Even if they bring Cena back for a major program based around Wrestlemania, isn’t the still the same problem they’ve had when they booked The Rock or other part-timers only for a limited time? While Ronda Rousey worked a year under contract and much of the main event build last year was around her, she left afterwards following a botched finish that had a rather flat conclusion to the show. Granted, Rousey’s run was very positive because it brought the company some good money and was one of the main reasons they later secured the major Fox deal, but has any of that success truly carried over to the rest of the roster? Sure, Becky Lynch is a star, but was she a main stream star after she pinned Rousey? Furthermore, as much as management touted the first-ever female WM main event, is it even remotely possible that they would book the female athletes to close the show this year?
So, Ronda Rousey’s run did more to give the company short-term publicity than it did to actually get the female performers on the roster over more for that future. Perhaps, that’s the biggest problem with the WWE ideology today, nostalgia acts or novelty performances are used as a substitute for legitimate money-drawing stars currently under contract. Obviously, the structure of the product and the 50/50 booking aspect are some of the main reasons why there’s a glass ceiling on how over a competitor will get within the company. Do you remember when Braun Strowman was one of the most over-rated athletes in the business a few years ago? Aside from the injuries that made him go off television, how much star power do you think he has today?
It’s a harsh reality, but until WWE has direct competition that can take a noticeable portion of their audience and more importantly, the money those viewers spend toward the product, the corporate agenda can dictate the direction of the product without much consequence. While some fans can decide to stop watching, and the Raw ratings clearly reflect that some have tuned out, the bottom line is that if the casual fan wants to watch pro wrestling the overwhelming majority of them will watch the WWE brand, if for no other reason than it’s one of the most famous and the most accessible brands all over the United States.
A short look at WWE’s most recent main event scene will provide some great insight into the scenario that has plateaued how over stars will be to the audience. A combination of Seth Rollins being scripted with whiny promos and his social media mishaps led to the audience rejecting him so a competitor that was initially framed as a seasonal baby face that was turned around heel because of subpar bookings. Let’s not forget the infamous HIAC match didn’t do him any favors either. Speaking of which, that HIAC match did much to hinder the progress that Bray Wyatt, who was arguably the most over act in the company a few months ago. When management decided to put the title on him didn’t maximize the win because it was done at the Saudi show in the afternoon when most of the main audience wasn’t actually watching an event that is mainly a glorified house show. The non-title match against The Miz on pay-per-view was a rather odd booking decision and didn’t really do anything to further establish Wyatt as champion.
So, who will win the Royal Rumble to get himself a title match at Wrestlemania?
The announcement of Brock Lesnar’s entry into the Rumble is kinda tricky because it seems that the championship belt isn’t actually something that’s on the line. If the champion is in the match and the title isn’t at stake it doesn’t seem like there’s a point for the match, but it’s possible this scenario will be used to set up an eventual match. As much as some fans might not want to hear this, if I had to guess who I think management will book to win this year’s rumble, I’d say the answer is Roman Reigns, who has treaded around the upper mid-card since his return from illness.
Make no mistake about it, WWE brass invested years of television time and marketing into the Roman Reigns project so he’s still the top priority for the global publicly-traded company. While the writing team probably thinks that Reigns has spent enough time away from the title picture to get a fresh start in the main events without another rejection from the fans, it might’ve been more effective to book him in a championship role last year when his comeback story was fresh in the mind of the audience. Since there are two championships, there are different paths this could go to get Roman another title victory. At this point, I don’t think the fans will buy another Reigns/Lesnar match at WM, but it’s always possible that Vince McMahon decides to schedule it because Roman still didn’t get the WM moment of winning against Brock on the stage. On the flip side, Reigns vs. The Fiend probably has a better chance of being the championship match that Reigns is booked for because it’s a fresh contest and Wyatt has momentum as a heel ahead of the event. As solid and as entertaining as Daniel Bryan is, his baby face stint is probably just a way to get more heat on Wyatt ahead of the title match against Roman at WM, similar to the role that Mick Foley had prior to the Rock/Stone Cold bout in 1999.
The Roman Reigns/Baron Corbin feud is more or less just a placeholder until Roman is set to move further up the card. As far as why Roman is still the choice for the top spot at Wrestlemania, the reasons are simple. There isn’t a guest star to take the spot this year and more importantly, there’s not really anyone else on the roster that is exponentially more over than him right now. Part of the problem with the major push that Roman had is that if he’s not booked around the main event, it looks like a glaring step down as far as his status within the company, which was the situation around his contest against Drew McIntyre last year. So, either things go full circle and Reigns finally gets a WM win against Lesnar or he will be the baby face to conquer The Fiend to win the title. I hope that I’m wrong because Roman in the main event at WM has a something like that happened atmosphere around it, but he’s only 34 and still in the top of his career so they’ll want to feature him as the main star all over again. Unfortunately, Reigns getting another generic title match at Wrestlemania will probably lead to mediocre results. Let’s hope for a surprise NXT win because Adam Cole as a main event star on the main roster could be a legitimately fresh star for the company, but don’t be surprised if there’s a Reigns Rumble win.