David Levin is here with a look at the importance of THIS Royal Rumble, specifically the Rumble matches themselves. WWE needs to nail these.
WWE cannot mess this up. With the Royal Rumble this weekend, the news of All Elite Wrestling nipping at the company’s heels and the need for the Vince McMahon-led dynasty to continue on its path toward a new and hopefully exciting year, the start of the road toward WrestleMania must hit on all cylinders.
It’s not just a hope for this to happen, it’s a moral imperative that the first pay-per-view of the year sets the tone for what lies ahead. Think of this as the starter for the Yankees on the mound on Opening Day. Think of it as Tom Brady on third and goal from the two-yard line with a second to play.
Yes, it’s that big and could get bigger if its legend leads to a new chapter in WWE lore.
WWE took a big chance last year with both Asuka and Shinsuke Nakamura winning their respective Rumble matches. Both victories led to outstanding matches with questionable results. This year, does the promotion take a chance on two SmackDown Live winners and hope for the best? How does the winner of the A.J. Styles/Daniel Bryan match affect the outcome?
Can Samoa Joe finally get some love and a chance to wear company gold?
Does Asuka retain the SmackDown Live Women’s Title or does Becky Lynch reclaim her crown? Would WWE dare to push Sonya DeVille as an up and coming star to face “The Man” in New Jersey? Everything is rhetorical until it becomes reality.
What cannot happen is a revision of the old scene – a veteran who has won the Rumble time after time, taking away an opportunity from an upstart. I believe Andrade will play a major role in the outcome of the match. I also think there is some traction with Mustafa Ali. My hope is for Rusev to lose the United States Title, but win the Rumble, face Daniel Bryan in the main event at the Show of Shows.
And let’s not leave out Samoa Joe, but I am not sure how a Joe/Bryan or Joe/Styles match would be received. I’m working that one out in my head. I’m purposely staying away from the red brand as a Drew McIntyre win in the Rumble and a David beating Goliath moment over Brock Lesnar might be the best outcome of the night.
The time is ripe for change. WWE misses Roman Reigns more than it thought it would. The Braun Strowman experiment is waning. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins sell themselves. The rest is added parts to a bigger puzzle.
If the McMahons are serious about change, it will take place in Phoenix. If they want a shakeup, it must happen in the Rumble match. Should the outcome be like years past with a wily veteran getting another shot, the platform the company has built is ruined. WWE must get this right or everything fans have gotten excited about will mean nothing.
And the road to WrestleMania will seem more like a blinding path with no vision in sight.