This past Sunday saw one of the best editions of the Royal Rumble match that has reinvigorated a stalling engine on the road to Wrestlemania.
The undercard was as good as could possibly be expected and the event as a whole was booked to perfection. We have the first concrete steps in the build to WWE's marquee event behind us and now it is time to look forward to seeing how the dance partners pair up. The Royal Rumble, as always, gave us plenty of clues.
Roman Reigns V Triple H
This has clearly been on the blackboard for a number of months and the story leading towards it has been furthered. Reigns versus the COO is the final piece in the puzzle to cement the Roman Empire at the top of the business. The reaction to Triple H's entrance shows he is still over, and no one can make Reigns look better on the grandest stage.
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Brock Lesnar V Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt is a booker's dream. He can insert himself into any programme at any time and produce brilliance. Having the Eater of Worlds target, and attempt to victimise the conqueror promises to be an excellent feud that allows the Wyatt Family to look dangerous and Brock to maintain his monstrous aura.
The only issues is who goes over? Can they really justify giving Bray his third high profile Wrestlemania loss in three years?
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Kevin Owens V AJ Styles
If anyone backstage had any reservations about bringing AJ Styles in the fold, the outrageous reaction to his appearance should have settled them. Cheers for him dominated the first half of the rumble, and the electricity surrounding his collision with Owens was noteworthy.
It would be a great way for both guys to go into their first Wrestlemania with a chance of stealing the show. The future is extremely bright for these two in WWE.
Jericho V Ambrose
There weren't too many hints at this on Sunday, but the two have history from their time tagging against the Wyatt Family a few months ago. They both had lengthy and impressive showings at the rumble and neither of them has a clear path forward at this stage.
It would be an ideal use for two stars who must be featured, but lack some clear direction right now. Jericho's shtick has felt stale in this latest run, and a heel turn might freshen him up at just the right time.
Becky Lynch V Sasha Banks V Charlotte
Finally, it seems like creative got the memo that the Universe kinda likes Sasha. She looks to be next in line for a title shot but the issues between Flair and Lynch are far from resolved. With the layers building in the Divas Division there is potential for a tremendous story to lead into Wrestlemania for the women responsible for the Divas Revolution.
With Ronda Rousey not featured in the next UFC Women's Bantamweight title fight, you have to wonder if she will play a role?
There was no hint of the Deadman despite quiet rumblings online (no pun intended). The options are scarce and WWE can either dish up something lacking the lustre of Undertaker's final appearance, or they can pull out something truly spectacular. A meeting with Luke Harper or Braun Strowman would be fun, but hardly worthy of the greatest performer in Wrestlemania history.
With John Cena, Sting, and Seth Rollins all seemingly out of the picture who is left? If the Rock is going to be wrestling then that would be a huge clash of two stars at the very top of the history of WWE. If Finn Balor is going to be called up there could be no greater spectacle than squaring off with the Phenom himself. Maybe WWE could break the internet by having the Bullet Club form up on RAW. Right now anything feels possible.
The Royal Rumble showcased the fact that WWE has an underrated depth of talent. With the League of Nations, Kalisto, Sami Zayn, Neville, and Dolph Ziggler all left off this list, there is certainly no shortage of options. WWE even had the capacity to tease beyond Wrestlemania with unresolved issues such as Bray Wyatt versus Triple, and Roman Reigns not colliding with the Beast Brock Lesnar last night. Owens and Zayn have a great story to return to and the world is AJ Styles' oyster when fantasy booking a huge SummerSlam.
With the injury list as it stands WWE did a phenomenal job of generating intrigue in the Road to Wrestlemania if not the rest of the year.
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