WWE Royal Rumble: Roman Reigns will defend his Universal Title against Adam Pearce

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Adam Pearce surprised the WWE Universe by winning the SmackDown Gauntlet Match to determine Roman Reigns’ next challenger at the Royal Rumble last night.

Pearce was entered into the Gauntlet at the last moment after Reigns and Paul Heyman had ‘pulled some strings’ to get him into the match, which had been announced prior to the start of the show.

Indeed, the participants in the #1 contender event were due to be: Shinsuke Nakamura, Daniel Bryan, Sami Zayn, King Baron Corbin and Rey Mysterio.

In the opening segment, however, ‘The Tribal Chief,’ who called out Pearce to blame him for what happened to his previous challenger Kevin Owens, had subsequently suffered a spinal contusion and bruised kidneys following a brutal attack by Reigns and his cousin Jey Uso.

During the segment, Reigns said to Pearce: “You're supposed to be managing the talent, looking out for the talent, making the right decisions, but you threw him (KO) back into the shark tank.”

This set the scene for Pearce to be named as the sixth participant in SmackDown’s main event.

The match itself came down to Nakamura and Pearce. ‘The Master of the Strong Style’, who was exhausted after overcoming Mysterio, Corbin and Bryan, was attacked by both Reigns and Uso before the bell rang for the final Gauntlet encounter.

Following this surprise attack, Pearce was thrown into the ring by Reigns and was subsequently superkicked by Uso and was dragged over ‘The Artist’ for the three-count.

This result did lead to more questions and speculation before the end of the broadcast by commentators Michael Cole and Cory Graves if Pearce really was the number one contender?

However, in the aftermath, it was announced by WWE's official Instagram account that the match is set and finalised...

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The retired wrestler, known as ‘Scrap Daddy’, had up to this point been acting as the SmackDown and RAW authority figure in the past year, but what some WWE fans may not be aware of is the fact he is a former five-time NWA Champion and has wrestled quite a bit on the Independent scene.

Pearce was even inducted into the NWA Hall of Fame in 2015.

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