Let's Fantasy Book!: WWE's 2016 Royal Rumble
Since winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on that faithful night in December, Roman Reigns, with the blessing of one Vince McMahon has helped steer the good ship WWE from the massive, lumbering iceberg bearing down on the product. While the federation representing our sport is far from out of stormy water, things are actually looking up... even if we don't have the WWE World Heavyweight Champion we deserve.
The Royal Rumble is upon us and the Road to Wrestlemania officially gets underway in a mere couple of weeks. After a month that gave us both one of the most surprising endings to a Raw in years and maybe the worst episode in over a decade, The Royal Rumble certainly has to set a trend. The 2016 Royal Rumble needs to be excellent. The Royal Rumble can be everything we need it to be and more. We have the imagination. Let us dream.
The Lucha Dragons vs The New Day for the WWE Tag Team Championships
After clinching the No.1 Contender's spot on WWE Smackdown a few weeks ago, The Lucha Dragons hope to capitalize the momentum wave they've been riding since their amazing showing at WWE: TLC. Sin Cara and Kalisto have been fan favorites since their time at Full Sail, but it finally feels like they've turned a corner in terms of connection with the main roster fans.
The New Day has started to run its course, this much is clear. With the full benefit of hindsight, December's event may have been the right time for them to drop the titles, especially if we want to keep them relevant in the eyes of the fans. The gimmick is beginning to grow stale, and I don't want to see another horse beaten to death on national television.
The Usos haven't seemed to reconnect with the fans the way the “Smarks” predicted they would. This is a prime opportunity to give the pair a chance to return to the title picture organically. We've seen the damage that can occur by making it painfully obvious we want to sell shirts over selling wrestling. With the Usos in the fridge we can focus on building a future Rey Mysterio type star in the way of Kalisto while continuing to establish The New Day as an exciting Heel stable.
Winners and new WWE Tag Team Champions: The Lucha Dragons
Kevin Owens vs Dolph Ziggler
We've written ourselves into a bit a of a corner with this match, a tad unfortunate situation considering the spot the Dolph Ziggler has put us in. Ziggler has all but confirmed that he is out once his contract is over. He's put us in the position where we don't have much of a choice but to not push him. He's been on the losing end of several feuds as of late and his star power isn't quite what it used to be.
So what do we do? Owens wins, and does so in spectacular fashion. If Ziggler is indeed serious that he is flying the coop, we can't push him. He's already damaged goods and I'm not giving an undercard belt run to someone who isn't committed to the company. Owens has a hell of a future if we handle him correctly. Having him run over Ziggler is but the first stop on his long, long road to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Winner: Kevin Owens
Jack Swagger Vs Stardust
The powers that be have decided that this is a feud that should be taking up ring time at both televised and live events. While I, as Head of Creative would much rather see Stardust return to a program with his brother, I am confident that time will come. Meanwhile, the task ahead of us is to rebuild another former Champion while sculpting a future Champion.
I firmly believe that Stardust is World Champion material. Perhaps not yet, and maybe not even in the early part of 2016. However, in this position, I refuse to allow us to make the same mistake with Stardust as our forefathers made with Goldust. Its never too early to start someone on the right path and the time to pull the trigger with the cosmic wonder is now.
Meanwhile, Jack Swagger, much like Ziggler before him has not been happy with his push as of late... namely the fact that said push is non existent. Swagger has indeed held the belt before, albeit with mixed results. I believe that Swagger can be a dominant force in the midcard, perhaps not maybe one who is WHC bound, but a strong contender for the Intercontinental Championship.
Putting either one over is not truly an option if we wish to keep both strong. Post match, both talents will need to enter higher profile programs to keep themselves busy and relevant. We can focus on Swagger during the upcoming SmackDowns and RAWs, however, building Stardust starts right now. By way of a distraction via the appearance of Goldust, Stardust will fall to Swagger by way of a Swagger Bomb.
There likely isn't much left in the tank for Goldust and if he can handle the schedule, I'd love to book this program all the way into Survivor Series, culminating into one final showdown. Stardust vs Goldust is a story years in the making, one with more at stake than the match that was booked. With the proper care and foresight we can make this dream match a reality.
Winner: Jack Swagger
Charlotte vs Becky Lynch for the Divas Championship
We've been pussy footing around with Charlotte for far too long. Charlotte either must turn full heel or drop the belt. While our voices have gone unanswered for actual change in the Divas Division, we can still give the audience a match worth watching if we employ some strong booking for this match.
Fans and talent want the women to be given the chance to wrestle, and I say we finally give it to them. Allowing Charlotte and Lynch to beat the shit out of each other could be best for business. Charlotte though must turn full on, Ric Flair level dirt bag heel. She needs to cheat, claw, spit and scratch her way to victory.
Lynch, as well as Paige and Bayley for that matter will get their shot eventually. While Lynch must act as a temporary sacrificial lamb as she prepares to get her cooch kicked in by the cheating Charlotte. The belt will rest around Lynch's waist at some point in the future, however it won't be tonight.
Winner, and still WWE Divas Champion: Charlotte
Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman and The Authority and Vince McMahon
The Authority seems hellbent on ruining the chances and hopes of any top babyface in the company. It happened with Bryan, it happened with Cena and now Roman Reigns in the lucky target of The Authority's affection. Brock Lesnar is the most logical pick for the next boogeyman that Reigns must overcome.
The match these two must put on is likely one of the most violent things the modern audience has seen. Color, hard strikes and dangerous spots is on the menu if we hope to present Reigns as a true and dangerous champion. McMahon and company must put their inhibitions aside if we are to have this match succeed.
Lesnar has always presented himself as a prize fighter, and selling to the highest bidder to take on the current Champion, especially one that he has prior beef with makes perfect sense. However, we don't want him to win clean. The story we are writing is only getting started. After his hard fought match, one with numerous false finishes and a highly stacked deck thanks to the antics of Vince and Co, our match will end in DQ, thanks to interference by Sheamus. This interference is exceptionally important and begins the set up our fantastic main event at Wrestlemania. The fans may not agree with this booking in the short term, however in a mere hour, things will begin to look a bit more clear.
Winner by way of Disqualification: Brock Lesnar. However, still the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Roman Reigns
The Royal Rumble.
The 2016 Royal Rumble is our first true opportunity to introduce our fans to the new direction of WWE creative and our renewed focus on both the midcard and the hunt for the WWE world Heavyweight title. The Royal Rumble exists to further three goals;
- To give an added boost of nostalgia for long time fans.
- To provide a fun, high impact, high stakes event for the new, more casual fan.
- To begin a mid term, high visibility feud for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
To complete these three objectives, the roster competing in The Rumble is more important than ever. Assuming for the purpose of the pre booking stage that schedules don't conflict, our marquee event below is sure to win over the crowd with it's mix of star talent and compelling storytelling.
01: Dolph Ziggler
02: Bo Dallas
Our first two competitors start the match, both taking the opportunity to cut a worthwhile promo. Of course, Bo Dallas will be on the losing end of this promo as per his character. With Ziggler still acting as a fan draw, we can throw him a small bone here and there to keep him strong in the eyes of the fans, while piggy backing on his popularity to build a future star.
03: Jimmy Uso
04: Heath Slater
05: Curtis Axel
06: Disco Inferno
Our first surprise entrant of the evening is likely to draw a huge ovation from the older generation in the audience. Disco Inferno is not only a personal favorite of mine, but grew to draw huge ovations during his later run in WCW. Inferno will serve the roll that every surprise does. He'll hit his finisher on the enhancement talent, in this case Heath Slater and will quickly be eliminated.
07: Damian Sandow
08: Erick Rowan
11: Luke Harper
Luke Harper is without a doubt the most underutilized talent we have at our disposal. In building this future Intercontinental Champion, we must take this opportunity to have him look as strong as possible. With Erick Rowan suffering a quick elimination, it's up to Harper to exact his revenge. The first to clear the ring of all but Kane and Ziggler, Harper will appear as dangerous as ever, that is until our next entrant.
12: John Cena
Having him in the Rumble this early frees us creatively and will serve to give one future talent a huge rub upon his elimination. Cena will spend much of his time in the ring distracted by our next entrant, an opportunity to keep their short term feud active while keeping both in line and keeping the rest of the talent strong.
13: Alberto Del Rio
14: Ken Shamrock
16: The Miz
17: Bray Wyatt
18: Dean Ambrose
This is the biggest moment in the entire rumble, the ending notwithstanding. Bray Wyatt will appear to be the most dominant force in The Rumble thus far. While Wyatt will get a few eliminations it will be Ambrose who comes in to clear the ring. Ambrose is portrayed as a wild man, one pissed off and ready for a fight. Ambrose will literally clear the ring, leaving himself pacing as a caged animal as he awaits his next victim. However, instead of the standard countdown appearing on the Titantron, one more personalized appears.
19: Chris Jericho.
I've said numerous times that there is only one man than can save the Intercontinental Title, and that man is Chris Jericho. Chris Jericho enters as a pure heel, the same one we see leave Night of Champions. Jericho enters and scores an immediate Codebreaker. After tossing Ambrose out of the ring, he calmly walks to the near side of the ring and eliminates himself , leaving an empty ring. Instead of walking up the entrance ramp, he takes the opportunity to score a few cheap shots on a stunned Ambrose before embracing the cascade of boos that will likely rain down.
20: Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens... in an empty ring... for 90 seconds... with a live microphone... Magic.
24: Adam Rose
25: Big E
26: Braun Strowman
28: Daniel Bryan
29: Titus O'Neil
Why isn't DB number 30? Simple; its incredibly obvious. Of course the biggest surprise COULD be number 30. However, John Cena has that gimmick wrapped up. The big one is always number one. By pushing it up a little bit, (and keeping it a total secret) we give the crowd a huge reason to get on their feet. This also gives them a quite a conundrum after KO eliminates him in the final two after ten minutes alone in the ring with Owens.
An Owens win sets up the beginning of what is sure to be a colossal and unexpected main event at Wrestlemania. While Owens v. Reigns on paper is somewhat exciting, its not necessarily Wrestlemania worthy. This match is not our end game. Bear in mind that two individuals were wronged in their quest for the richest prize in the game. Perhaps they may find themselves in a position to make one last strike at the belt.