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Roman Reigns to Defend WWE Championship In 30-Man Royal Rumble Match

WWE Monday Night Raw just wrapped, and the closing moments of the show featured a huge announcement from Vince McMahon: WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns will defend the title in the 30-man Royal Rumble match at the 29th annual Royal Rumble event, which airs live on January 24 from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

The announcement came after Reigns successfully defended his championship in a match against Sheamus, which featured McMahon as special guest referee. Throughout the match, McMahon tried to screw Reigns out of the title by allowing Sheamus to bend the rules, while also refusing to count properly whenever Sheamus was being pinned. Ultimately, Reigns knocked Vince out with a Superman Punch, and later pushed him into the ring ropes to knock Stephanie McMahon off the apron. He then knocked out the crooked second referee, Scott Armstrong, before giving Sheamus a spear. A third ref ran down and counted the pinfall, allowing Reigns to retain in a heated match. But McMahon wasn’t done, as he announced that, because Reigns made a point of stating he would gladly take on all-comers, the champ would defend his title against 29 other men in the Royal Rumble match.

The reaction to the announcement was strangely reserved, considering this is only the second time the title has been put up for grabs in the Rumble match (the legendary 1992 Royal Rumble, which Ric Flair won, was the first). We’ve got a pretty decent lineup for the match already, as the entrants include Bray Wyatt, Dolph Ziggler, The New Day, and Chris Jericho, who made a surprise return on Raw tonight to announce his candidacy. Other entrants announced so far include The Big Show, Curtis Axel, Braun Strowman, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, Ryback, Heath Slater, Adam Rose and Bo Dallas. With more names yet to be announced, and some surprises likely to be revealed in the Rumble match itself, there should be cause for a lot more excitement than there was. Then again, we’re going on three straight years now of terrible Royal Rumbles that have had crowds in open revolt. And it’s looking like this could be the fourth, since it seems like the only plausible outcomes are Reigns winning or HHH returning to win his 14th world title in a screwjob ending reminiscent of Vince McMahon’s 1999 Rumble victory. Either way, I would expect the story to remain the same, regardless of the Rumble outcome: Reigns goes to Wrestlemania, and wins in the main event.

Roman Reigns to Defend WWE Championship In 30-Man Royal Rumble Match

Credit: WWE

Then again, I suppose anything can happen. This announcement makes the Rumble inherently more exciting, in my opinion. That said, I think the overall reaction wouldn’t be so bad if people had any reasonable expectation that the story is going to change after these milestone events. Okay, let’s say Roman wins the Rumble. How likely is it that the story isn’t still the Authority trying to get the title off of him?
Conversely, Roman loses the Rumble and somehow gets the title shot at Mania, and wins. What are the odds that the story doesn’t reset right back to the Authority finding a new guy to go after Reigns? It happened with guys like John Cena and Daniel Bryan after their big wins, and now it’s happening with Reigns. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m badly burned out on the Authority, and wish we could do away with heel authority figures altogether.

But what do you think of the announcement that Roman Reigns will defend his WWE Championship in the Royal Rumble match? Sound off in the comments!

And for more WWE news, find out which WCW star is teasing a 2016 WWE Hall of Fame induction!

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