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LOP Columns Forum Spotlight: The Eternal Optimist Presents...Booking The 2017 Royal Rumble Match
By Dave Fenichel
Jan 8, 2017 - 10:06:11 AM

BOOKING THE ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH


So here we are. I’m Dave Fenichel, aka The Eternal Optimist. You may recognize me as the jerk who frequently guests on The Doc’s Podcast, or as the idiot who had terrible opinions during The Doc’s Top 100 Wrestlers of the Post-Attitude Era series. This is my first and probably only solo column on the main page. I won the honor as a result of being voted the November Columnist of the Month on the LOP Forums for my 11 Part Series where I ranked the Wrestlemania Main Events.

Truth be told, I have no idea how I won. I’m by far the worst writer in the forums. I’m completely talentless and devoid of any interesting ideas. I think I won because I’m like a high school mean girl and everyone was too scared to vote for someone else. Alas, you are stuck with me.
Being that I can’t write, I decided not to attempt a real column with this opportunity. Instead, I’m giving you my script as I fantasy book this year’s Royal Rumble. Here are the rules.



- 14 wrestlers from Raw, 14 from Smackdown, and 2 surprise entrants.

- I try to stick to current storylines while adding storylines that are reasonably foreseeable. You will not see any pie in the sky booking here. For example, John Cena and Roman Reigns are in the world title matches at The Royal Rumble, so they will not be in my fantasy Rumble. For what it’s worth, I have Cena beating Styles and Reigns losing to KO.

- For each entrant, I’ll provide highlights of the two minute stretch of action, rationale as to why I booked it the way I did, and the current standing of the Rumble, including current wrestlers in the ring and the total number of eliminations thus far.

- You’re going to hate my column. I like everyone you hate and hate everyone you like. It’s also a long, rambling train wreck. More power to you if you make it to the end of this.


Without further ado, The Eternal Optimist fantasy books the Royal Rumble:

Entrant #1: “The Miz:

Highlights:

- Cuts a promo about how great he is and how he’s going coast to coast”


Entrant #2: Brock Lesnar

Highlights:

- The Miz looks horrified
- Lesnar destroys The Miz with his usual suplex city schtick
- The Miz is eliminated
-
Rationale:

- The Miz is the perfect guy to get the crowd going right away.
- The pop for Lesnar ruining his plans right away would be massive.
- This is a big spot for the Miz. He deserves a big Wrestlemania Match and getting squashed by Lesnar right away gives him fodder to work up to it.

Standing:

- In the ring – Brock Lesnar
- Number of Eliminated Wrestlers – 1.


Entrant # 3: Dolph Ziggler

Highlights:

- Dolph doesn’t much offense in. Lesnar tosses him around like a sack of potatoes.
- Dolph Ziggler is eliminated.

Rationale:

- Lesnar needs to be built like a monster and I needed a small wrestler to get tossed around.
- Dolph Ziggler is enhancement talent at this stage in his career. His excellent selling ability makes him perfect for getting smashed by Lesnar.

Standing:

- In the ring – Brock Lesnar
- Number of Eliminated Wrestlers –

-
Entrant #4: The Big Show

Highlights:

- Immediate staredown.
- Big Show gets squashed by Lesnar.
- Big Show is eliminated.

Rationale:

- Like Ziggler, The Big Show is enhancement talent now.
- I wanted the contrast between a smaller wrestler in Ziggler and a larger wrestler in The Big Show to showcase Lesnar’s dominance against all comers.

Standing:

- In the ring – Brock Lesnar
- Numbers of Wrestler’s Eliminated – 3


Entrant #5: Sami Zayn

Highlights:

- Zayn goes right after Lesnar and has a surprising amount of success, getting the crowd behind him.
- Zayn bloodies Lesnar’s lip with a Helluva Kick.
- Lesnar catches Zayn’s attempt at Helluva Kick #2 into a suplex.
- Lesnar F5s Zayn over the top.
- Sami Zayn is eliminated.

Rationale:

- I’m willing to entertain the idea of Sami being a future main eventer, but I’d prefer the slow Chris Benoit type build than a hot-shot that the majority of the internet wrestling fans seem to want.
- This plays into his underdog status by allowing him to do work against Lesnar where others had failed.

Standing:

- In the ring – Brock Lesnar
- Number of Wrestlers Eliminated – 4.


Entrant # 6: Bill Goldberg

Highlights:

- Massive pop – another major staredown.
- Quick action leads to spear of Lesnar by Goldberg.
- Goldberg goes for a jackhammer. Lesnar spins out. Goes for an F5, Goldberg spins out. They both end up wrestling against the ropes as the clock expires.

Rationale:

- Self explanatory – The Lesnar/Goldberg confrontation was inevitable. More on this shortly.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Brock Lesnar, Bill Goldberg
- Number of Wrestlers Eliminated – 4.


Entrant # 7: Seth Rollins

Highlights:

- As Goldberg/Lesnar are wrestling against the ropes, Seth sneaks in and dumps them both over the top rope, much to the shock of the crowd
- Goldberg and Brock Lesnar are eliminated
- Goldberg/Lesnar brawl on the outside – separated by security and escorted to the back.

Rationale:

- Neither Goldberg nor Lesnar were going to be my Royal Rumble winner. I needed to get the Goldberg/Lesnar angle out of the way before it overshadowed everything else.
- I contemplated making this a comedy spot with Ellsworth eliminating both but thought that would detract from one of the major angles of the Rumble. I gave it to Seth because he needs to look like a major superstar.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Seth Rollins
- Eliminations – 6

-
Entrant #8: Chad Gable

Highlights:

- Solid in ring wrestling between he and Rollins but nothing of note.

Rationale:

- After such a hot angle, we need a few cool down entrants before popping the crowd again.
- Gable/Rollins 1 on 1 matchup appeals to the diehards.

Standing:

- In the ring – Seth Rollins, Chad Gable
- Eliminations – 6


Wrestler # 9: Luke Harper

Highlights:

- Not much going on here. Harper uses his physicality to dominate the smaller wrestlers.

Rationale:

- Harper is a work horse and I need the ring to start filling up for purposes of the next “major” angle.

Standing:

- In the ring – Seth Rollins, Chad Gable, Luke Harper
- Eliminations – 6


Wrestler # 10: Bray Wyatt

Highlights:

- More of the same here. Wyatt and Harper team up to dominate the action but no eliminations occur.

Rationale:

- I need both Harper and Wyatt in the ring for the major angle about to occur.

Standing:

- In the ring – Seth Rollins, Chad Gable, Luke Harper, Bray Wyatt
- Eliminations – 6


Wrestler #11: Jake “The Snake Roberts”

Highlights:

- Jake hits the ring and drops Harper with his patented DDT.
- Jake lets the snake out of the bag, the entire ring clears except for he and Bray Wyatt.
- Bray does his crab walk towards the snake. Harper attacks Roberts from behind, he and Wyatt eliminate Roberts.
- Jake Roberts is eliminated.

Rationale:

- The first surprise entrant has to be short because the next one will be more significant.
- I love the visual of Wyatt crab walking towards the snake.
- Wyatt and Roberts personalities are perfect for the build to a Wrestlemania feud.
- This would lead to Wyatt challenging Roberts to find a creature of darkness to fight him at Mania. Roberts pick would be Finn Balor as The Demon.

Standing:

- In the ring – Seth Rollins, Chad Gable, Luke Harper, Bray Wyatt
- Eliminations – 7


Wrestler # 12: Jason Jordan

Highlights:

- Jordan and Gable double team the ring.
- Excellent tag action between them and Wyatt/Harper

Rationale:

- I always like getting tag teams in the ring at the same time so that they can showcase.
- I needed to add another wrestler to the ring as fodder for a soon to be entrant.

Standing:

- In the ring – Seth Rollins, Chad Gable, Jason Jordan, Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper
- Eliminations – 7.


Wrestler #13: Eric Rowan

Highlights:

- Rowan joins the Wyatt Family and they rule the ring.

Rationale:

- It’s important to have ebbs and flows in every Royal Rumble match.
- I wanted all of the non-Orton Wyatt Family members in the ring at the same time for the next entrant.

Standing:

- In the ring – Seth Rollins, Chad Gable, Jason Jordan, Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan
- Eliminations – 7


Wrestler #14: Braun Strowmann

Highlights:

- Everyone scatters as Braun hits the ring.
- Gable and Jordan try to double team him. Braun hits impressive power moves and eliminates them both.
- Braun destroys Rollins, who rolls underneath the ropes to the outside.
- Stare down between Braun and the three Wyatt Family members. Rowan attacks but Braun wrecks him and tosses him over the top rope. Harper does the same, to the same result, a Harper elimination. Wyatt stares down Braun and laughs maniacally.
- Chad Gable, Jason Jordan, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan are eliminated.

Rationale:

- There’s always one monster who wrecks everyone in the Rumble, and Braun is it.
- I wanted to tease unfinished business between Wyatt and Strowmann for future reference.
- I need Rollins to stick around so he needed to clear the ring while not being eliminated.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowmann
- Eliminations – 11


Wrestler #15: Cesaro

Highlights:

- Cesaro hits the ring like a house of fire. He hits some of his signature moves on Strowmann.
- Cesaro is about to eliminate Strowmann when the buzzer sounds.

Rationale:

- I love Cesaro. He deserves to look good in the Rumble.
- This is setting up a mini angle with the next entrant.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowmann, Cesaro
- Eliminations – 11


Wrestler #16: Sheamus

Highlights:

- Sheamus hits the ring and tries to steal Cesaro’s spotlight.
- Sheamus screws up and accidentally eliminates Cesaro.
- Sheamus and Cesaro jaw back and forth. Strowmann dumps Sheamus.
- Cesaro and Sheamus are eliminated.
- Cesaro and Sheamus get in a heated argument as they head up the ramp.

Rationale:

- I wanted to work an angle in while chalking up additional eliminations for Strowmann.
- I loved the Cesaro/Sheamus best of 7 series. They have unfinished business that I’d like to see get squared away at Wrestlemania 33.

Standings:

- In the Ring – Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowmann
- Eliminations – 13

-
Wrestler #17: Apollo Crews

Highlights:

- Apollo Crews is a jobber. He enters the ring and does jobber things.
-
Rationale:

- Not every entrant can be spectacular or important.
- He’s a body that serves as an elimination by the surprise return of our next entrant.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowmann, Apollo Crews
- Eliminations – 13


Wrestler #18: Shawn Michaels

Highlights:

- It’s Shawn Michaels – isn’t that a good enough highlight?
- He drops everyone.
- HBK hits Crews with Sweet Chin Music, sending him over the top rope.
- Apollo Crews is eliminated.
- HBK and Rollins have an epic back and forth wrestling sequence, much to the crowd’s delight.

Rationale:

- I’m a firm believer that there should be two surprise entrants in every Rumble, a small impact guy and a big impact guy.
- With the Rumble in Texas, HBK is the perfect fit here. He gives this Rumble a special feel.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowmann, Shawn Michaels
- Eliminations – 14

-
Wrestler #19: Rhyno

Highlights:

- Rhyno hits his patented Gore on Rollins.
- Not much else going on here.
-
Rationale:

- After HBK, we absolutely need a cool down entrant. Rhyno gets that spot.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowmann, Shawn Michaels, Rhyno
- Eliminations – 14

-
Wrestler #20: Dean Ambrose

Highlights:

- As Ambrose comes out to the ring, a masked man attacks him on the ramp. Said masked man power bombs Ambrose off the ramp and through a table.
- The masked man never reveals himself. Ambrose is carted to the back on a stretcher.
- Dean Ambrose is eliminated.

Rationale:

- Dean Ambrose is a big star, but he doesn’t factor into the Rumble nor is there an obvious opponent for him for Wrestlemania.
- Doing the masked man angle allows for some flexibility when choosing his Wrestlemania opponent. It can be a surprise return, a current big superstar, or someone that deserves a major push and a big Wrestlemania match.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowmann, Shawn Michaels, Rhyno
- Eliminations – 15.


Wrestler #21: Rusev

Highlights:

- Rusev demolishes Rollins as soon as he enters the ring.
- Rhyno attempts a Gore on Strowmann, only for Strowmann to reverse and toss him over the top.
- Rhyno is eliminated.
- Rusev antagonizes Shawn Michaels and the two go at it. HBK drops him with a superkick. HBK turns around and Strowmann clotheslines him over the top, much to the shock of everyone.
- HBK is eliminated.

Rationale:

- HBK couldn’t make a deep run or else he becomes the story of the match. I can’t have that happen.
- I’m sure that you get the point here. Braun Strowmann is a monster who is wrecking everyone.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowmann, Rusev
- Eliminations – 17.


Wrestler #22: Kofi Kingston

Highlights:

- Shenanigans ensue as Kofi is accompanied by Xavier Woods, blasting away on Francesca.
- Kofi hits a few high flying moves, but is ultimate press slammed by Braun. Woods puts Francesca down as he begs Strowmann not to eliminate Kofi. Strowmann tosses Kofi over the top rope, but Kofi lands on top of Francesca…his feet not hitting the floor. The buzzer sounds.

Rationale:

- Here’s Kofi’s comedy spot. You have to have one in every Rumble.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowmann, Rusev, Kofi Kingston
- Eliminations – 17.


Wrestler #23: Big E

Highlights:

- Big E rushes down to the ring. He and Woods look at each other, then pick up each end of Francesca and carry Kofi back to the apron, much to the crowd’s delight.
- They celebrate back in the ring. Strowmann clotheslines both over the top and onto the floor.
- Kofi Kingston and Big E are eliminated.
- Bray Wyatt is celebrating Strowmann. Rollins and Rusev are brawling on the other side of the ring.

Rationale:

- I love The New Day, but I couldn’t find a bigger role for them other than the comedy spot.
- It was important to show Wyatt and Strowmann appear to be united.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Seth Rollins, Braun Strowmann, Bray Wyatt, Rusev
- Eliminations – 19.


Wrestler #24: Big Cass

Highlights:

- Cass hits the ring and we get an immediately showdown with him and Strowmann. They go toe to toe without either man gaining an advantage.
- Bray Wyatt seizes the opportunity, sneaks up behind Strowmann and dumps him over the top rope.
- Braun Strowmann is eliminated.

Rationale:

- Strowmann eliminated a dozen wrestlers and was the unquestioned monster of the match. He doesn’t factor into the end game, so this was the right time to eliminate him.
- I wanted to give Big Cass a rub by squaring off with Strowmann to a stalemate.
- Although I have Wyatt facing Balor and Strowmann challenging Reigns for the US Title, I wanted to keep the door open for a long term feud between the two.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Rusev, Big Cass
- Eliminations – 20.

-
Wrestler #25: Heath Slater

Highlights:

- Slater comes down to the ring ready to fight. He jumps onto the apron, only to drop back down and hide under the ring.
- Big Cass and Rusev go toe to toe. Big Cass gets the upper hand and tosses Rusev.
- Rusev is eliminated.

Rationale:

- I always enjoyed the spot where a cowardly wrestler hides under the ring in an attempt to survive.
- Rusev needed to go because I’m about to build the final heel grouping for the finish and he’s not in it.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Big Cass, Heath Slater.
- Eliminations – 21.


Wrestler #26: Randy Orton

Highlights:

- Orton hits the ring and immediately teams up with Bray Wyatt to dominate.
- Orton and Wyatt beat down Rollins.
- Orton and Wyatt double team Big Cass, leading to his elimination.
- Big Cass is eliminated.

Rationale:

- always need a heel group to emerge at or near the end of a Royal Rumble, and Wyatt/Orton are it.
- Big Cass gets a nice run and a little bit of spotlight, but doesn’t factor into the end of the match.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Heath Slater, Randy Orton
- Eliminations – 22.


Wrestler #27: Kane

Highlights:

- Kane comes down to the ring. It looks like he’s going to climb in, but instead goes under the apron and drags Slater out. He tosses Slater in.
- Slater takes an RKO out of nowhere and gets tossed.
- Heath Slater is eliminated.

Rationale:

- Kane seems like the right guy to drag Slater out from hiding. He’s always played the straight man alongside the comedic act very well.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, Kane
- Eliminations – 23.


Wrestler #28: Chris Jericho

Highlights:

- Jericho hits the ring and immediately goes after Rollins, beating down on an already weakened Seth.
- Wyatt and Orton double team Kane, and the heels are reigning supreme.

Rationale:

- At this point in the Rumble, you can start to see the writing on the wall. On one hand, Seth Rollins looks like the face in peril who has been in the ring forever and may overcome all odds to win. On the other, Chris Jericho coming in this late in the game with a ready-made feud with the Universal Champ on deck makes him look like the favorite.
- The heels standing tall leave the door wide open for a face to save the day.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, Kane, Chris Jericho
- Eliminations – 23


Wrestler #29: The Undertaker

Highlights:

- It’s The Undertaker.
- No really…it’s the freaking Undertaker.
- Ok. He eliminates Chris Jericho. So much for Jericho’s first Royal Rumble Win.
- Chris Jericho is eliminated.
- Kane and Undertaker look at each other and square off. Taker gets the better of him and tosses him.
- Kane is eliminated.

Rationale:

- At some point in every Royal Rumble, the light goes on in the viewer’s mind and they realize exactly what is going on. This is that moment.
- Jericho’s surprisingly poor Rumble performance serves as a good lead-in to tension between he and KO. Their Wrestlemania match is a foregone conclusion.
- I felt that it was important to pay homage to the Brothers of Destruction, as Kane was the Undertaker’s greatest rival.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, The Undertaker
- Eliminations – 25.


Wrestler #30: Baron Corbin

Highlights:

- Before Corbin can enter the ring, Triple H comes through the crowd, drops Rollins with a pedigree, and tosses him over the top rope.
- Seth Rollins is eliminated.

Rationale:

- All of the ingredients are there for the HHH/Rollins Wrestlemania showdown. This is the spark that ignites the powder keg. I thought it was appropriate for it to occur near the end of the match. Rollins having an epic run in the Rumble makes Triple H screwing him more impactful.
- Corbin is the perfect big man to be entrant #30.

Standing:

- In the Ring – Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, The Undertaker, Baron Corbin.
- Eliminations – 26.

-
End Game:

Highlights:

- The heels triple team The Undertaker.
- The Undertaker fights back to drop both Wyatt and Orton. Undertaker tombstones Corbin and tosses him.
- Baron Corbin is eliminated.
- Wyatt and Orton double team Undertaker. Orton goes for an RKO, but Taker pushes him off and he collides with Wyatt. Taker tosses Orton.
- Randy Orton is eliminated.
- While Wyatt is stunned, Taker grabs him, and choke slams him over the top rope and onto the floor.
- Bray Wyatt is eliminated.

Winner of the 2017 Royal Rumble: The Undertaker!

There you have it. If you are still reading this, you are truly a glutton for punishment. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter @FFFightLeague with all hate mail and death threats. This is the Eternal Optimist – signing off.

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