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Posted in: The Eternal Optimist
The Eternal Optimist Fantasy Books the 2018 Men's Royal Rumble
By Dave Fenichel
Jan 19, 2018 - 10:53:47 PM

Question of the Day: The 2018 Men’s Royal Rumble looks wide open. Who’s a dark horse that you can see winning it all?

Hi kids.

Last week, I fantasy booked the 2018 Women’s Rumble. I received tremendous feedback for the column. As a result, I decided to take another stab at it. This time, I’ve fantasy booked the 2018 Men’s Royal Rumble.

Before we get started, here’s a few important points:

I didn’t include anyone who I expect to retain his championship at the Rumble, (Lesnar, Styles, Roode), anyone who I expect to win a championship at the Rumble (The Bar, Gable/Jordan), anyone who loses their world title match (KO, Zayn, Kane, Strowmann), or any cruiserweights. Get it? Got it? Good.

This is not meant to be realistic, just plausible. I don’t expect much of what I book to happen, but I think it’s all doable and I’d love to see it.

The format is as follows. 1) I’ll announce the entrant; 2) I’ll give a brief summary of the two minutes of action – think cliff notes from a script; 3) I’ll provide my rationale for why I chose to do what I did; and 4) I’ll provide current stats – the total number of eliminations and wrestlers currently in the ring.

Without further ado:


The Eternal Optimist Fantasy Books the 2018 Men’s Royal Rumble.


Entrants #1 and #2: Elias and Aiden English.

The Action:
- The ring is dark. As soon as the ring announcer finishes the phrase “It’s time to see which participant drew #1”, Elias starts to play his guitar.
- He is immediately cut off by English singing and coming down the aisle.
- They enter into the ring and a duet of “It’s Rusev Day” ensues.

Rationale:
- I wanted to get the duet spot between Elias and English into the match. It didn’t make sense anywhere else but as the first two participants.
- I thought this would be a unique way to start a Rumble.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 0
- IN THE RING: Elias, Aiden English


Entrant #3 : Bray Wyatt.

The Action:
- Bray comes out, microphone in hand.
- Cuts promo on how they should stop singing and start following the buzzards. You can fill in the banks here.
- Elias and English look at each other and immediately attack Bray – 2 on 1 style.

Rationale:
- The Bray spot is a bridge to the next entrant, nothing less nothing more.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 0
- IN THE RING: Elias, Aiden English, Bray Wyatt


Entrant #4: Matt Hardy.

The Action:
- Matt Hardy hits the ring to even up the odds. English and Elias stop what they are doing.
- All 4 men are staring at each other. Elias slides underneath the ropes and grabs his guitar. He starts playing. English starts singing. Hardy starts laughing. Bray crabwalks.

Rationale:
- I thought the visual of the four oddball characters doing their thing together would be amazing.
- This is the one and only comedy spot in the match. I needed to get it out of the way because the rest of this Rumble is no laughing matter.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 0
- IN THE RING: Elias, Aiden English, Bray Wyatt, Matt Hardy.


Entrant #5: John Cena.

The Action:
- Rapping Cena comes out – microphone in hand.
- I joke I joke, I kid kid! The shenanigans are over, I promise.
- Cena hits the ring and immediately tosses Aiden English. Aiden English is eliminated.
- Bray Wyatt grabs him for Sister Abigail. Cena spins out and clotheslines him over the top. Hardy tries to charge Cena but is back dropped to the floor. Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy are eliminated.
- Elias jumps Cena from behind. He grins and goes to toss Cena. Cena reverses and Elias is gone. Elias is eliminated.

Rationale:
- I needed to clear the ring of the jokers.
- I always like to get a major player in the ring early on.
- Big things are coming down the pipe.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 4
- IN THE RING: John Cena.


Entrant #6: Jinder Mahal.

The Action:
- IT’S THE SHOWDOWN THAT THE IWC HAS BEEN WAITING FOR!
- Mahal immediately goes to town on Cena. Cena catches Mahal and goes for an FU. Mahal reverses into The Khallas. It’s all over for Cena.
- Mahal goes to toss Cena. Out of nowhere, Cena grabs Mahal and FUs him over the top. Jinder has been hindered.

Rationale:
- Admit it, all of you just took a deep sigh of relief knowing that I wasn’t booking Jinder to win the Rumble and take Brock Lesnar to Punjabi Parkway at Wrestlemania 34.
- I thought an instant elimination for Jinder would be crowd pleasing and it’s all about making Cena look like the superstar that he is.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 5
- IN THE RING: John Cena.


Entrant # 7: Hulk Hogan.

The Action:
- The crowd goes crazy. Epic stare down.
- Cena gets the upper hand. Hits the FU.
- Hogan hulks up.
- 3 right hands, a big boot, a body slam and a leg drop lead to pandemonium.
- Cena staggers to his feet and Hogan clotheslines him right the f*ck out of the ring. John Cena is eliminated.

Rationale:
- Sure, Hulk Hogan is a deplorable human being. He and John Cena are also the two best to ever do the thing, and I wasn’t about to pass up an opportunity to let them go toe to toe. A real 1 on 1 Wrestlemania match isn’t realistic at this point, but Hogan can take a couple bumps in a Royal Rumble setting. This is the closest I’m ever going to get to my ultimate dream match. Let me have my moment dammit.
- John Cena’s elimination by an old man is going to send him spiraling into self-doubt. He’ll ultimately be unhappy with being on the outside of the big Wrestlemania matches. This will lead to him calling out The Undertaker.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 6
- IN THE RING: Hulk Hogan.


Entrant #8: Xavier Woods.

The Action:
- Xavier hits the ring while playing Hulk Hogan’s theme on the trombone.
- Xavier immediately lands three punches on Hogan. He throws Hogan to the ropes and hits The Honor Roll.
- Hogan hulks up.
- Three punches, big boot. Hogan goes for a leg drop. Woods moves. Hogan gets up to his feet. Woods hits another Honor Roll, this time knocking The Hulkster over the top. Hulk Hogan is eliminated.
- Xavier Woods celebrates like he just won the Super Bowl.

Rationale:
- I’m an insensitive white guy – just because Hogan puts over an African American wrestler means he is forgiven for being a racist bigot…right?
- All seriousness, this is the moment that Xavier Woods becomes a superstar. You are a made man once you get the one-up on Hogan. One of my major goals of this Rumble was to make Xavier Woods look like the next breakout star. I think this would do the trick.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 7
- IN THE RING: Xavier Woods.


Entrant #9: Kofi Kingston.

The Action:
- Kofi comes down to the ring and immediately celebrates Xavier’s big achievement.
- They stop, look at each other, shrug their shoulders and start to throw down.
- Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise. Xavier falls THROUGH the ropes and onto the floor.

Rationale:
- Everyone likes to see tag partners throw down.
- I have another mini-arc about to start and I wanted Xavier Woods out of the way while not being eliminated.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 7
- IN THE RING: Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston.


Entrant #10: Jimmy Uso.

The Action :
- Jimmy hits the ring and he and Kofi exchange solid 1 on 1 action.
- The TitanTron turns on and we see Roman Reigns laid out with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman standing over him.

Rationale:
- Roman Reigns v Brock Lesnar is inevitable. This seemed like a good place to start the feud. I wanted to cast doubt on Reigns’ availability for the Rumble while building up face-sympathy should he return to action later on.
- I need specific wrestlers to enter the ring for the next storyline. By nature the action is a bit bland. The Lesnar attack provides a nice distraction from the lack of action in the ring.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 7.
- IN THE RING: Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, Jimmy Uso.


Entrant #11: Jey Uso.

The Action :
- Jey Uso staggers down to the ring.
- Usos double team Kofi while Woods is on the floor.

Rationale:
- Usos/New Day Feud….I’M NOT FINISHED WITH YOU YET!

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 7
- IN THE RING: Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso.


Entrant #12: Big E.

The Action:
- The New Day and Usos engage in their usual epic tag action.
- AKAM and RAZAR hit the ring through the crowd, The Authors of Pain have arrived!
- They destroy all four men. Last Chapters and Super Colliders for everyone! Big E, Kofi Kingston, and both Usos are left laying.

Rationale:
- The Rumble is the perfect place to debut AoP.
- New Day and the Usos both deserve to be on the Wrestlemania main card. It’s hard to think they’d get there without wrestling each other, and I think you can’t do a 2 on 2 at another major PPV.
- I wanted to make it clear that from this day forward, the New Day tag team meant Kofi and Big E, not Xavier.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 7
- IN THE RING: Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Big E.


Entrant #13: Jason Jordan.

The Action :
- Jordan hits the ring and looks around at the carnage surrounding him.
- One by one, he picks up the lifeless bodies of Kingston, Big E, Jimmy and Jey Uso and dumps him over the top. Big E, Kofi Kingston, Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso are eliminated.
- Jordan parades around the ring like he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Rationale:
- Having all four victims of the AoP attack eliminated immediately maximizes the impact of their debut.
- Jason Jordan celebrating an accolade he didn’t deserve is so smarmy and perfect for his character.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 11
- IN THE RING: Xavier Woods and Jason Jordan.


Entrant #14: Samoa Joe.

The Action:
- Jordan looks on in horror as Joe marches down the ramp.
- Joe obliterates Jordan.
- Jordan begs for mercy and manages to survive the onslaught.

Rationale:
- Joe is important to what I’m looking to do. It was important to get him into the match reasonably early.
- He and Jordan have some past history. After Jordan’s cowardly tactics, it made sense for him to get stuck with a monster like Joe.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 11
- IN THE RING: Xavier Woods, Jason Jordan, Samoa Joe.


Entrant #15: Heath Slater.

The Action:
- Slater slides into the ring and tries to get the jump on Joe while his back is turned. Joe catches him red-handed.
- Slater begs off and screams “I’VE GOT KIDS!”
- Joe doesn’t care. He drops Slater with a Muscle Buster and tosses him. Heath Slater is eliminated.
- Xavier Woods slips back into the ring.

Rationale:
- This was a good way to continue to make Joe look strong. Heath was my 30th man I selected for the Rumble and I didn’t have any real plans for him.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 12
- IN THE RING: Xavier Woods, Jason Jordan, Samoa Joe.


Entrant #16: Finn Balor.

The Action:
- Balor hits the ring and goes after Xavier Woods. Standard action between the four men in the ring.

Rationale:
- Like Samoa Joe, Balor is going to have a significant role to play. Thus, I needed to get him in the ring early.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 12
- IN THE RING: Xavier Woods, Jason Jordan, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor.


Entrant #17: Seth Rollins.

The Action:
- Jordan attacks Rollins immediately. Rollins fights him off and blasts Jordan with his patented knee. Jordan is gone. Jason Jordan is eliminated.
- Rollins and Joe immediately go head to head and start brawling.
- Finn is working over Xavier Woods on the other side of the ring.

Rationale:
- I wanted a major face spot for Rollins. Eliminating his heelish tag team partner does the trick.
- Rollins and Joe also have history so it made sense to have them get together.
- Xavier Woods is playing the role of iron man in the Rumble, so at this point it wouldn’t make sense for him to have the upper hand on anyone.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 13
- IN THE RING: Xavier Woods, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins.


Entrant #18: The Miz.

The Action:
- The Miz hits the ring and engages in his usual cocky shenanigans. Not much else to see here.

Rationale:
- I’m filling the ring with top talent, all of whom have a role to play.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 13
- IN THE RING: Xavier Woods, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, The Miz.


Entrant #19: Mojo Rawley.

The Action:
- Nothing doing here.

Rationale:
- The calm before the storm.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 13
- IN THE RING: Xavier Woods, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, The Miz, Mojo Rawley.


Entrant #20: Drew McIntyre.

The Action:
- McIntyre hits the ring to tremendous fanfare.
- He gets his shots in on everyone.
- He hits his patented jumping front kick on Balor, knocking him out of the ring. Finn Balor is eliminated.
- Balor gets back up, extremely disappointed. He glares at McIntyre before heading to the back.

Rationale:
- I wanted an NXT star, and Drew was the obvious choice. He was always better suited for the main roster and I have plans for him.
- More on this a little later. Stay tuned.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 14
- IN THE RING: Xavier Woods, Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins, The Miz, Mojo Rawley, Drew McIntyre.


Entrant #21: Bo Dallas.

The Action :
- Bo Dallas and The Miz double team Seth Rollins immediately.
- Samoa Joe drops MoJo with a vicious elbow. He picks him up and tosses him. MoJo Rawley is eliminated.

Rationale:
- I didn’t see any need for Rawley to have any type of lengthy run. This was an otherwise dead spot so his elimination made sense here.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 15
- IN THE RING: Xavier Woods, Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins, The Miz, Drew McIntyre, Bo Dallas.


Entrant #22: Roman Reigns.

The Action:
- Reigns heads to the ring, clutching his ribs.
- He slides into the ring, ducks a clothesline from Bo Dallas, then spears him.
- Xavier Woods eats a superman punch.
- The Miz eats a superman punch.
- Samoa Joe attacks Reigns. He goes for a Muscle Buster. Roman slides off his back, hits a superman punch, and knocks Joe over the top rope to a massive pop. Samoa Joe is eliminated.

Rationale:
- With their history, it made sense for Roman to be the one to eliminate Joe.
- This is the beginning of Reigns’ comeback story. You know he’s not going to be anything other than one of the major players here.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 16
- IN THE RING: Xavier Woods, Seth Rollins, The Miz, Drew McIntyre, Bo Dallas, Roman Reigns.


Entrant #23: Rusev.

The Action :
- A massive “Rusev Day” chant breaks out as Rusev heads down to the ring.
- A frustrated Samoa Joe walks to the back and passes Rusev. He turns around, shakes his head, and attacks Rusev out of nowhere from behind.
- Joe locks in The Clutch and chokes Rusev out cold. He refuses to let go despite a dozen or so officials trying to pull him off.
- Joe finally releases the hold and starts to walk away. Right before he heads up the ramp, he turns around, picks Rusev up off the ground, and throws him off the stage. Rusev is medically unfit to continue.

Rationale:
- I love the idea of a face Rusev v heel Joe.
- The idea behind the feud would be that Samoa Joe has poured his blood sweat and tears into his craft and has never received the adulation of the fans. Rusev gets it with a “stupid chant”. Classic jealously rage.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 17
- IN THE RING: Xavier Woods, Seth Rollins, The Miz, Drew McIntyre, Bo Dallas, Roman Reigns.


Entrant #24: Apollo Crews.

The Action:
- Apollo Crews hits the ring. He has really solid encounters with Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre and Xavier Woods.
- His luck runs out when he tries Roman Reigns. He eats a spear and is tossed. Apollo Crews is eliminated.

Rationale:
- I just can’t get behind Apollo in any way shape or form. I needed to give him the boot as quickly as possible.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 18
- IN THE RING: Xavier Woods, Seth Rollins, The Miz, Drew McIntyre, Bo Dallas, Roman Reigns.


Entrant #25: Shinsuke Nakamura.

The Action:
- Nakamura gets his full entrance.
- The Miz and Xavier Woods are fighting near the ropes. Nak slides into the ring, runs towards them, and dumps both over the top. Xavier Woods and The Miz are eliminated.
- The Miz is irate. He attacks Woods. He drags him onto the Spanish Announce Table and hits a Skull Crushing Finale. He leaves him laying.

Rationale:
- I expect The Miz to be the IC champ going into Wrestlemania. This is the beginning of a build to a Mania match between the two.
- Between being put over by Hogan, the longest run in the Rumble match and an IC title feud for Wrestlemania, this arc is designed to skyrocket Woods’ towards superstardom.
- I originally wanted to run Roode v The Miz and Jinder v Woods for the IC and US titles respectively. I thought for sure that Jinder would win the US title, so when Roode did I had to re-write my script.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 20.
- IN THE RING: Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre, Roman Reigns, Bo Dallas, Shinsuke Nakamura.


Entrant #26: Curtis Axel.

The Action :
- IT’S AXELMANIA! Oh – wrong year. Sorry.

Rationale:
- Nothing to see, a cool down spot after the intensity of the Miz attack on Woods.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 20
- IN THE RING: Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre, Roman Reigns, Bo Dallas, Shinsuke Nakamura, Curtis Axel.


Entrant #27: Baron Corbin.

The Action:
- Corbin hits an End of Days on Dallas. He picks him up and heaves him out of the ring. Bo Dallas is eliminated.

Rationale:
- I’m thinking anyone still reading this read my article about how I thought Corbin would do in the Rumble. Could that, combined with him drawing the infamous #27 be a coincidence?

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 21
- IN THE RING: Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre, Roman Reigns, Shinsuke Nakamura, Curtis Axel, Baron Corbin.


Entrant #28: Randy Orton.

The Action:
- Reigns eats an immediate RKO.
- McIntyre too.
- #Shinsuketoo
- Here’s one for Corbin.
- And one for Axel.
- Rollins kicks Orton in the stomach. He goes for the curb stomp (I’ll call it what I want dammit), Orton springboards him into the air and drops him with yet another RKO.

Rationale:
- Orton has had multiple Royal Rumbles where he dropped everyone in the ring with rapid fire RKOs. I have always loved that spot and wanted to include it here.
- Speaking of spots that I’ve always loved, I wanted to pay homage to one of the most amazing finishes ever (Orton/Rollins at WM31).

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 21
- IN THE RING: Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre, Roman Reigns, Shinsuke Nakamura, Curtis Axel, Baron Corbin, Randy Orton.


Entrant #29: Dolph Ziggler.

The Action:
- Ziggler slides into the ring and eats an immediate RKO. He staggers to his feet and Shinsuke Kinchasa’s him over the top and onto the floor. Dolph Ziggler is eliminated.
- Standard action around the rest of the ring. A commotion is heard. Finn Balor comes through the crowd and hops the guardrail. He climbs onto the apron, grabs McIntyre by his hair and pulls him over the top. Drew McIntyre is eliminated.
- Balor immediately hops the guardrail and runs off through the crowd. Incensed, McIntyre follows him through the crowd and chases him off.

Rationale:
- Dolph Ziggler sucks. I can’t believe some of you think he’s going to win this thing.
- I didn’t want to debut McIntyre without a ready-made Wrestlemania feud. Balor had an empty slate so their two part story-arc made sense here.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 23
- IN THE RING: Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Shinsuke Nakamura, Curtis Axel, Baron Corbin, Randy Orton.


Entrant #30: None.

The Action:
- There is confusion in the ring over the lack of an entrance. Corbin uses the distraction to dump Curtis Axel. Curtis Axel is eliminated.
- Corbin celebrates. He turns around and eats a Kinchasa, sending him crashing over the top and onto the floor. Baron Corbin is eliminated.
- Down to the final four of Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton. Each occupies a corner in the ring.
- Orton points to the two members of the Shield and motions to Shinsuke that they need to work together. Shinsuke agrees. He goes to walk towards Rollins and Reigns. Orton grabs him and heaves Nak over the top. Shinsuke Nakamura is eliminated.
- Orton points to his head in the most smug manner possible. He turns around and charges at Reigns. Reigns sidesteps and Rollins catches him with a flying knee. Orton staggers and is clotheslined over the top by Reigns. Randy Orton is eliminated.
- We’re down to Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. They look at each other, look up at the Wrestlemania sign, nod and go toe to toe. Reigns gets the advantage. He goes for a spear and misses. Rollins with a flying knee. Rollins with a curb stomp.
- Rollins climbs up to the top rope and goes for a Phoenix Splash. Roman moves out of the way and he crashes to the canvas. Both men get up slowly but Reigns hits Rollins with a superman punch.
- Reigns backs to the corner and lets out his trademark howl. Here comes the spear……


Entrant #30: Daniel Bryan.

The Action :
- Bryan’s music hits and everyone loses it. He charges to the ring as Rollins and Reigns look absolutely stunned.
- It’s roundhouse kicks and “Yes” chants for everyone.
- Running corner dropkick to Rollins.
- Bryan and Reigns go face to face. Roman charges and goes for a superman punch. Bryan moves and delivers a crushing flying knee.
- Roman is rocked. He slowly staggers to his feet as Bryan backs up to the far side of the ring. He starts the loudest yes chant you’ve ever heard. Roman turns around and Bryan connects with a second flying knee, blasting Roman over the top and onto the floor! Roman Reigns is eliminated.
- It’s absolute pandemonium. Out of nowhere – Seth Rollins scrambles to his feet, runs up behind Bryan and dumps him to the floor. The crowd is stunned and the bell sounds! Daniel Bryan is eliminated.


The Winner of the 2018 Men’s Royal Rumble: Seth Rollins!

Rationale:
- Swerves are good yo.
- Rollins is a main eventer currently being treated like an upper mid-carder. He needed the win more than anyone to restore him back to where he belongs.
- The story tells itself. Rollins turns heel as a result. He challenges Styles for the belt at Mania and wins. Smackdown sends Rusev and Xavier Woods over to Raw in the trade and they are able to settle their feuds with Samoa Joe and The Miz.
- I wanted to give everyone the moment they wished they had gotten in 2015. A guy can dream right?


That’s a wrap kids. I hope that you enjoyed this as much as I did writing it. Agree or disagree? Sound off below!

Facebook: David Fenichel
Twitter: @FFFIghtLeague

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