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Posted in: The PEN15 Mightier
The PEN15 Mightier [Dec 19] Rumble/Road Excitement
By PEN15
Dec 19, 2013 - 2:47:10 PM

Dec 19 – Royal Rumble + Road to Wrestlemania Excitement

Dec 19 - Royal Rumble + Road to Wrestlemania Excitement


There is no WWE event I look forward to more than the Royal Rumble. I’m sure it comes down to the battle royale match itself, but WWE has been booking tremendous cards around that 30 or 40 man match every January for years now.

Yet, I’m shocked that WWE hasn’t really jumped on board their own hype train yet. The Road to Wrestlemania officially begins at the Rumble, and somehow Raw seemed to be completely devoid of mentioning the upcoming PPV. I understand that WWE tends to wait until the last minute for many of the PPVs, but you would think the Rumble would be one of the top 3 exceptions, wouldn’t you? It seems like someone in charge notices this as well, as the following day I found an LOP headline concerning a Royal Rumble promo filmed with a speed dating theme. Why didn’t this air Monday?

Things are very exciting in the world of wrestling, especially WWE. It just seems to make sense that WWE would keep the momentum going with a mention of the Rumble or Road to Wrestlemania. I barely remember anyone on Raw commenting on either.

Most likely I am being too picky. My expectations and hopes for this time of year are high on an annual basis. Add in the tremendous storylines in place right now, and the multitudes of options for the final Wrestlemania XXX card in New Orleans, and I’m even more amped than usual. I want WWE to reach the full potential that I picture, and when you have 3 hours of programming on Monday night after a very solid PPV, there’s no such thing as too much advertisement for the next step.

WWE World Heavyweight Champion

I don’t know how I feel about the new name. I do like it better than the proposed “Unified Champion,” or the other WWE app names in the same vote. I think my hang up is how when you elaborate on what the initials W.W.E. stand for, you’re saying World twice. But, is that honestly much different than when it was just the World Championship? It was still WWE’s World title. It will take some getting used to I guess. UFC rarely says “Ultimate Fighting Championship’s World Welterweight Champion,” so why should we expect WWE to go with the full title as well?

Also, it’ll take some getting used to seeing both titles on the champ’s shoulders. Will this be like the unification from 2001, when Jericho carried both titles until he lost them at Wrestlemania X8? As odd as it is for Orton to hold both titles up in the air, it would be even more distracting seeing 5’9” Daniel Bryan struggling to hold up both straps at the same time.

I really have come to accept the new WWE Title, and I hope it sticks around. The Big Gold Belt doesn’t really do it for me, though I respect it. I just feel one title should be held by the champion, and if we have to pick one over the other, I choose the WWE class ring.

Rumble Match/Wrestlemania Card ideas

Predicting the actual Royal Rumble winner is tough. It comes down to 3 names basically, and it depends on where WWE plans on taking us at Wrestlemania. I can’t emphasize enough how masterfully the main event scene has been developed over the last few months. It has had a fair share of ups and downs, but in the end there’s going to be very little to complain about concerning the WWE title in 2014, in my opinion. Consider who is at the top of the division at this time:

Randy Orton
John Cena
CM Punk
Daniel Bryan

Before going on to the Rumble, just think of how the main event matches will work in 2014. Wrestlemania will most likely include Undertaker, HHH and Brock Lesnar in this mix as well, but forget Mania for a second, and consider how the rest of the year will shape up. No matter who is champion, this is your elite core (or Corre if you’re Heath Slater). Not every option is fresh, but there’s more than enough to feel optimistic. On top of that, you’ve got 4 names that can headline a PPV and deliver an amazing match with almost anyone else on the roster, and are near guaranteed to have the Match of the Night if against each other.

When it comes to the Rumble, and headlining against the WWE Champ at Wrestlemania, it’s going to be one of these 4. Obviously with Orton as champ and unlikely to lose the title before the Rumble, my money is on him defending the title at Wrestlemania. That leaves 3 options in singles matches as opponents.

Honestly, Cena, Punk, and Bryan are all logical choices. I’m not saying they are all popular, but they are logical. I think it’s going to be very tough to predict the Rumble winner because of how much is up in the air. I think it’s pretty safe to say that either Punk or Bryan will face off against HHH at Wrestlemania. Bryan has the history since August, but it’s sort of died down a bit. It started at SummerSlam with the Pedigree to lose the WWE title to Orton, and continued with the “B+ player” comments, more screwy scenarios where Daniel Bryan could not walk out as champion, and various other confrontations. As part of the audience, I feel it is safe to say that we have 2 satisfactory Wrestlemania finales that we can accept: Bryan makes HHH tap out to finally earn his full respect, or he wins the WWE Title. Outside of those options, it’ll feel like there’s a major void in the Bryan storyline.

As for Punk, he’s relatively new to this Authority mix, and his ambitions seem squarely on HHH. That doesn’t mean that he can’t veer into another direction. After his historic title reign, heel turn, losses to Rock and Undertaker, there’s still a sour aftertaste concerning the Second City Saint once again holding the WWE Title. He could easily be named the #1 contender tomorrow after defeating The Shield at TLC in the handicap match. By defeating Orton for the WWE Title, it would still be a pretty big slap in the face of the Authority without needing that definitive win over HHH. The other option that is understandably easily forgotten is Punk vs Brock. So much has happened since SummerSlam that we conveniently have ignored the idea of revenge on Paul Heyman’s first and possibly last henchman. I know I wouldn’t have a problem with that idea. That is if HHH and Orton are tied up with other opponents that aren’t from Chicago.

Then there is former World Champion John Cena. He’s most likely still owed a title rematch, and he’s still the #1 wrestler on the roster to most of the WWE Universe. He can walk into Wrestlemania to challenge for the title against Orton and make it work. It might not be a popular option online, but it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t make money or deliver. On top of that, Cena doesn’t have another option presently. Bryan and Punk could avoid a WWE title match by facing HHH, whereas Cena has no reason to go that route. Yet, it still feels like the less likely option for John and Randy to face off again.

So, who wins the Rumble?

It really comes down to what WWE has planned at Wrestlemania for all 3 involved. With Brock, Taker and HHH to add to the 4 full time talents, it really feels like several options can work at Wrestlemania that would be popular to the more scrutinizing portion of the audience online, as well as the casual fans. The only issue is that with 7 names, there’s an odd man out.

With HBK as a rumored name to return, he could take on Bryan or Punk very easily. The problem with that idea is that it means the other is more likely to take on HHH, or make it a tag team match. I’m not saying it’s exactly a bad thing, but it doesn’t really have the same satisfaction as a big time WWE title win would be for either former ROH champion. Obviously we can still have that glorious moment later than Mania, but I have a hard time imagining WWE building towards the milestone 30th edition (not anniversary) of Wrestlemania without some sort of massive title celebration that Cena vanquishing Orton just wouldn’t give us. I’m not saying Cena vs Orton won’t happen, but it’s probably the least gratifying out of the acceptable solutions.

Yet, how to book Cena without the WWE Title involved? The Undertaker is the first thing I think of. There’s no denying that there is no bigger match for either man at this point. The problem is that if WWE has yet go with it, why would they now? Especially since the rumors are pointed at Brock vs Taker. I don’t normally agree with rumors, but it’s hard to ignore this one after all the history between Taker and Brock in both WWE and UFC.

That still leaves Cena with open and empty hands. No matter what you think about Cena, you can’t honestly expect him to be booked in something less than massive at Wrestlemania. With the rumors of Hulk Hogan wanting to come back, there’s the possibility of him taking on Cena or,in the better option, teaming with him. Who against? There’s the Shield is what is most likely the most credible team and reasonable to take on a duo like Cena/Hogan. There’s a storyline option that feels too perfect to be true against the Real Americans. But is that really the spot Cena belongs in? It’s hard to tell.

So, all that being said, I’m going to go out on a limb and call for the following Wrestlemania card:
WWE Championship - Randy Orton vs Daniel Bryan

Grudge Match - CM Punk vs HHH

Cena/Hogan teaming vs The Shield or Real Americans

Brock vs Undertaker.

And here’s what I would book:
WWE Championship - Orton vs CM Punk

Grudge Match - Bryan vs HHH

Cena vs Undertaker

Brock vs Sheamus

Sheamus sort of came out of nowhere, eh? Well, he’ll be back in time, and I think there’s still a lot of steam left in his face run if he is concentrating on a beast like Brock. Post-Brock, I would expect a heel turn as once Orton is unseated as WWE Champion, we’ll need a new heel to challenge for the title.

I’m not saying my booking would be popular, it’s merely what I would most likely pay full price to watch.

Oh, and just to mess with your heads, imagine this one:
WWE Championship - Orton vs John Cena

CM Punk vs HHH

Brock vs Sheamus

Daniel Bryan vs Undertaker (streak ends!)

And on that note, Peace out

Feel free to email me a comment (Email PEN15). One of the best parts of writing is the discussions that come out of it. My hope is that your response could be used in a column to publicly discuss your comments.
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