The entire landscape of this year’s Royal Rumble changed in a big way — in fact, in more ways than one — by the end of last night’s WWE Monday Night RAW. Several additional superstars officially entered the Rumble Match, Vince McMahon put the WWE World Heavyweight Championship up for grabs in the 30-man battle royal, and the teasing of Brock Lesnar showing up is in full force.
After a run-down of the results from WWE RAW, we’ll take a look at a number of reasons you can expect to see Brock Lesnar enter 2016’s Royal Rumble Match.
WWE Monday Night RAW Recap
Eight matches took place on WWE’s flagship program last night, interspersed with plenty of drama and build towards January 24. A lot of development for the Royal Rumble was written in to last night’s WWE RAW, as confirmed by WWE.com.
- Monday Night RAW begins with both Stephanie McMahon and Roman Reigns making their way to the ring for a standard RAW opening promo. They talk mostly about Vince McMahon and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match serving as the night’s main event.
- Kevin Owens defeated Neville in a singles match with Dean Ambrose on commentary. When Owens tried to continue his assault on Neville after the match, Ambrose put KO through the announce table.
- Titus O’Neil defeated Stardust in a match with very little fanfare.
- Becky Lynch defeated Chartlotte, setting up a WWE Divas Championship match for SmackDown.
- After the Wyatt Family took out both competitors, The Big Show vs. Ryback was ruled a “no contest.”
- The League of Nations (Rusev and Alberto Del Rio) defeated The Usos. It appears that the Usos are no longer in the WWE Tag Team Championship conversation, while the League of Nations continues to build momentum.
- Heath Slater defeated Dolph Ziggler with a little help from the newest incarnation of the J.O.B. Squad. It was announced after the match that the ragtag bunch of under-card talent — Slater, Adam Rose, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel — formed a faction of “social outcasts.”
- Chris Jericho made a surprise return to interrupt a New Day promo and to announce that he’d be a part of this year’s Royal Rumble Match.
- The New Day defeated Kalisto and the Dudley Boyz in a six-man tag team match.
- After taking out Mr. McMahon with a Superman Punch, Roman Reigns retained the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in his match against former champion Sheamus.
- Frustrated that Reigns remained the title-holder, Vince decreed after the bout that the winner of this year’s Rumble Match wouldn’t be named the No. 1 Contender for WrestleMania 32. Rather, Reigns will be the first WWE Superstar ever required to defend any WWE title in a Royal Rumble Match.
Brock Lesnar Returning At This Year’s Royal Rumble?
After last night’s announcement that Brock Lesnar will be showing up at WWE Monday Night RAW next week, there are at least four reasons to believe that the man once known as “The Next Big Thing” could be the next big name entered into the Royal Rumble Match.
The first clue came during the RAW pre-show, when the new Royal Rumble trailer was shown. Several people have noted the more regal approach their using this year, with a look that reminds you of Greek statues from the Roman era. At about fifteen seconds into the trailer, the generic faces are replaced with those of WWE Superstars. While making an seemingly epic pronouncement — “From the many, one will rise.” — Brock Lesnar’s face is clearly shown before the images flash too quickly to make any specific face out.
But perhaps a subtle clue like this isn’t proof enough that Lesnar will be in this year’s Rumble Match. He does, however, have a motive that any detective looking into this issue would be wise not to miss: Lesnar has not been able to take back the WWE World Heavyweight Championship that was taken from him by Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 31. While Rollins isn’t going to be in this match, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is on the line. That, alone, is a good enough reason to believe Brock is in the mix.
Third, what other reason would they have to bring Lesnar back for a one-off if he isn’t going to be at the Royal Rumble? As reported by Forbes, Brock Lesnar‘s limited appearances are attached to a pricey contract — somewhere between $1 million and $5 million per year — and each appearance has a price tag. As they start the “Road to WrestleMania,” it only makes sense to use Lesnar to build the January PPV.
Finally, take Brock Lesnar’s Royal Rumble record into consideration: he’s never lost at WWE’s regal battle royal event. In the four years that he’s been there, he’s defeated The Big Show twice, Hardcore Holly once, and left last year’s event still holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship after battling John Cena and Seth Rollins in a Triple Threat Match. His first year at the Rumble, his win over Show, earned him a spot in the Rumble Match — which he won. Assuming Lesnar and Paul Heyman make the announcement next week, you can bet that the WWE commentators will remind you on several occasions that Lesnar’s never lost at the Royal Rumble.
Brock Lesnar returns to WWE Monday Night RAW on January 11. The show airs at 8/7c on the USA Network.
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