Is Roman Reigns bound by the WWE protocol to step into the ring at WrestleMania 33 with Bray Wyatt? The WWE “rule book” contains the protocol for who wrestles who when it comes to the WrestleMania championship title. Going by the rules, it seems that Roman Reigns should square off against Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 33. There was a precedent set for these circumstances way back in 1999.
The Reigns-Wyatt match scenario was set in motion with an action taken by Randy Orton on Tuesday night at the end of SmackDown Live. It was when Orton vowed not to wrestle Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania 33 that these circumstances came into play. After declaring his “undying allegiance” to the WWE Champion, the wheels are in motion for an unsuspecting Roman Reigns.
Orton has given up his WrestleMania title shot, so the WWE rule book indicates that shot goes to the runner-up of the 2017 Royal Rumble, and that would be none other than Roman Reigns. The precedent for this WWE rule was set back in 1999 with Vince McMahon when he won the Royal Rumble match by defeating Steve Austin. The Rock defeated Mankind that same night, defending this WWF Championship. The WrestleMania championship match should have gone to McMahon vs. The Rock, but it didn’t.
McMahon made an announcement the following night on Raw that he was giving up his rights and privileges as the No. 1 contender. He was not going to battle The Rock at WrestleMania 15, which is the same scenario seen with Orton passing on the match with Wyatt at WrestleMania 33.
McMahon said that he would be announcing an opponent for The Rock at WrestleMania at a future date when Steve Austin and the WWF commissioner appeared via satellite on the Titan Tron. Steve Austin was on the screen with Shawn Michaels, who was the WWF commissioner at the time. They were there to grandstand McMahon and name The Rock’s opponent via the WWE rule book.
Back in the day, this announcement made by Austin and Michaels was a memorable one, as was their presentation on camera. Wrestling Inc. reminds their readers that it was apparent Austin and Michaels had been “partaking in some adult beverages” at the time.
Sober or not, Austin informed McMahon that he would be going up against The Rock at WrestleMania. Shawn Michaels was there to back up Austin and he piped up with the WWE rule book quote, which is seen below.
“If the winner of The Royal Rumble is either unable or unwilling to go to WrestleMania to battle the champion, then the runner-up gets all rights and privileges.”
Back in 1999, it was Steve Austin who was the runner-up, but today that runner-up is Roman Reigns. So it seems that the WWE protocol indicates it’s Reigns who should step into the ring with Wyatt. With that said, it is very coincidental that the WWE this week announced the release of their new book. The title of the book is The Official WWE Book of Rules (And How to Break Them).
Wrestling Inc. suggests that it is “highly unlikely that a legitimate WWE rule book exists.” On the outside chance that there is a rule book, then there would be some type of provision to opt out of the title match at WrestleMania. In case you were wondering, back in 1999 Austin went on to defeat The Rock at WrestleMania 15, regaining the WWF Championship.
Today, the buzz is all about Reigns wrestling the Undertaker at WrestleMania 33, and from the sound of it, if Reigns does get scheduled for that match, the elusive WWE rule book won’t be a roadblock.
When it comes to Wyatt’s future, according to the Rolling Stone, “the era of Bray Wyatt has just begun.” It sounds like the man of mystery won’t be getting the short end of the stick much longer.
Roman Reigns has the WWE fully behind him, with Vince McMahon making him somewhat of a pet project. A good deal of those boos heard when he steps into the ring are coming from fans who are fed up with Reigns getting shots at all the matches without doing his due diligence. Reigns has been slated for bouts without climbing the ladder that the other wrestlers had to work up to. Reigns skates in and fans get peeved.
When it comes to Wyatt and where he stands with the WWE, it seems that it is the polar opposite of Reigns. Up until recently, it didn’t look like the WWE was fully behind Wyatt. He got the title matches, which he earned, but they all ended up with Bray getting the short end of the stick, which was the losing end. Rolling Stone suggests that Wyatt’s kept the fans’ interest with “something unique going for him,” and that would be “mystique.”
While Reigns and Wyatt wouldn’t be a boring match, it is the Undertaker who looms over Reigns as a rumored WrestleMania 33 match. According to the Bleacher Report, a match between Reigns and the Undertaker “is one for the ages.” The storyline around this possible match-up thickens for Reigns. If Reigns were to “retire the Undertaker,” the boos he hears now will be nothing compared to a match where Reigns walks out of the ring a winner.
The intrigue around a Reigns vs. Undertaker match is sure to grab the attention of WWE fans nationwide, and WrestleMania 33 could entice even more viewers than ever before. The Undertaker is a multi-generational favorite, so if he goes on the marquee against Reigns, who is considered one of the most hated in WWE, this could be a major draw that boils down to mega revenue.
[Featured Image by Todd Williamson/AP Images]