WWE will host its 30th year of the Royal Rumble pay-per-view on Sunday, January 28, following the 25th Anniversary show on Raw. As seen by Undertaker and Roman Reigns, the expectation is that one or more angles will start at the Royal Rumble en route to WrestleMania 34 in Orlando. Traditionally, the winner of the 30-man elimination match automatically becomes the No. 1 contender for the world title. This year, it will be the WWE or Universal Championship at WrestleMania. While many winners go on to culminate their journey with a win at WrestleMania, there are others who are not quite as fortunate.
Lex Luger would be a co-winner with Bret Hart in the 1994 Royal Rumble, but Hart would be the one who came out of WrestleMania X as WWE Champion. Shawn Michaels would win the 1995 Royal Rumble, but would lose to Diesel at WrestleMania. The Rock would win the 2000 Royal Rumble, but would be a part of a fatal four-way at WrestleMania 16, which Triple H retaining the WWE Championship.
Although John Cena would return and win the Royal Rumble in 2008, he would fail to regain the title at the grandest stage of them all. Randy Orton would win the 2009 Royal Rumble, but lose to Triple H on April 5 in Houston, Texas. Edge (2010), Alberto El Patron (2011), and Batista (2014) would all win their Royal Rumble matches, then lose to Chris Jericho, Edge, and Daniel Bryan, respectively, at WrestleMania XXVI, XXVII, and XXX.
Most recently, Roman Reigns would win the 2015 Royal Rumble in Philadelphia, but Seth Rollins would cash-in his Money in the Bank contract and leave with the title. The next year, Triple H would win the WWE Championship by winning the Royal Rumble, but lose to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 32 in Arlington, TX.
According to the latest updates, Reigns is once again a strong candidate of winning the Royal Rumble. This is to create the obvious route to his scheduled match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania in New Orleans. The other option is Shinsuke Nakamura, but he is scheduled to compete in the five-way WWE Championship match at Fastlane.
The other option, according to the report, is to add a fresh face to the list of winners, with the hopes of using the win to ascend a midcard talent to a main-eventer, similar to the days of Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin.