Roman Reigns managed to narrowly escape the Royal Rumble with his WWE Universal Championship, but the finish leaves more questions than answers about what’s next for The Tribal Chief.
Fatal 4-Way Match Ends in Chaos
The main event at the Royal Rumble was a highly anticipated Fatal 4-Way match for Reigns’ Universal title. His challengers were former champion AJ Styles, veteran legend Randy Orton, and rising star LA Knight.
The match started off fast and furious, with no clear alliances formed. Highlights included:
- Orton hitting an early RKO on Styles, but Reigns breaking up the pin
- Knight and Styles teaming up for a double suplex on Reigns
- Several dramatic near falls after finishers were hit
Late in the match, all four men were exhausted when chaos struck. As Styles set up for a Phenomenal Forearm on Knight, the lights in the arena cut out briefly. When they returned, Styles was down holding his leg and the referee was unconscious.
With the ref still down, Reigns quickly hit a Spear on Knight to retain his title. Styles continued clutching his leg in pain as trainers flooded the ring.
Fan Backlash Over Strange Finish
Fans immediately took to social media to cry foul over the confusing finish. Speculation ran wild over whether the lights going off was part of a planned spot, or something unexpected.
Many fans called for a rematch due to the ref bump and strange circumstances surrounding the finish. Especially since Reigns wasn’t directly pinned.
WWE has not yet commented on if Styles’ injury was legitimate or what exactly transpired during the lights out moment. But controversy continues swirling and fans demand answers.
What’s Next for Reigns and his Opponents?
- For Roman Reigns, his championship celebration will likely be short-lived. Besides a potential rematch for his challengers, he still has major looming threats like his cousin The Rock and free agent Nick Aldis on the horizon.
- For AJ Styles, the severity of his injury remains unknown. With his impressive Royal Rumble showing, one hopes Creative has big plans for The Phenomenal One in 2024 once he returns.
- For Randy Orton, the Viper continues lurking near the main event scene ready to strike gold. Could backlash over the controversial finish fuel Orton’s Grand Slam aspirations?
- For LA Knight, the upstart proved himself in the biggest match of his career. Though he came up short, Creative would be remiss not to capitalize on his momentum going forward. Knight reminded many fans of a prime Steve Austin with his fiery promos in recent weeks hyping the bout.
No matter what led to the confusing Royal Rumble finish, all signs point to the Universal title picture blowing up in spectacular fashion over the Road to WrestleMania.
In this editor’s opinion, while the Fatal 4-Way match at Royal Rumble provided some pulse-pounding moments, the finish left me feeling deflated. A champion of Reigns’ caliber should be going over clean without need for bells and whistles.
However, controversy breeds interest. So from a creative perspective, I expect this is all part of a drawn-out storyline to build suspense. There are plenty of outs for a rematch here, especially with AJ’s injury angle. Plus to keep Reigns strong, it wasn’t him eating the pin.
The storyline provides opportunities for creative to shuffle the players and stakes over the coming months. Could we see the return of “The Man” Becky Lynch gunning for Reigns? Potentially a Triple Threat if Styles is healthy? I wouldn’t rule out outside threats increasing also, like WWE alumni The Rock and recent free agent signee Nick Aldis combining forces.
While disappointing, the Royal Rumble main event sets the stage for major shockwaves on the Road to WrestleMania 40. Hopefully WWE Creative can fully capitalize and build to an epic climax!
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