Since 1993, the winner of the Royal Rumble has gone on to Wrestlemania to compete for one of WWE’s major championships and be in the Main Event. The only exception to this was in 2016 when Roman Reigns had to defend the WWE Championship in the Rumble match itself. In the last five years, the winner of the Royal Rumble winner has either been a veteran or in Nakamura’s case, they didn’t benefit from winning the Rumble match. I am not sure what the 2019 Royal Rumble will hold, but if a veteran or past champion wins the match than it might be to shake the Rumble match. Hulk Hogan has been a part of a lot of history during his time in WWE, but one thing that he’s done that no one else has is win the Royal Rumble as WWE Champion. That year he and the Ultimate Warrior came face to face for the first time in their careers and it setup their main event match at Wrestlemania 6.
What if the WWE Champion or Universal Champion won the Royal Rumble? What if there wasn’t an obvious match-up like there was with Hogan and Warrior? I think it would be an interesting scenario to see the WWE Champion or Universal Champion to win the Rumble match. It would throw a money wrench into both shows buildups for Wrestlemania. It could create a scenario where multiple superstars are fighting for the opportunity to compete for a major championship. How would you determine the challenger? You could do a Battle Royal, a tournament, or both challengers for the titles could be determined in the Elimination Chamber Match. It would create some unpredictability on the Road to Wrestlemania and we wouldn’t have such a long buildup towards the biggest show of the year. For example, last year Nakamura declared right after he won the Rumble match that he wanted AJ Styles. For three months we knew Styles would retain the title and Nakamura didn’t really face any challenges going into his title match against Styles. As we got closer the buildup got better, but you almost forgot they were fighting each other at certain points over the three month period.
The other scenario that I would absolutely love to see is the NXT Champion to be entered into the Royal Rumble match and win. In 2015, while still competing as NXT Champion, Kevin Owens made his main roster debut against John Cena and won. This made NXT an important brand worth of competing with the main roster and it’s talent. It also made the NXT Title just as important as any main roster title. Imagine a scenario where the NXT Champion wins the Royal Rumble and choose his match for Wrestlemania. There are two things that you could accomplish in this scenario. You could give a rising star a push into the spotlight and you would create even more buzz for NXT. If the NXT Champion won the Royal Rumble match I would have him give up the title for two reason. First, it would make it so the main focus is on the superstar challenging the champion and it would give NXT a chance to do something different since the NXT Championship has never been vacated. NXT has been looked at by fans as the better roster that puts on the better shows, so why not use that mentality and capitalize on it to help your biggest show of the year.
I am a realist and I am going to say that neither of these situations will probably ever happen. It would be refreshing, and a nice change if WWE thought outside of the box to shake things up and make things interesting. The last five years I’ve heard more boo’s than I have heard cheers at the Royal Rumble. That is not the kind of reaction you want on one of your biggest shows of the year. You can never go wrong with a Royal Rumble, but you can definitely go wrong with how it’s booked. The WWE needs to put new stars in the spotlight and let them shine. There is no better way to accomplish that than letting a new star win the Royal Rumble. This Sunday is the 2019 Royal Rumble and I will be curious to see what new stars show up, what new stars shine and if the winner will benefit from winning the Rumble match. It’s time to Rumble, but more importantly it might be time to shakeup the Royal Rumble and Road to Wrestlemania.