Royal Rumble has been my favorite pay-per-view of the year for as long as I can remember.

However, the last few Royal Rumble matches have been pretty disappointing. Randy Orton winning last year was stupid, and it set up a terrible WrestleMania match. Triple H winning two years ago was ok, but who wanted to see that? No one, that’s who. Roman Reigns winning three years ago should have been a great moment for him, but it wasn’t because everyone knew for months that he was going to win.

I have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach that WWE is going to botch yet another Rumble. Here’s how things will shake out, and the very easy way to not screw it up.

The two most likely winners of this year’s Rumble are Reigns and John Cena. (Insert vomiting emoji.) The cases for both men make total sense in the WWE train of thought. It has been speculated since last WrestleMania that the Big Dog will be Brock Lesnar’s opponent for the Universal Title at WrestleMania 34. Shockingly, just in time for the Royal Rumble, Reigns drops the Intercontinental Championship to the Miz on Raw 25. My thought when I watched that: “Dammit.” If Reigns would have retained, I would have felt a little better.

As for Cena, picture this: he beats AJ Styles, the most over wrestler in the company, at WrestleMania – to break the record and become 17-time champion. How WWE would that be? It’s textbook! I sway more toward Reigns winning because of the talk about Cena vs. Undertaker at WrestleMania 34. Why we need that, I’ll never know, but that is a discussion for another day.

Ok, I’ll speak for all of us when I say, please don’t do this to us, Vince. Please. Do you actually want the fans to hate Reigns? Is this how you get your sick kicks? The reason people hate him is not on him, it is on you. You had to go and force him down everyone’s throat and telegraph that he was the next big thing. Now a really talented wrestler is despised by the fans because of nothing more than arrogance.

Also, did we forget where Reigns won the Royal Rumble? I believe, correct me if I’m wrong, it was in Philadelphia, where Reigns was booed unmercifully. I remember that because I was in attendance that night and I felt genuinely bad about how much he was being booed. That should have been the best moment of his career up to that point and it was ripped out from under him. Luckily, this year it is in…ooohhhh, that’s right, it’s in Philadelphia. Come on! It’s like you are just trying to piss off the fans. They might be in a better mood this time because the Eagles are going to the Super Bowl, but they will not let that slide. Don’t do that to Roman, and don’t do that to us.

Here’s the thing though: this is so, so, SO easy to avoid. All you have to do is not have either Cena or Reigns win. Crazy, right? Literally have anyone else win and the fans will probably be happy…well now that I mention it, no Randy Orton either. How about this? Bear with me because this is a radical idea, have a fresh face win the damn thing. You know as opposed to the last four years. I would venture a guess that the majority of the fan base has not been happy with a Rumble winner since at least 2011 when Alberto Del Rio won, but more likely 2010 when Edge won as a surprise return. Lunacy! Six or seven years since fans were happy about the winner? Let’s go with Finn Balor this year, or how about Shinsuke Nakamura? The Miz? Dolph Ziggler? Samoa Joe? Hell, I would prefer Gillberg over Cena or Reigns.

This is no slight to Cena or Reigns. I am probably one of the most pro Cena guys at The Wrestling Estate and among the WWE Universe, but just give it a rest, ya know? I’ve also stated numerous times that I am a huge fan of Reigns. I don’t even care if you have him beat Lesnar for the Universal Title at Mania honestly, although it wouldn’t be my first choice. Just don’t fuel the fans’ hatred of him when you aren’t going to turn him heel. Lesnar-Reigns is still super easy to set up without Reigns winning the Rumble. After Lesnar inevitably beats Strowman and Kane, you have a number-one contender tournament that Reigns eventually wins. It’s that simple. Obviously, if Balor or someone else from Raw wins you forget that because Reigns/Lesnar would likely have been scrapped, but that would be tremendous news.

Ultimately, I believe that Reigns will win, and I will be ready to jump out a window. Let me be wrong. Please, let me be wrong.

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