The two met face to face for the first time last night on a Live edition of RAW. Due to the Blizzard of 2015, the originally scheduled Arena show set to air in Hartford, CT was cancelled. As per order of Vince McMahon, the show must go on so RAW aired Live (in real time) last night from WWE World Headquarters in Stamford, CT.
As an extra special treat for those who missed the Royal Rumble on Sunday, both the Royal Rumble match and the Triple Threat match between Brock Lesnar, John Cena and Seth Rollins were aired in their entirety. I’ll talk about the Royal Rumble in a minute but first, let’s get to the main event.
…Let’s just say WWE is trying to get as much out of Lesnar as they can before he returns to UFC. As per the terms of his contract since he returned to the WWE after an 8 year absence, he only fights in at PPV events. Naturally this became a problem during the last half of the year as Lesnar has prettymuch been an absentee Champion since winning the title. Say what you want about CM Pnnk. At least he put up even when the odds were against him. As Paul Heyman (who managed Punk at the time) said, he was a fighting champion.
It was obvous watching the match Lesnar didn’t hold back and not just because he was defending against two opponents ar the same time. Lesnar, who’s held the WWE title since winning it against John Cena at Summer Slam dominated most of the match. After trying numerous times unsuccessfully each to pin him, Cena and Rollins temporarily removed him from the match after putting the WWE Champion through the announcer’s table. Notice I said “temporarily”. The stetcher seen going to Lesnar seemed to lend credence he was seriously injured, but as would be a revealed this was thrown in to make the Kayfabe injury look credible.
With the match now one on one between Cena and Rollins, the two pushed each other to the limit. Just as Cena was about to seize victory, The Champion returned. Lesnar stormed the ring looking no worse for the wear to break the 3-count and after delivering a German suplex to Cena, F-5’d Rollins and pinned him to retain the title. He broke character when he quickly returned but revered after retaining the belt.
Thus, the Defending Champion for Wrestlemania 31 was decided. For his opponent, we turn to the Royal Rumble match itself.
…This picture says it all.
After Reigns (real name Joe Anoa’i) and Authority henchmen Big Show and Kane became the last men standing, things got ugly. Against impossible odds, Roman Reigns amanaged to eliminate both of them at the same time. Just when you thought it was over, Big Show and Kane reentered the ring and attacked him. At that moment, who should arrive but The People’s Champion, The Rock.
With The Rock’s assistence, Kane and The Big Show were disposed of in time for Rusev, who hadn’t yet been elimiated to retun to the ring. Reigns threw him over the top rope to secure victory and his shot at immortality.
As Reigns said last night on RAW, he doesn’t publicly mention the fact that The Rock and The Usos (which by extension makes Rikishi his uncle) are his cousins because he wants to chart his own destiny. While this info is pretty common knowledge among fans it was pretty interesting to hear him say it in addressing the crowd’s reaction to him winning the Royal Rumble.
The favorite to win Daniel Bryan was elminated by Bray Wyatt. At this point, even I could tell the audience would be angry regardless of who won. Chants of “This is bullshit!” rang out when the match was down to Reigns, Big Show, Kane and Dean Ambrose. Everyone prettymuch knew at that point Reigns was going to win and I think that’s what made the house crowd so angry. Not taking sides but haters gonna hate.
Reigns earned his title shot at Wrestlemania. Lesnar retained his title. The main event has been set.
…Of course, that’s just the main event we’re talking about. I also know Randy Orton was scheduled to appear on tonight’s cancelled taping of Smackdown but that’s obviously been pushed back. We have plenty of time between now and March 26 to fill out the rest of the card.
It’s interesting to note Cena and Rusev got into it backstage after the Royal Rumble. They were then booked per order of The Authority for a match at the February 22 Pay Per View event Fast Lane. It is also the first match announced for the event card. Could get interesting if they have a rematch at Wrestlemania but with the title on the line.
That said, here are my matchup predictions for the rest of the Wrestlemania Card:
- Main Event: Brock Lesnar (c) v. Roman Reigns (Official)
- John Cena v. Rusev for the United States Championship
- Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett vs. Sheamus for the Intercontinental Championship
- The Usos vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd for the Tag Team Championship
- Randy Orton v. Seth Rollins for Money in the Bank Briefcase (assuming he still has it going into WM)
- Sting v. Triple H
- Dean Ambrose, Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler vs. Bray Wyatt, Big Show and Kane six-man elimination No Disqualification
- The Undertaker vs. Eric Rowan and Luke Harper 2 on 1 handicap match
- Kickoff Match: The Miz and Damien Mizdow vs. The New Day members Kofi Kingston and Big E