Roman Reigns may not have been victorious, but he walked away from the 2014 Royal Rumble as a clear-cut winner.
Before eventually being eliminated by Batista to bring the battle royale to a finish, the Shield member eliminated an astounding 12 participants of the 30-man match. As WWE's Twitter feed pointed out, it set a new record:
Reigns, who entered at No. 15 and proceeded to eliminate notable names such as Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Goldust, Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Nash, Sheamus and Antonio Cesaro (not in order) before finally finishing with 12 eliminations, broke Kane's record from 2001 when the Big Red Machine eliminated 11.
A certain other star in the business was quick to give the former tag team champ praise on Twitter:
Some will undoubtedly be disappointed that the record-setting performance only resulted in a "second-place" finish for Reigns, but as you might recall, Kane was the runner-up to Stone Cold when he dumped 11 participants over the ropes.
How long until Reigns is a singles champion?
And things have worked out pretty well for him.
Although the record might be somewhat bitter-tasting, Reigns was made out to look incredibly strong. Perhaps the most notable elimination came near the end when he took out fellow Shield members Ambrose and Rollins as well as Cesaro at the same time.
This guy is a future champion, and after tonight, it's very clear—if it wasn't already before—that the WWE views him in that same light.
After the PPV, Jim Ross said that Reigns "shined," putting him in a group with only Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt, who put on a scintillating battle:
Batista's win and Bryan's exclusion from the match is undoubtedly going to rub people the wrong way—legend Mick Foley said he's "never been so disgusted with a PPV"—but there's no doubt Reigns was an extremely bright spot on the night.
The future is promising for the former defensive tackle.