Back with another slideshow here at Bleacher Report!
If you haven’t been following, this is my third publication here at Bleacher Report, and my second slideshow.
The experience here at Bleacher Report just gets better and better by the day. It’s amazing, this site is.
Anyway, let’s get started with a slideshow I’ve been dying to write out ever since I joined this site. And how fitting it is because my slideshow is all about the Royal Rumble (well, for the most part), and the Royal Rumble is just outside our doorstep this year!
In this slideshow, I will basically be listing the Royal Rumble winners from 2003 to 2010 (because 2003 was the first Royal Rumble where the winner got to choose to face either the World Heavyweight Champion or the WWE Champion at WrestleMania) and see what potential matches would have occurred at those years' Wrestlemania if the Royal Rumble winner chose to face the other World Champion instead of the one he actually faced.
Interesting thought, huh? So without further ado, let’s get started.
Brock Lesnar was on a huge push in 2002. When I say huge, I mean huge to most possible extent possible. This guy was obviously admired by McMahon. So, creative thought it fitting to give the Royal Rumble victory of 2003 (which also emanated from the TD Garden by the way) to Brock Lesnar. In the end, Lesnar stood tall among the 29 other superstars. We knew Lesnar chose to face Angle at Wrestlemania XIX in what was quite possibly one of the greatest Wrestlemania main-events of all time, but what if he faced Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship? Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar? That would make a really interesting matchup. Both are definitely power-houses; however Lesnar was a great technical wrestler as well. I would find the build-up extremely intriguing as well, with Ric Flair by Triple H’s side, Lesnar would probably be attacked and beat up by Triple H and his cronies. However, at the same time, we might have not witnessed Lesnar’s botched Shooting Star Press which was indeed a great Wrestlemania moment (maybe not for Brock).
Nonetheless, I still definitely would have preferred Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar compared to Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H. The match was just amazing the way it was with Kurt and we should be glad in the end that Lesnar chose to face Kurt instead of Triple H.
The 2004 Royal Rumble is one of my most favourite Royal Rumbles. WWE did a spectacular job hyping up the Rumble and really made me think that anyone could win it. It was one of the more unexpected and surprising Royal Rumbles I dare say. Chris Benoit was the last man standing in the middle of the ring at the Wells Fargo center the night of the Royal Rumble. Benoit cashed in his opportunity for the World Heavyweight Champion at Wrestlemania 20. He challenged Triple H for the championship, however due to the ongoing heated feud between Triple H and Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin made the decision for the championship match at Wrestlemania be a Triple Threat match between Michaels, Benoit, and Triple H. Conversely enough, let’s move on to the more interesting part. Eddie Guerrero was the WWE Champion around Wrestlemania time. What if booking put Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero for the WWE Title at Wrestlemania XX? The build-up would be great because there’s been just so much history between these men in Japan, WCW and their early WWE days. And the match would be just amazing as well. Benoit and Guerrero definitely have some in-ring chemistry together. Even though Benoit vs. Guerrero would have definitely torn the roof down off of Madison Square Garden, I still would prefer Michaels vs. Benoit vs. Triple H more. Why? Because first off, triple threat matches are much more unpredictable. Second of all, Benoit vs. Michaels vs. Triple H combines the three greatest things you can get in a Wrestlemania match. Technical wrestling on Benoit’s part, athleticism on Michael’s part, and power and aggression on Triple H’s part. But hey, Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle was an extremely great match as well.
Another important thing that I would like to add is that at the end of Wrestlemania XX, one of the greatest Wrestlemania moments occurred at Madison Square Garden. Eddie and Chris embraced each other symbolizing all the hardships and problems they’ve faced to get to the top of the wrestling world. Both as champions. That wouldn’t have happened in the same light if Benoit vs. Eddie would have occurred at Wrestlemania 20 now would it?
Batista was one of the last new generation Evolution members. Randy Orton had been ex-communicated from the group, and that left Evolution one member short. Batista was the next person that gained the spotlight after Randy Orton. Batista started getting involved in more RAW main-events, got more promo time, more segments with Triple H and Ric Flair, and more PPV matches. Most importantly of all, Batista was getting cheered by the crowd and was gaining popularity fast, while he was supposed to be a heel. He also showed some resentment towards Triple H around Survivor Series time. With so much momentum going in, Batista won the 2005 Royal Rumble in what I thought was a good Rumble match all in itself. Now, it was obvious that Batista would face Triple H for the World Title at Wrestlemania 21. However, WWE did throw a curveball our way when Batista started getting involved in some SmackDown! promo’s against JBL, which I applaud them for. Speaking of JBL, wasn’t he the WWE Champion Wrestlemania time? I believe he was. So what if it were JBL vs. Batista for the WWE Title at Wrestlemania 21 instead of Triple H vs. Batista? It’s a good thing that WWE didn’t book that match because it wouldn’t have been a big draw compared to Triple H vs. Batista. Triple H and Batista has history together. Tons of it.
JBL and Batista didn’t. And that’s what made the Triple H vs. Batista worth watching. Adding to that, Triple H vs. Batista ended Evolution in a very excellent manner, and accomplished what it was supposed to in the end. And to be completely honest, JBL vs. John Cena blended perfect in their own right. It was a street thug vs. a high standing civilized society member. Anyways, if you really wanted to see Batista vs. JBL, I recommend you watch their match from SummerSlam 2005. Compared to that, I would much rather watch Triple H vs. Batista any day.
One of the most loved and admired WWE wrestlers passed away November 13th 2005. Eddie Guerrero was found deceased in his hotel room due to his past abuses of drugs and alcohol. Rey Mysterio was onscreen and probably off-screen one of Eddie’s best friends. As a dedication and respect to Eddies Guerrero’s memory and legacy, WWE gave the 2006 Royal Rumble match victory to Rey Mysterio. Mysterio either had to choose between facing John Cena, or Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania. Mysterio did in the end choose to face Kurt Angle (with the addition of Randy Orton) for the World Heavyweight Championship, however what would have happened if he faced John Cena? Well, I can tell you guys that if John Cena vs. Rey Mysterio actually happened at Wrestlemania 22, one of them would have to turn heel, and it would have been an extremely bad move to turn either of them. John Cena was at the top of the company just establishing himself as the company’s top dog and key player.
Rey Mysterio was fresh out of his Rumble win that he dedicated to Eddie, and it would have been extremely insulting if WWE decided to turn him heel. So a feud between Cena and Mysterio for Wrestlemania wouldn’t really be the most exciting in the world. And the match in itself wouldn’t be that bad. But it wouldn’t be Wrestlemania quality. So be glad that WWE booked Cena vs. Triple (which I thought was actually an extremely great match), and Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle vs. Randy Orton (which delivered 10 minutes of solid action despite a nervous botch by Rey Mysterio).
Quite possibly the greatest match never to happen at Wrestlemania. The IWC was clamouring at WWE to book this match in 2007 when they had the perfect opportunity to. John Cena had beaten everyone there was to beat in the WWE, thrashed everybody there was to beat, and solidified himself as an unstoppable superstar. Undertaker had appended yet another accolade to his long list by winning the prestigious Royal Rumble in 2007. Undertaker was on RAW shortly after his Rumble win and the three champions of RAW, SmackDown! and ECW lined up in the ring in nervousness to see who the Undertaker would pick for his annual slaughter at Wrestlemania. The Undertaker faced towards John Cena eye to eye. I really thought that this was it for the WWE. They were going to book it. This would be the perfect time to have John Cena vs. The Undertaker. John Cena in his prime and Undertaker, who could still put up extremely entertaining matches.
However, it was Batista who the Undertaker picked. Needless to say, that Batista and Undertaker had a great match and build-up (the entire No Way Out event in 2007 was there to build both Championship matches at Wrestlemania), but it begs to question, what if it had been John Cena vs. The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 23? The build-up would still have been great and the buyrate’s would have been much higher. The match, I’m sure would have been better than Batista vs. Undertaker. So my question still remains to this day. Why didn’t WWE book Undertaker vs. John Cena at Wrestlemania 23. Guess we’ll never find out.
John Cena made a shocking return at the Royal Rumble in 2008. Cena was supposed to be sidelined several more months, however, after his music hit at Madison Square Garden, the crowd ERUPTED. Big time. We went on to see Wrestlemania headlined by Randy Orton vs. John Cena vs. Triple H for the WWE Championship with Randy Orton going in as champion. In the World Heavyweight Title picture, we had Edge vs. Undertaker. Obviously Cena could have chosen to face Edge at Wrestlemania as well. Smart move by WWE officials not to book Cena vs. Edge yet ANOTHER time. Cena and Edge had closed their rivalry down in 2006 after their amazing Tables, Ladder and Chairs match at Unforgiven 2006.
Yes Edge and John Cena have chemistry in the ring. Yes they’re the exact opposite of each other in terms of characters. Yes they both hated each other. Yes they put on great matches that I thoroughly enjoyed. However, too much of a good thing is bad. Take the current Sheamus vs. John Morrison match this past week on RAW for example. I just got bored of watching same old same old. In 2008, if WWE booked Cena vs. Edge for the World Heavyweight Title at Wrestlemania, it would be the same as having Randy Orton vs. John Cena in at Wrestlemania 27. By the way, if Cena vs. Edge did happen at Wrestlemania XXIV, then we wouldn’t have been able to witness the great Edge vs. Undertaker match that closed off the show.
Randy Orton arose up above the 29 other superstars that entered the Royal Rumble in 2009. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe Orton said that the Royal Rumble match would be the last in his entire career, and that he would retire unless he wins the Royal Rumble match. Well, Orton won the Rumble match and went on to headline Wrestlemania XXV alongside Triple H for the WWE Championship in what was an extremely well built up feud but a very underwhelming and disappointing match in itself. Orton, instead could have face Edge for the World Heavyweight Title and switched brands from RAW to SmackDown! Now is it just me, or would Orton vs. Edge have looked much better on the Wrestlemania XXV card than Triple H vs. Randy Orton?
Orton and Edge definitely have history between them forming Rated RKO and all that good stuff. So if that match actually did occur at Wrestlemania, I bet the build-up would be really good. Maybe not as good as Triple H vs. Orton, however, good enough that a person can say that it was a Wrestlemania rivalry. The quality of the match is the knot-breaker. Orton vs. Edge would have been miles better than Triple H vs. Randy Orton. Two young athletes going at it against each other for the World Heavyweight Title? I’d pay to see that! But I guess creative really liked that build-up of Randy Orton vs. Triple a bit better, and went with that. I don’t think Orton and Edge have ever squared off for a World title to date, but if by some miracle it were to occur at Wrestlemania 27, I would definitely spend my money to watch it!
Creative could have easily gone with this match after Edge’s emotional Rumble win last year. Batista was also the heel, so Edge wouldn’t really need a heel turn and lose all his “face” momentum he built by returning and winning the Rumble either. The build-up would be weird in my eyes however. My brain somehow always separates Batista and Edge whenever I think of them in a match together. It’s like ones oil, and the others water in my mind. Edge vs. Batista would be a pretty decent match in my eyes. Just look at their Night of Champions match in 2008. Not too bad in my opinion. However a match that I would pay for? Well, that depends on how good the build up is. I think I was perfectly fine with Chris Jericho vs. Edge and John Cena vs. Batista
There you have it folks! Definately some strange things would have occured had it been for the Rumble winners choosing to face the other champion rather than the one they actually faced. Intresting things indeed. Oh, and if your wondering why I have a picture of the Georgia Dome, its because Wrestlemania 27 is going to be there! Just looking at that picture makes me feel excited! I think it's time to get in the Wrestlemania mood now right? Stay tuned for my new upcoming articles cause they're going to be big. I have some special slide-shows and articles planne out to get all of you in the spirit of Wrestlemania!
On a complete side note, leave your favorite person to win the Rumble in the comments below! And be as realistic as you can when your commenting! Mine would have to be John Cena or CM Punk.