Despite wishful thinking from many fans and conspiracy theories galore, the WWE Royal Rumble ended in the manner that most knew it would. John Cena last eliminated Ryback to reign supreme in the 30-man melee and he will likely go on to WrestleMania to face the WWE Champion.
Who that champion will be is unclear, but The Rock defeated CM Punk in the Royal Rumble main event to end the Straight-Edge Superstar's incredible 434-day reign. That means little, though, because Punk is entitled to a rematch at Elimination Chamber or sooner, and the title could easily change hands again.
Whatever the case, there are likely two options for Cena. He won't be chasing the World Heavyweight Championship, so that isn't even something we should consider. The obvious move would be for Cena to have his one-on-one rematch with The Rock after losing to him at WrestleMania XXVIII.
That may not enthrall some fans, but the WWE Championship would be on the line this time and there is no question that it would sell again in terms of pay-per-view buys.
If that doesn't happen, then a triple threat between Cena, The Rock and Punk is likely. Should Punk regain the WWE Championship at Elimination Chamber, The Rock could exercise his rematch clause at WrestleMania and Cena could also choose to use his guaranteed title shot in the same match.
Vince McMahon usually ends WrestleMania with a traditional match, but I would be in favor of the ladder option. All three men have plenty of history with each other and it would at least create some doubt with regards to who might win. Cena will be favored regardless, but I'd be much more interested in seeing a bout that has never been done before.
It's ultimately Vince's call, though, and my money is on Cena vs. The Rock. There has been some talk about having Punk challenge The Undertaker at WrestleMania and that would obviously make for two huge matches rather than one. The WWE is all about drawing interest and money, and that may be the best way to do it.
Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the Rumble match and feel as though it was one of the best in recent years due to the star power, pacing and Chris Jericho's return, I would have rather seen somebody else. I fully understand what the WWE is trying to do in terms of putting its top star in the main event at WrestleMania, but there were definitely other ways to do it.
Cena is the face of the WWE and can be thrown into the title fray at any time. He doesn't need the Rumble in order to be a contender for the WWE Championship, so it almost feels like the Royal Rumble was wasted on Cena. He could have won the title at Elimination Chamber and had a match with The Rock at WrestleMania anyway. My guess is the WWE brass wants Cena to win the title at WrestleMania rather than defend it, though.
I'm not a huge fan of Ryback, but he could have used the win a lot more than Cena. He lost at three consecutive pay-per-views and fell short once again at the Rumble when Cena eliminated him to win. If Ryback is going to be a huge star in the company, then he needs to get some big wins on big stages at some point.
Essentially any rising star would have been a better pick than Cena because a win would have catapulted them into the World Heavyweight Championship mix immediately. The issue with that, of course, is that Dolph Ziggler is still in possession of the Money in the Bank contract and he can blow up the world title hierarchy in a matter of three seconds whenever he chooses.
Cena winning isn't the preferred choice at the moment, but this Rumble is likely to be memorable 10 years down the line because of him coming out on top. Love him or hate him, Cena elicits a reaction and that is what the WWE wants. With him and The Rock going over on the same pay-per-view, this may go down as one of the greatest and most iconic Rumbles ever.
With Cena and The Rock standing tall, it's only fitting that they're likely to come face to face once again at WrestleMania. As much as it pains me to say it, The Rock owes Cena a win and Cena will almost certainly get it at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
The WWE's decision on Sunday wasn't made with the Internet fans in mind. Cena winning is meant to appeal to the general wrestling fan population and there is no question that the WWE accomplished its goal in that regard.