WWE injected buzz into the stale World Heavyweight Championship bout at the Royal Rumble in the form of Seth Rollins.
Triple H announced on Monday's Raw that Rollins' loyalty to The Authority earned him a spot against Brock Lesnar and John Cena. That move adds freshness to that match and elevates the pay-per-view as a result.
As good as Lesnar and Cena's battles have been in the past, WWE had a problem heading into the 2015 Rumble—that matchup was too much of the same; more wearisome than awesome.
Lesnar has had just nine matches since returning to WWE in 2012, per CageMatch.net. Cena was his opponent for three of them and is set to face him for a fourth time. That would have Cena vs. Lesnar make up 40 percent of The Beast Incarnate's resume during this run.
That repetitive booking made it hard to get excited about what was supposed to be a marquee match.
Rollins adds a whole new dynamic. Throwing him in the mix means that fans get to see Rollins and Lesnar collide for the first time ever. It's the emerging star's first world title opportunity as well.
Giving Rollins this opportunity is exciting. It's a welcoming party of sorts for him. Cena and Lesnar have long resided on WWE's top tier; Rollins now gets to climb up there for a night.
While still leaning on established star power, WWE now also adds some youth. It inserts a man who can potentially be one of the company's cornerstones in the years to come into a showdown between titans.
It's a match that promises to be a fun one from both a story and wrestling perspective.
For one, Rollins has a history with both men. He's been feuding with Cena for months after costing him a chance at redemption against Lesnar at Night of Champions.
Now Cena enters a battle where he can both pay Rollins back for that ambush and also knock off the man who embarrassed him at SummerSlam. That's double the motivation and double the stakes for him.
Lesnar's first impression of Rollins came courtesy of a curb stomp. One has to imagine that The Beast Incarnate will still be seething about that sneak attack.
What complicates that situation is that Rollins and Lesnar have formed a sort of alliance. When Lesnar interrupted Cena and Rollins' cage match in December, he only attacked the fan favorite. Paul Heyman shook hands with Rollins, two villains clearly conspiring against Cena.
Rollins later confirmed to Renee Young on SmackDown that he was indeed working with Heyman and Lesnar.
Does that relationship become void as soon as the bell begins, or will both heels collude in order to take Cena out? Will The Authority plan to pluck the world title from Lesnar's shoulder and hand it to Rollins?
The Money in the Bank briefcase Rollins will bring to the ring adds questions to the title match as well. It also opens the door for a number of narrative options.
If he loses the bout, there is a threat of him going on a rampage after the bell and cashing in. Cena may finally conquer Lesnar and pin the powerhouse, only to have Rollins crack him over the head with the briefcase and steal his newly won title away.
Rollins could also become the first man to ever hold both the Money in the Bank contract and the WWE title.
None of these things were at play when it was just Lesnar against Cena. Subplots elevate the match, as does Rollins' in-ring style.
Fans know what they are getting with Cena vs. Lesnar—a hard-hitting, brawl-heavy match. Both men excel at that, but their Royal Rumble clash likely wouldn't have looked a lot different from what they did against each other at Night of Champions.
He brings athleticism, high flying and speed to the party. He adds a new flavor to a familiar meal.
Since coming back to WWE, Lesnar has mostly faced big bruisers. Going up against Rollins is going to be miles away from what he did opposite Big Show, Undertaker and Triple H. There will be a lot more springboarding and flights from the top rope.
The match is also a great chance to showcase Rollins as a strategist. He will have to be cunning to overcome his size and power disadvantage. There is certainly the danger of WWE overusing J&J Security, but if it can avoid that, Rollins will end up looking brilliant should he find a clever way to incapacitate either Cena or Lesnar.
The mix of styles and the juxtaposition between Lesnar and Rollins, not to mention all the added narrative dimensions, are going to make the WWE title match far more fun.
WWE wisely veered in an unexpected direction to improve that bout and the pay-per-view itself. A match that felt like it was the result of the company going through the motions now crackles with potential.