Fantasy Booking Decisions That Will Make or Break 2020 WWE Royal Rumble

Aaron Bower@@aaronbowerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2020

Fantasy Booking Decisions That Will Make or Break 2020 WWE Royal Rumble

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    No WWE pay-per-view sparks as much interest in terms of fantasy booking and surprises than the Royal Rumble.

    The event, which airs again on Sunday as the company's top stars compete for a world title shot at WrestleMania 36, is never short on intrigue and interest.

    However, it's clear there are some big decisions for WWE to make to ensure it is a success as the weekend approaches.

    Here's a look at the decisions that could make or break the 2020 Royal Rumble.

Daniel Bryan Looking Strong Even If He Loses to 'The Fiend'

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    Despite Daniel Bryan posing a real threat to "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt in the build to their match at the Royal Rumble, the titleholder still seems a good bet to go on a lengthy unbeaten run with the Universal Championship.

    Sure, Bryan could upset the odds, but Sunday could easily be the end of the road in terms of his chances of winning a major title for the immediate future.

    So booking him in such a fashion that he still looks strong ahead of a likely feud with a new opponent at WrestleMania 36 is a decision WWE must consider with great care.

    Bryan looks set to go on a big run as a babyface in 2020, but a decisive defeat to The Fiend on Sunday would hit his momentum hard.

    And even though the company will want to make its champion look as strong as possible, it's important to consider just how his opponent looks after the PPV, too.

The Identity of the Iron Man/Woman in the Rumble Matches

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    While booking the winner of the Royal Rumble match is always the most crucial decision of the men's and women's events, there's another important booking choice that has to be made annually.

    If done correctly, the competitor who lasts the longest in a Rumble match can often emerge looking as strong as the eventual winner.

    The heroics of guys like Finn Balor in 2018, CM Punk in 2014 and Natalya last year have not been winning efforts in terms of being the last participant standing, but they still stick firmly in the memory.

    Whoever manages to eliminate the iron man/woman also gets a huge rub in terms of momentum, so it's a vital decision the company has to consider every year in terms of the pay-per-view's success.

    Could someone like Shinsuke Nakamura get a run in the bout that revives his stock on SmackDown? Will it be a breakthrough performance from Drew McIntyre to solidify himself as a main eventer on Raw? And which woman will get the honor of surviving the longest in the match?

    It's a crucial piece of booking WWE shouldn't underestimate. 

Roman Reigns Making Light Work of King Corbin

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    Roman Reigns' tussle with King Corbin has gone on far too long.

    It's not really the fault of either man that their rivalry has been underwhelming, but low-key, uninspiring booking has caused the feud to feel like a real drag.

    It has to end at Royal Rumble, and unfortunately for Corbin, it has to end with a fairly conclusive win for The Big Dog.

    Both men are in desperate need of something fresh, and while some may argue a heavy loss for Corbin would be damaging for him, he would hardly be the first man to come up short against Reigns when it matters.

    If the former universal champion is seen as the flag-bearer for Friday nights on Fox, it's imperative he wins in decisive fashion on Sunday.

Who Will Eliminate Brock Lesnar?

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    The most attention at Royal Rumble every year is who will emerge through the men's match and earn themselves a world-title shot.

    There's an extra layer of intrigue this year too, with WWE champion Brock Lesnar deciding to enter the match as the No. 1 entrant.

    WWE could pull a huge swerve and have The Beast Incarnate win, leaving serious doubt over who faces him at WrestleMania in April, but it's far more likely his opponent at The Show of Shows will be the one who eliminates him from Sunday's Rumble match.

    WWE has to ensure this decision, arguably above all others at the pay-per-view, is the right one.

    Booking opponents for Lesnar is always tricky. It needs to be someone who looks as though they could genuinely beat him, rather than a build where The Beast dominates his foe on a weekly basis on Raw.

    Could that be a surprise like John Cena? Or an emerging name such as Drew McIntyre? Both would be fascinating picks, but whoever it is, it's crucial for WWE to choose the right man.

    It could make or break the entire perception of the 2020 Royal Rumble.