Who wins the Royal Rumble, Daniel Bryan or Roman Reigns?

Joshua Waddles
Staff Writer

The first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match was recently announced and will take place during the Royal Rumble PPV event on Sunday, Jan. 28. This match, like the men’s Royal Rumble, will have 30 contestants. Confirmed contestants include Asuka, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Bayley, Naomi, Natalya, Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose, Mickie James, Tamina Snuka, Lana, Carmella, Becky Lynch and Dana Brook.

Paige, who recently returned, was scheduled to participate in the Women’s Royal Rumble but has been sidelined with a neck injury. This occurred during an un-telavased live show in which Paige competed against Sasha Banks. During one spot in the match, Paige turned her back on Banks, who braced against the turnbuckle to perform a double-heel kick against Paige’s back. The two wrestlers performed this maneuver before with no issues, but in this instance Paige was unable to stand and the referee called for the bell. Speculation is that Paige’s injury may be career-ending.

There are 12 confirmed entrants for the Men’s Royal Rumble: Bray Wyatt, John Cena, Finn Balor, Randy Orton, Aiden English, Rusev, Titus O’Neil, Apollo Crews, Shinsuke Nakamura, Elias, Baron Corbin and Matt Hardy.

Roman Reigns, though not confirmed as a competitor in the event, is expected by most fans to win the event. For over a year, wrestling insiders reported the WWE planned for Brock Lesnar to retain the Universal Title and then lose it to Reigns at WrestleMania 34. So far, Lesnar still has the Universal Title (which he will defend at Royal Rumble against Braun Strowman and Kane in a triple-threat match).

Recently, an alleged steroid distributor accused Roman Reigns of being one of his customers. Reigns denies this accusations, saying he never heard of this person or his company. It is unknown whether or not these allegations will affect the WWE’s plans for Reigns.

A little more than a week ahead of the Royal Rumble, fans are speculating on returns and surprise entrants for the Royal Rumble match. Fan forums are ablaze with speculation that Daniel Bryan could be a surprise entrant and go on to win the event, rather than Reigns. Daniel Bryan, months after suffering a concussion, announced his retirement from wrestling on Feb. 8, 2016. Bryan, in recent years, had become the favorite of WWE fans and his booking caused severe backlash against the WWE and other wrestlers.

In 2014, Batista won the Royal Rumble while Daniel Bryan had not even been a contestant. This angered fans because they’d firmly gotten behind Bryan and Batista was a part-timer. The WWE responded to fan backlash and changed their plans for the Royal Rumble, making the World Title match a triple-threat match which Bryan won. However, Bryan had to give up this title after suffering an earlier injury.

The year 2015 saw Bryan cleared just in time to enter the Royal Rumble. Bryan’s elimination surprised and angered fans, who’d expected the WWE to capitalize on the timing of Bryan’s return. As the match continued, fans began jeering Roman Reigns, understanding that the WWE planned to make him the winner of the Royal Rumble that year. So many fans cancelled their subscription to the WWE Network that the web page crashed, and heat against Roman Reigns (aided by frustration with the WWE’s continuing booking decisions) persists to this day.

Although Bryan remains on the WWE’s injured list, several reports indicate that Bryan has been cleared to wrestle by every doctor he’s seen, except for the WWE’s own doctor. This fuels fan speculation that the WWE is intentionally keeping Bryan out of the ring in order not to complicate their plans for the World Title, the Universal Title, and Roman Reigns.