As we've noted multiple times here on Cageside Seats, and what should essentially be common knowledge at this point, trying to map out future plans for WWE events is essentially an exercise in futility.
Why? Because Vince McMahon, the head cheese with the company, is rather fond of looking at a script for a show, deciding he doesn't like it, and promptly tearing it to shreds and demanding a new one.
And this sometimes happens about an hour away from showtime.
However, it would seem signs are pointing towards a different direction going forward. That's because there are a few underlying factors that would dictate a fresh approach and one they haven't used in years, namely the fact that The Rock is returning and has a large measure of creative control over what he'll be doing during his feud with John Cena leading to their match at WrestleMania next year.
Dave Meltzer revealed in the latest Wrestling Observer newsletter what WWE might be planning going forward, including a potential Royal Rumble winner:
As of right now, the company has framework main event cards penciled in through Rumble. That's a complete 180 to how things have been booked over the last few years. The idea is they want to turn things around, realize it won't happen with week-by-week so are building destinations. We'll see how many days this lasts given that had to rewrite TV last week a half dozen times. The idea is to peak things at Mania, where the feeling is the main event will carry it. There was talk of doing the Scramble match gimmick at Survivor Series with names talked about being Henry, Sheamus, Christian, Orton, Kane and Show. Henry vs. Show in a tables match at TLC is talked about. Keep in mind that this was done before the weekend and the TV that very Monday barely resembled what was written at that time, so it's almost fruitless to bring these things up. But they do have a Royal Rumble winner picked. The Rumble idea is or was to be on the Smackdown side where there will be a winner at the Rumble, who will win the title before Mania (maybe at the Chamber PPV) because the Smackdown title challenger is Bryan, at least how things stand, and they aren't planning on Henry or Show vs. Bryan right now. Of course, this will all change again by Friday.
Again, the maddening fact that comes with speaking of WWE plans is that they change every 10 seconds. But it makes -- dare I say -- complete sense to book way ahead in the future because, again, The Rock coming back adds a big wrinkle they need to figure out how to work around immediately.
It's still surprising to hear the plans regarding Daniel Bryan challenging for the world heavyweight championship at WrestleMania next year have remained unchanged. He jobs far too often and has been booked far too weak to take him seriously as a title challenger. Then again, part of his appeal is as an underdog but that doesn't come across in the matches he's been losing lately.
Let's hope that changes because he's still got incredible potential.
It's a bit sad to hear Mark Henry's world title reign will be coming to an end sooner rather than later but it makes sense. I doubt they would trust him Henry in a major main event level match at 'Mania defending the championship.
That opens up the possibility of something I think could make the Rumble special in a way it hasn't been since 1992 when Ric Flair emerged victorious -- put the world heavyweight title up for grabs. The winner at the end won't earn the shot at WrestleMania but rather the belt itself and would go on to defend against Bryan, who will be cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase.
Sounds good to me. How about you?