As we all know, in wrestling and especially in WWE, plans change.
Sounds like it was the case with the Royal Rumble matches we saw last night from Houston. According to Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer, Shayna Baszler & Roman Reigns were set to win their respective battle royals instead of Charlotte Flair & Drew McIntyre.
The main reason for the switch is pretty straightforward... the plan for WrestleMania 36 changed. And since the Rumble winners get a title shot at ‘Mania, the Rumble winners have to fit into the ‘Mania plan.
Actually, on the men’s side, it probably didn’t matter if what Meltzer’s heard about the card for Tampa is correct. That has McIntyre challenging Brock Lesnar, and Reigns going after Bray Wyatt on April 5. Which would have worked with Roman winning the Rumble too, as long as Drew still eliminated Lesnar. But it played out better this way since it allowed the big Scot to get a pop for eliminating The Big Dog, and avoided getting any unnecessary heat on Reigns for winning his second Rumble over someone the crowd was behind. He already got some for dumping Edge, which threw more support behind McIntyre.
Speaking of the Rated R Superstar, Meltzer says Edge eliminating Randy Orton was the set-up for a match between the two former partners at WrestleMania 36.
On the women’s side, Meltzer didn’t mention the title plans for ‘Mania, so we’re forced to speculate what it means that Flair got the nod over Baszler. They could still arrange things for both women to have championship matches at Raymond James Stadium. We’ll have to wait and see.
The decision to go with Charlotte and Drew seems to have happened around Jan. 14. Dave says that’s when a lot of big money came in on The Queen at the sports books. Prior to that date, most of the money had been placed on Baszler.
Thoughts on how it played out, Cagesiders? Would you have preferred the original plan?