This year’s Royal Rumble match was one of the most eagerly anticipated in recent years. The reason for that was that we genuinely didn’t know who would win the 30-man over-the-top-rope extravaganza. Admittedly Oddschecker, which compares combat sports odds and free offers, had made Cody Rhodes the favourite to win the match all year long. But rumours in recent weeks saw The Rock’s odds shorten dramatically. Then, the rise of Sami Zayn since his exploits at Survivor Series saw his odds shorten also, and it seemed that we genuinely had a three-way fight on our hands as to who would win the famed match.
In the end, however, neither The Great One nor the Honorary Uce entered the match, and it was the favoured American Nightmare who punched his ticket to the main event of WrestleMania. At the culmination of the pay-per-views main event, Zayn finally turned on Roman Reigns before his Bloodline could turn on him, striking the Tribal Chief down with a steel chair to the back, before promptly being torn apart by Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa, with Jey Uso noticeably walking away without so much as landing a punch on the stricken Canadian.
That has prompted WWE to book Roman Reigns vs Sami Zayn for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, which takes place in Zayn’s hometown of Montreal. But with the billion-dollar wrestling promotion already promoting Reigns vs Rhodes as the main event of WrestleMania in Los Angeles this April, it seems that the result of the showdown in Quebec is a foregone conclusion.
The Current Plans with Sami Zayn
To the naked eye, it appears that the current plans for WrestleMania are set in stone. Reigns will defeat Zayn in his title defence at the Elimination Chamber and go on to face Rhodes on the Grandest Stage of Them All. Meanwhile, Zayn and friend-turned-foe-turned-friend-again Kevin Owens will challenge the Usos for the Unified Tag Team Championship. But is that a big enough payoff to the greatest storyline we have seen in the WWE for nearly a decade?
Sami Zayn and his affiliation with the Bloodline was supposed to be a short-term thing, but fans took to the Honorary Uce, who ended up becoming a fully-fledged member of the family following his exploits at Survivor Series: War Games. Since then, fan reaction to Zayn has gone through the roof, and the pop he received when he finally turned on Reigns will be remembered for generations to come.
Zayn’s reactions are eerily reminiscent of those that Daniel Bryan was receiving back in 2014. Back then WWE clearly planned of having a main event of Randy Orton vs Batista, while the World’s Toughest Vegan was originally penciled in to face Sheamus. But CM Punk’s abrupt departure from the company forced Vince McMahon to change his plans, with D-Bry then booked to face Triple H. But for fans, that wasn’t enough, and that prompted WWE to change their plans entirely, with the winner of that bout entering the main event, which Daniel Bryan would go on to win.
So, what can WWE do to appease their fans?
This year, fans have taken to Zayn just as they did to D-Bry all those years ago. If Reigns defeats Zayn in Montreal, the backlash could be huge. WWE has changed their plans at the last minute before, could they do it again this year?
There were rumours that the company planned on having Roman Reigns headline both nights of WrestleMania, firstly against Cody Rhodes, and then against The Rock. It appears the plans with The Brahama Bull have fallen through, but Reigns vs Rhodes will still go ahead. Could Reigns vs Zayn headline the other night of Mania? Alternatively, could Zayn be thrust into the main event, making it a triple-threat match, as was the case with Bryan back at WrestleMania 30? Could Zayn somehow pull off the victory at Elimination Chamber and change the plans entirely?
It remains to be seen which direction the company will go in. But surely Zayn and Owens winning the tag titles against The Usos isn’t enough of a payoff for this Oscar-worthy masterpiece of a story.
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