Royal Rumble Swerves & Scenarios, Vince/HHH Tension, WM31 Implications

The following is today's edition of Ask WNW. Ask WNW is the most popular feature on the website where Richard Gray answers four questions daily, Monday through Friday. To submit your question for the next installment of Ask WNW, click here.
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With Paul Heyman saying Seth Rollins is the best wrestler today, do you see Rollins winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Royal Rumble, only for Brock to enter the Rumble itself and win it? Of course setting up Lesnar vs. Rollins for the title at Wrestlemania 31.

This swerve scenario was explained by Joey Styles in an editorial piece over on WWE.com. We recapped it at this link. I believe it’s a great idea for a swerve, especially if WWE goes through with turning Lesnar babyface.

I don’t think it’s likely, especially with Styles “predicting it to happen” on the official company website in the days before the pay-per-view.

Can you see a scenario where Daniel Bryan wins the Royal Rumble and goes on to face Seth Rollins at Wrestlemania 31?

Yes, this scenario is possible and wouldn’t even require a swerve (although it could with a “cash in” of the Money in the Bank briefcase). We can’t rule out any scenario with a confirmed Royal Rumble entrant and one of the three participants in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match. Obviously some scenarios are more likely than others but all combinations of the aforementioned are still possible.

The important thing to note is WWE has left their options open. As a result, there is a lot of intrigue surrounding Sunday’s pay-per-view. More intrigue translates into a higher level of interest, which should sell more WWE Network subscriptions.

Having discussed these scenarios, I’m sticking with Roman Reigns winning the Royal Rumble and Brock Lesnar retaining the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

A lot has gone into the push of Roman Reigns and I would find it hard to believe the company would abort those plans. Further, Brock needs a successful defense of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and while WWE has to at least consider him losing, the torch should be passed at Wrestlemania.

My card for Wrestlemania 31 is still Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Sting vs. Triple H, John Cena vs. Rusev and Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton. Obviously these matches do not account for Daniel Bryan, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose and others that will have to be fit around it.

All of those matches — aside from Sting vs. Hunter — are subject to change and hinge on the booking of Sunday’s pay-per-view. If those expected matches don’t happen, WWE swerved. If they do, Royal Rumble was by the book.

You've mentioned Triple H and Vince McMahon clashing and how it could influence the booking, inconsistencies, elevation or lack thereof, etc. Don't they have to answer to a Board of Directors? If so, do you see them stepping in to correct this, demand a better product, etc?

WWE has a Board of Directors, in which Vince McMahon is in charge of. You can view those board members at this link.

As for changes in WWE management being “demanded” or even “forced,” a recommendation for changes was made to the board last year by Lemelson Capital Management, a private investment management firm, after WWE failed to significantly increase their domestic TV licensing fees and questions about the profitability of the WWE Network. You can read all about that at this link.

I believe there is a big disconnect between WWE as the publicly traded entertainment company and how they function behind the curtain. Pro wrestling is a weird business and the mainstream just doesn’t understand it. To shareholders, it’s all just a bunch of numbers. When the numbers don’t add up, they call for changes. They don’t know the difference between a good match and a bad match. A top talent that draws and a jobber. It’s just numbers.

As for the issues between Vince McMahon and Triple H, it’s clear a tension exists because they have different visions. It’s very difficult to evaluate just how much damage this tension causes and I wouldn’t even want to guess. I don’t see a situation where Vince McMahon is “forced to resign,�� as one thing that is communicated to investors in WWE’s filings is that the loss of Vince would significantly impact the company’s key financial drivers.

From the Ask WNW vault…

April 2009: Could we see Kurt Angle in WWE again? - Anything is possible but I really do not believe Kurt Angle has another WWE run left in him. Angle is 40-years-old and is not in the best health. Along with neck problems, Angle has dealt with several other ailments and is currently dealing with a pulled groin. Angle maintains he's going to try a career at MMA but I don't see that happening either.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Monday, January 26, 2015.

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