In a groundbreaking announcement on last week's "WWE SmackDown: New Year's Revolution" special, it was revealed that Roman Reigns, the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, will defend his title in a high-stakes fatal four-way match at the Royal Rumble.
The match sets Reigns against a formidable lineup of Randy Orton, LA Knight, and AJ Styles. This development was further elaborated on the latest episode of "Wrestling Observer Radio," where veteran wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer shed light on the initial plans WWE had for Reigns at this eagerly awaited event.
Meltzer revealed that the original script centered around a head-to-head showdown between Roman Reigns and Randy Orton. However, strategic considerations led to a change in plans. Key decision-makers within WWE felt it was premature to have Orton face defeat against Reigns at this juncture.
The rationale was grounded in the belief that a future program featuring Reigns and Orton could be significantly lucrative, but rushing into it could potentially undermine its impact. Orton, a seasoned wrestler who recently made a comeback at WWE Survivor Series: WarGames following an injury hiatus, has not competed against Reigns in a one-on-one televised match since 2015.
During that period, Reigns was being vigorously promoted as the new face of WWE, a move that received mixed reactions from the audience. Reigns' ascendancy to the top tier of WWE has been a journey marked by both triumphs and challenges, exemplifying the dynamic nature of professional wrestling.
Royal Rumble's Surprising Twist
In a recent episode of "WWE SmackDown," Orton openly challenged Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble. Reigns, known for his commanding presence as the "Head of the Table," dismissed Orton's challenge, questioning his qualifications for such a high-profile match.
The storyline took another turn when "SmackDown" General Manager Nick Aldis announced the fatal four-way match for the Royal Rumble, following an interference by Reigns and Solo Sikoa in a match that was set to determine the number one contender, featuring Orton, Knight, and Styles.
This latest twist adds another layer of intrigue to the already electric atmosphere surrounding WWE's Royal Rumble. Fans are eagerly anticipating how these developments will unfold, setting the stage for an unforgettable showdown at one of the most anticipated events in the WWE calendar.