For too long, the Royal Rumble has been a predictable opening chapter in every new year of WWE programming. Roman Reigns, Batista and John Cena, the three most recent winners of the titular 30-man battle royal, were all babyfaces when they posed for the obligatory point-at-the-WrestleMania-graphic closing image. But because their victories were so painfully predictable, they were all booed as if they were white-hot heels.
In 2016, WWE should buck their own trend and reinstall some shock value into their fourth-oldest PPV. With Cesaro, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton and Seth Rollins currently inactive due to injury, now is a difficult time to book a WWE PPV. With a depleted but talented roster, here are 10 men we would turn to in order to make the 2016 Royal Rumble and the Road the WrestleMania 32 the start of a great year for wrestling.
Okay, these days, a surprise appearance from Jericho is hardly a surprise at all. His most recent “shock” return was at Night of Champions in September, when he joined Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns in a losing effort against the Wyatt Family. His most recent match, though, was against Kevin Owens at Live from Madison Square Garden on October 3. Owens has recently been feuding with Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship. But something is missing from what should be an exciting feud. For this writer, that something is a someone: the record nine-time Intercontinental Champion, Chris Jericho.
Bring him into the Royal Rumble match at a time when Owens and Ambrose are left alone in the ring. This would create a sense of urgency not only in the match but in an underwhelming feud, which screams of two guys who don’t like each other just because they don’t like each other. Suddenly, heading into WrestleMania season, three of the best talkers in WWE are competing for what should be a prestigious championship and, more importantly, they are all set on stealing the show on April 3.