Roman Reigns’ ascent to the top of WWE received a huge boost Sunday night, as The Powerhouse won the Royal Rumble match to become the No. 1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXXI.
The final four left in the match were Reigns, Big Show, Kane and Rusev. Reigns eliminated Kane and Big Show, only to have the return get back into the ring anyway and attack Reigns.
Then The Rock made his shocking return to WWE to make the save for Reigns and take out Show and Kane.
However, Rusev had been hiding under the ring, biding his time. He attempted to surprise Reigns but ate a spear instead. After that, the outcome was academic:
The Rock held Reigns’ arm up in triumph, which did little to turn the Philadelphia crowd in Reigns’ favor after it vociferously booed him the entire match.
And boy were fans pissed. There were reports that they flooded the WWE Network — where subscription numbers have been a consistent disappointment for shareholders (of which I am a small one, but do not really follow the financial aspects very closely) — with cancellation requests and crashed the server (#CancelWWENetwork is still trending on Twitter this morning), as well as Philly spectators who claimed they were taking out their frustrations by blocking wrestlers’ cars from exiting the arena.
Fans realized Reigns would win the Rumble as soon as Daniel Bryan was eliminated (even before that some saw betting odds shift drastically, signifying a leak), and loudly voiced their frustration both on social media and in the arena for the duration of the match.
The 29-year-old superstar has been heralded by many as the future of the company over the past year, and his Rumble triumph proves that WWE officials feel the same way.