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Here’s Why Roman Reigns’ Royal Rumble Win was Criticized by the WWE Universe

Published 12/12/2020, 8:55 AM EST

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Roman Reigns has accomplished a lot in WWE including WWE Championships, Universal Championship, United States and Intercontinental Championships.

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The Tribal Chief has won it all, but his most controversial of wins came at the 2015 Royal Rumble. Entering at #19, Roman would withstand the toughest of challenges to emerge victorious to the chagrin of the entire WWE Universe.

Roman Reigns: Winner of the 2015 Royal Rumble


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Reigns’ Rumble victory in 2015 remains WWE’s most embarrassing moment since the Montreal Screwjob. Never has the WWE managed to book a babyface so poorly.

It confirmed the notion that Roman Reigns was the wrong person pushed at the wrong time and against the absolute wrong person.


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Coming off a terrible neck injury, Daniel Bryan was hellbent on reclaiming the title he never lost. Having relinquished the title in 2014, Brock Lesnar massacred John Cena to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Fans salivated at the prospect of seeing Daniel Bryan face Brock Lesnar, but WWE dashed the fans’ hopes real quick.

Bryan entered the Rumble at #10, running wild on the Wyatt Family. He dominated a large stretch of the match and also had the WWE Universe on his side. He tried to get rid of Bray Wyatt and Rusev at the same time, but the two larger men proved too difficult for him to handle by himself. After fighting of Rusev, Daniel was blasted off the apron by Bray Wyatt, eliminating him in a matter of minutes.

Daniel Bryan’s elimination led to disaster

Bryan sold the elimination like the world collapsed around him. It was eerily similar to how Shawn Michaels reacted to his elimination in 2010.

The Philadelphia crowd tuned out after Bryan’s elimination. Reigns entered at #19 but instead of reviving the crowd, he was treated like the biggest heel in the business.

It was clear that WWE was pushing Roman to the moon. He had the look, the move set, the iconic lineage, and even the ability to hang with the best of the best.

However, the WWE Universe saw Roman as a means of WWE ignoring the fans’ wishes and forcing Roman down their throats. It was obvious how popular Bryan was, but WWE went with the decision to push Reigns.

Roman was faced with adversity, when he was cornered by Kane and Big Show. The giants were the least popular choices to reach the final four, which led to even more negative reactions once Reigns eliminated them.


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Reigns thought he had the match won, but did not realise that Rusev was still in the match. The Bulgarian tried to catch Reigns by surprise, but Roman still emerged victorious.

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The Rock couldn’t save Roman Reigns from the boos


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The most shocking part of the match was that even The Rock could not help increase Roman’s popularity. After eliminating Kane and Big Show, the duo returned to destroy Reigns. Out walked The Rock, who took down the giants and swung the match in Roman’s favour.

The 2015 Royal Rumble was a dark spot in WWE’s near perfect run from 2014 to 2015 with the Authority angle and Brock Lesnar as champion. However, it did lead to a very cathartic moment at WrestleMania 31. After all, who will ever forget the Heist of the Century?



Nathan Fulgado

1399 articles

Nathan Fulgado is a WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports. Having published close to 1000 professional wrestling articles, Nathan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier's College. He has previously worked at Free Press Journal as a local journalist.