We’re just two weeks away from the Royal Rumble event, and emotions are running at an all-time high in the WWE locker room. After The Authority unceremoniously fired Dolph Ziggler, Ryback and Erick Rowan last week on Raw, the entire roster is seemingly in a constant state of unease — many fearing for their jobs. Will other Superstars, including Authority enemies Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, face severe consequences for their defiance this week? What awaits as WWE’s flagship show emanates live from New Orleans, the site of WrestleMania 30? WWE.com has some ideas.
1.) Who will be punished by The Authority?
On SmackDown, Roman Reigns was faced with a difficult decision: Either he face Seth Rollins and Big Show in a Handicap Match, or find a partner knowing that whichever willing ally he chose could face repercussions from The Authority. That ally would be revealed as Dean Ambrose, Reigns’ former Shield compatriot who helped the powerhouse defeat Mr. Money in the Bank and the giant in the evening’s main event. Indeed, The Lunatic Fringe isn’t afraid of danger — just watch one of his matches against Bray Wyatt if you need proof — but his prior precarious entanglements could very well pale in comparison to what awaits this week. Will The Authority seek vengeance against Ambrose? Also, will Reigns’ continued opposition to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon affect his momentum headed into the Royal Rumble Match?
2.) Which Superstars will join the Royal Rumble Match?
A number of Superstars have already announced their participation in the 2015 Royal Rumble Match, including Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, United States Champion Rusev, Bray Wyatt and Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett. Among them could very well be the winner of this year’s over-the-top-rope extravaganza, but the man who will ultimately outlast 29 other Superstars may yet be revealed.
With the opportunity to battle for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the main event of WrestleMania 31 at stake, the Royal Rumble Match on Jan. 25 marks the supreme opportunity for a Superstar to rise above their peers and earn a spotlight on The Grandest Stage of Them All. Who will join this anticipated bout? Perhaps more names will be announced this week.
3.) Will distractions hurt John Cena's chances to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion?
Not only did Seth Rollins force John Cena to bring The Authority back into power on the final Raw of 2014, but the very next week, three members of the Cenation leader’s Survivor Series team — Dolph Ziggler, Ryback and Erick Rowan — were handed their walking papers for openly defying The Authority and helping Cena (temporarily) remove them from power. Although Cena can hardly be blamed for the cruel machinations of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, the guilt resting on the 15-time World Champion’s shoulders must be unbearable. Yet, despite what’s going through Cena’s mind these days, he must now battle both Seth Rollins and Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in two weeks at the Royal Rumble event. Will Cena’s recent frustrations be a help or a hindrance as he prepares to not only clash with The Beast Incarnate, but the calculating self-professed “future” of WWE? Moreover, will Cena face even more obstacles from The Authority this week?
4.) Is Nikki Bella title regin in jepoardy?
At Survivor Series, The Bella Twins were united once again, an alliance made all too apparent when Brie Bella planted a kiss on AJ Lee to distract the titleholder and allow Nikki to capture the Divas Championship. Since that night, Brie has helped her sinister sis cling to the butterfly-emblazoned prize, even as Natalya has remained hot on her heels.
The Bellas’ notorious two-on-one tactics were countered last Monday night, when Natalya found a new ally in Paige, the raven-haired rebel that’s got the entire WWE Universe talking after her “Total Divas” debut. The Diva of Tomorrow helped Natalya pick up a victory over Nikki Monday night, and Paige went on to best the champion the following night on WWE Main Event, exclusively on WWE Network. After facing defeat twice in one week thanks to her “Total Divas” nemeses, are Nikki Bella’s days as Divas Champion numbered?
5.) Is this the era of "Bad News?"
He’s only been back in action for two weeks, but 2015 has been remarkably kind to Bad News Barrett. Just seven days after returning from injury, Barrett — thanks in no small part to The Authority — defeated Dolph Ziggler to become Intercontinental Champion an impressive fifth time. The brawler followed up his championship victory by announcing that he will be part of the Royal Rumble Match on Jan. 25, a bout that could catapult Barrett to the main event of this year’s WrestleMania.
After facing a minor setback in the form of a loss to Sin Cara on SmackDown, Barrett’s post-match mauling of the masked Superstar proved that the Brit is incredibly dangerous even in defeat. How will Barrett prove his dominance this week?
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