Unless WWE pulls a huge swerve and Reigns somehow doesn't end up as one of the final participants in this year's Royal Rumble Match, he stands to make himself the biggest Rumble Match threat in the company. His performance in 2014 was one of the first major accomplishments he had as an individual in WWE, and his performance last year landed him in the main event of WrestleMania 31. Being the first man forced to defend a championship in the Rumble Match means Reigns' role in this year's 30-man battle royal is already ground-breaking.
If Reigns can pull off another Rumble win this year, he will be following in the footsteps of arguably the two biggest stars in WWE history. Both Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin won back-to-back Rumbles during their 2nd and 3rd attempts. In fact, just like Hogan, Reigns set the new record for most eliminations in his first Rumble Match. Based on what happened in 2014 and 2015, what can we expect from The Big Dog in 2016? Roman Reigns will be the next subject in a series of "Royal Rumble Résumé" articles (including Brock Lesnar, John Cena, The Rock, The Undertaker, Randy Orton, Triple H and The Big Show) in which we take a look at some of the biggest names in WWE, how they have fared at the Rumble in the past, and make predictions for how they will do this year.
For each WWE Superstar, we will take a look at both their experience in the Rumble Match and in other matches at the Rumble PPV.
Roman Reigns' singles matches at Royal Rumble
Aside from interfering on CM Punk's behalf in the WWE Championship Match at 2013's Royal Rumble event (attacking his cousin The Rock, no less) as part of The Shield, Reigns has only appeared at the Royal Rumble as part of the battle royal. For the record, his interference did lead to CM Punk pinning The Rock, but the decision was reversed and the longest WWE Championship reign of the modern era came to an end.
Royal Rumble Match entry number
In 2014, Reigns drew #15. He came in at #19 last year, giving him an average at exactly #17. Since Reigns isn't known for his stamina the way someone like Dean Ambrose or Neville might be, it would make sense for him to always enter somewhere around the middle, giving him plenty of time to throw people around but not so much time that he's exhausted by the end.
However, since he's in the middle of a storyline in which Vince McMahon is constantly putting as many obstacles in Roman's path as possible, don't be surprised if Reigns is forced to enter at #1. When Austin was at the height of his feud with Vince, he was forced to enter at #1. That's the year Mr. McMahon won the Rumble.
Length of stay and elimination order
Having lasted until the very end of the match the last two years, Reigns averages just over 30 minutes in the ring per Rumble. That puts him in the same class as guys like The Rock and Triple H. Of anyone who has entered more than one Rumble Match, no one has ever been #29 their first year and the winner the next. All signs point to him doing one of those two things again this year.
Reigns made a huge impact his first year by eliminating a dozen guys, surpassing the record Kane set over a decade prior. That included guys like Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, and surprise entrants Kevin Nash and JBL. Eliminating half as many guys last year, his list of victims still included Kane, Big Show, Rusev, and both Rhodes brothers.
It took the winner of 2014's event (Batista) to eliminate Roman during his first attempt, and no one was able to stop him last year. But this year, Brock Lesnar returns to the Rumble Match, and he's never been eliminated.
Based on his history (and current storyline progression), it's likely that Reigns will enter early and last until the end. It seems almost inevitable that it will come down to Reigns and Lesnar at the end, and you can bet both men will toss at least a handful of guys out along the way.
Royal Rumble 2016 will air live on the WWE Network on January 17.