Relive Roman Reigns' controversial (and incredibly unpopular) Royal Rumble victory

BY Nick Schwartz • January 23, 2017

With just a few days left until the 2017 Royal Rumble on Sunday in the Alamodome, WWE has been sharing some of the best moments in the history of the Royal Rumble match - from Mick Foley's surprise return in 2012 to Jim Duggan's victory in the inaugural Royal Rumble.

WWE also posted a clip from the most controversial Royal Rumble of them all, where a victorious Roman Reigns was booed out of the building in Philadelphia on his way to main eventing WrestleMania later that year.

https://twitter.com/WWE/status/823485761261449217

In 2017, WWE has done a masterful job of creating a completely wide-open Royal Rumble. You could make an argument for 10 different stars currently announced for this year's match to win, which hasn't always been the case.

Two years ago, Daniel Bryan was the clear fan choice to win the Rumble and return to the top of the WWE food chain. He won the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX but was forced to leave WWE shortly after in the summer of 2014 due to health issues (which would eventually end his career). Bryan finally returned for the Royal Rumble, and most felt that he deserved to pick up where he left off.

WWE had very different plans, however. Bryan entered at the No. 10 spot in the 2015 Rumble, and he lasted just over 10 minutes.

 

Bryan delivered a series of Yes kicks to Rusev and Bray Wyatt, but Wyatt recovered and reversed one of the strikes, allowing Rusev to deliver a superkick. Rusev then tossed Bryan over the rope and onto the apron, but he was able to keep Rusev from knocking him out of the match with a forearm to the face. Wyatt, however, eliminated Bryan with a simple - almost insultingly so - shoulder barge. Bryan's WrestleMania dream, and that of seemingly every fan in the arena, was crushed.

 

From that very moment, the crowd turned on every wrestler remaining for the remainder of the Rumble. Boos started to wash over the broadcast, broken up only by intermittent chants of “Daniel Bryan.” Fans inside the Wells Fargo Center felt betrayed, and they made it their objective to disapprove of everything for the final 30 minutes of the show.

Reigns entered at No. 19, and quickly cleared the ring of Goldust and Stardust (Reigns would go on to eliminate six stars in total).

Kane, The Big Show and Reigns were the final three left standing. An exhausted and depleted Reigns was pummeled by two of the biggest stars on the roster, only to stave off elimination and topple both men over the top rope at once to win in what was a false ending (as Rusev had never gone over the top rope). Kane and Big Show - members of the Authority at the time - then jumped back in the ring to attack Reigns.

 

The Rock made a surprise appearance to defend his cousin Reigns, but even one of the most popular WWE stars of all time couldn’t satisfy the Philadelphia crowd. He laid out both Kane and The Big Show, setting the stage for Rusev to jump back in the ring, take a spear and be tossed over the top by Reigns.

Reigns went on to face Brock Lesnar in the main event of WrestleMania 31, but Seth Rollins saved the day by cashing in his Money In The Bank contract at the end of the match and walking out as the new WWE World Champion.

Reigns opened up about the reaction he faced in a recent True Story of the Royal Rumble special.

“They booed me louder than I’ve ever heard before. I’ve never heard any bad guy get booed like that."


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