Vince McMahon and top WWE officials were legitimately surprised at the intensity of backlash they saw from the live crowd at Sunday’s WWE Royal Rumble match.
While WWE knew some fans would not be on board with Reigns winning the Rumble instead of Daniel Bryan, the feeling is that WWE painfully underestimated how people would react. According to Dave Melzter of the Wrestling Observer, “They panicked early, they changed a few things.”
The Rock in particular was caught off-guard by the situation, with Meltzer noting, “Dwayne was not happy.” After making a surprise appearance at the end of the show to support his cousin and help him win the Rumble, The Rock was visibly surprised and it showed in the ring and during his post-show backstage promo on the WWE Network.
Despite the #CancelWWENetwork craze, Vince McMahon is ‘dead set’ on sticking to the Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar WrestleMania main event. The feeling is that WWE caved last year by adding Daniel Bryan to the main event and most likely will not be going the same route this year. Meltzer said, “Vince feels that it would be a repeat and gone to the well one time too often.”
* WWE ROYAL RUMBLE REACTION: Highs, Lows & Random Thoughts
(Information from Wrestling Observer Radio was used in this report. Visit f4wonline.com for subscription information)