LaBar: Why Triple H is the WWE champion again
The outcomes of the matches at the Royal Rumble weren't a surprise to me or many others, but it is the best for business given the state of the WWE roster.
It had an excellent start and showing from Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose to open the show. I expect big things from both of them at WrestleMania. Stars are injured, and spots were available for those two to step up and have a moment.
Charlotte retained her Divas title, and I feel every finish involving her father just looks awkward. I think she has the heat she needs, I'd prefer to not see Ric anymore with her. The appearance of Sasha Banks in what looks to be a solo role is the best use of her and it came in front of the NXT-based Orlando crowd which appreciated it and certainly enhanced the moment.
Rumble might most be remembered by many fans for the WWE debut of AJ Styles. It was smart to have him come in to the Rumble match early, keep him away from the end of it and the serious idea in fans' minds that he was going to win. That would have distracted from the actual finish. Also it was a smart move to have him eliminated by Owens to take that heat.
Of course, the night ended with the veteran Triple H returning to avenge the beating he took from Roman Reigns. He eliminated Reigns and went on to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for the 14th time.
On the road to WrestleMania with 70 days until the big show, that's more than enough time for one of the smartest performers ever to do what the business goal is. Triple H, along with Vince and Stephanie McMahon, will be able to generate the heat on them needed and interest in Reigns for his WrestleMania moment.
Triple H gets the heat as a character and knows how to manipulate the audience. Triple H also gets the heat as the executive who has just made himself the champ and what we assume is the main event of WrestleMania.
With the roster missing out on John Cena, Seth Rollins and Randy Orton — all are injured -- it's the best situation.
To enhance Reigns and the match, WWE needs to make the marquee event as sexy as possible. If the stars align, it will be Reigns, with The Rock and Ronda Rousey in his corner, versus Triple H with Vince and Stephanie in his corner. Toss in Stone Cold Steve Austin as the only sheriff in town who could referee and control that madness.
That, my friends, is a WrestleMania main event which gets the mainstream attention and could help contribute to 100,000 people filling Dallas Cowboys stadium.
Justin Labar is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. He can be reached at 412-320-7949 or firstname.lastname@example.org.