Sometimes even a company notorious for its opposition to the “obvious” outcome has no choice but to book along that predictable journey.

WWE tried to throw fans for a loop at the Royal Rumble, but when push came to shove, it followed through on the two obvious plans: John Cena won the Royal Rumble match, and The Rock won the WWE Championship.

The latter was put into slight jeopardy when the lights went out to interrupt a People’s Elbow. At that point, a group of men–The Shield, but technically unidentifiable due to the lights–attacked the People’s Champion and slammed him through the announce table.

CM Punk took advantage and rolled Rock into the ring for a pin, giving the impression that he unpredictably leave the Rumble with the WWE Championship.

But fans with even a hint of savvy knew the show would not end that way–especially with nearly twenty minutes left on the broadcast. Vince McMahon, noting the stipulation that Punk would be stripped of the title if The Shield got involved, came out to make that ruling, but he was interrupted by The Rock, who wanted to win the match the right way.

The match was re-started, and The Rock overcame an early assault to win with the People’s Elbow. Punk’s lengthy WWE reign is over, and the pieces are now in place for a Rock vs. Cena rematch at WrestleMania.

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