They have a way out. We are less than two and a half weeks away from the Royal Rumble and things are starting to come together. That does not mean there is no room for some changes though, which makes some sense in one case as WWE has put together a rather surprising match. However, that match has been changed up quite a bit, with an addition, a subtraction and a replacement.

Last week’s SmackDown ended with a bit of a confusing moment as Universal Champion Roman Reigns helped Adam Pearce to win a gauntlet match, earning Pearce a shot at Reigns’ title. It certainly seemed like a plan, as Pearce had never wrestled a match in WWE prior to the gauntlet match and had not wrestled anywhere in six years. Something was going to change, and now the change has been made.

During this week’s SmackDown, Reigns signed a contract with Pearce for a Last Man Standing match for the Universal Title at Royal Rumble. However, Pearce limped up the ramp, saying an old knee injury was flaring up. As a WWE official, Pearce was allowed to name a suitable replacement to take his place in the match. Pearce then brought out Kevin Owens, who signed the contract and will face Reigns at the pay per view on January 31.

Opinion: I don’t think this is the biggest surprise in the world and that is ok. At the end of the day, Reigns vs. Pearce did not seem likely, but you could have said the same thing about Jey Uso and he got two pay per view title matches. Something like that happening once means that it could happen again, which made Pearce vs. Reigns a possibility. That is putting in the effort for the long term and it helped WWE here, even if it wasn’t going to mean anything in the end.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!

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