Quick question, followed by some of my own ruminations on the answer if I may:
Q: Should the WWE remove the prize of an automatic Wrestlemania Main Event title match for winning the Royal Rumble (and will they ever)?
For me I think the time has come to de-couple the two. By and large they got away with it up until 2004, then they had the option of multiple belts and multiple brands in order to add intrigue to the story of how the Mania upper card would be booked, but since they went back to 1 title belt in 2013 they have clearly run into problems both years and it seems to me that the automatic prize of a Wrestlemania Main Event is a really damaging and limiting the booking options.
It affects the booking of the Rumble itself as it makes it pretty obvious who will win it, usually between 1 or 2 at the most which takes away hugely from the enjoyment of the Rumble match as they have to book in line with the storylines and it removes any element of surprise or giving the Rumble win to somebody to elevate them or give them the rub.
It also cheapens the build to Mania itself as even though there is a PPV still to go, the main event is set in stone which leaves the champion and challenger in limbo, and gives an awfully long time for them to keep the interest alive.
Also, as seen in the last 2 years, if the public don't like the choice it gives the WWE a massive headache in terms of having to salvage Wrestlemania and re-work the card to save face.
All that could be solved, meaning the road to Wrestlemania is more fun and unpredictable, by simply saying that from next year the Rumble match does not carry the same prize, and merely the prize is to be the winner of the Rumble.
Yeah, I agree with your take here. We're also at two years in a row now where the Rumble winner failed in the main event of Wrestlemania, which hurts the stipulation even more. Not to mention the years where they'd fuck around with the title match via the Elimination Chamber anyway. The Rumble is prestigious enough as it is and with PPV being dead anyway, there's really no pressing reason to determine the Wrestlemania main event that way. If someone is worthy, the booking should reflect it well in advance.