Sure, wresting is scripted and considered fake to most of the world, but so is every single show on TV (outside of The Bachelor, of course). That said, to the WWE universe it’s as real as it gets, and the Royal Rumble is no exception. When it comes to the Rumble, there is just something different and special about it. Sure, the outcome is predetermined, but it’s the one time a year where you never know what is going to happen or who just might walk down that ramp and enter the Rumble. Call me crazy, but unless your name is Heath Slater, you have a shot a winning the Royal Rumble and headlining the biggest event in sports entertainment, WrestleMania. Or at least that’s what Michael Cole wants you to believe.
This is the first year in a while where there is not a single clear-cut favorite as the WWE is pulling out all the stops and part-timers galore with names such as Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, and The Undertaker headlining the Rumble. They are even kicking the tires on the Big Show; hopefully the ring is getting some extra support for all the big men. It’s shaping up to be the biggest and baddest 30-man roster and with the brand split taking place last year, the field is wide open. Intrigue and Internet rumors are running wild these days. Everyone, myself included, is going to attempt to figure out what the hell is going to happen while answering the five most intriguing questions I have heading into the 30th annual Royal Rumble.
1. What happens between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg?
Brock Lesnar and Goldberg are entering the Rumble first and second or at least that’s how it should be booked. They could care less about the other 29 Superstars. Ask Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker how that worked out in 2008. After Brock was famously disposed of by Goldberg in a minute and change, expect these two to mainly focus on one another for most of the Rumble. I see a scenario similar to the 2008 Rumble when Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker focused so much on one another that some random Superstar ended up eliminating them. Unless Goldberg is in talks to make a semi-full-time return it makes little sense to have either win and challenge for the title.
2. Will a SmackDown or Raw Superstar win the Rumble?
Plain and simple it’s going to be a RAW Superstar. Sure, SmackDown is the better show and it’s shown in the ratings. The only way they put a SmackDown guy in the driver’s seat for Mania is if Cena loses to AJ Styles, then decides to enter the Rumble and wins, which would mean the Styles match ended in some sort of foul play. Don’t forget the Club will be in there as they are going for the Tag Team Titles that night. Could we see a reunion of sorts? Well, if we do, expect Cena to be hell-bent on getting even with Styles as Cena has been a bit edgier of late. That all said, it’s a bit of a fantasy book on my part. It’s going to be a RAW guy and they will certainly go for the Universal Title in an attempt to make us believe that is the stronger belt.
3. Who will be your surprise entrants this year?
This is what the Rumble is all about, the element of surprise. Sure, 22 of the 30 spots are spoken for, but we have no clue as to when those 22 Superstars will walk down that ramp. For the other eight open spots, they usually include a legend or two, such as the Boogeyman or Bob Backlund, as well as an NXT call-up. For that slot, this year my money is on Samoa Joe. It’s his time; he’s done all that he can at NXT and with the WWE billing this as the biggest Rumble ever, Joe’s size alone makes him a perfect call-up candidate. The WWE also loves to throw in a fall guy, as I like to call it, similar to a Santino, whose entrance would taking longer than his time in the Rumble. You can always look to injured Superstars to make a comeback. Finn Balor is a possibility; there’s a hot rumor floating around that he has been testing out the injured shoulder to see if it’s ready, and if rumors come true, that makes the Rumble even bigger with Balor in the fold. What I expect to happen is the losers of the Universal and WWE Title Matches to enter. Kevin Owens makes that move a perfect fit. Roman Reigns makes sense because it’s an excuse to shove him down outlets’ throats more, Styles for a similar if not exact same reason as Owens, and Cena, well, because it’s John Cena and he never gives up. Whatever the WWE decides to do with the last eight spots will be interesting. Don’t expect a Ricky the Dragon Stream Boat. If it’s the biggest and most open Rumble of all time we can’t have a bunch of out of shape over the hill wrestlers weakening the field, now can we?
4. Who are the dark horse options to win the Rumble?
Everyone loves that dark horse bet don’t they? It’s a chance to make yourself look like an expert among friends. Well I’ve got my eye on two excellent options for this honor. Ignore the chances of Axel winning it even if I don’t think he’s still been eliminated for the past 2-3 years.
On the RAW side, it’s Braun Strowman! I know what you are thinking, “Way to go out on a limb there.” I know, Braun is massive and looks absolutely unstoppable, but had I told you 3-4 years ago that Braun Strowman would win a Royal Rumble with the likes of Orton, Lesnar, Goldberg and so on, you’d say I was nuts. He’s very green in the ring still but we all know how much Vince loves a big guy. Remember when he put Big Cass in the title picture while Enzo was out? “How You Doin!” Plus he has authority lackey written all over him, especially once this Triple H/Seth Rollins feud really starts cooking – but more on that later. So it’s simple, you put Braun over by beating the best Rumble feild in history, then flank him with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H to hide some of his microphone flaws, and boom, you have a monster heel heading into Mania and Triple H and Braun dismantling 2/3 of the Shield, if Reigns wins, of course.
On the SmackDown side it’s Baron Corbin. At first I thought, “Who is the balding long-haired tattooed guy with an undefined gimmick?”. I hated the Andre the Giant Battle Royal winner because I figured, here we go again, another Cesaro, let them win a ‘meaningful’ trophy and bury them after that. Well, something amazing happened to the career for Corbin; the brand split happened and he got drafted to SmackDown, the ‘secondary’ show. Corbin was able to work on his craft and define his gimmick a bit more, which is the beauty of SmackDown. They know it’s not the flagship program so they are willing to take a lot more risks instead of going by the same routine every week. Which brings me back to Corbin and how far he’s come. He is a bona fide main event player on SmackDown, having insanely good matches with Cena, Ziggler and Styles. He’s got the “it” factor and the size. He’s going to be a future champion, mark my words.
5. What do you do with Seth Rollins?
I love Seth Rollins, and for his status to be up in the air is frustrating, but interesting at the same time.
As most of you know, Rollins lost his Rumble spot to Sami Zayn after Triple H’s music hit and the distraction caused Rollins to lose. That was this past Monday which means Rollins currently doesn’t have anything to do at the Rumble. But don’t think for one second Seth “Freakin” Rollins won’t be playing a major part Sunday. Maybe Rollins just enters no matter what anyone says, maybe he comes out and just starts tossing people out of the Rumble – remember this is a no-DQ match. Maybe Triple H makes an appearance and gets this Mania feud going by taking Rollins out of the picture. It’s most likely going to come down to two options. One being, he’s not allowed in the arena and makes it back in time for the Rumble, which has been done countless times. The other option is, he will be asked to beat some stacked deck in an impromptu match at some point to get in. Which has also been done before but has a lot more options and gives other Superstars something to do. However they chose to use The Man, expect it to have a major impact, as the architect is too good to do nothing.
Well there are my five questions going into the Royal Rumble that I’m most interested in. Now on to the other matches on the card, and I will be brief in picking the winners of these matches. It’s tough because I get going with my “booger-eating”, at least that’s what that wacko Colin Cowherd thinks we do as wrestling fans (screw you pal). Alright guys, here’s the picks for Sunday’s card with a Rumble winner prediction.
Rich Swann (c) vs Neville
Let’s see what Neville can do as top dog and heel of the 205 Live Crew.
Nia Jax vs Sasha Banks
Winner: Nia Jax
If Jax doesn’t win, does that destroy everything they have built her into? Plus, this feud is tied to the Bayley/Charlotte feu,d so maybe a ‘fatal four’ at Mania is in order.
Tag Team Titles
Sheamus & Cesaro (c) vs The Club
Winner: The Club
It’s time to break up Sheamus and Cesaro and see what Gallows and Anderson can do as champs. They have earned that chance.
AJ Styles vs John Cena
I was heavily leaning Cena because it opens up more interesting WrestleMania opportunities, but with Elimination Chamber a few weeks away and Cena most certainly in that. You have Cena win it there, boost that PPV rating up and give Styles a big time signature win in front of 70k at the Rumble.
Charlotte Flair (c) vs Bayley
The rich privileged woman vs. the underdog, a classic WWE booking. This to me isn’t close to the Banks/Charlotte feud but you can’t have them wrestle every week at a PPV. So Bayley steps in, and she will lose to the queen of PPV but not without controversy, setting up a rematch at some point.
Nikki Bella, Naomi and Becky Lynch vs Alexa Bliss, Natyla and Mickie James
With most of the roster involved in the Rumble, it’s a nice filler match for the card. Let’s have all the Face women take on all the Heels on the SmackDown roster. All I know is it’s an excuse to watch more Mickie James. I can’t quite figure out what’s wrong with her, she’s got some crazy to her. I don’t really remember the Mickie James days but it is an interesting move bringing her back, possibly to help out a very young roster on the SmackDown side.
Winner: Team Bliss
WWE Universal Title
Kevin Owens (c) vs Roman Reigns
No DQ/Jericho in Shark Cage
Winner: Roman Reigns
Please believe that Shark Cage will be in play at some point. This is a perfect opportunity to have KO and Y2K breakup. As much as I love the pairing, Y2K has Fozzy tour dates coming up after Mania, and he’s going to be unavailable, so do it now. Have him cost KO the title and boom, done. Plus I’m sure Vince is past the whole Reigns suspension thing and thinks he’s suffered enough and will probably put the title back on him, even if we, the fans, don’t want it. But screw us right?
Winner: The Undertaker
He’s going to enter 30th because of that goddamn five-minute entrance at any other spot in the Rumble and he’s getting passed on the ramp like a slow driver on the highway. Anyways, Taker wins because he is the only guy that can win the Rumble, challenge for whatever belt or opponent he chooses and go to Wrestlemania and win that title one last time. He can retire the next night on RAW and not one person would have a problem with that. He’s that over fans and management. The Dead Guy will hand pick his final match in WWE. Calling it now!
We have made it to the end, How you doin?
Alright guys enough of my babbling! Thanks for checking this out and let’s hope your number hits in your Rumble pool! Enjoy the Rumble, you booger-eaters!! This has been Awe….Some( I just did that so I have an excuse to post a picture of Maryse…Ooo la la) sorry honey.