Royal Rumble is only a matter of days away now, and with every Royal Rumble my excitement level is at a yearly high for a WWE PPV. The big thing with the rumble is the surprise entrants and as we only have 23 confimed wrestlers for the match there should be a number of shocks coming this year- but that’s not the only match taking place so lets break down how I think the night will go.
I recently produced an article on how I would book the rumble (Seen here) but lets look at the actual card and how this should all play out.
6women Tag Team Match (Mickie James, Alexa Bliss, Natalya Vs Naomi, Becky Lynch & Nikki Bella)
How creative has got to this match has dissapointed me a little- I was really hoping besides the Raw championship match we would get a women’s Royal Rumble but at least we get to see some more talented wrestlers from the division on the card. The debut of Mickie in Smackdown was good and helps add star power to their division, and not only that but helps move Becky out of the title picture for the first time since the brand split. Seeing these two feud should be fun, but I’m excited to see Bliss and Naomi go at it here too, this build was left late but should deliver in the ring. I am fully expecting some shenanigans from the heel team here that lead to them getting the victory, this should be a good match either way.
Winners: Bliss, James and Natalya in a good match.
Cesaro & Sheamus Vs Anderson & Gallows (Tag Team Titles)
This match may have the silliest stipulation on the card- two referees? I understand there have been some behind the referee interference recently but I only see this being a tool to still muddy the match and have a ref bump that leads to a third official having to come down the ramp and get involved in the match to make a decision that seems wrong! I’m hoping in all hope that I’m wrong about that and they let these two talented teams go out there and simply wrestle a good match, but that’s not what I see in the future. The ‘Club’ should have already won the titles a while ago so a switch here seems like the only logical move or you can consider the team dead in the WWE waters and this would be an utter waste. The match only makes the pre-show too, which only continues to highlight how little faith the WWE have in the tag team divisions as surely all titles should be defended on the main show? This seems like the time to split Cesaro and Sheamus and get cesaro the main event push he has so deserved for so long.
Winner: Anderson & Gallows (but about 3months too late)
Rich Swann Vs Neville (Cruiserweight Championship)
Raw has wasted the cruiser-weights- there I said It! They have 6minutes a match and many of them are multi-man similar affairs, this just isn’t what the division needed to thrive. However a month ago a shining light was given to the division in the return of Neville, and he has legitimately stolen the entire divisions thunder since he showed up- his ‘King of the Cruiser-weights’ gimmick is brilliant and he has a point about being forgotten, while at the same time he has delivered time and time again in the short mathces hes been given. Swann has been a stand out talent in the division since he debuted on NXT, and seeing him win the gold was a great moment, but this feud has been the best he has looked. If these two are given a decent length of time they should deliver one of the more exciting matches on the card, I expect it to fast paced, high flying and down right hard hitting at times. However as is only right the King will reign supreme at the end here and the division gets the big creative bump it has been longing for.
Sasha Banks Vs Nia Jax
This has been a well built feud- the WWE have given it time to slowly develop and have kept the two women out of the ring together in the most part helping this match feel special as its the first real time they will clash. Sasha has had one of the best feuds of 2016 in her time with Charlotte, but its felt as though she has never really been picked as a top talent due to the fact that she has been dropping the belt (Charlotte too, but shes booked so much better) and has a few injury worries so seeing her moved out of the picture may be best for her right now. Nia on the other hand has been dominant over and over again on TV but hasn’t yet scored a win over any of the top talent on PPV, but now is the time and that allows Nia to move forward towards WrestleMania looking dominant. A win here really cements Nia as one of the top talents and adds some new elements to Charlotte title hunt.
Winner: Nia Jax in a fairly dominant display.
Kevin Owens Vs Roman Reigns (Universal Championship)
The booking of this match has been poor- I’m enjoying Kevin and Chris together and don’t hate Reigns but constantly having him get the better of two men, especially on Raw this week is a poor choice. Reigns doesn’t need the superman booking in post match scenarios he gets enough of that in match, and seeing Owens decimate him the week before and show a hint of return to his awesome ‘Prizefighter’ gimmick should have continued. However all that aside we have Jericho in a shark cage above the ring during the match and we have Reigns stuck in role that WWE are forcing on him and its only hurting him at this point- he’s not a bad talent just poorly booked. And it seems inevitable that he is going to win based on previous company decisions, but for me the better money is on Owens Vs Jericho at Mania as the Universal Title wont be the showpiece anyhow. I’m expecting this to be a good match between the two and hopefully Owens finds a way to better Reigns on his own (Jericho staying in the cage would be best) only adding to the whole ego of KO and his I don’t need Y2J train of thought. Its not beyond the realms of possibility that they go with Reigns and have Taker win the rumble for the two too clash at Mania, but without a real character change for Reigns that equals huge boos! So the good bet here is on Owens retaining and moving forward to Mania.
Winner: Kevin Owens on his own!
Charlotte Vs Bayley (Raw Womens Championship)
This feels like the first of an ongoing series between these two women, I’m convinced we will see this match again at WrestleMania and that may very well be where Bailey gets her big win. That’s not what I want however, with the recent flip-flopping of the title between Charlotte and Sasha ideally Charlotte should hold this title through WrestleMania season and into the summer to give it some credibility- or if you read my booking above Asuka should take it and hold for a good 6months! This title needs some stability now before it becomes nothing more than a prop like the US Title, and having Charlotte retain in a hard fought match here, with a slightly screwy finish, like a rake to the eyes or Bayley lands awkwardly on the knee to set-up a figure8. Either way there is only one decision here for me, and that is that Charlotte retains and remains the ‘Queen of PPV.’
AJ Styles Vs John Cena (WWE Title)
This for me is the easiest one to predict, at least based upon WWE logic. John Cena goes in and John Cena leaves with the WWE title and ties Ric Flairs record- however that couldn’t be further from what i want to see happen or than what is best for the company at this point. AJ has been the best thing in the company since the brand split and has carried Smackdown as its crowning glory, and deserves to carry the title into and out of WrestleMania as he isn’t showing any signs of slowing his momentum at all. For me he should win this match clean or with the help of Omega (long shot at this point) or Samoa Joe- as this would give another top talent to Samckdown and help fill the Elimination Chamber slots at the next PPV while also giving us a Cena feud at Mania. However if we know anything from the WWE when it comes to Cena, its that ‘His time is Now, and the last 12years and maybe the next 4years.’ Maybe they’ll throw a surprise out there, but for me this should be an amazing match with a less than brilliantly predictable ending- shame really!
Winner: John Cena- recognise (Ughh)
30 Man Royal Rumble
This is the hardest match to predict and always the most exciting of the year, in terms of unknown quantity for the WWE. This years rumble is massively stacked with part-time attractions including Brock Lesnar, Goldberg and the Undertaker but also has some real top tier talent in there like Miz, Ambrose, Rusev and Jericho. And while many are expecting the Undertaker to win- this is where my money is at as Taker doesn’t need a title shot to make his WrestleMania appearance meaningful, just give him a guy like Corbin or Reigns.
Theres always a ton of surprise appearances and this year should be no different with Tye Dillenger in at number 10 (If not fire the creative team now!) and I’m expecting to see Samoa Joe make his way into this Rumble along with some other nice surprises and maybe returns. I’m hoping Shelton Benjamin comes out with Angle- not for Angle to wrestle but to just hear his music as he introduces one of his former proteges- but this hinges on his injury status. Along with this I’m hopeful for Bobby Roode maybe to appear and why not get Chris Hero (Kassius Ohno) in the Rumble even if he goes back to NXT as it would appear is the case.
WWE wont surprise us with the winner and I see Taker getting it just to challenge Cena at mania for the title- But wouldn’t it be brilliant to see Jericho or Miz score the win to put on a better Wrestling Match at Mania? Hell even have Joe win the thing and challenge AJ or CEna at Mania- that would be epic!
Winner: Unfortunately the Undertaker Eliminates Corbin and Joe as the last three to win. (Hopefully not)