The Road to Wrestlemania starts on Sunday. Before we get to the “Showcase of the Immortals,” 58 feet are going to have to get thrown over the top rope and hit the floor.
Here are some predictions for this Sunday’s Royal Rumble.
The Usos (c) vs Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
As much as I try and keep my predictions rooted in storyline progression and superstar push, my decision with this particular match is more centered in backstage politics.
Just a few weeks ago, champion Jey Uso was arrested for driving while intoxicated. If history tells us anything, we should expect a real-life punishment in a storyline scenario.
Prediction: Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin
Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan (c) vs. Sheamus and Cesaro for the Raw Tag Team Championships
Ok, back to being rooted in storyline.
Poor Seth Rollins is kind of stuck in limbo at the moment; after a brief (albeit successful) reunion with his Shield brothers, he finds himself ladled with Kurt Angle’s storyline son.
Jordan is an odd situation; he’s not really a heel, he’s not really a baby face, and he’s not really a “tweener.” In theory he’s a babyface, since he’s partnered with Seth Rollins, consistently pairing off against heels, and he’s got that obnoxious, spunky “let’s go get them guys” attitude. He also doesn’t really attack the crowd in the way most heels do.
Yet he’s consistently booed out of the arena; the WWE Universe can’t stand this guy. He’s talented in the ring, sure, but he’s also rather boring and bland.
Thankfully, WWE has heard the boos and seem to be running with them.
It’s time to progress the story. Have Rollins and Jordon drop the titles at the Rumble, and start working towards a program together to culminate at ‘Mania.
Prediction: Sheamus and Cesaro
AJ Styles (c) vs Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn for the WWE Championship
These are my three favorite guys in the company right now, so needless to say I’m salivating for this match.
This match will likely do more to progress the growing tension between Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan and Commissioner Shane McMahon; I’d be surprised if there wasn’t some outside interference from one or both of them.
I can’t see WWE naming “co-champions” this close to Wrestlemania though, especially because I think the Rumble will be won by a Smackdown superstar (more on that later).
Expect a fun, entertaining match that ends with AJ Styles retaining.
Prediction: AJ Styles
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Kane vs. Braun Stroman for the Universal Championship
Don’t expect technical wrestling here; this is going to be demolition derby of a match.
Over the last several weeks, we’ve seen all three superstars lay waste and carnage all over Raw, and now they will finally come head to head with the red brand’s top prize on the line.
This match should serve two main purposes: make Stroman look like an absolute monster and make Lesnar look unbeatable so that Roman Reigns looks that much more impressive when he beats him and wins the title at ‘Mania (ugh).
Lesnar goes over, Kane eats the pin.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar
(The first ever) Women’s Royal Rumble
Let’s get rid of the elephant in the room right off the bat: Yes, I sincerely believe Ronda Rousey will be at the Rumble. I’d even bet money on it.
I don’t think she’ll be in the Rumble. Here’s why.
If WWE puts Rousey in the Rumble, then she has to win it; not probably will, not should, she HAS to.
If you put Rousey in the match only to have her just tossed over the top rope and onto the floor, you essentially sabotaged one of your biggest draws for your upcoming Wrestlemania PPV.
Everyone expects Rousey to be the Lesnar equivalent in the Woman’s division. Yes, Lesnar was eliminated from the Rumble last year, but it took Goldberg to do it and there is no Goldberg equivalent in the women’s division, especially from a story angle.
Instead, WWE should give the win to the currently undefeated Asuka.
Put Asuka in early and let her overcome some incredible odds. Then send her off to ‘Mania to take the title off of Alexa Bliss.
The Royal Rumble
I was totally confident in this prediction heading into Monday. Then Roman Reigns dropped his intercontinental title on Raw’s 25th Anniversary show.
The Royal Rumble should serve the purpose of pushing a story forward or getting a star ready to take the next step in their career.
We all know Roman Reigns is going to go on to beat Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title at Wrestlemania, whether we love it or hate it.
Reign’s doesn’t need the Rumble to get to that match, as history has proved.
Instead, let’s let someone else shine; maybe someone who has all the main event star quality in the world who may have been saddled with some poor booking.
Someone like Shinsuke Nakamura.
In my opinion, Nakamura makes the only logical sense to give the Rumble win to, as he probably needs it the most out of all competitors.
After a letdown feud with Jinder Mahal for the title and some other relatively meaningless bouts and rivalries, its time for Nakamura to get the chance he deserves.
And I mean, c’mon; AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura at Wrestlemania for the WWE Title?
Book it Vince!