It's Royal Rumble weekend so it's an all wrestling Three Count today baby! The best type of Three Count really. I posted my Royal Rumble Rankings for just the match itself earlier in the week. Today I posted my preview for the entire card. That's linked here for those that would like to increase my site views.
These NXT Takeover events on the Saturday before a Big 4 PPV have been phenomenal. Not only in match quality and entertainment value but just as an added bonus to the entire weekend. Really separates the Big 4 PPV's from all the other PPV's in WWE. I love it. And while NXT is in a rebuilding mode after most of their stars moved up to the main roster or are waiting to move up, I still enjoy NXT just as much. Quick preview/predictions on each match on the card.
Tye Dillinger vs. Eric Young
Tye Dillinger needs a win and I think he gets it here. Then continues his redemption story over the next two months and challenges for the title at the WrestleMania NXT Takeover.
Winner: Tye Dillinger
NXT Women's Championship
Asuka vs. Billie Kay vs. Peyton Royce vs. Nikki Cross
All depends on what WWE does with Asuka, either move her to the main roster or keep her on NXT. A 4-way feels like it's design to get the belt off Asuka without making her take a pin. But the WrestleMania NXT Takeover almost needs her to be the champion there. I'll say Asuka wins here and drops it to Ember Moon at the next Takeover.
NXT Tag Team Championship
#DIY vs. The Authors of Pain
Two great team names, a Hashtag and The Authors of Pain. Authors of Pain should come out of this looking really good. I don't think they come out with the titles though. Ciampa and Gargano either win by DQ or squeak out a quick win.
Roderick Strong vs. Andrade "Cien" Almas
With most of the established stars leaving NXT for the main roster I think you have to keep building up Roddy. He could be in a big match at NXT WrestleMania, I don't know if you can say the same for Almas. So give Roderick the win here.
Winner: Roderick Strong
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bobby Roode
Shinsuke is almost in the same boat as Asuka. He probably should be on the main roster already and it's just a matter of time until he is, but moving him to the main roster takes a lot of star power away from NXT. The WWE is going to need some of that star power for the NXT Takeover event on WrestleMania weekend. I think the difference between Nakamura and Asuka's position though is that the Men have a capable replacement waiting in the wings. I think you can have Shinsuke drop the belt to Roode here and Bobby Roode is a big enough name to headline NXT WrestleMania. I don't think you can say the same thing about Nikki Cross, Peyton Royce, or Billie Kay.
So I say Bobby Roode defeats Nakamura at Takeover to complete his quest to make NXT "glorious". Shinsuke enters the Royal Rumble at #2 tomorrow night and heads to the main roster. That way Roode doesn't even have to grant Nakamura a rematch. Then with Tye Dillinger winning his match earlier in the night against Eric Young, he can start his redemption tour that ends up with a rematch against Bobby Roode at NXT WrestleMania. Make Dillinger earn his way into a championship match by picking up some big wins on NXT for the first month, then start a feud with Roode in the month leading into WrestleMania. You can almost do a male version of NXT Sasha/Bayley where Roode runs down Dillinger for a month telling him he can't win the big one and is an underachiever. That's Wrestling 101 right there that leads to a main event worthy feud and match. And no one does Wrestling 101 better than NXT right now.
Winner: Bobby Roode
I know you've probably heard this before but this year's field for the Royal Rumble match is loaded. There are stars all over the place and the winner could be anybody. There's legitimately 5 people who could consider themselves the favorite, at least another 5-8 with realistic shots to win it, and then another 5-8 who could talk their way into them winning and it making sense or leading to a compelling WrestleMania storyline. It should be an all-time great Royal Rumble match.
Don't take it for granted this weekend people. I couldn't sleep the last night so I started watching some recent Royal Rumbles. I was probably too excited for this year's Royal Rumble so I couldn't make myself fall asleep.....either that or the 60 some ounces of pop I drank that night. But regardless, I started watching some recent Royal Rumbles on the WWE Network to prep myself for this weekend. I watched the 2011 Royal Rumble first and it was pretty good. That was the year Edge returned and won it. I was entertained.
Then I watched the 2012 Royal Rumble this morning. Oh my. That was a disaster. I don't know what happened in WWE from 2011 to 2012 but the quality of wrestlers in the Rumble dropped by roughly 750% if I had to guess. I thought the 2011 Rumble was great, the 2012 Rumble was terrible. Seriously, here are 20 of the 30 wrestlers who were in the Rumble that year:
Alex Riley, R-Truth, The Great Khali, Justin Gabriel, Epico, Primo, Ricardo Rodriquez, Santino Marella, Ezekiel Jackson, 3 Announcers (Lawler, Cole, Booker T), Jey Uso, Hunico, Jinder Mahal, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Kharma, Jack Swagger, Road Dogg, and David Otunga.
Seriously, those are 20 of the 30 spots filled in the Rumble that year. It was brutal. And it's not like the other 10 were studs to make up for it. That was the year Sheamus won. He beat Chris Jericho who just returned. The Final Four was Sheamus, Jericho, Big Show, and Randy Orton. Miz and Cody Rhodes were the two in most of the match, lasting over 40 minutes each. Then Wade Barrett, Mick Foley, Dolph Ziggler, and Kofi Kingston rounded out the field. It was a tough watch. Enjoy this year's field folks.