So I’m going to try to keep the previews for the title matches fairly short and get to the Royal Rumble match itself.
Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch
I know FastLane is still along the Road to WrestleMania where the WWE could correct their paths and make changes but I always think at the Royal Rumble you have to have the endgame of WrestleMania at the front of your mind. And in this case, I don’t see Becky Lynch being the focal attraction of the women’s match at WrestleMania. She could be in there if it’s a multi-person match but I can’t see her as the champion heading in. I think Becky’s long-term path is similar to Bailey’s down in NXT; the loveable underdog that always gets close to the championship but always comes up just short. Then by the time she does get that big moment of a championship win the fans will be in the palm of her hands.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto
If Kalisto was going to win the US Title at the Royal Rumble I don’t think he would have already won it on RAW. They could have easily drug the feud out another 2 weeks for that title win to happen at this PPV. Instead it looks to me like they gave Kalisto the early championship victory to make this matchup seem more interesting. Alberto Del Rio wins here with some help from the League of Nations and moves them into their next feud going into FastLane.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
The New Day vs. The Usos
I hope I’m wrong but does it matter what happens in this match? Doesn’t it just feel like these two teams are just destined to face each other in some way at WrestleMania anyways? I would like to see The New Day in a WrestleMania match other than the generic multi-team tag match for the titles but I don’t have a lot of faith in the idea that it could happen. But for the sake of hope I’m going to say that The Usos win the titles tonight to free up The New Day for bigger and better as we head towards WrestleMania. Plus, how many more times can we have The Usos lose to The New Day and still have that matchup be exciting or believable?
Winners: The Usos
Last Man Standing Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens
I still don’t know who I’m going to pick to win the Royal Rumble yet but if this match wasn’t on the card I think I would have talked myself into picking Kevin Owens. But I can’t see either of these two winning the Royal Rumble match after participating in a Last Man Standing match earlier in the night. It just doesn’t make sense. Without a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match on the card this is the major singles match of the night so I expect these two to put on a show, and the added stipulation of it being a Last Man Standing match should also allow these guys to pull out all the stops. So I’ll actually predict that these guys pull out one huge stop for the finish that ends the match in a No Contest when neither man can answer the 10 count. I think there are going to be a lot of surprises and returns during the Royal Rumble match itself and a No Contest where these guys are both taken to the hospital opens up 2 more spots in the Rumble. If someone does win I’d say its Ambrose but I think these guys both knock each other out and get stretchered out of the arena.
Winner: No Contest
The Royal Rumble Match
HERE. WE. GO. The most fun match of the year, every year. Nothing better than the 10 second countdown before every entrance. You hear the buzzer and it could be anyone coming down that ramp next. Is it Dolph Ziggler? Is it Brock Lesnar? Is it IRS? Is it Daniel Bryan? Is it the Undertaker? Is it Batista? Is it Papa Shango? Well its never Papa Shango but you get the idea. Every entrance is a big deal and every entrance is exciting, even if it just ends up being someone like Erik Rowan or Adam Rose who has no chance of winning. At least for the moment that the buzzer sounded there was a sense of excitement and anticipation. And worse case scenario, they could out and you get to experience that excitement 1 to 2 minutes later when the next buzzer sounds.
It’s tough to “predict” a Royal Rumble since you don’t know who is coming in where and when so I’ll just list some many bullet points that I see happening.
- Brock Lesnar will not win. The end of RAW seemed to indicate Lesnar vs. Wyatt Family in the near future so I’ll take the easy way out and say they take each other out. Brock eliminates Braun Stromann from the Rumble only to have him get pissed and come back on the apron to confront Brock. During that confrontation the rest of the Wyatt Family throws Brock over the top rope and eliminates him. Brock freaks out and destroys the rest of the Wyatt Family, eliminating them all in the process.
- Roman Reigns or HHH will not win the Royal Rumble either. These are the two guys Vegas has given the best odds of winning to but I can’t see the either of them winning. Trying to predict a future WrestleMania card really showed how few big matches they have possible right now. Roman Reigns vs. HHH, or some variation of it, at WrestleMania feels like one match that is locked into the card but one that doesn’t necessarily need to be for the title. If neither of these guys have the championship going into ‘Mania, that leaves another possible match on the card for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to make into a bigger match. Plus, it gives Roman Reigns a significant match at WrestleMania without being in the main event. Keeps that slow build of Roman Reigns that was working so well towards the end of 2015 going without seeming like he’s being pushed down the fans’ throats. Plus, I can’t see HHH winning the title because I can’t see who he’d wrestle in the two and a half months leading into WrestleMania. I can’t see WWE not having the champ in a wrestling capacity over 80 days leading into their largest event of the year.
- Surprise entrants galore tonight. I don’t think all these guys will be back tonight but think of the possibilities of guys who could make a HUGE surprise in the Rumble tonight. Randy Orton, The Undertaker, Daniel Bryan, The Rock, (Shawn Michaels?), Batista, AJ Styles, The Bullet Club, Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Sami Zayn, anyone from NXT, any returning legend, maybe Cesaro, HHH. That’s a laundry list of potential surprise entrants tonight. No way all of them are in it but if you get 2 to 3 to 4 of those to come in it could be for a really fun night. The Rumble match itself is always fun but it just feels like this year’s edition has the potential to be an all-timer.
- I think we get a shocker tonight, I really do. I know I’ve thought this before in the past and WWE has just stayed the course (specifically the WWE Title Tournament) but I think we need a momentum builder heading into the WWE and I think it comes tonight. I just don’t see the WWE staying with the status quo. Maybe not. Maybe Roman Reigns or HHH wins the Rumble tonight and we stay on the path we’re currently on and that’s the WrestleMania main event. Maybe I’m Charlie Brown, the WWE is Lucy, and unpredictability is the football. I don’t care, I’m going for the kick.
- Daniel Bryan wins the Royal Rumble tonight. I think it will be some surprise guy (AJ Styles, The Rock, Batista) winning tonight so I’ll hitch my wagon to DB. And I’m not really even a Daniel Bryan guy but I think we need something and he’s the most likely bet. Here’s how it goes down. Roman starts at 1 and handles most of the guys 1-10. Around entrant #10, The Beast Incarnate’s music hits and Brock Lesnar hits the ring. Those two battle and control the middle of the match. The Wyatts and Lesnar eliminate each other as described above. Some surprises here and there throughout the match and then around #25 we hear the guitar strings and “It’s time to play The Game.” HHH comes out and goes for Roman Reigns to make sure he’s eliminated. With help from the League of Nations, HHH eliminates Reigns. It’s looking like a HHH victory until #30 hits and its Daniel Bryan. He returns, fights the odds, and with help from a returning Roman Reigns he eliminates Triple H to win the Rumble.
- It just feels like its almost now or never with Daniel Bryan. He’s been cleared by almost everyone except the WWE’s doctors? That sounds fishy to me. With the biggest event of the year coming up and countless Superstars injured I find it hard to believe they are just going to let Daniel Bryan sit on the sidelines. I think he’s been ready for awhile and they are holding him out until tonight.
- If not Daniel Bryan and you want a couple of fliers to win the Rumble tonight, here are some guys that I like, in order, given their current betting odds. All odds from Paddy Power (http://www.paddypower.com/bet/sports-novelties/wwe?ev_oc_grp_ids=1164955)
- Samoa Joe at 80/1
- The Undertaker 25/1
- Chris Jericho 40/1
- AJ Styles 25/1