A list of guys who aren't actually in the Rumble but maybe could end up with a spot in the Rumble depending on how the rest of the night turns out. Most probably won't end up making an appearance but they should be on your radar.
A. John Cena
B. AJ Styles
C. Kevin Owens
D. Roman Reigns
- All four will have title matches earlier in the night. Whoever loses could easily jump into the Royal Rumble that same night. Winning it also wouldn't be off the table either.
E. Seth Rollins
- These two seem locked into an upcoming feud with each other but maybe it kicks off in the Royal Rumble. Seth beats someone up in the locker room and takes their spot since he was banished from the Rumble by Stephanie on Monday night. HHH either stops him or enters the Rumble himself to stop him and they feud from there. Or some variation of that. Can't see either winning though.
G. Shinsuke Nakamura
- I don't think you waste Nakamura's debut on the Rumble. If you do, he's got to be either #1 or #2 so you can get his full entrance on his debut. But WWE has to bring him up at sometime and the Rumble is a big stage with a lot of eyes on it. Maybe.
H. Kenny Omega
I don't know much about this Omega guy but he sounds like the "it" free agent this year. Seems more and more unlikely that he will make the WWE jump by this weekend but wrestling is all about moments and bringing Omega in at the Rumble would definitely be a moment.
I. Kurt Angle
The final spot "I" for the man with three I's: Intelligence, Integrity, and Intensity. I don't think we see a return for Angle at The Royal Rumble but now that he's back under the WWE umbrella everything is an option. I'd definitely pop if his music hit on Sunday night.
24. Mojo Rawley
Maybe Cesaro and Shemaus should be in the next group down but with them being tag champs already I can't see them also winning the Rumble. I liked Rawley winning the Battle Royal on Tuesday to get into the event on Sunday but he's not winning.
21. Big Show
20. Luke Harper
19. Xavier Woods
17. Big Cass
16. Kofi Kingston
All of these guys I could talk myself into a round about way where they could win the Rumble....but you'd REALLY have to talk your way into it. In all likelihood, they are Rumble fillers.
15. Big E
- I've been banging the "Please Get The New Day To The Main Event Scene" drum for over half a year now. They are one of the best things going in wrestling but aren't credible main event threats. It's crazy. And Big E could be a monster with Kofi and Xavier backing him. I just think we are wasting The New Day. Maybe, just maybe, the WWE is waiting until the Royal Rumble to have a reason to catapult them to that scene. Strength by numbers to get them towards the end and shenanigans to help Big E win. Then they are main eventing 'Mania. I'd love it.
- Another guy who seems destined for that Intercontinental Championship match at WrestleMania but has enough credibility to sneak out a Rumble win. The new heel turn is a nice direction for Dolph and maybe a Royal Rumble win could strengthen that push. We just had Dolph/AJ at SummerSlam though so it would need to be Dolph/Cena probably. Seems like a reach but with the new heel turn I'll still put it on the table.
- Outside of the champ AJ Styles and face of the company John Cena, Dean Ambrose is probably SmackDown's biggest star. That gives him instant credibility to be a threat to win. Having the Intercontinental Championship hurts his chances though. Seems like he'll be defending that in some type of match instead.
- Part of me says Miz should be lower on this list and another part says he should be higher. Storyline wise, Miz actually probably makes the most sense of anyone on SmackDown to challenge for the championship. The Miz playing the "arrogant A-List jerk" who somehow found a way to win the Rumble and main event WrestleMania again. It makes perfect sense. But can I picture The Miz in a main event? Seems a year away still.
- Bray is always on that main event line but never seems to get over the hump or in the right spot to make a leap. A Royal Rumble win could be what he needs. Seems like he'd have to settle his disruptions in the Wyatt Family first though.
- Joe seems like the trendy pick to make a debut in the Royal Rumble. Makes sense and I can see Joe having a really strong Royal Rumble showing if he gets in. I just don't see Vince McMahon giving an indie-NXT guy a Royal Rumble win and WrestleMania title match. Seems like a stretch for him to win but not out of the realm of possibilities.
- I'm probably a little too high on him here but there are some pieces in play that make him a logical choice, and everyone loves the underdog story. Him having to work his way into the Royal Rumble is better than him just being randomly inserted into it. Shows they have something in mind for him or are at least trying something. Kevin Owens being the WWE Universal Champion doesn't hurt his chance either.
- The Braun Stromann of SmackDown who could slide into a Royal Rumble win to continue his monster push. SmackDown will need legitimate heel threats on their smaller roster heading into 2017 and a Royal Rumble win into a WrestleMania championship match could make Baron a true monster heel. The question is whether it's too early or too soon for that. That's WWE's question to answer but don't be too surprised if he's the winner on Sunday.
- He's a main eventer and future Hall of Famer. He'd give AJ Styles a great match at WrestleMania. There's a lot to be said about having "star-power" in WWE and Randy Orton has that in spades.
6. Brock Lesnar
- I don't have a great plan or story for Brock winning the Royal Rumble and being in a title match at WrestleMania, and no offense to Seth Rollins, but it's Brock Freaking Lesnar. If he is in a match he's a legitimate threat to win it. Add in the fact that it helps him recover from that 90 second loss at Survivor Series and I think it makes sense. Plus, Kevin Owens vs. Brock Lesnar is a huge main event and a big spotlight/opportunity for Owens. And you could say the same thing about a Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar match.
- He's been a beast since the brand split and this seems like an opportunity to continue that push. I don't know if WWE is ready to make that commitment to Stromann but I wouldn't be shocked if they were. The added benefit of having so many "part-time stars" return for WrestleMania is that it provides a lot of main event level WrestleMania matches, which means the championship matches don't necessarily have to be the marquee matches. That gives guys like Stromann, or Corbin, or whoever a chance to win this Rumble and get a title match at WrestleMania without having to be THE match.
- Jericho has never won the Royal Rumble before, could this be the year? He's been in the main event scene for most of his entire return run and it looks like he's heading for a WrestleMania match against Kevin Owens. If Owens retains on Sunday then that match could be for the Universal Title. There always is a long period between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania that seems tough to fill for some of these storylines. I actually think the long break is a great thing for this Jericho-Owens feud. They could still be friends for a little while longer while the upcoming Mania match hangs over their heads....until that eventually splits their friendship and they become enemies. That's a great 2 month storyline.
- He's not actually announced in the match but there are rumors. It makes all the sense in the world if he can be healthy enough by Sunday to compete. That's a big "IF" but if he can return in time that makes for a great storyline into WrestleMania and adds another mega-star to the card.
- I know people think he's locked into that Lesnar rematch at WrestleMania but would anyone really be that excited for that match since we've already seen it at Survivor Series? I just think the better route is to go in two separate directions with those two. The night after Survivor Series, Goldberg did say he was sticking around for one last run at the title and that lead through the Royal Rumble. Him winning this would continue that story arch and give someone a big match at Mania, which they would probably win and defeat Goldberg in. A lot of pieces line up.
- If I had to make one pick for a winner I'd put my money on The Undertaker but wouldn't feel confident about it. If The Undertake is going to be in the Rumble there's a reason he's in the Rumble. He's either in there to win it or to set the foundation for his WrestleMania feud, which I appreciate by the way. I was growing tired of The Undertaker's WrestleMania match getting set up by him walking to the ring, someone else interrupting him in the ring, and them both pointing to the WrestleMania sign. But him actually coming back for the Royal Rumble match itself means something is in the works. Maybe it's a title shot at Mania.