The Royal Rumble may be months away, but the speculation has already begun as to which WWE Superstar will be the last one left standing and earn their trip to the main event of WrestleMania. With the rosters split up once again, it will be interesting to see Superstars from both Raw and Smackdown collide in the 30-man battle. We can expect to the surprise entrances, NXT call-ups, and something spectacular from Kofi Kingston, but the true winner is completely up in the air. As seeds get planted for the future of the main event picture, it’s become clear that some Superstars have a better chance of winning than others.
Along with the front-runners for the Royal Rumble crown, there are several Superstars who do not deserve to win at the event. Whether they’ve won recently or have been pushed too much, the WWE Universe will have an uproar if any of these men end up as the sole winner of the match. The Royal Rumble will come up quick, so get your betting cards ready and see if you agree with some of the most-likely Superstars to win the Royal Rumble.
15 Could Win: Seth Rollins
The Seth Rollins face turn is almost fully complete. After getting screwed over by Triple H and having an intense battle with Rusev, he is winning over fans with his edgy attitude and daring performances. His dive off the top of the steel cage on WWE Raw was one of the more-recent “WOW” moments. Rollins could easily complete his turn as the top babyface on the Raw roster by winning the Royal Rumble.
The only thing that may prevent Rollins from winning the Rumble is the same man that screwed him out of the Universal Championship. If WWE decides to drag out their feud, then fans can look forward to a Triple H vs. Seth Rollins match at WrestleMania. The battle of the Pedigrees will not likely involve a Championship, so Rollins’ Rumble chances may be dwindled unless his feud with Triple H ends sooner.
14 Shouldn’t Win: A.J. Styles
The Royal Rumble will mark one year of A.J. Styles in the WWE. While he certainly deserves to win the Rumble match, one of the main reasons that he shouldn’t win is because he should still be the holder of the WWE Championship. WWE has done an amazing build-up of A.J. Styles and they should continue to keep him atop of the SmackDown roster. He has already defeated John Cena multiple times and proven to be great heel that still performs at the top level in the ring. While he would do great in the Rumble, he makes a better champion overall.
By keeping him as champion through the Royal Rumble, he has the chance to main event at WrestleMania and steal the show. He could face the winner of the Rumble or some sort of new challenge that is determined at the Fastlane main event.
13 Could Win: Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler is a Superstar that never quits. He has been wrestling in the WWE for numerous years and showcased his talents against some of the best. He really needs a big win to cement himself into main event status and the Royal Rumble is one of the best ways to do this.
In many ways, Ziggler’s career is reminiscent of Shawn Michaels. After being part of a goofy tag team like The Spirit Squad, Ziggler reinvented himself into a stand-out character and performer in the ring. Even without considering the Superkick, Ziggler has similar moves and styles to Michaels. Now he just needs to match it with a Royal Rumble victory. A win for Ziggler would generate a great reaction from the crowd and truly be a memorable moment in his career. He deserves a one-on-one feud at WrestleMania.
12 Shouldn’t Win: Roman Reigns
If it isn’t obvious by now, “The Guy” will never be “The Guy” unless he takes some drastic measures to truly change his character. Back in 2015, the WWE Universe hated it when Reigns won the Rumble match and not much has changed from their reaction since. If he’s involved in the rumble match, Reigns will likely show some dominance, but the WWE shouldn’t even tease him winning. Reigns should be eliminated by someone he is starting a feud with. This is a great way to get him out of the Rumble early on and allow fans to speculate on who the winner will actually be.
Roman Reigns had his chance at Rumble glory and after it fell flat, the WWE should take it as a sign and look for someone else to be “The Guy.”
11 Could Win: Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho has had many iconic moments throughout his long career in pro-wrestling, but he has never had the honor of winning a Royal Rumble. The WWE is setting up the perfect scenario for Jericho to win the event and headline one last WrestleMania main event. Currently his friendship with Kevin Owens is one of the more entertaining parts of WWE Raw. It adds comedy, drama, and some great tag-team action. Every good pro-wrestling friendship must come to an end and the road to WrestleMania is the perfect time for Jericho and Owens. Keeping the belt on Owens is essential to this story and can easily be done thanks to the help of The Authority.
If Jericho wins the Rumble, flames of jealousy can easily build between the best buddies. The jealousy will soon boil over into an all-out feud that turns into a memorable WrestleMania main event battle for the Universal Championship. Of course, all of this depends on Jericho’s wrestling schedule and any potential tours he may have with his band Fozzy.
10 Shouldn’t Win: Braun Strowman
For weeks now, Braun Strowman has shown his dominance during squash matches on WWE Raw. His size and brute force make him an ideal candidate for Royal Rumble dominance. While he’ll likely clear the ring upon entering the Rumble, Strowman does not deserve to win it. He still needs some time to develop his ring skills and showcase his ability to perform in the main event. While the creative team could send him down a similar Rumble path like Yokozuna or Brock Lesnar, Strowman should use his time in the match to showcase some of his skills without actually winning.
The key to featuring Strowman in the match is to figure out who will eliminate the big man. Typically it takes a group of wrestlers to take a larger wrestler out, but it would be interesting to see a Maven-like elimination where Strowman is kicked over the top. This could start a real feud for Strowman and help put him in more competitive matches.
9 Could Win: Bray Wyatt
The 2017 Royal Rumble may be the last chance for Bray Wyatt to build himself up as a credible main event performer. While his former Wyatt Family brother Strowman shouldn’t win, Bray Wyatt could easily win and earn a spot in the WrestleMania main event. Wyatt has the ring skills to carry a WrestleMania match. As long as he stays healthy, he could compete and build a compelling feud with another Superstar on the SmackDown roster.
Bray Wyatt needs to get this win on his own. He can help get over by eliminating other former family members like Strowman, Erick Rowan, or Luke Harper. This will showcase him as a strong and true leader ready for Royal Rumble dominance. Adding some supernatural touches to the Rumble would also be fun. This include disappearing from the ring, randomly appearing in the center of the ring, and psyching out other opponents to help him win.
8 Shouldn’t Win: Triple H
The time has come for part-time performers to stop winning Royal Rumble matches. In the past three years, Triple H and Batista have been declared Royal Rumble winners. With Triple H still on the active roster, the WWE Universe does not need to see a repeat of his performance from last year. During that match, Triple H dominated the competition and won the vacant WWE Championship. Triple H may get involved with Seth Rollins somehow, but the “New Era” of the WWE should really allow a different Superstar to win the match and make history.
Triple H probably won’t even be in the Rumble match, but other former Superstars should only come in for random surprise appearances. There’s no need to have them win or come close to winning when the spotlight can be featured on more deserving stars that are trying to rise through the ranks.
7 Could Win: Samoa Joe
After spending several months on the NXT roster, many fans are eager to see Samoa Joe make the jump to either WWE Raw or SmackDown. Joe has had some incredible matches in NXT and he could make his debut in the Royal Rumble match. WWE could take things one step further by having the Superstar actually win the match. Samoa Joe has the experience and credibility to win this type of match and instantly become a main event performer.
As for future feuds, a Samoa Joe win would be a great way to set up a WrestleMania feud with a champion like Kevin Owens. An Owens and Joe battle on the WWE stage would be great for fans and probably become an instant WrestleMania classic.
6 Shouldn’t Win: John Cena
"The Face that Runs the Place” is slowly turning into a part-time performer. With movies, TV shows, and Today Show appearances, Cena is a busy man. While all of his work helps promote the WWE, Cena already has two Rumble wins under his belt and needs to take a backseat when the 2017 event rolls around. While it will be great to Cena involved in the Rumble match, he does not need to win it. That would be a lackluster ending.
Cena’s role in the Rumble should be to help lift another Superstar’s status during the match. A wrestler like Dolph Ziggler or Bray Wyatt would really benefit from a John Cena elimination. It could give them the momentum to win the whole match. Even though Cena shouldn’t win, keeping him in the final four will help add a lot of drama to the event.
5 Could Win: Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose has spent multiple years breaking away from his time with The Shield and truly becoming his own character. Even as a champion, he had an underdog feel and fans continued to root for him to win. Winning the Royal Rumble match could help The Lunatic Fringe reclaim his belt and become the final member of The Shield to be featured in a main event WrestleMania match.
Ambrose has the skills and ability to last a long time in the match. By entering him early on, a lot of near eliminations can occur as Ambrose tries to outlast other Superstars. Ideally, he can finally put The Shield behind him by making Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns as part of the final three. By eliminating the other two, Ambrose can stand tall and head to WrestleMania.
4 Shouldn’t Win: Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar’s time in the WWE has become repetitive. He comes in, dominates, and then disappears again. Along with multiple WrestleMania victories and championships, Lesnar has yet to dominate in the Royal Rumble match that he once won. Putting him in the match would seem like a huge mistake. We would see Lesnar suplex competitors out of the ring and likely win. Keeping him in contained feuds is better than putting him back into the main event title picture.
WWE keeps promoting the “New Era” and just like Triple H, Lesnar should be kept out of the Rumble match. The effective way to use him in the Rumble is to put him in a situation where Lesnar is finally dominated. For example, he could go face to face with Braun Strowman. Strowman could toss Lesnar out of the ring and showcase his new form of dominance.
3 Could Win: Rusev
Rusev is easily a character that could have drifted off like other large performers like The Great Khali and Vladimir Koslov. Instead, he has survived multiple feuds, been impressive in the ring, and continues to entertain WWE audiences. After lingering in mid-card territory for a while, the Royal Rumble is an ideal time for Rusev to step up and showcase his main event status.
Rusev could win the Royal rumble in dominant fashion or even use Lana to help him obtain a victory. It’s a great way to get some extra heat and head to WrestleMania as a clear-cut enemy. If he is still the United States champion, a WrestleMania main event could easily feature a title vs. title match with whoever the current Universal Champion is at the time.
2 Shouldn’t Win: Finn Balor
When Finn Balor was drafted to WWE Raw, it was shocking to see how quickly he was pushed to main event status. He defeat Roman Reigns cleanly and went on to win the main event of the SummerSlam PPV. All of this would have been great if Balor did not dislocate his shoulder and need surgery. If Balor is able to return in time for the Rumble, he would likely appear as a surprise entrant. While this would make a great Rumble moment, he should not get to win the match. Balor’s return to the WWE should go a little slower. Larger audiences can get used his character and see him rise up the Raw roster in a traditional fashion.
While Balor shouldn’t win the Rumble match, he should definitely get a huge match at WrestleMania. It’s a great way to showcase his ring skills and set him up for main event matches throughout the summer.
1 Could Win: Cesaro
After battling Sheamus in a “Best of 7” tournament, Cesaro deserves something a little more. He’s constantly falling through the cracks despite his great ring skills and ability to connect with crowds. A surprising Royal Rumble win is just what Cesaro needs to turn the whole arena into a permanent Cesaro section.
Cesaro could do a lot during the Rumble match as well as win it. Upper-cut eliminations, super swings over the top rope, and a dominant performance will help cement his status in the WrestleMania event. If his current opponent Sheamus could win a Rumble, then so could Cesaro. He would have potential great feuds with Raw Superstars like Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns. This is the perfect time for WWE to give Cesaro a chance at the main event of WrestleMania.