Royal Rumble 2017 was definitely one of the most unpredictable Rumble matches that WWE has ever held in recent memory. Some participants may have been disappointing, but it was most certainly a Rumble with results that no one saw coming. The final result especially rightfully dropped several jaws out in the Alamodome. Out of all the possible winners we could have seen this year, it was The Viper Randy Orton who slithered his way to his second Rumble match win by last eliminating Roman Reigns. It was the only elimination that Orton snagged in the entire match, but it was the only win that mattered as it earned the Wyatt Family affiliate a guaranteed spot in the main event of WrestleMania 33. The big question now is who will he face in the main event?
Let's remember that as a Royal Rumble winner, Orton has a choice of wrestling either World Champion. Just because he is a member of the Smackdown roster does not mean that he is constricted to challenging for Smackdown's main title. Just as previous Rumble winners like Chris Benoit jumped ship to challenge for the opposite brand's title, Orton could very well do the same. Even then, there's no guarantee that either Champion will still be Champion when Mania rolls around. As of now, Kevin Owens still holds the Universal Championship and John Cena recently won the WWE Championship, but as we all know, anything can happen on the road to WrestleMania. Both of these men, one of these men, or neither of these men can loose their titles before they're set to dance with Orton at the Camping World Stadium. As this year's WrestleMania card is slowly shaping up, there is a vast number of wrestlers who Orton could possibly be facing on the Grandest Stage of Them All. But if we're thinking realistically and taking into consideration where Orton's history with certain competitors lies until now, we can really boil it down to about 5 possible opponents.
This one is a wild card pick if there ever was one, but it is one that makes sense. Technically, the two still have unfinished business from SummerSlam 2016. Yes, Lesnar graphically cracking Orton's head open is as definitive a win as anyone could get without pinning someone, but Lesnar never did pin Orton. Orton still has something to prove. He even confirmed on the August 23rd edition of Smackdown that The Beast and The Apex Predator will cross paths again. Granted, they did have a rematch on a house show shortly afterwards where Lesnar pinned Orton, but let's face it. House shows are more or less non-canon in the WWE Universe and doesn't need to be mentioned on-screen. Either way, the story of a venomous Viper seething at another chance to conquer the Conqueror just writes itself. It would be tough to find a way to put either World Title on Lesnar when he works so few dates, but it is not in the realm of impossibility. The idea of having Lesnar in the title picture is only heightened by recent rumors stirring that Lesnar could have his long-awaited rematch with Goldberg at Fastlane opposed to another supposed Mania bout. What else can he do at WrestleMania if not wrestle Goldberg? Follow up the most talked about match of 2016 with a WrestleMania main event. Plus, it's an unpredictable pick for an unpredictable Rumble winner.
A WrestleMania match between Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton has been teased on television ever since Orton joined The Wyatt Family last October. Since then, Orton has single-handedly brought The Family to prominence and single-handedly destroyed it from within at the same time. Despite Orton clearly being portrayed as The Eater of World's favorite son, the papa bear won't take too kindly to his cub eating a bigger meal than him. Which, to translate that non-cryptic-Wyatt-babble into English, Wyatt won't like that his family member won the Rumble when Wyatt himself made it clear for weeks that he was going to win the Rumble. With the Elimination Chamber coming up in a couple weeks, Wyatt could easily be one of the entrants and win the WWE Championship. Of course, after John Cena just achieved the prestigious accolade of becoming a 16-time World Champion, it's hard to see Cena lose that belt after 2 weeks, but crazier things have happened in the ever-changing land of WWE. Wyatt could win the title and face his Wyatt Family traitor at WrestleMania.
This could be the big curveball to throw us all off. Many of us have been predicting for months that Orton vs Wyatt was a lock for WrestleMania, but since WWE love to swerve their fans with the unforeseeable, Luke Harper could be added to this possible tango in Florida. In terms of storytelling, it would make sense. Harper and Orton have been at each other's throats ever since Orton joined the Family and as we saw at the Royal Rumble and the Smackdown episode before it, the Family has imploded. As a unit on the verge of dissension, this trio has managed to put on a captivating story together for the better part of 4 months and it would only be fitting for their fallout and payoff to take place against each other at the Show of Shows. Put the title on Wyatt, have him face Orton, and insert Harper in the mix as a wild card pick.
This is one of the more intriguing dream matches that fans have been dying to see ever since AJ Styles finally signed with WWE in 2016. Amazingly enough, after over a year in the company, The Phenomenal One still has yet to ever cross paths with The Wyatt Family's pet snake. It is certainly a match-up that wouldn't feel out of place in the main event of WrestleMania. There's no doubt in anyone's mind that these two would deliver a classic worthy of the big stage. In fact, there was some speculation not too long ago that WWE were strongly considering putting Orton vs Styles for the WWE Title on the card this year. Granted, it would be incredibly anti-climactic for not only John Cena's momentous 16th World Title reign to come to an end after just two weeks, but for him to lose it to the same guy he beat. It would render the title win pointless. Then again, the Attitude Era was notorious for having short, anti-climactic title reigns. In an era where what's old is new again, it's entirely possible. Don't be surprised if The Face That Runs The Place once again becomes The Champ That Runs The Camp and does so as early as Elimination Chamber. And don't be surprised if he does in fact have an absolute slobberknocker with Randy Orton in the main event of WrestleMania.
I know, I know. The last thing that so many of us want to see is for Randy Orton and John Cena to collide against each other again for the umpteenth time, but why wouldn't it happen? The never ending push of Roman Reigns is proof enough that Vince McMahon tends to push what he wants to see more than what the fans want to see. And apart from a Triple Threat match at WrestleMania XXIV, Orton and Cena, for as much as that feud has dominated WWE for the past 10 years, have never went one on one at Mania. It's like if The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin never main evented WrestleMania despite how much their feud highlighted the Attitude Era. It sounds like a massive error that Vince McMahon would like to correct. As people don't want to see it or admit it, there is a strong chance that this is your WrestleMania 33 main event. If I can take a moment to play Devil's Advocate, why would Cena vs Orton be such a bad thing? Yes, repetition is the biggest con against it, but you know what else was repetitive? Rock vs Austin. Shawn Michaels vs Triple H. Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose. We all loved those feuds and these guys wrestled each other just as often as Orton and Cena did. Why don't we love Orton vs Cena? Especially when their best matches have taken place in recent years. As much as their bout at Royal Rumble 2014 was booed to death, they had a good match. Their Hell in a Cell match later in the year was even better. The way that both men's work rate is improving as of late, a main event at WrestleMania 33 could be their best match since their incredible 2009 I Quit match. If these two are destined to dance at this year's WrestleMania, let's be optimistic about it and not crap on it before the bell has rung.
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