Out of nowhere, WrestleMania season is yet again upon us, and that all begins with the Royal Rumble. With a coveted WrestleMania main event on the line, who's going to come out on top? We know that guys like Roman Reigns and John Cena will be favored to win the bout, but they don’t need it, and in our opinion, the following five performers deserve it much more.
5. Sami Zayn
We never thought we’d say this after his run in NXT, but Sami Zayn has developed into one of the best heels in the WWE. Although a win last year would have been a huge babyface moment, this could come as a huge shock. We know along with Kevin Owens, Zayn has had many problems with Shane McMahon, and this could be the ultimate way to stick it to the boss, especially if Daniel Bryan became involved. We know that the WWE is likely building to a contest of some sort between the two SmackDown Live authority figures, so this could be a huge breaking point for a Bryan/Shane heel turn, and it would finally give Zayn the success he thoroughly deserves.
Rusev is arguably the most ‘over’ performer in the WWE right now, as fans are loving the combination of The Bulgarian Brute and Aiden English. While that could lead to a tag team victory, a Rumble victory would be well deserved too. Despite poor booking, Rusev still looks like a star and is one of the more entertaining characters on the roster, and while this one would come completely out of left field, the fans would definitely get behind it. If Smackdown Live wants to succeed and stay fresh in 2018, Rusev needs to be in the main event picture at some point. It’s unlikely to be a Royal Rumble win, but it needs to happen sooner or later.
3. Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe has looked like an absolute destroyer in every appearance he’s made since his debut just prior to WrestleMania, and he looks right at home in the main event, so a win here would make all the sense in the world. We’ve already seen Joe vs. Lesnar, and it’s no secret that the WWE is pushing Reigns vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania, so this could be a great opportunity to send Joe to Smackdown Live. This used to happen during the original brand split, where a Rumble winner would choose the champion he would challenge at the big show. This is unlikely—especially with his injury— it would give Joe the main event run he deserves and would give us the first Styles vs. Joe match in WWE.
2. Finn Balor
Finn Balor came to the main roster looking like a superstar after being drafted number five overall by the Raw brand, but since returning from injury, it’s been a completely different story. He’s been involved in absolutely no storylines worth noting, and has been lost in the shuffle for the past few months, and the best way to rectify these injustices is to have The Demon win the Royal Rumble match. It would be his first appearance in the historic match, and we know how Balor changes when The Demon comes out, and it would be a fantastic way to kick-start the momentum that he had in 2016.
1. Shinsuke Nakamura
The majority of WWE fans desperately want to see the dream match of Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles at WrestleMania, and after the poor booking of Nakamura over the past year, it would be the perfect turnaround for him to emerge victorious in the 30-man battle royal. If you look at some betting lines, Nakamura is one of the top five favorites to win this match, and it needs to happen, as it would finally make The King of Strong Style feel like the star that he is. He’s the most likely on this list to come out on top, and although he doesn’t need to win this match to set it up, it would be a huge injustice for all WWE fans if the WWE didn’t book this Wrestle Kingdom 10 dream rematch.