This January, the WWE Universe will converge in Orlando, Florida at the Amway Center for the twenty-ninth annual Royal Rumble event where the most exciting match of the year will highlight the night as fans will find out just who will be the #1 Contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship heading into WrestleMania.
The unpredictability of the Royal Rumble provides a sudden rush of lost passion for all those who have become bored with WWE. The Rumble excites and like an old junkie returning to the dark allies to reacquaint with an old habit, the Rumble can bring back the most jaded of wrestling fans.
Waiting, waiting, waiting ... each entrant provides another hit; another dose of that familiar fun the fan had once known. While the Royal Rumble match itself usually takes an hour to complete, the hour is euphoric and full of flashbacks and forgotten feelings. Memories of the past and new moments to be made.
Going back to the point of unpredictability: that's what makes the Royal Rumble so great. While that clock counts down, fans begin to guess who the next participant will be as they sit in anticipation. The internet has ruined the aspect of surprise in the wrestling world but on Rumble night it still exists ... for a little while.
As the end of the year draws near, we being to wonder about the Royal Rumble. Who will win? Who will show up out of the blue? Will it top the Rumbles of the past? In this article we boldly attempt to predict the surprise participants keeping in mind that there is a distinct possibility that none of these men will show up in Orlando.
Nevertheless, we are going to try anyway as we stab a stab at guessing who will surprise the WWE Universe this January.
These are the top 15 possible surprise 2016 Royal Rumble entrants:
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15 Sami Zayn
Montreal native Sami Zayn has been sidelined for a while now but according to promos aired on NXT, he's set to return any time; which is of course a good thing seeing as how Zayn has been one of the most exciting Superstars in NXT.
In all likelihood, Sami Zayn will be back on NXT programming prior to the Royal Rumble but that doesn't rule out a surprise appearance by the long-traveled wrestler who has developed quite the amount of fanfare.
14 Samoa Joe
It has been a long time coming for Samoa Joe, but he has finally signed a deal with WWE; albeit he has yet to appear on WWE programming and there appears to be a lingering feeling that NXT is all Joe will ever experience with the company.
That being said, providing Samoa Joe with at least one night of WWE glory cannot be a bad thing. Joe is an established wrestler who works hard in the ring. The least WWE can do is give Joe one night on the main circuit.
13 Finn Balor
Whether or not Finn Balor will still be NXT Champion by the Royal Rumble remains to be seen. However, should Balor lose the belt before the big match this January, a positive play could be at work.
Finn Balor is ready for the main roster but continues to age in the WWE farm system. It's time to take the foot off the break and allow Balor to enter the main roster full speed ahead. What better way to introduce him than at the Royal Rumble?
12 Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio may have left WWE for Mexico but the door for a return is definitely open. Alberto Del Rio recently realized that more opportunity and monetary gain is presented in WWE, no matter how much one would like to believe otherwise.
Rey Mysterio has always been a fan favourite and a hot merchandise mover, which is why WWE would gladly welcome back the masked Superstar as including Mysterio in the Royal Rumble would definitely excite the fans.
11 Rob Van Dam
It's been a while since WWE fans were treated to the presence of Rob Van Dam, who has been kicking around the independent scene again but never feels too far gone from WWE. Which is why we cannot rule out an RVD appearance next month.
Rob Van Dam will always receive a positive pop and the Royal Rumble is a great place for such a thing. Since RVD did not join his ECW brethren in their recent battle with The Wyatt Family, there remains that Rumble possibility.
10 Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho loves the element of surprise and is constantly searching for new ways to re-emerge on the WWE scene. While Jericho has already used the Royal Rumble in such a manner, there is no reason he can't do it again.
When Chris Jericho returned to team with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns against The Wyatt Family at Night of Champions, a seed was planted between Jericho and Ambrose following the match. The Royal Rumble would be a great place to escalate this feud.
Since joining the WWE, Sting has seen all of his conflict come with The Authority. While the arrival of Sting still feels a decade too late, there remains much use for the wrestling legend.
The Royal Rumble is a match in which Sting has never competed and giving "The Icon" a spot could help with the "old school" factor, which every Rumble seems to seek. Of course, Sting would not win the match, but that doesn't mean he can't add something to it.
8 Randy Orton
Randy Orton has been sitting out with an injury in recent weeks and like many Superstars on the shelf, the fans remain uncertain as to when exactly "The Viper" will return to action in WWE. Some say he'll be out for months, but WWE has yet to confirm these reports, so he could be nearer to a return than speculated.
Needless to say, the Royal Rumble would provide a great platform for a returning Randy Orton who of course has unresolved business in WWE. Not to mention, the return of a veteran as a face is quite necessary at the moment.
7 Daniel Bryan
The WWE Universe has not forgotten about Daniel Bryan. In fact, Bryan's physical troubles over the past few years have been a topic of great discussion among the IWC as fans continue to hope for a return.
And what better place to return from all that hardship and pain than the Royal Rumble? Daniel Bryan was the fan favourite to win the past two Rumble matches but was eliminated early in one and left out of the other. Could it finally be time?
6 Brock Lesnar
Think about Brock Lesnar making a surprise appearance in the Royal Rumble. It would be completely unexpected and the fans would go wild. On top of that, Lesnar would automatically become the favourite to win.
This would set up someone, somehow, eliminating Brock Lesnar in what could be a massive WWE moment. And isn't that what we all want from WWE? Those moments that live in our memories for years to come.
5 The Undertaker
This is a major long shot, but let's assess the situation anyway. The Undertaker is nearing the end of his legendary career. There are rumours circulating that the upcoming WrestleMania could be his final ride.
Therefore, how great would it be to see The Undertaker enter one last Royal Rumble? In a grand send off tour of sorts, as fans spend their final moments with the character they all grew to love.
4 The Rock
Another long shot, but you never know. The Rock has not competed since WrestleMania 29 when he lost the WWE Championship to John Cena. Therefore, the fans are ready to see "The Great One" back in action.
Tossing The Rock into the Royal Rumble mix would certainly provide the match with massive star power. Not to mention the interesting dynamic the current WWE Superstars would have with "The People's Champ."
3 Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle has recently announced his "retirement" from TNA, but that doesn't mean that Angle is hanging up his boots entirely, as the possibility of a WWE return looms for "Your Olympic Hero."
WWE fans have been wanting Kurt Angle back for year; like an old love that got away. Sure, the "You Suck!" chants would echo while his music played but it would be coming from a place of admiration.
2 Jeff Hardy
The rumours regarding Jeff Hardy and a WWE return have been circulating lately as Hardy is yet another former Superstar who WWE fans have not forgotten. Hardy has had his troubles but his fans are forgiving.
Jeff Hardy left WWE under some rather difficult circumstances some years ago but it's about time to move on from the awful past. The building would erupt if Jeff Hardy entered the 2016 Royal Rumble.
1 John Cena
Never believe the timeframes given in regards to John Cena being away from WWE. No matter what Cena is doing elsewhere, WWE is where he hangs his hat and he is always eager to return.
Much like the 2008 Royal Rumble, John Cena could very-well appear in Orlando as a surprise entrant. The crow will pop at first before the usual John Cena duel will commence within the arena.
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