There are not many things people can depend on in their lives. Placing complete certainty in someone or something is a dangerous move. The kind of risk that could lead to no reward. Certainty is certainly the fool’s folly.
However, in the wrestling world, where the fools and freaks roam freely, there is but onecertainty: an exciting Royal Rumble match in January. The end result may anger fans (Batista winning in 2014), but the match itself is always exciting.
The beginning of each year brings about hope for some and heartache for others. Resolutions for many and broken promises for most. By the time the middle of January rolls around, people once again fall back into old habits. It’s only life; live it as you please.
Eventually, the Royal Rumble will air and you can actually depend on something again. Twice in one night, thanks to the inclusion of the women’s match, which provides even more excitement to what would be an otherwise mundane Sunday.
Over the years, the Royal Rumble has seen it all. Hulk Hogan helping Ric Flair win the WWE Championship. Shawn Michaels entering and winning from the number-one spot. Vince McMahon stealing a victory. A post-match interruption by Ronda Rousey.
You never really know what is going to happen, even when you know who is going to win(Roman Reigns in 2015). Despite the predictable nature of many Royal Rumble outcomes, the match will usually contain surprise appearances and spectacular spots.
Although the big matches remain months away, it’s never too early to look at a list of possible winners, which is what we’re going to do here in this uncertain set of predictions.
19 Daniel Bryan
The 2014 Royal Rumble match was Daniel Bryan’s to win. As the hottest commodity in WWE at the time, Bryan should have won that night. However, the company ignored their fans and fed their “Big Dog,” Roman Reigns, the victory instead.
Bryan may have set an endurance record at the Great Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia, but who is actually going to consider that debacle to be a legitimate Rumble match? Nobody. The “great” Rumble was simply a pandering project.
Therefore, when the real Royal Rumble returns early next year, perhaps a much smaller dog will rule the yard.
18 Mandy Rose
There have been a number of internet insinuations regarding Mandy Rose. Word around the Web indicates a Vince McMahon fondness of the Superstar. If this is true, then a push for Rose could be in the works. Likely in the near future.
In WWE, there is no better way to launch an individual into the spotlight than a Royal Rumble victory. It’s a guaranteed spot in one of the top WrestleMania angles. Regardless of booking (which is often poor), the Rumble winner receives main event exposure.
If there is something about Rose capturing McMahon’s attention, then there could very-well be a Royal Rumble victory coming her way.
17 Big E
The New Day continue to explore their unique brand of weird on WWE programming, and it’s been a fun ride with the trio, but how much longer does it last? Who makes the first move towards the dissolution of the team?
All signs point towards Big E, who will become the break-out star of group. Kofi Kingston, the veteran of the three, will likely assume a loveable jobber role, while Xavier Woods will fit nicely into the Intercontinental or United States Championship picture.
Big E has the size (bonus points with Vince McMahon), the in-ring ability, and the charisma necessary to be top-level singles competitor. It could all begin with the Royal Rumble.
16 Becky Lynch
The heel turn can be a tricky thing. Especially when a Superstar has been loved by the crowd since the beginning of her WWE career. Therefore, when Becky Lynch turned on Charlotte Flair at SummerSlam, the move could have flopped all-around.
However, Lynch cut a strong post-SummerSlam promo on SmackDown Live, which displayed the evil side of her being. The promo wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. It consisted of the “you stole my spotlight” angle, but Lynch delivered it with passion.
Along with the new attitude should come new opportunities for Lynch, and winning theWomen’s Royal Rumble match could be one of them.
15 Kevin Owens
It’s always right there in front of Kevin Owens; that elusive “brass ring.” However, it’s never quite close enough to grab. Sure, Owens has laid fingertips on the ring, but it has remained just slightly out of his grasp.
Which is not the fault of Owens but rather the bad decisions of management. Owens hasdefinitely felt the push of the WWE Machine, and benefitted from it, but he has never received the proper positioning from said push.
By allowing Owens to win the Men’s Royal Rumble match, those fingertip feels could finally amount to the “brass ring” sitting firmly in Owens’ fist.
How much did WWE really invest in their “’Mella is Money” SmackDown Women’sChampionship project? While Carmella’s reign lasted longer than many expected, dropping the title to Charlotte Flair was a predictable outcome.
In all likelihood, Carmella will not regain the championship before the end of this calendar year. In fact, the title may not leave the shoulder of Charlotte for the remainder of 2018. However, in terms of the chase, it could be a good thing.
If WWE have Carmella remain in pursuit of Charlotte but consistently fall short, then anunexpected Royal Rumble victory could provide that “one last chance” scenario.
13 Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn may be out-of-action with an injury, but according to a post-surgery interview on WWE.com, he hopes to be back and ready for WrestleMania. Which would be an ideal time for a return to the ring.
Prior to the being injured, Zayn was finding his place among the top heels in WWE. The smiling, skank-dancing fan-favorite had been replaced with an arrogant and cocky heat-seeker. It was all working for Zayn.
Hopefully upon his return, the company will allow Zayn to continue down this path and perhaps even toss a Royal Rumble victory his way.
12 Sasha Banks
During the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble match, Sasha Banks entered from the number-one position and lasted a total 54:46 before being tossed over the top rope and eliminated from the competition.
Banks’ performance proved that the company could rely on her to carry a heavy weight on her back. That night, Banks set the bar for the future of the Women’s Royal Rumble as it will definitely be an act difficult to follow.
Perhaps during her next outing in the match, Banks will be awarded the victory and title shot at WrestleMania she has, in many ways, already earned.
11 Drew McIntyre
Vince McMahon once called Drew McIntyre “The Chosen One.” However, McIntyre couldn’t live up to expectations and was eventually released. This would lead McIntyre to a number of different promotions and provide an opportunity to hone his craft.
Eventually, McIntyre was brought back to the company and placed on the NXT brand, where he was able to display his finely-tuned ability. It was only a matter of time before McIntyre was back on the main roster.
It appears as though a major push is in-line for McIntyre, which could begin with winning the Men’s Royal Rumble match.
10 Alexa Bliss
The odds of Ronda Rousey dropping the Raw Women’s Championship prior to WrestleMania are low. Which means Alexa Bliss will not hold the title again any time soon. However, she shouldn’t drop out of sight.
Bliss has proven to be the best female heel in WWE and has worked well with Rousey thus far. Therefore, the company should have her remain involved in the chase for the gold; all the way up to WrestleMania.
If Bliss wins the Women’s Royal Rumble match, the final showdown with Rousey could take place on the Grand Stage.
An organic connection with the WWE audience is the best thing a Superstar can ask for during his career. It’s something special. It indicates a quality about said performer; a quality not produced by those backstage within the company.
As it pertains to Rusev, a strong connection with the crowd has recently been established. At one point, it appeared as though Rusev would never get over. However, in somewhat surprising fashion, the fans were suddenly drawn towards the “Rusev Day” gimmick.
It’s a bit of a longshot but perhaps WWE will actually listen to their fans in January and have Rusev win the Men’s Royal Rumble match.
Back in June, a Mr. and Mrs. Money in the Bank angle was teased and did not come to fruition, but perhaps a Mr. and Mrs. Royal Rumble gimmick could be in the works. It would definitely provide a new, never-before-seen twist to WWE programming.
The biggest problem with said angle would be Lana, who remains green in the ring. However, the fans have quickly jumped to her side in recent months thanks to her connection to Rusev, so the support of the audience should definitely help her case.
While there are more experienced Superstars who could win the Women’s Royal Rumblematch, putting Lana over would help take away any major predictability.
7 Finn Balor
Finn Balor remains undefeated in WWE when portraying his “Demon” persona. The immediate question that jumps into the mind of any hardened wrestling fan is “why doesn’t Balor enter every single match as ‘The Demon?’”
It would appear to be all part of the demonic mystery. However, one would assume Balor could find this dark entity come Royal Rumble time. It makes perfect sense to unleash “The Demon” on the twenty-nine other men involved.
If backstage can finally get it right with Balor before the year’s end, then they will have a strong candidate to win the Men’s Royal Rumble match (with or without the body paint).
6 Ember Moon
Star quality does not bestow itself upon everybody. In WWE, some Superstars simply have it while others do not. Ember Moon definitely has star quality; her own unique form which differs from the rest of the Women’s roster.
It’s not quite the intensity or Ronda Rousey; not quite the swagger of Sasha Banks; not quite the attitude of Alex Bliss. The quality Moon brings along to the ring is a little strange and unknown, and it keeps the audience at full-attention.
Hopefully, the company does not sour on Moon anytime soon as she should be in-line for apush and potential Royal Rumble victory.
5 Bray Wyatt
The Deleters of Worlds are no more and the in-ring future of Matt Hardy remains unclear.However, Bray Wyatt’s career continues to look promising (despite a constant lack of direction from the company with his character).
Wyatt has been made to appear as a cult leader, a supernatural being, and a “woken warrior.” If Wyatt remains “woken” throughout the next phase of his career, then perhaps his association with Hardy can come into affect at the Royal Rumble.
While Hardy himself may not compete in the match, aiding Wyatt to the victory (akin to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal) is a distinct possibility.
4 Ruby Riott
If WWE are looking for an alternative to the traditional, then they have it with Ruby Riott. Since being called-up to the main roster from NXT, Riott has stepped-up her game in a big way. Riott also stands-out from the crowd, which is great.
Along with Squad members Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan by her side, Riott could become a viable contender for the Raw Women’s Championship. The numbers game in WWE consistently proves difficult to overcome.
It would be an unexpected outcome should the company decide to throw a Royal Rumblevictory Riott’s way, but one which would provide an interesting angle.
3 John Cena
One of these days, it’s going to happen. John Cena will win his seventeenth WorldChampionship and surpass Ric Flair on the all-time list. There are many who love it, many who hate it, and many who have simply learned to accept wrestling reality.
Naturally, Cena will need to earn a title opportunity, and with the way his character has been booked in recent angles (older, a little less strong, and continuously losing), it will require a diligent effort on Cena’s part.
There is no reason to hand Cena another championship match. Therefore, his only optionwould be to win the Royal Rumble.
2 A Diva from the Past
The Day of the Diva is done in WWE and the Women of Wrestling have arrived. The female Superstars have brought their division to the forefront of the company while finally being allowed to fight each other without the use of pillows.
In many ways, this might bother those who had to endure the company’s Diva years. Looking back on their matches compared to what today’s product offers, must be somewhat infuriating. Regardless, those women deserve recognition as well.
Therefore, it would not come as too much of a surprise to see a Diva from the past win theWomen’s Royal Rumble match.
1 Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins
The 1994 Royal Rumble ended in controversy when Bret Hart and Lex Luger – as the final two participants – eliminated each other from the match. This resulted in both men receiving a WWE Championship opportunity at WrestleMania X.
Since then, there have been no co-winners of the Royal Rumble (almost in 2005). However, it might be time to revisit this angle with The Shield, assuming Roman Reigns carries the Universal Championship into WrestleMania.
This could lead to Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins coming out of the Men’s Royal Rumble match as co-winners. Thus setting up a Triple Threat Shield showdown.
While Shayna Baszler remains in NXT right now, her call-up to the main roster is imminent. It is common for Superstars to debut following WrestleMania, but it has also become commonplace to see a few enter the Royal Rumble.
The odds of Baszler appearing in WWE prior to WrestleMania Week are high. Baszler should enter the Women’s Royal Rumble match in January as a “surprise” entrant and should come out on top as the winner.
This Royal Rumble victory will set-up the UFC-turned-WWE Women’s main event betweenBaszler and her Four Horsewoman friend, Ronda Rousey.