The Royal Rumble is my favorite pay per view. It always has been. I love the unpredictability of the event. Something as simple as wondering who’s going to come in at what number and what the odds of them getting anywhere are. It’s wondering if the biggest guy in the ring is going to survive or if all the rest are going to gang up on him. It’s rooting for the underdog to be the one that manages to stay alive in the ring full of 30 monstrous men. But I must admit over the last few years, The Rumble has lost that edge it used to have. The build up to the matches is incredible. The talent sells it, the video packages get you all hyped up and the anticipation during the event is still there… the problem? The Rumble doesn’t stand for what it used to. It used to be that the Rumble was a place for ANYONE to shock the world and win and get a shot to main event WrestleMania and maybe, just maybe become champion. It was a chance for someone new to TAKE a chance even when no one else would give them one. For the favorite to get his moment or for the all-time heel to take his. Truth be told the outcome doesn’t fit the hype and it hasn’t in quite a while. In 2012 Sheamus defeated Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds. Excellent for Sheamus, he won the Rumble and then won the Championship, but at WrestleMania in 18 seconds. Is that what I must look forward to if I win, must be what any other guy backstage must have thought to themselves, and Sheamus and Bryan have both gone on record stating how must they disliked how it all went down, and I can’t blame them. I can’t remember many people being thrilled that Batista won the 2014 royal rumble. I for one was thrilled when Daniel Bryan was inserted into the match at WrestleMania making it a triple threat, and I was thrilled when Bryan ended the show as finally being the champion. But from the other side? Batista won the rumble, didn’t get a one on one shot as is promised, so it almost makes that entire Royal Rumble match a complete bust. And in the 2016 rumble did the COO of the company, and barely a part time wrestler really need that win? And why in the world would you have your Champion, Roman Reigns, at the time, defend his title in the match? That idea might sound good on paper, but again it completely changes what the royal rumble match is supposed to be. And we all know that Randy Orton has had an outstanding career, but being a 13-time world champion, and a 10 plus year veteran, why did they feel Orton needed to add this to his resume when he’s already won this match before and is already SO far along in his career? And even as wonderful as The Rock vs Cena matches turned out to be, did Cena need to win the Royal Rumble match to set that up? Did it need to be over a championship, or could it have just been about generations?
Every year I tell myself this year will be different. This year someone young and deserving will get the win at the Royal Rumble and go on to have a stellar one on one match with the champion at the time at WrestleMania. And for the past few years the last surviving five have been great, and exciting, but the outcome was predictable, annoying and avoidable. How come they can’t put faith in a younger guy that has what it takes? I’m not talking just some guy that everyone seems to love, I’m talking about a guy that yes, many people are behind but a guy that can also make magic happen on the road to WrestleMania.
As of right now, Your Universal Champion is Brock Lesnar and your WWE Champion is AJ Styles. At this year’s Royal Rumble both champions will defend their titles. Lesnar will face a triple threat match between himself, Kane and Braun Strowman and Styles will fight to keep his title against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in a 2 on 1 handicap match. I for one hope that Braun gets what he deserves and can win at the Royal Rumble, I also must add I hope that he keeps the championship through WrestleMania and beyond. He’s primed and ready to be the champion, and it gives the WWE Universe back it’s champion. Brock Lesnar is his own champion, he isn’t ours. OR at least he’s not mine. Lesnar being the champion does nothing for the titles history as he’s never around to battle to keep it unless the paycheck is big enough and the expression out of sight out of mind plays a huge role there as well, it’s all too easy to forget there is a universal championship or that the title even exists. I hope to see Styles retain his WWE Championship. As much as seeing Kevin or Sami world champion would make me happy I don’t want it to be under the circumstances of being a “co” champion, especially for a guy like Zayn who has yet to hold a WWE Title at all. It hasn’t been announced when the rumble match will happen on the card compared to the Title matches but for the last two years Owens and Zayn’s have been at the top of my list to win the Royal Rumble. Strowman has been as well. A guy like Finn Balor, Nakamura, Big E, Wyatt, Cesaro, Ambrose, Elias, Luke Harper, and Rusev are all examples of guys that I think of when I think amazing potential after being a Royal Rumble winner. (And yes, I know some are in other matches, or injured) I’m sure everyone has their own list. Not everyone will be happy, that’s impossible but I find it hard to imagine that people would be angry with a fresh younger talented winner if it made sense, right? I think I am.
Before I tell you my favorites to win the Rumble, let’s talk about the other matches we must look forward to that night. I’ve already mentioned above that I hope Styles retains the WWE Title and that Braun takes home the Universal championship.
- Seth and Jordan vs The Bar. Raw Tag Team Championship match
Maybe it’s because I’m such a huge Ambrose fan, and Shield fan, that I’m just bitter and picky but I hate seeing Jordan and Seth teaming together. It seriously bothers me. I liked Jason Jordan back in NXT but this new story he has going isn’t doing him any favors, at least none that I can find. For that reason, apologies Rollins but I’m going with Cesaro and Sheamus. Plus, The Bar have been exceptional together.
- The Usos vs Gable and Benjamin. 2 out of 3 falls. SDLive Tag Team Championship match
You can absolutely write my name down in the column of since day one when it comes to the Usos, they’re incredible athletes and champions and this run they have going right now might just be my favorite one yet, BUT Gable and Benjamin are fresh and new and extremely talented, so I wouldn’t be mad seeing them get the championships heading into the road to WrestleMania.
- The women’s Royal Rumble match.
Man, oh man, am I excited for this one! This is the kind of match that I wish had happened even sooner. The ladies will absolutely kill it. But like the men royal rumble, I don’t want it to be predictable. I don’t want it to be the same women getting this spotlight that have already been the forefront, example: The four horsewomen. Becky would be the only one I’d be slightly less pissed about getting this nod. I’m less picky about who I think should win and more focused on the final four ladies that get to fight it out. I think Asuka and Nia Jax should be there. I think someone from NXT that may come up or this match should be there, such as Nikki Cross, or Billie Kay. I know we’ve been told that Stephanie McMahon will be announcing the match, I hated the idea at first but now I’ll settle with, fine you can announce it but stay the HELL out of it. I absolutely do not want her interfering or entering this match. Of course, there are some women I’d love to see come back for this match such as Michelle McCool, The Bella Twins, Trish Stratus, Beth Phoenix and hell even Kelly Kelly. It would be cool to see all the generations mix it up in a match they have all collectively had a hand in making happen.
- The Men’s Royal Rumble Match.
My ranting in the beginning of this post tells you what I desperately want from this match. Something fresh, something new, but something that makes sense. I would be over the moon to see Rusev win this because I think he and his character are outstanding. Elias has really become something that I don’t think many expected him to become and I’ve really been enjoying it. He is someone else I wouldn’t mind seeing win, although I don’t think it’ll happen due to Cena and himself getting into that confrontation last Monday night. Nakamura will always be a fan favorite and if AJ Styles manages to say WWE Champion leading into WrestleMania then YES, this is the guy that I absolutely want to see face him on the Mania stage. And of course, Finn Balor, a guy who should not be taking a back seat to Brock Lesnar, a guy who shouldn’t have had to wait this long for a shot at a title that he never actually lost. They’ve only announced about 13 out of 30 participants of this year’s Royal Rumble so there is plenty of room for surprise entrants both from NXT, legendary comebacks and one-night-only moments. Guys like EC3 and Bobby Lashley have been rumored to appear and I’d absolutely be on board for that. Rumor has it Jeff Hardy might be healed up enough to come back. Any NXT guy from Kassius Ohno, to Tyler Bates, to Pete Dunne to Aleister Black, would be welcome treats. Legends from the likes of Razor Ramon, SGT Slaughter, The Dudley Boys and so on are always welcome to spice things up.
I think tonight will be a good night. I think we’re all in for some fun. The talent all around the card is fantastic. They’ve announced some pre-show matches such as Bobby Roode defending his US Title in an open challenge and those are always exciting. You’ll see some tag team matches as well. I’m going into the royal rumble will the same mindset I have gone into many of the past shows and that is to focus more on the wrestling itself than the outcome. That won’t be easy considering the Rumble matches are ALL about the outcome but that’s where I focus on who gets the final four nods 😉
until next time.
enjoy the show