The Royal Rumble is a few days away and this year no one really knows who Vince McMahon wants to win the Rumble match. Typically the winner goes onto headline Wrestlemania in the Spring but now with Elimination Chamber and Fastlane coming up before Mania we could see a surprise winner who loses his title opportunity at another pay per view.
With two title bouts on before the Rumble match you have to take into consideration that the winner will face either Roman Reigns, John Cena or AJ Styles. If Kevin Owens beats Reigns or keeps the belt he’s moving on to face Jericho at Wrestlemania. I don’t see any reason Vince McMahon would pull the plug on Owens-Jericho after nine months of build up just to plug in Goldberg, Undertaker, Big Cass, etc…
The odds listed are my own. I don’t think any Vegas books are allowing anyone to bet on the WWE even Sunday.
Taker is my pick to win. If Roman Reigns beats Kevin Owens earlier in the night to become the WWE Universal Champion it only makes sense to do him and “The Dead Man” at Wrestlemania. McMahon has it set in his mind that Reigns is to be the guy going forward and to have him beat Undertaker on the biggest show of the year, which could possibly be his last match would make the former Shield member The Guy going forward.
Undertaker could also challenge AJ Styles should he defend his WWE Title on the blue brand against John Cena at the Rumble.
On WWE.com there are 22 men listed for the Rumble match but that doesn’t include surprise entrants which could include Kenny Omega, Samoa Joe or Kurt Angle. Vince McMahon could put someone who didn’t win their title match like Reigns or Cena in the Rumble to get them another title shot at Mania.
It really wouldn’t surprise me to see Reigns get cheated out of the belt and then win the Rumble match.
Samoa Joe is another guy who has paid his dues in NXT and has a big push waiting on him when he gets to the main roster. Joe could be put into matches with Reigns, Cena or Styles and tear the house down at Wrestlemania. However, I don’t see the WWE pushing Joe to the moon upon his arrival. I expect him to be in the Rumble since he’s not booked for Takeover but he likely won’t win the Rumble match.
Finn Balor has been rumored for the Rumble if he gets cleared by the doctors. A lot of fans would be very happy to see Balor vs Styles or Cena at Wrestlemania 33.
10-1 Braun Strowman
If Roman Reigns beats Kevin Owens for the Universal Title Strowman is a guy to keep an eye on in the Rumble. Strowman and Reigns have had issues in the past but they haven’t squared off on pay per view in a singles match. If McMahon wants to build Reigns as his top babyface Strowman is the monster that he has to vanquish at Mania to cement himself as the biggest good guy on the roster.
Goldberg is very interesting in this position. The worst kept secret in the WWE is that we will likely see him against Lesnar at Mania. However, Goldberg doesn’t need to win the Rumble to be put into a big match at Wrestlemania. But if Reigns wins the belt from Owens a Goldberg win makes a lot of sense. The WWE teased a Reigns-Goldberg altercation a few weeks ago and I think a Reigns vs Goldberg match makes more sense than Lesnar-Goldberg if you want to build up Reigns. It’s doubtful but I see a scenario where Goldberg wins the Rumble and challenges Reigns for the Universal Title at Wrestlemania 33.
20-1 Brock Lesnar
I wouldn’t mind seeing Lesnar win but if McMahon is going with him and Goldberg again at Wrestlemania 33 it’s not going to happen. I think we see a scenario where Lesnar and Goldberg battle it out and wind up getting eliminated together. I just don’t see a scenario where Lesnar wins and moves on to challenge Reigns, Owens, Styles or Cena at Mania. Although Lesnar vs Styles or Owens is intriguing.
25-1 Dean Ambrose
Ambrose has quietly slipped under the Rumble radar since winning the Intercontinental Title earlier this month. Since winning the belt he’s been in a feud with Miz but that should be coming to an end soon and both guys will move onto something else. I could see a scenario where John Cena beats AJ Styles for the title and Ambrose wins the Rumble match and challenges Cena two nights later on Smackdown. I wouldn’t mind seeing Ambrose challenge Reigns either since the two men never had a singles match together.
30-1 Chris Jericho
Jericho might seem like a longshot but his angle with Kevin Owens has been money all year. We all know he and his best friend will be culminating their storyline at Wrestlemania before Y2J takes a few months off to pursue music. Should Owens retain the belt and Jericho win the Rumble RAW would be can’t miss TV as the two finally go at it leading up a potential title match at Wrestlemania 33. I don’t think Vince McMahon is going to go in this direction but stranger things have happened.
40-1 Bray Wyatt
Why not Bray Wyatt? He’s been hanging out around the top of the card for several years but has never really wrestled for a world title on pay per view. The Wyatt Family is red hot right now and I could see him challenging AJ Styles for the title. However, I don’t think the WWE wants to turn Bray babyface and a heel vs heel match for the belt at Mania isn’t likely in the cards. McMahon isn’t going to go with Wyatt vs Cena or Reigns because we’ve seen it before and Wyatt vs Owens is another heel vs heel match. I don’t think Bray wins but if he’s turned babyface I could see it happening.
60-1 Big Cass
I really think we see Enzo and Cass win the WWE tag titles from Cesaro and Sheamus at Wrestlemania but if McMahon wanted to give Cass a monster push he could have him win the Rumble and go onto challenge Reigns, Owens, Styles or Cena at Mania. This isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. I think Cass is a lock to make it to the final four in the Rumble due to the way he’s been booked and how McMahon sees him. The 2017 Rumble may not be his but I think he will win one in the next three years to become a main event player going forward.
60-1 Baron Corbin
Corbin is in a similar situation as Cass except he’s not being held back by a tag team partner who is over with the crowd. “The Lone Wolf” is now a main eventer on the blue brand and it’s not outside the realm of possibility that we see Corbin as one of the last four guys in the ring. Should he win there is a very intriguing matchup with John Cena awaiting him at Wrestlemania 33, given that Cena beats Styles for the belt.
75-1 Sami Zayn
Word on the street is that Sami has heat on him in the locker room so he likely won’t be winning the Rumble. However, Sami vs AJ Styles is a hardocre fans dream for Wrestlemania. I think eventually Sami evolves into Daniel Bryan and gets so over that Vince McMahon has to give him the belt. However, right now is not that time.
Miz has quietly become one of the top performers in the WWE the last six months and now that he’s no longer the Intercontinental Champ we could see the former WWE champ elevated back to the main events once again. We haven’t seen Miz vs Styles or Reigns before and both are worthy of being featured at Wrestlemania. I don’t think he wins the Rumble but there are scenarios where it does make sense.
Handsome Rusev is one of those guys who is always around the top of the mid-card and occasionally gets to wrestle in the main event. He’s great on the mic and always gets heat. If Vince McMahon wanted to put a rocket on Rusev’s back and put him in the main event of Wrestlemania the fans would get behind it. The problem here is that I don’t see “The Bulgarian Brute” wrestling Reigns or Cena since he’s already faced them on pay per view many times. AJ Styles would be a fun opponent but having two heels fight for the belt at Wrestlemania is something the WWE doesn’t typically do. I don’t see Rusev facing Owens since “KO” will headed to Orlando to face Jericho in April. But I so think Rusev is the smart pick to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania.
100-1 Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler had a pretty strong 2016 and was in the title picture the latter half of the year on Smackdown. Now that he’s a heel again I wouldn’t mind seeing him winning the Rumble and moving onto face John Cena or Roman Reigns. He and Cena have a history due to their connection to Nikki Bella over the years and it would be easy to exploit that in a storyline that culminated in a match at Wrestlemania 33. I don’t see it happening though. Cena will be used to help build new talent. Since Ziggler is close to retirement I can’t see McMahon making a match between the two Mania.
There you have it. Smart money is on Undertaker but the field could be the play since there will be some big name surprises like Reigns or Cena who get into the match after losing in title matches earlier in the night.
Tune in Sunday night to see how