According to WWE.com there are only 22 confirmed WWE Superstars for the Royal Rumble match this Sunday. We know there will be 30 men in the Rumble so that leaves eight slots that are still available. With two potential spots going to the losers of the championship matches earlier in the night AJ Styles, John Cena, Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens could all find their way into the match. Even if the two guys who lose their title match appear in the Rumble that leaves six spots still available.
Let’s look at the possibilities.
Depending on where you look Balor has or hasn’t been approved by doctors to return to the ring. Balpr was red hot this summer when he was drafted to RAW and beat Seth Rollins to become the first ever WWE Universal Champion. However, he messed up his shoulder and has been out ever since. If he’s cleared by doctors Balor has to be in the match. Fans love him and it helps get him back in the groove heading into Wrestlemania season.
Ever since he tore the house down last month in New Japan Omega has been on the WWE’s radar. It was this time last year that AJ Styles was in a similar situation. He debuted at the Rumble and is now the champ on Smackdown. If the WWE really wants to bring in new blood to help freshen up the roster. Omega is the guy to do it with. He can be paired with Balor, Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson and instantly be a main event player in the WWE. Omega told the Wrestling Observer yesterday that he’s staying with New Japan but it could all be a ruse and we see him at the Rumble instead.
Angle has denied that he will be in the Rumble despite being named to the WWE Hall of Fame last week. We know Angle can still go in the ring and the crowd would go wild if his music hit and he came to the ring. Seeing Angle mix it up with new faces like Big Cass, Baron Corbin and Rusev would be a lot of fun and having run ins with old rivals like Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho or Undertaker would be fun for fans who love nostalgia.
“The Game” wouldn’t be that big of a surprise but his ego might put him in the match just to hear the pop when his music hits. Triple H could also enter the match and have a chance of winning it late before Seth Rollins comes in and eliminates him to set up their match at Wrestlemania 33. The WWE has been trying to put Rollins vs HHH together for two years and this year it will finally happen. It wouldn’t surprise me to see this get set into motion at the Rumble.
Joe is all but a lock to debut at the Royal Rumble. He hasn’t been on NXT programming in month and the former TNA champ isn’t even booked for Takeover the night before. I’m certain that Samoa Joe finally gets called up at the Rumble and is in the match. Whether he winds up on Smackdown or RAW is anyone’s guess but Sunday night we see Joe for the first time in a WWE ring.
I’m not sold on Shinsuke Nakamura debuting at the Royal Rumble. I think that he will stick around a while in NXT and debut in the WWE this summer. However, if Bobby Roode beats him for the belt on Saturday I think his odds go up substantially for the Rumble. Like Kenny Omega, Nakamura could be paired with Balor, Styles, Gallows and Anderson to make up a new faction in the WWE. I still think he has more time in development but it is possible wee see him in the Rumble Sunday night.
“The Big Guy” teased fans on his podcast earlier in the week that he will be #26 in the Rumble. Ryback is obviously messing with his listeners because he left on bad terms and has repeatedly bashed the WWE since leaving last year. I don’t see a scenario where Vince McMahon brings him just for a one-off in the Rumble match.
Rousey has been lying low since her loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 and we aren’t sure if she will ever fight again. But wouldn’t it be something if “Rowdy” was a surprise entrant into the Royal Rumble match? It’s highly unlikely but it wouldn’t surprise me at all too see her in the ring at Wrestlemania 33. Why not get the ball rolling and have the former UFC women’s bantamweight champ and Charlotte get into it and set up a big match for Mania?
Dillinger has been in NXT since it’s inception and it’s now or never with him in the WWE. He seems to be hitting his stride with the “Perfect Ten” gimmick and what better way to have his debut than at #10 in the Rumble match? After Joe I think Dillinger is the best bet of anyone in developmental who gets to be in the Rumble. Dillinger is facing Eric Young at Takeover the night before in what could be his last match in NXT.
Shane-O-Mac is such a logical choice to be in the Rumble that you don’t even think about it. I see a scenario where he comes out and gets destroyed an eliminated by the Wyatt Family to set up a match with Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania. We all know Shane isn’t going to win but he’s always good for a crazy bump on a big show a few times a year.