By Aaron Oster
11:57 AM EST, January 26, 2014
To many wrestling fans, the Royal Rumble is their favorite pay-per-view of the year. This year, we have 4 matches already made, plus the Rumble match itself. Here’s a rundown of the show, with my predictions on the winner.
The Rhodes Brothers vs. The New Age Outlaws for the WWE Tag Team Titles
This match will be on the online preshow. I’m not the biggest fan of this match. You have the Outlaws wrestle for the first time in their return 2 weeks ago, and they suddenly get a title shot?
It makes a tag division, which has started to really look strong with the Rhodes, the Usos, the Wyatts, the Real Americans and others, look a bit foolish that these guys can suddenly get a shot.
Granted, it plays into the Authority storyline, but I feel like it could have gotten that done in another way. The other weird thing is that they’re still doing their entrance (still a top 5 entrance in WWE history), trying to get the crowd to chant along with them, but they’re heels? It’s an odd juxtaposition.
Especially since it’s on the pre-show, I think the easy prediction is for the Brotherhood to retain. If you wanted to go out on a limb though, you could say that the Outlaws would win to get their one last shine in the spotlight, then drop it to the Usos, who have looked great in recent months, and are as over with the crowd as they’ve ever been.
This could further the Authority angle by getting another title under their umbrella, as well as make an easy transition to the Usos (and perhaps start to break up Cody and Goldust in time for Wrestlemania?). However, I don’t see that happening here.
Prediction: Rhodes Brothers retain the titles
Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt
I could very easily see this match kicking off the Pay-Per-View.
Not because it would fire up the crowd, or because it deserves “curtain-jerking” status, but simply that both of these wrestlers could end up wrestling in the Rumble match, and they would like some time to rest.
I think this match needs a decisive conclusion to it. We’ve seen a lot of Wyatts matches end with some sort of inconclusive finish, whether it’s a DQ, or a Wyatt Family win due to interference.
I think after all the back and forth, that this match needs a decisive ending, as we’ve seen the Wyatts get wins several times over Bryan in gauntlet matches and handicap matches, which does cause an issue.
If this feud was supposed to help elevate Bray Wyatt, I don’t know that a decisive loss here really helps to do that, especially when you consider that he hasn’t had a lot of notable singles wins under his belt.
The Wyatt Family, as a whole, has taken a bit of a beating in recent weeks, with Rowan and Harper losing multiple times to the Usos after really looking strong for months. A loss here by Bray could be fairly damaging.
At the same time, especially after RAW in Providence, how can you have Daniel Bryan lose?
If he’s going to be anywhere near the title picture (more on this later) he almost has to win. The crowd, as shown by that RAW main event in Providence, as well as this past RAW with Bryan’s promo, is desperate for Bryan to overcome the Wyatts and get back on track.
I think the WWE is going to listen to the crowd. Could I see a Wyatt win with some shenanigans? Yes, I could see that to keep Bryan busy for Elimination Chamber before moving on at Wrestlemania, but I think that these two sides need to move on from this feud to get truly started on the Road To Wrestlemania.
Prediction: Daniel Bryan wins
Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar
This is a pretty simple match, in both execution and the result. Brock needs a win to validate his self-proclaimed No. 1 contender status, and give him a push on his way to Wrestlemania.
And while his F5 to Mark Henry was impressive, why not repeat what he did in 2002, and give an F5 to the world’s largest athlete?
The one hiccup to the obvious prediction could be that the next PPV is Elimination Chamber. Presumably, the title will be on the line in the Chamber, and a Big Show win (or an underhanded win by Lesnar) could be an easy way to get another person in the Chamber.
But my prediction is that while Big Show looks good, and throws Lesnar around a bit, Lesnar wins with an F5.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar wins
John Cena vs. Randy Orton for the WWE World Heavyweight Title
There has been a very odd build to this match, starting back at the announcement by Stephanie McMahon.
It’s partially due to the fact that a singles match between the two (Is it No DQ? McMahon saying it must end in pinfall or submission seems to indicate that, but they haven’t made that very clear) is a drop off psychologically from the TLC match they had last month.
The focus has been less on the match itself, and more about the growing friction between the Authority and Randy Orton.
I can’t see Orton losing here. Even if there was some sort of split between Orton and the Authority, this isn’t the time he loses the belt, and Cena isn’t the opponent to take it.
If he does lose the belt before Mania, it would likely be because the Authority decides there’s a new face of the company, and while people would love that to end in a Cena heel turn, I think we all know that isn’t happening
Prediction: Randy Orton retains
The Royal Rumble match:
So here’s the match everyone looks forward to every year. It’s always a fun match, if for no other reason than to see basically everyone in the company in a single hour.
This year is interesting, as I think there are a couple more realistic winners than usual. Twenty-five wrestlers have been announced (at least tentatively), so far, which leads to the questions of if there are going to be any surprise returns, and who is going to win it.
I have a feeling we’re not going to get many truly shocking returns. I could see Jericho returning from his sabbatical, and Sheamus returning from injury, but anyone expecting an Ultimate Warrior, Jake the Snake or Hulk Hogan in the match are going to be disappointed.
We might get a small legend return, such as a Jim Duggan, but not a truly shocking return like the aforementioned.
As for the current roster wrestlers, I’d say 22 of the people listed have very little shot: Alberto Del Rio, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, Rey Mysterio, Big E Langston, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Erick Rowan, Luke Harper, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, The Miz, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Xavier Woods, Fandango, Damien Sandow, Ryback, Titus O’Neil, Darren Young, Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro.
There are two darkhorses in the match -- one is Lesnar himself.
He hasn’t been announced, or even hinted at, but if you’re looking for someone who could certainly main event Wrestlemania, then he’s definitely a candidate.
The other is a curveball, Roman Reigns, who has been announced. People have been waiting for the Shield to explode, and this could be the trigger.
If the belts were still separated, I could potentially see Reigns winning it and getting that big push. However, with only one belt, I’d find it really hard to see Reigns in that position at this time. Next year? It’s very possible. But just a bit too early this year.
There are three favorites in my mind: the first is Daniel Bryan.
As mentioned before, he is not listed as being in this match. I just can’t imagine the WWE not putting him in the Rumble match, unless his concussion is much worse than we thought, and if that’s the case, putting him in a singles match is just as dangerous.
The storyline here is obvious. He wins, and finally gets his title match at Mania, presumably winning and completing a 9 month cycle with him yelling “YES” in front of 75,000 people. As far as satisfying endings, it’s hard to beat that.
The only questions are if Bryan/Orton, for the fourth time in seven months at a PPV, is a Wrestlemania main event.
The second is CM Punk. He’s also involved with the Authority, to the point where he’s annoyed them enough to be the No. 1 entrant in the Rumble.
A Punk/Orton match, with, in essence, him vs. the Authority makes perfect sense for Wrestlemania. The only issue is that his feud, to this point, has seemed to be with Triple H specifically, and not necessarily for the title.
That points less toward a win, and more toward him making the final four or so, looking great in the process, and then somehow losing out, which will continue on to a match with him against Triple H at Mania.
The third is the returning Batista. It seems a bit early for him to get the title shot, and potentially a title win, but there are a few ways they can go with it if he does win.
He could take on Orton (or the winner of the Chamber if it’s not Orton) as a face, which would be fine. Or, it’s not out of the question to see a heel turn involving him becoming the Authority’s new face.
Either way, he has to be considered a favorite, though I’d put him second if I was making odds.
Prediction: Daniel Bryan wins the Rumble
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