Four matches -- incidentally, all tag team matches -- have been announced for the WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view event this Sunday from Philadelphia, in addition to the 30-man Rumble match itself and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat match.
Here's a look at each of the undercard matches, along with some predictions. Posts on the Rumble match itself and the WWE title match will be posted later this week.
Elimination 6-man tag team match: The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xaiver Woods) vs. Cesaro, Tyson Kidd and Adam Rose
Nothing about this kickoff show match is "must-see" but it should give us some decent action to get the show started. This should also be a good gauge to see how the Philadelphia crowd is going to react to things throughout the night. I fully expect them to dump on the New Day gimmick, which has been received about as well as a flatus in church by crowds far less snarky than those from the City of Brotherly Love. Cesaro, meanwhile, should be over like rover. Hopefully, these guys also end up in the 30-man Rumble match itself. One nice showing by Cesaro could get him back on track and prove he is "connecting" with the crowd and I'd hate to be robbed of another Kofi Kingston Royal Rumble moment just because he was in a pre-show tag match. The other four? Meh. By the way, when this was announced, it was an elimination tag match. Now WWE.com is listing it only as a six-man tag. So who knows. Honestly, I think one way to add some intrigue is to have the winners get in the Rumble match and the losers don't.
WINNERS: The New Day
The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) vs. The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn)
All the talk of the Ascension being "buried" or being a comedy act is a bit premature. Yes, the commentators have been killing them during the broadcast for talking trash about legendary tag teams like the Road Warriors and Demolition, but I firmly believe that was building to Monday's run-in with a few Attitude Era teams. Now they actually get to face a legendary tag team (since the Outlaws are the only ones "young" enough to still work) in their first PPV match. The Ascension should squash the Outlaws here. They've got heat and the Outlaws (despite working as heels when we last saw them less than a year ago) will get a babyface nostalgia pop during their entrance.
WINNERS: The Ascension
Divas tag team match: The Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie) vs. Natalya and Paige
I've given up on hoping for an explanation as to why Nikki and Brie suddenly get along so well after their sisterly spat coming out of SummerSlam. Maybe we'll get some explanation on Total Divas later this season. Speaking of Total Divas, I am intrigued by the combination of Nattie and Paige. Certainly seems like they are building to something with those two. Presumably, the babyfaces go over here and one of them gets a title shot at Fast Lane next month.
WINNERS: Natalya and Paige
Tag Team Championship: The Usos (c) w/ Naomi vs. The Miz and Damien Mizdow
Conventional wisdom is the Usos retain and the Miz and Mizdow begin their break-up angle. I implore you, WWE, to instead put the belts back on Miz and Mizdow and give them a sustained run. Once you do the cliche break-up feud, what do you do with Damien Sandow? He's just another good worker in the mid-card who has lost the gimmick that got him over in the first place. Tease this breakup at least through SummerSlam with a lenghty reign. The Usos can then work with Tyson Kidd and Cesaro and help get them over with well-worked matches the next few months.
WINNERS: And NEW Tag Team Champions, The Miz and Damien Mizdow