The 27th edition of the annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view takes place on January 26 from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with the event remaining as anticipating as ever.
The great thing about the Royal Rumble event which makes it stand out is the unpredictability. At times different pay-per-view results are either leaked beforehand or even during the event in some cases but the 30-man Royal Rumble is one which always keeps us fans at the edge of our seats.
As of this writing only three matches are confirmed, the first between The Big Show and Brock Lesnar; the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between the champion Randy Orton and John Cena and of course the Royal Rumble event itself.
Wade Barrett, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Fandango, Rey Mysterio, R-Truth, Xavier Woods, The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Goldust, Cody Rhodes, Big E Langston, CM Punk, Alberto Del Rio and the returning Batista are just some of the names confirmed for the match. The upcoming episodes of Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown will reveal the final competitors whereas NXT could also announce certain NXT superstars entering the Rumble. Rumours suggest that NXT superstars Adrian Neville and Corey Graves, who hails from Pittsburgh, could enter the Rumble.
With so much unpredictability in the air, which superstars are seen as the top contenders? Which superstars have a genuine chance of walking out as the victor? I have picked out my six options that I believe will pose a serious threat in the Rumble which could all lead into interesting story-lines as we head towards WrestleMania.
6. CM PUNK
It has been mooted for quite some time now that CM Punk is due to make an impact in at least one Royal Rumble, and this may well be his year. You can never rule CM Punk out of any situation, the fans love him right now and is almost a certainty to come within the final five, certainly the final ten.
I believe a CM Punk win would result in a match between Punk and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Randy Orton. It is not something I personally want to see but for a number of months a feud between Orton and Punk has been rumoured and this could be the manner in which it happens.
CM Punk winning the Rumble won’t be a bad option but it won’t be the best option creative can go with either. Now it just remains to be seen what creative has planned for CM Punk starting at the Rumble.
Sheamus suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder and that injury resulted in The Celtic Warrior missing around six months of in-ring action, so what better place to return than in the Royal Rumble itself?
The setting is perfect, Sheamus will not have the heaviest of workloads but will need to still need to remain careful especially if he is selected to be one of the final few, or even the winners; at this stage who knows?
Sheamus is one of ‘those’ superstars that can headline any event and is something the WWE have missed out on. Again, the likeliest outcome of this would be that Sheamus either challenges the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Or if rumours are anything to go by, don’t be surprised to see Sheamus challenging the streak rather than challenging the champion.
4. DANIEL BRYAN
The hottest property in the entire business right now, Daniel Bryan recently joined – then left – The Wyatt Family and will certainly be a lot of fans’ pick to walk out of the Rumble as the winner, even if he doesn’t it still opens up a lot of doors for Bryan.
A match between CM Punk and Daniel Bryan just needs to headline WrestleMania at some stage in the near future and this year it still looks unlikely but Daniel Bryan winning the Rumble means he has the chance to face the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and the perfect scenario at that stage would be to have John Cena giving Daniel Bryan his rematch.
If The Wyatt Family storyline continues into the Rumble then you can probably expect to see an angle where Bray Wyatt might order Bryan to exit the ring, or even more interestingly Bray Wyatt could voluntarily exit the ring and allow Bryan to win and go on to fight the champion or again as rumours suggest, The Undertaker.
3. BRAY WYATT
Talking of Bray Wyatt I believe he has a genuine chance of winning the Royal Rumble, or definitely being one of the top contenders in the match if he enters. If he is in the match then it is clear that Luke Harper and Erick Rowan will play a big role in the match itself.
The Bray Wyatt bandwagon sees newer fans jumping on week after week and rightfully so as he has improved so much each and every week and the Rumble could be his platform into stardom, and set the stage for Wyatt to fully solidify himself as one of the brightest talents the WWE possess at WrestleMania.
It maybe is too early for Wyatt to capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship but if he continues the way he is then it should be no problem. If he does win, which is a big if then Daniel Bryan could still play a big role in this.
2. ROMAN REIGNS
I want Roman Reigns to win the Royal Rumble, as much as I want to believe he will, I just do not see it happening. Nevertheless, Reigns will remain a top contender in the match and the man to beat for sure. It has been speculated for months that Reigns will be turning face and that face turn could potentially occur at the Rumble.
If he has the chance to eliminate Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins then that could signal the face turn, if he tosses his teammates over the ropes. Reigns is the future of the WWE and he could make his mark in this match alone. Expect Reigns to have a big Rumble where he is expected to eliminate a high number of superstars, perhaps even breaking the record set by Kane which stands at 11.
He is in a similar situation to Bray Wyatt. Winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship would probably be too early and too big of a risk right now.
It was never going to be anybody else at number one. There is a reason the WWE are bringing Batista back at this time in the year, and it would be very surprising to see Batista not winning the Rumble. It is all set for him to win and he will certainly be making a big impact in his first match back since walking out of the company.
The only viable option for Batista would definitely be challenging the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. The interesting thing with Batista is that both John Cena and Randy Orton are perfect opponents for him at WrestleMania as he has history with both men. One thing is for sure, it is difficult to predict who will walk out as the winner.
What do you guys think? Batista? CM Punk? Or are you thinking outside the box and hoping for someone else to win? Let me know in the comments below...
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