Last week the WWE confirmed that the third edition of the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal will be taking place on the WrestleMania pre-show, with one big change taking place.
In the previous two matches, we have seen 30 men enter the battle royal. However, this year there will only be 20 stars competing for the trophy previously won by Cesaro and The Big Show.
It’s clear that injuries have played a part in the lack of competitors, and this year it feels like there’s a lack of importance surrounding the match the WWE wanted to make a successful tradition.
Nevertheless, the match is going ahead and at this stage, there’s no clear favourite heading into the match.
The Big Show and Kane - as two of the only remaining big men available for the bout - have garnered a little bit of TV time as of late to suggest they will have a big role in proceedings.
Of course, Big Show won the trophy last year and fans will have their picks heading into the event, but here are the stars I believe stand a chance of being the last man remaining in the battle royal.
Braun Strowman looks like the favourite heading into WrestleMania, at one stage he was set to take on The Undertaker in a one on one match so if Vince McMahon is still high on him, we should expect to see Strowman dominate in this match.
The good thing is the WWE will be continuing the tradition of having someone strong or a monster picking up a win, something synonymous with Andre the Giant, so Strowman will be a fantastic pick in that case.
However, when it comes to making the award and the trophy relevant, Strowman doesn’t strike me as somebody who’s character will really care about having a trophy. In fact, it doesn’t really fit in well with the whole Wyatt Family persona - period.
AN NXT STAR
You can’t rule out an NXT winning or competing in this match just yet. Last year, Hideo Itami had the honour of competing at WrestleMania and put in a good performance in his stint.
The WWE may turn to NXT again if they want to pull out with a huge surprise and kick the night off in great fashion, there are a handful of stars who should be considered such as Baron Corbin or Colin Cassady, who fit the bill.
If NXT stars can compete, then we shouldn’t expect to see big names such as Finn Balor and Samoa Joe in the match as their main roster debuts will be saved for a particular date, much like Kevin Owens had.
The good thing about having an NXT star win is that it will help them in developmental. It will boost their stock and give them a platform for when they do move up. At the same time, main roster stars may dislike the fact that this honour is going to somebody who hasn’t stepped foot on the main roster.
Again, continuing with the tradition of having somebody strong win the battle royal, then you can’t look past Mark Henry. He hasn’t been doing a lot on the main roster as of late and there have been rumours running for quite some time now that this could be his final WrestleMania before he calls time on his career.
If that’s the case, then there’s no better way to have Henry walk away from the WWE and officially retire. It’s a big match to be involved in and he will be leaving with great success if he can pick up one final win.
You don’t need to be involved in a feud to enter or win this match so, along with Strowman, Henry has to be a favourite before he’s even announced as a competitor.
A SOCIAL OUTCAST
Curtis Axel, Adam Rose, Bo Dallas and Heath Slater have managed to accumulate more TV time in the last month than they did all of last year.
They’re doing good for themselves to get noticed, and to make it to WrestleMania in itself is a huge step, so they’ll be enjoying that feeling. I do think one of the Social Outcasts could walk away with the trophy because out of everyone on the WWE roster; these four are perhaps the best in terms of making the win seem relevant.
Over the past two years, we didn’t see that Cesaro’s win was overshadowed by him becoming a Paul Heyman guy the following night and his victory was forgotten. The Big Show won and after a month nobody even remembered what he did at WrestleMania, I do think it’s a different case with these four stars.
They’re a team who can continue reminding the fans of their win and if all goes to plan, they could actually go down as the most successful winners. Kind of like when Owen Hart won the King of the Ring and constantly rammed it down everybody's throats.
The good thing is even though one of them could win, it’ll remain a team win because that’s where their strength lies.
WWE FANS – WHO DO YOU THINK SHOULD WIN THE ANDRE THE GIANT MEMORIAL BATTLE ROYAL? A DIFFERENT PICK TO THE ONES ABOVE? LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW.