Barnett's 2013 Royal Rumble Predictions: Will CM Punk leave Phoenix with the WWE Championship? Who will get a guaranteed shot at WrestleMania? Will Big Show live up to his promise to crush Alberto Del Rio like a cockroach?

Posted in: Barnett Editorials
Jan 27, 2013 - 01:01 PM

By Jake Barnett

2012 WWE Royal Rumble Preview and Predictions: How wrong can I be this time?

Youtube Pre Show Match – The Miz vs. Antonio Cesaro for the US Title: Honestly, I have been so disillusioned by Miz’s lackluster face turn and the bizarre little naitch storyline, that I’m actually not surprised this didn’t make it to the main PPV card. I like Cesaro a lot and I thought if anybody in that odd Miz TV segment with Flair, he came out of it looking like a guy who knew exactly what he was saying and it made sense in the context of his character. Miz did not, and the preposterously bad figure four he put on Dolph Ziggler this past Monday kind of cemented the whole thing as a flop, at least for me. I expect we see The Miz take the loss here, and hopefully move on to something that doesn’t remind us of the figure four botch every week.

Prediction: Antonio Cesaro defeats the Miz to retain the US Title.

Team Hell No vs. Team Rhodes Scholars for the WWE Tag Team Championships: I, for one, am past the point of being ready to see Team Hell No fall by the wayside and go back to their singles careers. I think Team Rhodes Scholars are improving quickly as a heel team, and got a decent rub from The Rock a few weeks ago. The Tag Division was in the midst of a revival of sorts a few months ago, but then it seemed to grind to a halt once The Shield appeared and Team Hell No was part of that storyline. Their Dr. Shelby Story and the story with The Shield are over now, so I think it’s a perfect time to slide the belts over to Sandow and Rhodes, and allow them to help the Tag Division grow.

I’ve never been a fan of having two prominent main event singles wrestlers holding those belts, for many of the reasons that were illustrated by this run. It did nothing for the other teams in the division, aside from getting the belts a bit of a spotlight on featured wrestlers. Team Hell No was shown time and again to be barely challenged by the other teams in the division, who were often fodder for whatever storyline hook they were attempted to grab people with that particular week. The Tag division and the wrestlers in it deserve better, and Kane and Bryan would be better served by resuming their singles careers heading into Mania.

Prediction: Team Rhodes Scholars defeats Team Hell No for the WWE Tag Team Championships.

Alberto Del Rio vs. The Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship in a Last Man Standing Match: This one has been a lot of fun to cover for me. The unexpected title win by Del Rio was a lot of fun to watch and really set the crowd on fire, and they had a really solid final push on Smackdown just a few days ago, where Big Show shined as a destructive monster. These roles seem to fit the two men perfectly. Del Rio has really showed off his natural charisma by embracing his home country’s culture and playing the hero to the immigrant populations Big Show repeatedly disparaged in his promos. Big Show antagonized Del Rio and Hispanic Culture, not in an outright racist way, but in a way that made it perfectly clear he thought the culture was beneath him and had nothing to offer the United States.

In the end, I think this story was well timed, considering WWE was running in Florida and the Southwest where a Hispanic presence in the crowds could clearly be felt on television. The match at the Rumble is a repeat of the stipulation in which Del Rio won the title, and the wild card of the Money in the Bank Briefcase is out there, which makes this match seem like a perfect opportunity for Dolph Ziggler. I think we see Del Rio pick up another underdog victory, but has it stolen from him by Dolph ZIggler.

Prediction: Alberto Del Rio defeats Big Show, but Dolph Ziggler walks out of the Royal Rumble with the World Heavyweight Championship.

The Rock vs. CM Punk for the WWE Championship; If The Shield interferes, CM Punk is stripped of his title: The Rock and CM Punk’s build for their match at Royal Rumble has been a great example of how to guys with conflicting styles and personalities can really make for a great feud. I think one of the major problems last year when WWE was building to Rock and Cena was that they were far too similar. Not in the sense that they talked about similar things, but in the sense that their promo cadence was largely the same, and they both relied on comedy cut with short moments of intensity to get their message across.

CM Punk went to great length in the first promo he gave on The Rock that they were very different people with very different ideas about what it means to be a Pro Wrestler. Punk is deadly serious all the time, and The Rock is still doing a lot of shtick, only getting serious when it becomes very clear that the situation requires it. I like the contrast, because the differing approaches lead to the various groups of wrestling fans getting what they asked for from their favorite superstar. In hindsight, I’m not sure they ever got there with Cena and The Rock, and perhaps they could if they took a different approach to a second match, but this build has really been phenomenal and above expectations for me.

I think WWE is planning another Cena vs. Rock WrestleMania Main Event, so I expect The Rock to win here, but CM Punk deserves all the kudos in the world for an excellent WWE Title reign. I hope, probably foolishly, that we get to see him vs. Stone Cold at WrestleMania, but only time will tell.

The Rock defeats CM Punk to win the WWE Championship.

The Royal Rumble Match: WWE has only announced 18 out of the 30 competitors for this match, so I look forward to being surprised and perhaps even rolling my eyes at a few of the competitors in this match. This is without a doubt the most “Sports Entertainment” out of all the WWE PPV concepts, so I don’t mind a little schlocky pandering in this match, but I hope they don’t go too over the top with it. I know a lot of people, including myself, are dreading the possibility of WWE going the obvious route of having Cena win here and go to face The Rock at WrestleMania, but I’m convinced that is exactly why it’s going to happen. There will be plenty of surprises and fun to be had here, with returning Superstars and Legends making appearances, but the redemption of John Cena’s “terrible” 2012 will begin tonight, and we will all be dragged behind a truck for the ride.

John Cena is winner of the Royal Rumble, and goes on to face The Rock in New York at WrestleMania.

Questions, comments or concerns? Contact me at or in twitter @barnettjake.

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