By Jason Powell
The Royal Rumble match: So many finish scenarios. Does Triple H enter at No. 30 to exact his revenge when Roman Reigns least suspects it, just as Vince McMahon teased? Does Reigns think he has the Rumble won only for the countdown clock to start again during his weary celebration, leading to Triple H coming out at No. 31? Is Triple H going to enter the match late so that Reigns can eliminate him from the match with the hope that fans won’t boo Reigns if he goes bell to bell?
About that bell to bell thing. It’s perfectly logical for The Authority to book Reigns as the first entrant in the match. They stacked the deck against him already, so why would they leave it up to chance at this point only to have him draw a favorable number? However, this move exposes Reigns by potentially having him in the match for an eternity. Even if the live crowd likes him when he starts the match, there will be plenty of wrestlers who enter the match that those fans will like more by the time it’s all said and done.
For that reason, I just can’t see Reigns winning the Rumble. Vince McMahon has shoved Reigns down the throats of viewers for a long time now, but surely even he has to know that would be taking it too far. He’d become Neo in the Matrix sequels. It was cool when Neo fought for his life with Agent Smith in the original film, but it was completely anticlimactic when we saw him fighting off hundreds or even thousands of Smiths with ease in the sequels. If Reigns fights off 29 other men to win this this match, he’s the new Neo. Does that make Dean Ambrose the new Trinity? I digress.
Getting back to who wins the match, I would love to see a surprise entrant such as Daniel Bryan win. I’d love to see a new star created in WWE by having A.J. Styles or Samoa debut and win the title on night one. Are these Bray Wyatt standing tall at the end of Raw and Smackdown are foreshadowing? While we’ve been trained to never say never in pro wrestling, it just doesn’t seem like Vince McMahon’s style. The Royal Rumble match was highjacked by the McMahon Family vs. Roman Reigns saga. Thus, your best hope for someone other than Hunter or Reigns winning is the scenario where the McMahons have a new chosen one. Brock Lesnar? Styles? Joe?
As much as I cringed when the McMahon vs. Reigns saga hijacked the Rumble match, this doesn’t seem to be as predicable for a lot of fans as it seems. Sure, chances are a favorite will win the match and everyone will claim they knew it as they vent on Twitter after the show, but I’ve heard from a lot of people with a lot of different theories that involve a lot of different winners over the last couple weeks. This feels like a three-man race with Reigns, Hunter, and Lesnar, but I must say that even that is less predictable than the years when it was obvious that one wrestler was going to win the match to set up the WrestleMania main event. I’m not saying that WWE is going to shock the world, but I know a lot more of you think there’s a chance they will than will admit that after the show ends, especially if they go with the prediction I have been making for weeks.
Triple H wins the Royal Rumble.
Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing match for the Intercontinental Title: The build for this match peaked a week early, but that doesn’t mean these two can’t have a hell of a match. My guess is that Owens wins and the brawling carries over to the Rumble where Ambrose will get some measure of revenge by eliminating Owens. Dean has a new haircut. Is that foreshadowing that he’s the new corporate sellout? I don’t think so either.
Kevin Owens wins the Intercontinental Title.
Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch for the Divas Championship: WWE finally has two Divas with clearly defined babyface and heel personas. Not so shockingly, the level of interest in their feud is increasing. Here’s hoping they deliver the type of strong match they are capable of having and that builds even more interest. I could see Lynch winning if they want to write out Ric Flair by having Charlotte kick him to the curb after his interference backfires. When in doubt, stick with the champion.
Charlotte retains the Divas Championship.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto for the U.S. Championship: Kalisto won the title on Raw, lost it on Smackdown, and was then pinned in a tag match on this week’s Raw. Why didn’t they just leave the title on him until now?
Alberto Del Rio retains the U.S. Championship.
New Day vs. The Uso Brothers for the WWE Tag Titles: A match so big that I originally forgot to include it on this list. WWE gave us hope for The Uso Brothers by having one of them lose in a singles match to Big E on Raw. The teams will work hard and should have a good match, but WWE just hasn’t done an effective job of making fans want to see one particular team want to beat the champions.
New Day retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
The Dudley Boyz vs. Mark Henry & Jack Swagger vs. The Ascension vs. Darren Young & Damien Sandow in a four-way tag match Royal Rumble qualifier: This seems to be a two team match between The Dudleys and the winners Henry and Swagger. Why do I think Henry and Swagger are going to win? Because WWE advertised Henry for the Royal Rumble match, pulled him from the list of entrants, had him talk about being in the Rumble match on Raw, and then announced this match. I wish I could care about the outcome, but it’s hard to see any of these guys playing a vital role in the Rumble match. Can they at least call the makeshift team of Young and Sandow by the name of Primedow and have them debut the new Hundreds of Dollars dance?
Mark Henry and Jack Swagger qualify for the Royal Rumble.
Powell’s Bold Predictions for the Royal Rumble
-A.J. Styles will make his debut at the Royal Rumble, but it won’t be the debut for the character he portrays in WWE. He wont be known as A.J. Styles, he will be playing the part of WWE’s first transgender wrestler A.J. Lee. #Brave
-Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns will eliminate one another just before the thirtieth entrant enters. The clock reaches zero and out limps new WWE World Heavyweight Champion by default Seth Rollins. Hey, I can dream. Replace Rollins name with Triple H’s and this scenario may actually happen.
-Samoa Joe will enter the Rumble just long enough to beat up the Uso Brothers for trying to add Dolph Ziggler and his pink face paint to pro wrestling’s Samoan family tree on Smackdown.
-Byron Saxton’s main focus on the broadcast team will be to smile pretty and spoil the score of the NFC Championship for fans who are recording the game with the intent of watching it after the Rumble.
-Mauro Ranallo’s tweets from the Royal Rumble will be more entertaining than anything the Raw broadcast team says while calling the pay-per-view. Well, unless he spends yet another night retweeting everything that everyone tweets about him again.
-WWE will try to capitalize on the Guns N’ Roses reunion by showcasing the tag team of “Axel Rose” featuring Curtis Axel and Adam Rose. Steven Adler will beg to play drums for the tag team even after he figures out it’s not the real Axl Rose. #BringBackSteven
-Dixie Carter will tweet about the NFC Championship game just to show that she’s watching football rather than the Royal Rumble (she’s watching the Rumble).
-It will be revealed that A.J. Styles also signed a deal memo to coach the Tennessee Titans while he was hanging out at Dixie’s pad in Nashville. Styles giving the Titans the ol’ dine, kinda sign but not really, and dash makes more sense than any other theory I’ve read as to why the Titans are bringing back Mike Mularkey.
-I will root for the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals (good luck Efren) today. If history is any indication, that means you are safe betting on the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers (good luck, Chris Shore and Bruce Mitchell) to win. I am looking forward to a fun Super Bowl with two excellent teams regardless of today’s outcomes. #NoJabronis