Remember the Rumble: Royal Rumble 2017 Predictions

By TravisHubert
Jan. 29, 2017

We are less than 48 hours away from the 2017 Royal Rumble, and it seems like the first WWE pay per view that truly matters since Summerslam.  Maybe it's the stacked card?  Maybe it's because it's the start of the Road to Wrestlemania?  Maybe it's because of its lineage?  Or maybe it's because the last four years it's been a train wreck of terrible booking and fans will want to see if the WWE can salvage themselves?

None the less, there is more excitement for this Rumble than pretty much any pay per view in the last calendar year.

So let's dust off our crystal ball, place some bets at the table, and make some predictions on what we can see at this years event...

30 Man Royal Rumble:

-One of the many matches that fans haven't been over-saturated with over the years.  The Rumble has proven to be a big draw with fans because of how well (usually) it's booked.  While some years the winners aren't the right people to win (see Cena in 2013, Batista in 2014, Roman Reigns in 2015, and Triple H in 2016), it does lead to some good moments.  Like A.J. Styles debut last literally is a mix of everything.  You'll have your comedy, your epic moments, surprises, and maybe even seeds planted for some Wrestlemania feuds.

This year is especially note worthy because of all the talent advertised for the Rumble.  Goldberg and Undertaker are two huge names that haven't been in the Rumble for some time.  Add Brock Lesnar to the mix and you have a main event match right there.  Include the well pushed Braun Strowman, and the re-invigorated Big Show you have quite a match.  Yes, you also have your Sami Zayn's and Dean Ambrose's and many other great talents, but those talents don't seem to be the focus.  Unfortunate that's one of my big issues with this years Rumble...the Smackdown side seems to be very weak.  In fact the only one that seems to matter in the Rumble is The Undertaker, and can he even be considered a Smackdown guy?

As far as predictions go, I'm gonna cheat here and pick one from Raw and one from Smackdown.  I believe the Universal and WWE Championship matches earlier in the night will be a big tell on who wins...but my predictions for winning are

Raw:  Braun Strowman
Smackdown:  The Undertaker

Obviously my over all favorite would be 'Taker (sorry JBL) because I cringe at the though of Strowman main eventing Wrestlemania, but I guess we'll wait and see.  A Samoa Joe debut and surprise win would be great, but I just don't know if Vince would be willing to take that leap.  Either way, it should be one of the better Rumbles that we've seen in a long while.

A.J. Styles (c) defends the WWE Championship against John Cena:

-Other than the Rumble match, probably a safe bet for Match of the Night.  These two had classics last year, and especially with the belt on the line I expect more of the same if not better.  The story going into this match has been a little controversial at times with Cena basically telling Styles he's nothing, and Styles utilizing his legacy in his career proving that he's not.  While I've enjoyed the story being told, the fact that Styles is obviously more revered by the fans, while Cena should be the clear heel convolutes what's being said.  Cena has sounded more heelish as of late, with the only evidence of Styles being the bad guy is his few sneak attacks.  Either way, I expect Styles to get most of the cheers, and Cena getting his usual "mixed" reaction.

Prediction:  John Cena wins the WWE Championship

I don't like it, nor do I agree with it, but the writing has been on the wall since Cena's return.  Granted, after this past weeks promo on Smackdown, I understand why most think Styles might win, but I'm sticking to my original pick.  Quite honestly, barring a Samoa Joe feud for the title, there is not much left for Styles to defend against for Wrestlemania.  If Styles does face Shane McMahon at 'Mania, I don't see, nor want it for the title.  Other than that, who else is there worthy to face A.J. at Wrestlemania?  The options for a good title match are greater if Cena wins.  If John Cena does win, I expect The Undertaker winning the Rumble.

Kevin Owens (c) defending the Universal Championship against Roman Reigns in a No Disqualification Match w/Chris Jericho hanging in a shark cage:

-Owens has been booked as a weak champion, while Reigns is booked like Reigns.  While I understand the No DQ stip benefits Owens in the long run, I think WWE will continue to ride this Roman Reigns horse until it's dead.  Reigns will get booed, and if he wins, he'll get really booed.  No one wants a face Reigns versus anybody for the title at Wrestlemania but Vince.  I do expect the seeds for the Jericho/Owens match at Wrestlemania to start some massive growth during this match, probably due to some miss cue.  Either way, I fear we see Reigns holding the title by night end.

Prediction:  Roman Reigns becomes the new Universal Champion

At this point I will stress, the WWE needs to come through with a good and wanted Royal Rumble winner.  Obviously these two matches will come before the Rumble match.  Going in, the fans will not be happy with Reigns and Cena being the top champions.  If WWE books someone like Strowman to win the Rumble, fans will continue to dump on the product, and the history of bad Rumble booking will continue.

Charlotte Flair (c) defends the Raw Women's Championship against Bayley:

-Bottom line, it's too soon for Bayley to win the title.  "The Queen" will continue her pay per view streak and beat Bayley by hook or crook, building to Bayley eventually winning at Wrestlemania, which by the way, should be the way to go.  My only issue is I think it's too early for the Charlotte/Bayley feud...they should have sat on it much longer, but then again...I don't know if I could have handled another Charlotte/Sasha Banks match.

Prediction:  Charlotte retains the Women's Championship

Rich Swann (c) defends the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Neville:

-Simple...Neville wins!  His heel character is gold, and he's obviously the more talented.  I think this match can be great, but more than likely will only get five minutes.

Prediction:  Neville becomes the new Cruiserweight Champion

Now I usually don't cover the pre-show, but the matches on the show have some actual storylines to them so I'll briefly cover them...

Sasha Banks versus Nia Jax:

-While I'd like to see Jax win to build her as an unstoppable heel monster, Banks needs to the win.  If Banks does not win, keep her off TV until after Wrestlemania, and have her return as a heel afterwards.

Prediction:  Sasha Banks

Sheamus and Cesaro (c) defending the Raw Tag Team Championships against Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson:

-The Club should win the titles, but they should've won last summer too.  The formulaic booking leading to this match makes it obvious Sheamus and Cesaro will win, while Gallows and Anderson continue to suffer.

Prediction:  Sheamus and Cesaro retain

Alexa Bliss, Mickie James and Natalya versus Becky Lynch, Naiomi and Nikki Bella:

-The heel trio wins because James needs the win to add some legit-ness to her return.  That being said, the win comes from Nikki tapping to Nattie via the Sharpshooter.

Prediction:  Bliss, James and Natalya 

All in all, this has the chance to be a strong show, I just hope it's properly booked.  It is a long show to, which may or may not drain the fans in San Antonio, but it's got enough high stake, exciting matches to hopefully carry it through.  No matter what happens, I am looking forward to it.

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