Jan. 30, 2017
WWE Royal Rumble 2017 Predictions
Here are my predictions for tomorrow's Royal Rumble event:
1. WWE Champion AJ Styles vs. John Cena: There are a lot of directions being thrown around for this match. One theory is that Cena ties Ric Flair's record tomorrow night, Styles regains the title at Elimination Chamber, and they have one more clash at WrestleMania and Cena breaks Flair's record. However, I don't think they're going in that direction. Originally I was sure Cena was going over here, but now I'm having second thoughts. The entire build to this story line has promoted Cena as Supercena. They have rarely referenced AJ Styles' monumental victory at Summerslam and have also dropped the angle of Cena going for his sixteenth world title. This leads me to believe that they're trying to protect Cena as much as possible before he ultimately falls short to Styles. While I don't expect Styles to get another clean victory, I think one way or another he will retain his championship. Could Samoa Joe possibly make his debut and cost Cena the match, setting up a clash at WrestleMania? Probably not, but one way or another, Styles is walking out as champion, at least until Elimination Chamber.
2. WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns in a No DQ match with Chris Jericho suspended above the ring in a shark cage: Like the last match, my gut feeling a few weeks ago was that we would be getting a new champion. But now I think Kevin Owens will retain as well. The idea of the shark cage gimmick is to tease that Reigns will win the belt because Kevin Owens can't win without Chris Jericho's help, but the No DQ stipulation added on Monday indicates that there will be shenanigans involved. Like in all Shark Cage matches, Chris Jericho will drop a weapon from the cage for Kevin Owens to whack Reigns with. By this and other nefarious means, Kevin Owens will retain and keep his title warm for Goldberg at Fastlane.
3. Women's Champion Charlotte vs. Bayley: Bayley doesn't seem like the type of babyface to win the title on her first try, so she will lose here. I'm hoping WWE extends the angle and has Bayley win the title at WrestleMania.
4. WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann vs. Neville: I have a sick feeling in my stomach that WWE is going to have Swann escape with a victory to be surprising. Swann is the only top babyface in the division and having Neville crush him will leave no other babyface for Neville to wrestle. But on the other hand, the Cruiserweight division is dying a death right now and they need a more established star to lead the division. So with that said, I'm picking Neville with cautious optimism.
5. Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks: Either women losing would hurt their momentum, and since it's on the Kickoff show, I think it will end with some sort of countout or DQ finish.
6. WWE Raw Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows: If Vince McMahon wanted Gallows & Anderson as tag champs, they would have beaten New Day in one of their 35 matches. I'm picking Cesaro & Sheamus.
7. Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, and Naomi vs. Mickie James, Natalya, and SmackDown Women's Champion Alexa Bliss: Mickie just came back, so she'll get the win for the heel team.
8. WWE Royal Rumble Match: There are six major favorites who could realistically win this match: Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, Braun Strowman, Randy Orton, and Samoa Joe. Undertaker winning is the most interesting possibility, due to his lack of an official brand affiliation. Taker choosing which champion to fight could make for a great story, leading to a dream match between him and John Cena. But Taker's recent Raw appearances indicate that he'll wrestle a Raw guy at 'Mania, and while it's possible, I don't see the point in him going after the Universal title. Braun Strowman is an interesting possibility, as his act has successfully gotten over. Strowman vs. Reigns for the title at 'Mania is a reasonable idea, so I could definitely envision Braun winning here, but I'm not going to officially pick him. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar seems like a definite match for WrestleMania, and if I had to guess, it will indeed be for the Universal Championship. However, they don't need the Rumble to get there. I expect Goldberg to win the Universal Championship at WWE Fastlane, where he is advertised to wrestle, and Lesnar will be granted a shot at WrestleMania because he is Brock Lesnar. This leaves Randy Orton and Samoa Joe, my two bold favorites to win the Rumble. Joe winning would be absolutely historic and monumental, and I could see Vince McMahon pulling the trigger. But ultimately, I think that Orton is the most realistic option to win this year's Rumble. Orton vs. Wyatt seems like a Wrestlemania match, and it needs the championship involved more than any other program on SmackDown to get the most out of it. I believe that Orton will win on Sunday, followed by Wyatt winning the WWE Championship inside the Elimination Chamber in two weeks. This will lead to a rift being formed between them that will culminate at WrestleMania.
• Brock Lesnar will eliminate Goldberg to get a bit of retribution for Survivor Series.
• Samoa Joe will cost John Cena the title against AJ Styles, but won't enter the Rumble match
• "Perfect Ten" Tye Dillinger will enter at #11 just to troll with the fans.
• Braun Strowman will eliminate a bunch of men, but won't dare to break Roman Reigns all-time record.
• The final four will be Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Braun Strowman, and The Undertaker.
• Jerry Lawler will be a surprise entrant and eliminate Dolph Ziggler.
• Shaq will be a surprise entrant and will eliminate The Big Show.
• Triple H will be a surprise entrant and will be eliminated by Seth Rollins as retribution.
• Mojo Rawley won't last very long.
• Kofi will do his yearly Royal Rumble spot and will continue its declining trend.
• Cesaro & Sheamus will eliminate themselves because they apparently still hate each other.
• One of the UK guys will briefly appear, look impressive, and then quickly be eliminated.
• It is going to be an amazing Royal Rumble, due to it's tremendous buildup and star-power.