My Two Centsss - Royal Rumble Predictions & Discussing Wrestlemania XXX Rumours
By Super Chrisss
Jan 25, 2014 - 1:34:54 PM
(Tom Jenner is the man!)
I'm glad I put off writing this column until today, Saturday January 25th. Over the past few weeks, we've seen rumours about not only the winner of Sunday's Royal Rumble match go back and forth, but the planned Wrestlemania XXX line-up change almost every other day, despite the card being "set in stone" every freaking time. As of the time of writing, here are the latest pairings*, as reported by Lords of Pain:
-Batista vs. Randy Orton (WWE World title)
-CM Punk vs. Triple H
-The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
-Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus
-John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
*By the time you finish reading this column, there's a good chance that at least some of these matches will no longer be "a lock".
On paper, that's not a bad card, quality-wise. In fact, the weakest match would probably be the world title match, since I fondly remember Batista and Orton's clashes from a years back, and none of them were very good. But don't worry, I doubt this supposed version of RematchMania is going to happen. There is no chance in hell that WWE is going to regulate their most over superstar in Daniel Bryan to a midcard match with Sheamus, nor will they waste their biggest star in John Cena in a match with an unproven Bray Wyatt. As for Lesnar vs. 'Taker, I can't see that happening, not with Lesnar's beyond-aggressive style and The Deadman's advanced age. Batista vs. Orton? Not unless they plan on rivalling Orton vs. Big Show from Survivor Series as one of the most anti-climatic, let-downs of a main-events in Pay-Per-View history. The only match I see coming to fruition is Triple H vs. Punk, which I would have no issue with whatsoever, and simply makes sense, story-wise.
I actually have a theory about why we've seen so many rumoured Royal Rumble/Wrestlemania plans pop up on dirt sheets recently. Do you remember about a month ago, a spokesperson for WWE was issuing statements to websites like PWInsider and even LOP (I believe) about things like Batista's return being spoiled? When was the last time WWE did something like that? I don't know about you, but I found it to be a bit odd. So how do we know that WWE didn't strike some kind of deal with dirt sheet 'reporters' to leak all kinds of fake Wrestlemania XXX rumours in return for being offered these factual statements? Hell, maybe they were even paid to troll the IWC! I know, I know, that sounds like a crazy, farfetched conspiracy, but my point is this: I'll believe these Wrestlemania plans when I see them. Last year, I knew WWE were going with Lesnar vs. HHH as soon as The Game returned on Raw to save Vince McMahon from a beatdown from Brock Lesnar. I knew we were getting Twice in a Lifetime as soon as Cena won the Royal Rumble and Rock defeated Punk later that night for the WWE Championship. That's when I gave up.
But at this point in time, we have no reason to freak out just yet. The Royal Rumble winner hasn't been revealed. Sheamus hasn't returned yet. Cena and Wyatt have had no interaction whatsoever. Nor has Lesnar and 'Taker. I think we should wait and see what happens tomorrow night at the Rumble before getting upset at that proposed WM card.
With that being said, let's start talking about my favourite PPV of the year!
Kickoff match for the WWE Tag Team Championship: The Brotherhood (c.) vs. The New Age Outlaws
First off, I wish WWE had added Aj vs. Naomi to the Royal Rumble card. That could have been on the pre-show, while the tag titles could be defended on the actual PPV. Don't feed me any BS about 'time constraints' - there are only three non-Rumble matches currently scheduled, and I somehow doubt a Big Show match is going to top the twenty-minute mark. I feel we're either going to get a lot of filler, Aj vs. Naomi added last minute, or a longer Royal Rumble match than usual (last year's went for only forty-five minutes!). Sadly, I don't see the latter option happening, which further annoys me that the tag team match is taking place on the pre-show.
Quite frankly, Cody Rhodes & Goldust have been too good of a team to not make the actual card. I know they'll be in the Rumble match later on, but still. They're consistently involved in one of the better matches of any show they wrestle on, and The NAO continue to prove that they still got it. I think this will be a great match, just as long as they get more time to work with than they did two weeks ago on SmackDown. Initially, I was leaning towards Billy Gunn & Road Dogg stealing the titles to start building up the long-awaited Brother vs. Brother match at Wrestlemania, but I don't see that happening until Elimination Chamber. It would not surprise me to see Triple H's buddies walk away with the gold and drop the titles to a babyface team like The Usos down the road, but my money is on The Rhodes Brothers once again retaining.
Winners, and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: The Brotherhood
Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt
Like my buddy and fellow columnist Triple R mentioned in his Royal Rumble preview, I feel this is the obvious pick to kick off the show. Not only does it get the crowd right into it with the man most of them paid to see, but kayfabe-wise, it gives Bryan enough time to "rest up" before showing up in the Rumble match later on (you're damn right Bryan will be in it!). I know a lot of people aren't thrilled about this match taking place on Sunday, but think about it - at least it pretty much, 99.9% guarantees we won't get Byan vs. Wyatt at Wrestlemania (which was also once considered a 'lock', according to the dirt sheets).
A lot of people are predicting this match might steal the show just because of Bryan's involvement, but I have my doubts. Thus far, Bray Wyatt has been extremely underwhelming from bell to bell. WWE brilliantly limits Wyatt's in-ring time, to the point where any match he does compete in feels special, or 'big-time', but everytime he does wrestle, he disappoints. I don't think he's a bad wrestler; Wyatt just seems too focused on staying in character that it affects the way he wrestles. He needs to take a few pointers from his crony, Luke Harper, who has mastered the balance of wrestling and keeping your character intact. That being said, Bryan is more than capable of carrying the cuckoo Wyatt to a good - but probably not great - match. As for the winner, is there really any doubt?
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Brock Lesnar vs. The Big Show
Oh, I'm sorry. I fell asleep trying to come up with a reason to be excited for this match. What I want to know is who decided to sign Brock Lesnar to a high-paying contract where he would only work a limited number of dates, and of those dates, have 4 out of 6 matches against opponents that bored most people to tears? I was fine with Triple H vs. Lesnar at SummerSlam because it was a dream match for some and popped the buyrate that year, but what were they thinking when they extended that feud all the way until Extreme Rules? When Lesnar first returned to the company in April 2012, I got excited about the possibility of Lesnar vs. Punk, Lesnar vs. Orton, Lesnar vs. Bryan, even Lesnar vs. Rock. Instead, we only got one of those matches - WWE opted for The Beast to feud with Triple H and Big Show instead *facepalm*.
It saddens me that WWE used Mark Henry as a sacrificial lamb instead of booking Henry vs. Lesnar for the Rumble instead, as that would have interested me far more than Lesnar vs. Show, especially since they wrestled at the exact same PPV eleven years earlier, when - you guessed it - both men were eleven years younger. I understand that WWE is using The Big Show to make Lesnar look even more dominant coming out of Sunday's PPV, but this is 2014 - Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show has no business taking place, let alone at one of the biggest shows of the year.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton (c.) vs. John Cena
As dud of a champion The Viper has been for quite some time now, I can come up with several reasons why Orton should definitely leave Pittsburgh with his WWE world title intact. For starters, a loss at the Rumble would hurt Orton just so badly. Think about it - he needed Triple H's help to cash-in Money in the Bank at SummerSlam to defeat a tired Daniel Bryan for the WWE title at SummerSlam. He then lost to Bryan at Night of Champions, and it was only due to another crooked referee - this time HBK - that Orton regained the belt at Hell in a Cell. Orton retained against Big Show at Survivor Series, but again, with an assist from The Authority. How did he defeat John Cena at TLC? With the use of handcuffs, and basically throwing everything in the ring - including the ring ropes and turnbuckles - at him. If Orton loses to Cena on Sunday, how could the fans take him seriously as a main-eventer? (many already don't)
Furthermore, a Cena win would pretty much guarantee another "historic" match between them taking place, most likely at Elimination Chamber. Yeah, no thanks. Orton needs to win here, and *sigh* it will probably be dirty, which won't do him any favours, but it will help set up an Elimination Chamber match where he'll be forced to defend his belt at the final PPV before Wrestlemania.
Winner, and STILL WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Randy Orton
30-Man Royal Rumble match
I know most of this column has been pretty negative thus far, but I swear that ends now. A few weeks back, I wrote a column where I fearfully predicted that Batista would be the one to win the Rumble and main-event Wrestlemania for the title. A lot of you agreed with me, but a handful of readers felt it was more likely that The Animal winning the match was simply a red herring. Just over twenty-hour hours before the big event, and the roles have been reversed - a lot of people have a bad feeling Dave will be the one to win the Rumble (with or without his lucky pair of skinny jeans), but I'm no longer riding that boat. I think WWE has made it too obvious that Batista will win. For me, it comes down to two choices.
For months, both in my columns and my radio show with The Doc, I've been preaching how all that CM Punk truly has left to accomplish in WWE is to win the Royal Rumble and main-event Wrestlemania. As The Doc pointed out to me, no one had a bigger 2013 than Punk; he wrestled The Rock at the Rumble, challenged The Streak at Wrestlemania 29, and fell to Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. That's one of the most impressive resumes any wrestler could ask for, even if he did lose all of those matches. With his contract set to expire in July, this might be "now or never" for Punk, as the stars seem to be lining up. But he has that #1 spot and the heavily-rumoured match with Triple H at WM XXX standing in his way. As much as I would LOVE to see Punk win it, I don't think he can overcome all those odds.
Which leaves me with the more likely, and arguably deserving winner - Daniel Bryan. According to wwe.com, there are officially ten open spots in the Royal Rumble, and if the tag champs are scheduled to pull double-duty at Sunday's show, then why the hell can't the Yes-Man? What better way to 'shock the world' and for WWE to prove they are 100% behind Bryan than to have him open and close the Royal Rumble, and guarantee himself a main-event match at Wrestlemania in the process? I don't buy the rumours of Bryan not being in the Rumble match for a second. If Punk isn't going to win, then Bryan is a fantastic Option B.
As for surprise entrants, I'm betting on Rob van Dam, Christian, Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, and maybe even The Undertaker showing up tomorrow night, which will make Sunday's Rumble match one of the most star-studded Rumble matches in recent history. Even if the rest of the show fails to deliver, the Battle Royal will be worth your money, I guarantee it.
Winner of the 2014 Royal Rumble: Daniel Bryan
Your Two Centsss:If Batista does win the Royal Rumble, would that make you re-consider watching Wrestlemania XXX?
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