Top 5 Candidates to Win 2012 Royal Rumble Match

KawajaiContributor IDecember 28, 2011

Top 5 Candidates to Win 2012 Royal Rumble Match

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    The Royal Rumble returns on January 29th for the 25th anniversary of the inaugural event.

    This year, the Royal Rumble Match is returning to 30 wrestlers, which in the majority's opinion, is better than a 40-man match.

    And just like last year, there are a good amount of candidates to walk out of St. Louis, Missouri with the main event of WrestleMania in their grasps.

    In this countdown, we'll highlight the top five candidates to win the Royal Rumble Match this year.

5. Mark Henry

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    Ever since his move to Friday Night SmackDown after the WWE Draft, Mark Henry has been on a roll. He captured the World Heavyweight Championship at Night of Champions after defeating Orton, and he was on a path of destruction as champion. That is, until the Big Show returned.

    Ever since Big Show came back from injury, Mark Henry has been as vulnerable as he was back on Monday Night Raw, and he finally surrendered the title at TLC due to a nagging injury.

    Now, with Mark Henry without a championship in his possession, he could very well use his size advantage to pick up a few eliminations in the Royal Rumble Match and win the match, similar to the way Yokozuna did all the way back to 1993.

    Mark Henry could get back into the title picture and could challenge the World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania, whether it's Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, or even The Big Show.

4. Cody Rhodes

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    Cody Rhodes has gone through many different gimmick changes from "Dashing" Cody Rhodes to "Disfigured" Cody Rhodes to "Resurrected" Cody Rhodes. Despite what people thought almost two years ago, Cody Rhodes has emerged as the better henchman of Legacy as Ted DiBiase Jr. is still stuck in the under-card supposedly "feuding" with Jinder Mahal.

    Cody Rhodes has been Intercontinental Champion for well over four months, and even though his only real challenger has been Booker T, he has still proved to be a very good Intercontinental Champion.

    Even though it seems that Goldust and Cody Rhodes may start up a feud leading into WrestleMania 28, Cody still has a very good chance to win the Royal Rumble and challenge for a world championship.

    Whether he is still Intercontinental Champion at the time will be the WWE's choice, and either way, he has a bright future ahead of him.

3. Sheamus

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    The two-time WWE Champion has not been in the world title hunt ever since he was drafted to SmackDown in the WWE Draft. Sheamus has been stuck in mini-feuds for an endless amount of time, and I believe it is just about the time Sheamus gets back into the World Heavyweight Championship scene.

    Sheamus could win the Royal Rumble and challenge the World Heavyweight Champion. If it is Daniel Bryan, the two men can have a rematch of the WrestleMania match that they had last year, except this year it will actually be aired.

2. Dolph Ziggler

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    Dolph Ziggler has been the saving grace for Monday Night Raw and WWE as a whole. In October and November, Dolph worked double-duty in Pay-Per-View matches, and he has consistently worked matches on both Raw and SmackDown. Not to mention, they are fantastic matches.

    Whether he is in the ring with Zack Ryder, CM Punk or anyone else, he makes his opponent looks good in the ring, which is something very valuable in a WWE ring.

    Since he has dropped the United States Championship to Zack Ryder, Dolph could be on a meteoric rise to the top, and he already has a WWE Championship match on 2012's first Monday Night Raw against CM Punk.

    If he does not face CM Punk again at the Royal Rumble for the WWE Championship, Dolph Ziggler could very well be the last man standing in the Royal Rumble Match.

1. Wade Barrett

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    The Barrett Barrage is in full effect and it will cap off with a Royal Rumble win. And what a better place to win it than his rival's hometown of St. Louis, Missouri?

    Ever since Barrett has received his re-push, he has gone over some of WWE's top Superstars in Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan. Wade Barrett is on a path of destruction, and if he does not walk out of the Midwest as your 2012 Royal Rumble winner, than I believe the WWE has made a huge mistake.

    Barrett's feud with Orton could extend to WrestleMania as Orton could win the World Heavyweight Championship at Elimination Chamber. And then they can have their final battle at WrestleMania. If that does not happen, it could be Wade Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan, or Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus.

    Either way, Wade Barrett is the best choice to win the 2012 Royal Rumble and he could go on to win his first-ever World Heavyweight Championship.