WWE's Royal Rumble spectacular is less than 24 hours away, and what started out as a perceptibly wide-open field has really been whittled down to a two-horse race as Jericho and Randy Orton have emerged as front runners.
Jericho briefly breaking his silence this past Monday on RAW followed by Orton's return to SmackDown have created some serious momentum for the two favorites, but looming surprises and last-minute booking changes will keep impending Royal Rumble wins for the two former world champions from being a sure thing.
The Royal Rumble isn't only about the winner, as year-in and year-out it is the most productive match the WWE has to offer.
Through one Royal Rumble alone, feuds can be created or continued, young stars on the rise can put fans on notice through voluminous eliminations or impressive staying power, heels can get immense heat for eliminating an overwhelming fan favorite or surprise entrant, and—of course—somebody gets to go to WrestleMania.
For your speculative pleasure, here is the projected 2012 Royal Rumble match arranged by participant. Math nerds need be cognizant of the fact that projected stay times and no. of eliminations are simply rough estimates and do not take into account the numerical possibilities of a certain number of stars having a certain amount of statistics. If that type of thing bothers you, go count rocks.
I do realize that there are already rumors floating around as to who the surprise entrants in this year's Royal Rumble could be. I haven't read any of them nor will I as I would like to be just as surprised as the next man in order to maximize my viewing experience.