WWE Royal Rumble 2013: Predicting the 5 Most Likely Winners

Anthony Mango@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2012

WWE Royal Rumble 2013: Predicting the 5 Most Likely Winners

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    The Road to WrestleMania XXIX begins with the 2013 Royal Rumble. At the moment, CM Punk and Big Show are our two champions in danger of losing their belts and that can all change come January. Even if both men are able to hold on and keep their title reigns going, they have a challenge set before them with the Royal Rumble winner itself.

    So who exactly is going to walk out of the pay-per-view as the new No. 1 contender for the title of his choosing? Out of the 30 men that enter, only one will walk out with that championship main-event opportunity.

    It's time to break down the five most likely winners of the 2013 Royal Rumble match.

Will CM Punk Win the 2013 Royal Rumble?

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    Right now you're asking yourself how the WWE Champion can win the Royal Rumble.

    Let me first say that as of this writing, my prediction for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view is that no shockers or twists will take place.

    Instead, I'm expecting the run of the mill scenario of The Rock beating CM Punk for the title. While I could very well be wrong, it's the prediction I'm most comfortable with putting my name down on.

    That being said, could CM Punk somehow enter the Royal Rumble? If he were to drop the title to the Rock, they could use a Royal Rumble win as a means to justify a rematch between the two at WrestleMania or perhaps insert CM Punk into a triple threat match with John Cena and the Rock.

    Although I don't have much faith that this will happen, it's still a much more likely option than to guess someone like Epico is going to win.

    CM Punk is one of the biggest faces in the company, and they know he needs to be given a prime spot on the WrestleMania 29 card. That prime spot could end up being the WWE Championship match even with his current streak ending.

Will Undertaker Win the 2013 Royal Rumble?

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    There's a chance CM Punk might not drop the title to The Rock. If he does retain, rumor has it that his match will be a streak vs. streak match in regards to his championship title reign and the Undertaker's undefeated WrestleMania streak.

    In my mind, this has more of a chance of happening than CM Punk winning the Royal Rumble due to its simplicity. For the first scenario to happen, CM Punk would have to not only drop the title but also be inserted into the Royal Rumble match itself, then win it. On the other hand, for an Undertaker vs. CM Punk match to take place at WrestleMania XXIX, Punk just keeps his title and Undertaker wins the Royal Rumble match.

    The likelihood of this happening is still rather low in comparison to some other options that I have in mind. It's looking as if CM Punk may very well face the Undertaker at WrestleMania, but I don't think it will involve the WWE Championship.

Will John Cena Win the 2013 Royal Rumble?

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    If a rematch between John Cena and the Rock is in the works, with The Rock going into WrestleMania as the WWE Champion, then John Cena somehow needs to earn the right to become #1 contender for the title. This is certainly a way to do it that seemingly bypasses all the losses that he has this past year. With one Royal Rumble win, you're granted the title match and the past is the past.

    This is the most likely choice for a challenger of the WWE Championship, however, why I rank it this low on the list is two-fold. First and foremost, John Cena has already won a Royal Rumble recently. There have been repeat winners in Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin, but that was at a time when there was only one championship, and those wins were made out of necessity. Nowadays, they tend to try to give the win to someone new each time around.

    Also, the trend as of late has been for the Royal Rumble winner to challenge the World Heavyweight Champion as opposed to the WWE Champion. The latter goes into WrestleMania with the bigger storyline feud, and the former has less to stand on but is built on his Royal Rumble win itself. It is then pushed out of prominence and we find ourselves watching World Heavyweight Championship matches at the beginning of the evening instead of the main event as it should be.

    John Cena, if he's facing the Rock for the title, will have enough of a storyline focus behind him that he doesn't require the Royal Rumble to propel the feud and give it a running start.

Will Someone Challenge Dolph Ziggler for the World Heavyweight Championship?

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    I've kept this general because it involves lots of little details that we're not yet privy to. While a rumored World Heavyweight Championship match for WrestleMania being discussed is a heel Randy Orton vs. Sheamus, I feel as though that went out the window with the results of Tables, Ladders and Chairs.

    Sheamus can still win the title from Big Show at the Royal Rumble event, but I don't think Randy Orton would win the Royal Rumble to challenge him. Just the same, I can't see Randy Orton beating Big Show for the title and Sheamus winning it for the second year in a row.

    Instead, the person to dethrone the Big Show may end up being Dolph Ziggler. He's in the middle of a serious push and they keep teasing it, so it's not hard to imagine him pulling off a successful cash-in after Sheamus hurts Big Show, then retaining at the Elimination Chamber through deceitful methods.

    So who challenges Dolph Ziggler? My main suspect would be The Miz as he hasn't won the Royal Rumble yet and is now a full-fledged babyface. Another potential option would be Daniel Bryan getting some payback for his hard work this year along with his 18 second loss at last year's event. Merely to round things out in threes, my third guess would be the top man on this list...

Will Ryback Win the 2013 Royal Rumble?

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    More than anyone else, it seems as though Ryback could steamroll through the competition and come out the victor. As referenced earlier in this article, Ryback could be the man to destroy Dolph Ziggler, but seeing as though Sheamus did that last year with Daniel Bryan, I'm inclined to believe that Ryback will be the one to take Big Show out.

    WWE clearly values Big Show in the main event scene, as they had him not only take the title from Sheamus, but also defeat Sheamus numerous times in clean fashion, while putting him on the list for the Superstar of the Year Slammy Award. The marketing for the match writes itself by having the two big men go at it. Ryback chants "feed me more," but has he bit off more than he can chew with the World's Largest Athlete?

    Since rumors play heavily into predictions, a big one (no pun intended) that could go overlooked is the notion that WWE wants Ryback to pick Big Show up and hit his finisher for a "WrestleMania Moment". Coupling that with a World Heavyweight Championship win to solidify his purpose will assuredly mean more than if they simply have a regular singles match together.

    Ryback has been in the championship scene for months now but has come up short each time. This may be the first step towards giving him that momentum that he's been leaking since the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view screw-job with Brad Maddox. Then, it's up to the man himself to justify them putting the title around his waist.

    Who do you think is going to win the 2013 Royal Rumble? Let us know your predictions in the comments below as well as your thoughts on this list.

    You can follow me on Twitter via my wrestling website @SmarkOutMoment and my personal account @ToeKneeManGo.