WWE Royal Rumble 2013: John Cena and the Worst Choices to Win the Royal Rumble
The Rumble match is arguably the most exciting bout of the year for devout WWE followers, part-time fans, tipsters or former viewers still engrossed by the magic of the contest.
While WWE appears to have done a fine job in preventing any certified favourites emerging ahead of the PPV, the Superstars who are hogging the limelight are largely past winners whose stars have previously shined brightly at this event.
One of WWE's key strengths is its ability to build new main event-calibre stars on a regular basis, and winning the Rumble match is a tried and tested method of elevating a Superstar toward a title shot at WrestleMania.
Here, I'll analyse the worst options to win the Rumble match at the US Airways Centre, be it due to their previous success in the match, or that victory in the bout would be coming too soon or too late in their WWE careers.
For clarification, the odds I have compiled for each competitor are strictly my own and are not representative of any online betting company.
10. Antonio Cesaro
United States champion Antonio Cesaro has begun life impressively on WWE's main roster, developing some natural heat for his anti-American gimmick, while displaying some miraculous feats of physical strength along the way.
Cesaro is an outside shot to achieve greatness at Royal Rumble, but in relation to Superstars who have little no chance of victory, the multi-lingual powerhouse is much more likely to triumph than jobbers such as 3MB, Brodus Clay and Tensai.
The glass ceiling is arguably waiting to be demolished by Cesaro, with the Swizz talent appearing at ease whenever he has engaged with main eventers such as Randy Orton or Sheamus.
In years to come, his entry in the Rumble match may even see betting suspending, if you'll excuse my hyperbole, but for now, a strong showing from Cesaro would aid his long-term stock greater than a monumental victory in Phoenix.
9. Alberto Del Rio
World Heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio has a date with destiny at Royal Rumble as he prepares to defend his title against former champion Big Show.
While Del Rio is favourite to retain the gold, the element of Dolph Ziggler's Money in the Bank contract is worth bearing in mind, and should Ziggler cash in after Sunday's Last Man Standing match, expect to see Del Rio enter the Royal Rumble.
The "Mexican Aristocrat" has first-class experience in the bout after his victory in 2011, and should Del Rio compete, his prestige and in-ring prowess make him a likely option to last until the final four.
His previous victory hangs over him, though, and given the success of his recent babyface turn, the future is very much bright again for Del Rio, leaving him in the enviable position of not needing Rumble glory to obtain greatness in 2013.
The Rumble match has fond memories for Kane, who not only holds the record for the most amount of eliminations in one Rumble match (11 Superstars in 2001), but he's also four Superstars away from breaking Shawn Michaels' record of 40 career eliminations, according to WWE.com.
Kane's popularity has seen a resurgence during his partnership with Bryan, and given his dominance in this match over the years, it seems somewhat ironic that he has never once won the event.
Regardless, at 45, a Rumble win for Kane would serve only as a nostalgic touch when WWE needs build new household names rather than rely on its old ones.
7. Wade Barrett
Intercontinental champion Wade Barrett is one of many WWE Superstars that seems to constantly flirt with the main event scene without ever leaving a lasting impact.
The Englishman has already begun 2013 in fine form, cleanly defeating Randy Orton on the Jan. 14 edition of Raw, a feat which years ago would have been unheard of.
However, WWE's reluctance to promote this victory is perhaps indicative that Barrett's time in the main event scene is not imminent, and that further feuds with proven draws may be required to establish the former bare-knuckle boxer as a top heel.
Victory for Barrett would be an early contender for the "Tell me I didn't just see that moment of the year" 2013 Slammy Award, and at WrestleMania, it is more likely he will be defending his own belt rather than challenging for another.
Barrett's time will surely come, but for now, this Royal Rumble will see the "Bull Hammer" make a cameo appearance rather than an everlasting one.
Given Ryback's relentless push over the last 12 months, which has featured a catalogue of clean victories that would see even see John Cena wince with envy, it is hard to deny that "Big Hungry" isn't one of the favourites to win the Rumble on Jan. 27.
As WrestlingInc.com reported, it appears Ryback may have a date with Big Show at WrestleMania, and due to the astronomical year he has enjoyed, a colossal clash with "The World's Largest Athlete" may be the best way to showcase Ryback this year.
A WrestleMania moment of epic proportions would be in the cards should Ryback lift up Big Show in some shocking, impressive manner, and given that Ryback is still learning the ropes in terms of delivering consistently solid promos and matches, this option seems extremely logical.
Ryback is destined to become a huge star if his main event feud with CM Punk for the WWE Championship is anything to go by.
However, with The Rock, Triple H, John Cena, The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar and Punk all competing for the top slots at WrestleMania, "Big Hungry" may have to wait until next year to be fully showcased.
Ryback may eliminate the most men from this year's Rumble, giving him a memorable debut in the event, but expect the popular behemoth to miss out on glory this year.
5. The Miz
The Miz appears to be somewhat of an unknown variable in regard to this year's Royal Rumble match.
Depending on how one views his recent face turn, as either a much-needed shot in the arm or a staggering waste of time, his interaction with Ric Flair on Jan. 14 perhaps illustrates his growing influence in the company.
Having adopted the "Figure-Four Leglock" as part of his repertoire, Miz now has a submission move that can generate drama during his matches, in a decision replicating John Cena's addition of the "STF" to his move set in 2005.
While Miz is by no means a clear-cut Rumble favourite, the former WWE champion has enough pedigree to merit consideration for the victory, being the longest-lasting participant in the 2012 Rumble match.
However, due to the underwhelming booking of Miz's babyface run, it appears the WWE is playing a game of patience with "The Awesome One," given his irrelevance in regard to recent main event storylines.
Miz is set to collide with Antonio Cesaro for the United States Championship during the Royal Rumble pre-show, and that will probably be the focal point of his involvement at the PPV.
2013 could be special for Miz, but alas, his time is not now, and a Rumble victory this year would be somewhat confusing rather than rewarding, which is not the emotion fans should expect to feel on the road to WrestleMania.
4. Randy Orton
After a calamitous 2012 for Randy Orton, it appears the only way is up throughout 2013, and with WrestlingInc.com reporting that "The Viper" could be facing Sheamus at WrestleMania, a new push may yet be on the horizon.
Orton's suspension left him viewing the main event scene as a spectator for much of last year, but surely it is now time for the man that carried WWE SmackDown on his back in 2011 to reclaim his position amongst the company's elite.
While winning the Rumble would resurrect Orton's career to a sensational degree, especially if a heel turn is imminent in the aftermath, victory for Orton would be a waste given his previous Rumble success in 2009.
Orton does not need victory on Jan. 27 to establish himself as a major league player, especially when he is often favourite to triumph in virtually every match he competes in regardless.
"The Viper" is one of the company's biggest full-time draws; his popularity spans numerous demographics and a boo from a live crowd is rarely ushered in his direction, an achievement quite rare for a modern WWE babyface.
Orton is not a man who needs another Rumble moment in Phoenix, and this honour would be a waste should it be delivered to him.
3. The Rock
While The Rock is not currently scheduled to enter the Royal Rumble, if his WWE title bout with CM Punk occurs before the Rumble match, expect the "Great One" to make an appearance in the 30-man brawl.
Providing the title match indeed takes place before the Rumble, it is unlikely that Rock will capture the WWE title.
Let's face it—should that happen, a fanfare similar to a Super Bowl victory celebration will commence before an inevitable fade out to end the show.
If Punk slithers away with the title at Royal Rumble, Rock could use the Rumble match to reclaim his No. 1 contender status, where he would inevitably be a heavy favourite to prevail.
However, while the issue of Rock having a title shot in the first place is excruciatingly baffling, a second Rumble triumph after his 2000 escapades would be downright befuddling.
Sadly, it is not unfeasible to envisage Rock ending the show on top, whether as WWE champion or the 2013 Royal Rumble winner, and that would be a massive slap in the faces of the full-time Superstars who deserve those honours so much more.
If Rock enters the Rumble match, then that is tolerable to an extent. Let the "Brahma Bull" lay the SmackDown and have an impact, but if WWE awards Rock with victory, a very dangerous precedent will be set that could threaten to derail WWE's momentum during the year.
Building new stars to the comparative echelons of Rock's status should be at the forefront of 2013's priorities, and Royal Rumble will be a clear indication of WWE's willingness to stick to that strategy.
With Sheamus is reportedly set to face a heel Randy Orton at WrestleMania 29, it is quite plausible to assume that "The Great White" could yet make history with two successive Rumble match victories.
Sheamus' victory in 2012 was a logical decision from WWE, and it gave the Irishman a massive dose of momentum ahead of his seven-month World Heavyweight Championship reign.
While back-to-back Rumble victories are unheard of in this day and age, if any superstar is going to achieve this feat again, it could most likely be Triple H's good buddy.
Despite his fairly underwhelming response from the WWE Universe, Sheamus is arguably the company's third-most valuable full-time asset right now, and it is hard to deny that he is not a workhorse in and out of ring.
Regardless, Sheamus should not win the Rumble again this year, and if anything, his popularity would probably suffer as a result with comparisons often made to the historically controversial and largely unbeatable John Cena.
Sheamus' 2013 should not be a direct repeat of his 2012, and while he will likely make a lasting impact on the Rumble match, glory is not needed for the "Celtic Warrior" on Jan. 27.
1. John Cena
Should John Cena win the 2013 Royal Rumble match, WWE could be in store for one of the biggest backlashes in professional wrestling history.
Hulk Hogan's WCW heel turn in 1996 and the 1997 Montreal Screwjob would become trivial incidents in the annals of time, because a Cena victory in Phoenix would be the opening nail in the coffin of Vince McMahon's beloved organisation.
Cena is perhaps the most polarizing figure in WWE history, and while his fortitude, dedication and passion are amongst the greatest of pro wrestling attributes, he has been at the top of mountain for far too long.
His ability to constantly overcome the greatest of odds without showing a single degree of fatigue has become borderline disgusting, and with a reported WWE title match against The Rock scheduled for WrestleMania, Cena may indeed gain that championship shot with victory in the Rumble.
Should Cena emerge triumphant, WWE would essentially be telling us that they lack the ability to build any future Superstars as successfully as they have built up the company's current poster boy.
The actual thought of Cena winning the Rumble is somewhat chilling, and one would have to feel sorry for his respective colleagues who would be snubbed out of Rumble glory.
With Rumble success in 2008, 12 world championships and a host of WrestleMania main events to his name, Cena should absolutely not win this year's Rumble.
WWE would be playing a dangerous game if they consider a Cena victory, and rest assured, they would not hear the end of it if this scenario comes to fruition on Jan. 27.
As ever, thanks for reading my thoughts and if you have anything you'd like to add then please feel free to comment below. I can also be followed on Twitter @JWoodfield365.