The 2012 Royal Rumble Winner Sheamus
With the 2013 WWE Royal Rumble nearly upon us and the road to WrestleMania just beginning, the storylines WWE currently has will play a massive factor in the results of the 30-man Royal Rumble match itself.
Whilst the Rumble match often allows people to look back at the past, with former WWE Superstars and legends making appearances, it can also give an insight into the future.
In Royal Rumble history, we have seen the McMahon-Austin, Big Show-Rock and Austin-Triple H storylines continue and develop within the Rumble match itself.
But which of the WWE's current storylines could have a knock-on effect for who wins the 2013 match?
The Big Red Monster and Tag Team Champion Kane
Team Hell No vs. Rhodes Scholars
The WWE have been putting a lot more effort into the Tag Team Division since mid-2012, with Kane and Daniel Bryan forming Team Hell No. The recent feud with Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow is likely to lead to confrontation in the Rumble match but it is unlikely that any of these four men will win the match—so while I expect them to eliminate each other, it probably won't affect the outcome of the match.
Mark Henry's Return
At the 2013 Royal Rumble, I expect to see the return of the World's Strongest Man—Mark Henry. Henry has been out injured for a while and I expect him to come back and be a dominant force within the WWE—however, I don't think he will play a part in the outcome, but he may notch up some eliminations to make him look dominant.
The Undertaker—Could he come back?
Around WrestleMania time, there is inevitably a buzz, but in recent years, the event would not be the same if it wasn't for The Undertaker.
The Phenom physically cannot wrestle every week and therefore once a year he puts on a master-class in pro-wrestling.
The WrestleMania 25 and 26 matches between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels are two of the best ever.
Therefore, when the Royal Rumble comes around, we could see the start of the build-up for The Undertaker's next opponent.
Now it isn't even necessary for The Undertaker to appear as a distraction via the infamous gong of his entrance music or even a message via satellite could begin the feud.
Given the high-calibre opponent The Undertaker would likely face at WrestleMania, this could have a big impact on one of the favourites for the match.
The World's Largest Athlete
The Big Show will have a match before the Royal Rumble against Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship—which I fully expect him to lose.
Should the Big Show lose the match, given his recent appearances on Raw and SmackDown, I expect Show will be on the warpath—and I don't expect many Superstars will want to get in his way!
Big Show may not even have to be in the actual Rumble match, and could just interfere and take out some of the Superstars during the match, which could lead to a WrestleMania feud.
So, how will this affect the winner?
Well, The Big Show could perhaps see himself as deserved of a WrestleMania match against the champion, so he may well just eliminate everyone!
The Ultimate Underdog goes bad?
Rey Mysterio has been a good guy for the whole of his WWE career and rightly so—given the money he makes the company through merchandise.
However, many people believe he will be turning heel against his tag team partner Sin Cara in order to help build-up the error-prone star.
With Both Superstars currently injured, it is expected they will return at the Rumble and this could start the feud for the inevitable WrestleMania matchup.
Rey Mysterio will arguably be one of the fan favourites to win the match, so a heel turn would be huge turning point in the match.
The Viper, Randy Orton
Randy Orton and Sheamus have already won Royal Rumbles, whilst Ryback is being built-up into one of the WWE's top stars.
They will be expected to do well in the Rumble match and perhaps one of them will even win it—but there are three other men who may get in the way.
The Shield have been terrorising the WWE ever since they debuted at Survivor Series—costing Ryback the WWE title.
Since then, they have been involved in an ongoing feud with Ryback, which has recently seen Orton and Sheamus get in their path.
This could lead to The Shield teaming up to systematically eliminate these three and try to dominate the Rumble or it could lead to the three teaming up to eradicate The Shield.
One way or the other, I expect an encounter for these six men.
John Cena and Dolph Ziggler have been battling back and forth for the last month or so following Ziggler's decision to align with AJ, who betrayed Cena at TLC.
Cena was battling for Ziggler's Money in the Bank briefcase and was set to win until AJ pushed him off a ladder.
Cena has since beaten Dolph, but the introduction of NXT Rookie Big E. Langston stacked the odds against Cena, who may predictably end up two against one against them in the Rumble Match.
I'm expecting Cena to eliminate both Ziggler and Langston, and perhaps go on to win the Rumble match itself.
When the Royal Rumble match is hard to predict with Sheamus being the surprise winner last year, the current feuds could play a big part in determining who comes out on top at this year's event.
The 26th annual Rumble match in Arizona will be just as intriguing as many others before it as the road to the biggest wrestling event in the world begins.
Personally, I would like Wade Barrett to win, as it would both surprise the WWE Universe and give him a chance to FINALLY become the champion.
Who do YOU want to win the Royal Rumble?