Even in the most predictable years, the Royal Rumble is one of the most exciting WWE events of the year. The 2013 event is no exception, though there does seem to be a serious lack of talent at the top of the mountain.
When you think about potential winners for this year's event, the list is not long. There are a few names at the top–the usual suspects, let's call them–that seem poised to capture the guaranteed title shot at WrestleMania that goes to the victor.
In looking over the list of confirmed participants in this year's Rumble match, here are rankings for the best candidates to come out on top.
No. 3: Sheamus
There will be a common theme running throughout these predictions, and it will be that all the top candidates to win this year's Rumble have already won the match in the past.
Sheamus was a surprise winner last year, as most people had Chris Jericho pegged to come out on top. While Sheamus' victory did seem to be a last-second switch to throw off the audience that had already figured out the original finish, he did parlay the win into a big year in 2012.
One issue with having Sheamus win the Royal Rumble this year is that there doesn't seem to be any momentum behind him. You want to use this event as a way to catapult a star who has been building a full head of steam just on the outskirts of a title shot into the picture.
That said, we know Sheamus is one of the biggest stars on SmackDown and connected to the right people behind the scenes. If WWE decides to pull another swerve, don't be shocked if Sheamus is the beneficiary of that change again.
No. 2: Randy Orton
Even though Orton seems more likely to enter into a feud with The Shield heading into WrestleMania than fighting for the title, there are a few reasons to like him in this Rumble.
First, Orton is still the second-most popular full-time performer in WWE. He has been featured on all three major network shows leading up to the Rumble, and he is only being beaten down by a trio of performers the company is pushing hard.
Second, Orton really needs to get his mojo back. Yes, the suspension for failing multiple drug-test failures does make it hard for WWE to really go all-in with him. But his upside as a draw is still huge when he is in a big spot.
No. 1: John Cena
All signs point to Cena winning the Royal Rumble, and it really isn't even close. If he is standing at the top of the mountain, everyone else is at the base waiting to climb up and trying to catch him.
Cena hasn't been in the title picture since the summer. That is so unlike anything WWE usually does with him. He was the first person to enter the Rumble, which signifies that WWE wants to plant the seeds of him winning the crown sooner rather than later.
On top of that, WWE is building to another Cena vs. Rock match at WrestleMania. Since WWE loves to set up the main event for its biggest show of the year early, what better way to do it than to have Rock defeat CM Punk just before Cena wins the Rumble?
As much as the Internet fans and most male WWE fans might be annoyed by it, Cena is going to come out on top in the Rumble. He is going to headline WrestleMania in a match with Rock for the WWE championship.