One of the most entertaining aspects of any Royal Rumble pay-per-view is the unpredictability of who will charge down that ramp and into the 30-man scrap in the ring.
Even the ultimate WWE insider—WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler—claims to not have a clue about any surprise entrants. Remember, he was among those who was called out last year, along with fellow broadcasters Booker T and Michael Cole.
Of course, if Lawler did know, he would not be tipping his hand. But in an interview with the New York Post’s Anthony Sulla-Heffinger, Lawler says he knows one name that will not be called at Sunday’s WWE Royal Rumble 2013:
I do know that they had contacted Rikishi but he had a prior commitment that he could not get out of. My son Brian told me that it was just a commitment he literally could not get out of, even though he really wanted to [be in the Rumble].
Lawler admits in the interview that there are so many scenarios that could play out Sunday night. When asked who Lawler thinks could win the Rumble main event, he mentions John Cena, adding that a Cena victory in the Rumble would be even sweeter should The Rock beat CM Punk for the WWE Championship earlier in the show:
I would like to see The Rock and Cena again for the WWE title. I could envision Cena winning the Rumble and The Rock beating Punk, and then the two of them at WrestleMania for the classic rematch. That first time around was so good. I know Cena would give his right arm to have that match again.
Punk is someone with whom Lawler is quite familiar. They had a storyline argument over Punk’s heel turn when Lawler claimed Punk turned his back on the fans. Later, when Lawler returned to Raw following his non-storyline heart attack, Punk and Paul Heyman mimicked his heart attack in the ring.
But in the Post interview, Lawler says Punk could be “the man” in WWE for a long time to come:
I know Punk is a very talented guy, a tremendous talker and adding Paul Heyman into the mix has made him into somebody that has really, I think he’ll even admit it, come further along than he ever thought he would and had more longevity than anybody thought he would. Heck, there may be no stopping CM Punk on that deal.
Many within the Internet Wrestling Community have lamented the fact that WWE went PG instead of staying in the Attitude Era, the period of time that launched WWE into the entertainment stratosphere. In the interview, Lawler was asked which he thought was better, the Attitude Era or the PG Era.
He says both have their merits, but in his mind, the Attitude Era featured a stronger roster:
We certainly have guys now that are capable of moving the ball and getting the job done with CM Punk, John Cena, Big Show, Randy Orton and other guys that are being featured right now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not casting dispersions on these guys at all, but when you look back at the Attitude Era, there were some of the biggest names in the history of this industry. I don’t think anybody will argue with the fact that there may not be anyone who could fill the shoes of The Rock or Stone Cold. Those are two guys right there that were in their heyday that we have not seen the likes of since, and we may never see the likes of those guys again.
Royal Rumble is the precursor to WrestleMania, WWE’s signature pay-per-view. This year, WrestleMania 29 will be held in the New York metropolitan area, and Lawler tells the Post he could not be more pleased that WrestleMania is back in the Big Apple for the fifth time:
We’ve had it in some places where it was almost a little subdued. When we had [WrestleMania 26] in Phoenix, it was a nice setting but the city is not like New York City. Last year in Miami it was awesome, but I just can’t wait for it to be in New York, I think it’s going to be crazy with the atmosphere and all of the Superstars all over the city.
Ironically, Sunday’s Royal Rumble will take place in one of those “nice settings” that is not New York City—Phoenix’s US Airways Center.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.