Orton, Bryan and Stars Who Need Breakout Performances at the Royal Rumble
With this year's WrestleMania season looking to feature several part-time megastars, it's more evident than ever that WWE needs to make a new generation of big stars.
Thankfully, the Royal Rumble is a place where big stars can be made!
The 30-man Royal Rumble match presents WWE with many opportunities to put over their performers.
The match has helped propel many legends to their lofty positions—think Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin and Kane, for instance.
Here are five WWE talents who can be put to good use on Sunday and who need or deserve a breakout Rumble performance.
It seems odd to include Ryback on this list, since WWE has taken every opportunity they’ve had to make him look like he was blessed with the power of a Titan.
Despite WWE’s aforementioned intentions, they booked themselves into a corner with the Punk vs. Ryback program, and as a result, Big Hungry (worst nickname ever, by the way) has lost the last four high-profile matches he’s been in.
The booking team have done their best to protect Ryback and make him look strong in spite of the losses, but four big losses are four big losses no matter how you book them.
Ryback can get some of his shine back on Sunday at the Royal Rumble, and he doesn’t even need to win. He needs to obliterate everyone.
Kane is, no doubt, a future Hall of Famer, and his legend will live on without the record for most eliminations in a single Rumble.
Ryback should break Kane's record and score 12 eliminations.
Team Hell No are a great tag team, but most fans have recognized that they reached their zenith a while ago.
They’re still entertaining, but it’s time for Kane, and especially Daniel Bryan, to move forward to greener pastures.
Bryan has only ever been in one Royal Rumble match, and there, he lasted over 20 minutes and scored two eliminations.
Not a bad start, but a breakout performance or a memorable moment is what Bryan needs in 2013.
The main-event scene will be crowded this year with guys like John Cena, Sheamus, C.M. Punk, Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler and others around, but in 2012, Bryan proved he deserved one of the very prestigious main-event spots.
The Royal Rumble on Sunday could and should be the place where Bryan begins his ascent to that position.
It wasn’t long ago that Randy Orton was the No.2 guy in the business, but you wouldn’t know that if you started watching WWE in the last year.
WWE have done a good job of using Orton’s established star power to put over younger talent like Barrett and Del Rio, but it’s time for him to reclaim is position in the elite ranks of WWE Superstars.
With a heel turn (h/t wrestlinginc.com) brewing for the Viper, a Royal Rumble win is the perfect way to let the WWE Universe know that Orton is still a big deal.
However, unlike other stars on this list, Orton’s moment has to be a win.
Having him put in a good performance won’t be enough; to re-substantiate Orton, he needs a second Rumble win.
Orton has proved he can make good use off the springboard that is a Rumble win. The build-up to his match with Triple H at WrestleMania 25 was one of the best in the last decade.
A Rumble win is what his character needs right now, and if that’s what it takes to get him back to his 2009 level of heat, then that’s what he should get.
Again, WWE should be commended for having one of their top stars put over talent, but it's time for them to utilize him as the huge draw that he is.
Ryback needs to dominate, Randy Orton needs to win and Dolph Ziggler is right there with Daniel Bryan in needing a memorable performance.
Many are expecting Ziggler to cash in his Money in the Bank contract on Sunday, but taking advantage of a weak champion isn't what he needs right now.
Seeing Ziggler as world champion would be great under any circumstances, but he should regain some of his momentum before winning the gold.
Ziggler has been absolutely buried by John Cena in recent months, giving Cena everything he’s got and getting beaten at every turn (with the exception of their match at TLC, which has become somewhat of a token victory).
While Bryan needs a breakout moment to begin his main-event ascent, Ziggler simply needs one to recover from the damage done by Cena.
With a lot of eliminations going to Ryback, and hopefully Bryan, Ziggler being a heel is helpful, since he doesn’t necessarily need to eliminate a lot of people to make an impact.
If he can survive for a long time and get three or four significant eliminations, or even just eliminate Cena (optimism overload), he'll be alright.
The only performer on the list not in the Royal Rumble, CM Punk needs a career defining moment on Sunday.
Or, more accurately, WWE needs CM Punk to have a career-defining moment.
Punk is already a huge star in the WWE, but at the Royal Rumble, WWE has an opportunity to make him a megastar.
With the right booking, Punk can become an icon on Sunday.
If Punk scores a pinfall victory over Rock, regardless of how much help which he will have, no doubt, gotten from Heyman/Maddox/Shield/additional deus ex machina, It'll do the job.
He will have beaten The Rock and instantly be in the same class as Cena, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker and so on.
Chances are, though, he's going to lose. But that's OK! Think Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13. That sort of performance is what Punk needs.
What WWE shouldn’t do is have Punk use underhanded tactics and have people interfere on his behalf and still lose. If he’s going to lose, it should be in a way that makes him look good.
F4WOline reported that Punk will face Undertaker at WrestleMania XXIX (via WrestleZone.com), and having him put in an WrestleMania 13 Austin-esque performance on Sunday will make him more legitimate competition for the Deadman.
On a grander scale, though, it can make elevate Punk's star power to the level of The Rock's.