WWE presents the 26th annual Royal Rumble, live on pay-per-view tonight!
WWE’s annual January PPV debuted Jan. 24, 1988 with “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan winning the then 20-man Rumble match, though the main event saw the Islanders defeat the Young Stallions in a two-out-of-three-falls match.
The match has since become a 30-man contest, with one year having 40, and the winner receiving a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship starting in 1993. 10 years later, WWE would establish another world title, so now the winner has the choice of which of the two titles they’d like to challenge for.
Due to the length of the Rumble match, the card for the event has always been a small one, and this year is no different. Including the big match, WWE has also scheduled four other matches, all four of which will see a WWE title on the line, with one of those being on the pre-show.
Here is the card of the 26th annual WWE Royal Rumble, and who I think is going to win!
Title Defended at Rumble: One time
Successfully Defended: One time
Beginning on WWE Main Event as just a war of words, Antonio Cesaro and The Miz are now at each other’s throats.
Their biggest confrontation came on an edition of Miz TV during the 20th anniversary of Raw. The Miz had the legendary Ric Flair as a guest on his interview segment, and it was eventually interrupted by Cesaro. The United States champion would be embarrassed that night after he got chopped by Flair and locked into the figure-four leglock by The Miz.
The champion got a bit of revenge a few days later on Main Event, though, when he delivered the Neutralizer on The Miz after he was taken out by the Shield. They have been all talk since then when it came to their feud, but they’ll finally be going at it here at the Royal Rumble.
As for the winner, I think it’s way too early to take the title off of Cesaro. He is becoming quite the heel, and being a foreigner holding the United States Championship is helping. His anti-American promos help as well, but if he loses the title, a lot of his heat may disappear.
I feel that The Miz will win the United States Championship at some point during this feud, but it won’t be here.
Winner and Still Champion: Antonio Cesaro
Title Defended at Rumble: Zero times
The tag-team division in WWE is finally something to look forward to every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Once a month, you can include Sunday in that list as well.
Two of the reasons it is exciting to watch after years of being left on the backburner is because of Team Hell No and Team Rhodes Scholars. The entertainment value these two teams have provided has been great, and their feud over the titles comes to a head here at the Royal Rumble.
This match will actually make a bit of history, since it is the first time this particular Tag Team Championship will be defended at the event!
They have been feuding for a few months now, fighting each other as teams and in singles competition. The momentum has shifted back and forth as well, but Kane and Daniel Bryan have always come out on top.
Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes just won’t let up, though. They want the WWE Tag Team Championship, and they are getting one more shot to take them away from Team Hell No.
While Kane and Bryan are still great with one another, I feel that the storyline is nearing its end. It’s time for another team to take the reins of the division, and for Team Hell No to finally go one-on-one.
I can see Team Rhodes Scholars winning the titles here. Kane and Daniel Bryan will get their rematch before the Elimination Chamber PPV, but lose the match. From there, one will pin the other inside the Chamber at the event, thus setting up the singles match for WrestleMania while Rhodes Scholars defend the titles at the show.
Winners and New Champions: Team Rhodes Scholars
Title Defended at Rumble: 10 times
Successfully Defended: 10 times
On the New Year’s Eve episode of WWE Raw, the champions of the company were booked to defend their titles. They got to choose their own opponents, and The Big Show chose Alberto Del Rio’s personal ring announcer and friend, Ricardo Rodriquez.
During Rodriquez’s first-ever World Heavyweight Championship match, Del Rio was there at ringside and intervened when he had enough. The Big Show was punishing his friend, so the Mexican Aristocrat jumped in and attacked the World’s Largest Athlete.
SmackDown general manager Booker T would award Del Rio with a title shot a few weeks ago, and it saw him defeat The Big Show in Last Man Standing to win the title. Since then, Del Rio and Rodriquez have been embarrassing Big Show, but at the same time, angering the 7'0", almost 500-pound giant.
History gives a huge advantage to Del Rio here. Since being established in the WWE, the World Heavyweight Championship has been defended at 10 Royal Rumble events, and all 10 of those title defenses has seen the champion retaining his title.
The Big Show had a dominant reign as champion, though when you think about it, he mainly defended the title against Sheamus. Overall, though, it was a good run. Giving the title to Del Rio for less than a month seems completely pointless, so I think that number of successful title defenses will be bumped up to 11.
Rodriguez will do something to anger The Big Show, and his retaliation will ultimately backfire, which will keep him down for the count of 10.
If Del Rio is not the one walking into WrestleMania with the big gold belt, then I think he’d lose it inside the Elimination Chamber, not here at the Royal Rumble.
Winner and Still Champion: Alberto Del Rio
Title Defended at Rumble: 21 times
Successfully Defended: 16 times
During the 1,000th episode of WWE Monday Night Raw, The Rock made a shocking announcement. He declared that no matter who was the WWE champion come the 2013 Royal Rumble, he would be getting a match with the champion for the WWE Championship.
At the time, the holder of the title was CM Punk, and he decided to send a message to The Rock. At the end of the night, Punk signified that he would be champion come the event by putting The Rock to sleep with the GTS.
A couple of weeks ago, the People’s Champion made his return to WWE to confront Punk, who made good on his statement of remaining champion. The two have since traded words and blows, but this match is really anyone’s game.
Looking at the history of the event, the WWE Championship has been defended 21 times with 16 of the champions successfully defending it. That’s a 76-percent win rate, which isn’t too bad.
If The Rock wins, WWE will have a new WWE champion for Raw, but they won’t have a champion for house shows between episodes. I highly doubt The Rock would appear at any live events, so people who bought tickets will not be seeing a WWE champion.
At the same time, a title win for The Rock will bring huge publicity for WWE on the Road to WrestleMania.
If Punk retains, he continues his long title reign. Punk will also gain some major bragging rights for doing what John Cena couldn’t do.
I have no doubt that The Rock will be WWE champion, but it’s a matter of whether he will win it here or at the Elimination Chamber PPV. I think this match is going to come down to interference, just not necessarily from The Shield.
This past Monday on Raw, Vince McMahon declared that if they interfered, Punk would be stripped of the WWE Championship. McMahon forgot about Brad Maddox, though, who could be there in the referee stripes after the obligatory ref bump.
Then again, The Shield could get involved, but not in the form of Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose or Roman Reigns. Nobody said that somebody couldn’t interfere here and then join The Shield on Monday’s Raw.
No matter what happens, this match is going to have some kind of interference in the closing moments.
Who’s going to win? Well, with a wrestler who is also a big movie star as champion, people will be talking. So I think WWE is just going to bite the bullet in terms of no champion at house shows for the sake of publicity.
Winner and New Champion: The Rock
Rumble Winners Since Title Shot Awarded: 21 Superstars
Rumble Winners to Win Title at WrestleMania: 12 Superstars
Official entrants confirmed by WWE.com as of this writing:
- John Cena
- Randy Orton
- Dolph Ziggler
- Antonio Cesaro
- Wade Barrett
- The Miz
- Bo Dallas
- Team Hell No
- The Great Khali
- Kofi Kingston
- The Prime Time Players
The WWE Royal Rumble is one of the most unpredictable matches in professional wrestling history. With 30 guys in the ring, anything can happen.
A Superstar could make a surprise return, someone could get seriously injured after falling to the outside or a scheduled winner could lose his grip and accidentally go over the top rope. You never know what the Rumble can bring. This year, though, I think is a bit predictable.
While I can see a number of past Superstars making their returns here, they obviously don’t stand a chance at winning. Rising stars will shine in a big way in this match, but they ultimately won’t win either. I think this is going to come down to the big names this year.
The Rumble is a great way to elevate somebody to the top, and it has done that before, but the winner this year is going to be someone who’s already there. I feel that this year is going to come down to John Cena, Randy Orton or Sheamus.
The Rock vs. John Cena II is no doubt going to happen at WrestleMania XXIX with the title on the line. Whether it’s earlier in the night or the following month at the Elimination Chamber, The Rock will be champion. Cena winning here will easily set up the match for WrestleMania.
Orton and Sheamus would most likely go after the World Championship, and with a babyface as champion, a win and heel turn for Orton is looking likely. Then again, a heel Orton could take the title from Alberto Del Rio at the Elimination Chamber, which could give Sheamus the win here.
Personally, I would love to see someone like a Wade Barrett, Antonio Cesaro or Dolph Ziggler win the match, but I just have a feeling that a top star is going home with the title shot.
I’m going with a John Cena victory here, but I will be very much happy to be wrong about it, or to just be wrong about a top star winning.
Winner: John Cena