In mere hours, WWE will present the 26th anniversary of the Royal Rumble event live from Phoenix, Arizona, in their premiere pay-per-view of 2013. Despite only five matches being advertised for tonight's show, each contest looks to be enjoyable in its own right.
As we kick off the Road to WrestleMania, anticipation builds as four major championships will be contested on tonight's card, including a monumental matchup between WWE Champion CM Punk and The Rock.
Most importantly, the show will be headlined by the traditional Royal Rumble match, where 30 Superstars will fight for the chance to compete for a World Championship in the main event of WrestleMania 29.
Here, I am once again joined by the past, present and future of Bleacher Report to help me analyze tonight's electric pay-per-view with their intelligent insight on all things wrestling.
Without further ado, please allow me to introduce the recognizable talent of SiD, Daniel Massey and Nate Scaccia, otherwise known as the Evolution of Bleacher Report, for the most jam-packed prediction article ever conducted!
GSM: While I like the idea of the two feuding, it hasn't been built consistently in recent weeks due to both The Miz and Antonio Cesaro focusing on the Royal Rumble match. That being said, I'm fine with the fact that it's occurring on the pre-show rather than on the main card.
It's a fresh contest, and the action should be great. Cesaro has been doing a fantastic job with the United States Championship in the last few months, so I expect him to retain here. While I enjoy Miz as a babyface, there's still quite a bit he can improve upon before he can be taken as a serious treat to a title again.
SiD: The pre-show of the night, Cesaro, the current United States champ, will take on the Miz, as the live crowd will be able to see them both perform twice: once in the beginning, and once in the end, for the Royal Rumble. This will be short and simple: Expect Cesaro to win after some cheap tactics, in order to continue the feud.
Massey: God, Cesaro sucks. I have absolutely no idea why everyone is mad for him! He’s exactly like Alberto Del Rio was when he was a heel—boring, uncharismatic and detrimental to my viewing experience. I’ve been begging for someone to take that title off him since he won it, and hopefully The Miz will put me out of my misery by winning on Sunday night.
The Miz has been gaining the support of the WWE Universe since his return. His face turn has been well received by the majority, and this will start his second rise to the top nicely if he can capture the United States Championship. Not to mention the fact that he is one of my favorite U.S. Champions of all time.
I’m glad this is on the pre-show. Cesaro doesn’t deserve PPV time. I hope he gets eliminated from the Rumble and beats Santino Marella’s record.
Scaccia: The build for this match has been hot and cold for me. Some good interesting moments, but lacking in other aspects. I think Cesaro retains here because it is too easy for him to lose to the Miz. This feud hasn't been built up long enough for Miz to win. Cesaro retains and feuds with Miz up to WrestleMania where Miz eventually defeats him.
Final Consensus: Cesaro-3, Miz-1
GSM: Team Hell No have been extremely entertaining since their formation and have really helped revitalize the tag team division in recent months. However, their reign as WWE Tag Team Champions has run its course by this point.
Team Rhodes Scholars have been a brilliant pairing thus far, and it's their time to finally win the tag titles. After a solid match, expect Team Hell No to drop the straps to Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow and go their separate ways from that point forward.
SiD: Hell No have restored the legitimacy of the tag team division to quite an extent, but Rhodes Scholars will be the ones to catch the ball and run with it. After a fun-filled reign from Hell No, it's time for some seriousness in the tag division, as Rhodes Scholars defeat the champs to become our tag team champions.
Rhodes Scholars have been a brilliant team for quite some time, and Creative have dropped the ball with them at every pay-per-view; but not this one. Expect Rhodes Scholars to pick up the win.
Also, with their win, we will have plenty of challengers, and maybe a few new teams to take on the new champs. But, for now, the dashing, Cody Rhodes, and the majestic, Damien Sandow, are the ones who will take the pennies home.
Massey: Team Hell No have been a fantastic tag team, but one has to believe that they will be coming to an end tomorrow night. Firstly, they will lose their titles to Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes, and then something will happen at the Royal Rumble which will create a feud between these two.
This would be excellent for the WWE, as they are showing now that they can effectively build characters and feuds, and as the tag team division is on the way up, splitting Team Hell No would not be such a bad thing.
I expect the match to be a clean affair as there will be too much going on in the main events. We will need this to be as normal tag team match as they can muster. I’m looking forward to Daniel Bryan and Kane’s inevitable arguments.
Scaccia: Kane and Daniel Bryan need to drop the titles here. Sandow and Rhodes have been chasing the titles for some time now, so having them lose would make no sense. Have Kane and Bryan lose because they are too friendly with each other, or because Dr. Shelby`s efforts to make them a better team actually have the reverse effect. Regardless, they should drop the titles at the Rumble.
Final Consensus: Rhodes Scholars-4, Hell No-0
GSM: I was a bit skeptical of Alberto Del Rio's face turn at first, but it's turned out for the better so far. Big Show has also played his role nicely as the monster heel, thus making this feud between the two 10 times more interesting than the last time they feuded in mid-2011.
Their Last Man Standing match they had on SmackDown a few weeks back was rather entertaining, so I'd expect nothing less from the two. It'd be extremely pointless to take the World title off Del Rio mere weeks after winning, but there's no doubt in my mind that Del Rio is retaining here.
SiD: Alberto Del Rio recently toppled the Big Show on SmackDown to win the World Heavyweight Champion, and because of the reverse momentum theory, the "greatest Mexican export" will obviously retain his title after eating the KO punch multiple times.
But that wouldn't be the best part about the World Title that night. The best part is obviously Dolph Ziggler. Will he cash in the briefcase? Or will he not? We'll find out at the Royal Rumble. But, for now, Alberto Del Rio will defeat the Big Show and retain his championship.
Massey: Alberto Del Rio has only just turned face, and people are already invested enough in him that he has become the World Heavyweight Champion. He has been a good champion so far, who has shown on SmackDown and Raw that he is not afraid of a fight.
This will likely be the most violent match of the night. I’m not sure how smart it is having a copycat match at the Royal Rumble. We have only just seen a Last Man Standing match, and I feel like we will just be seeing the same thing. No doubt the Big Show will be angrier, but it is clear to me that Del Rio will come out on top. I expect Ricardo Rodriguez to become involved at some point as it is No Disqualifications.
Scaccia: Since Del Rio just won the title, I think it is only logical that he retain here. Having him lose here would only hurt his credibility and make his title reign pointless. Del Rio has to retain as to not hurt his face push and his build.
Honestly, Big Show has had enough time at the top and it is time for him to retire. Giving him back the belt would be pointless. Del Rio wins.
Final Consensus: Del Rio-4, Show-0
GSM: The build to this feud has been excellently extraordinary, and I've enjoyed every second of it. However, the match itself will be a whole other story. The Rock looked winded during his match with John Cena at WrestleMania 28, so here's hoping he's in mint condition come the Royal Rumble. If not, then CM Punk can always bring him to a good match.
Of course, this match is the most unpredictable bout on the card. I would love for Punk to shockingly win via intentional/unintentional interference from Cena, but I highly doubt that's in the cards. Rock winning the strap and defending it at Mania against Cena is the best bet right now, and I guess I wouldn't mind seeing it.
SiD: The bout we fans will only see once in our lifetimes, The People's Champion, the Rock, takes on the WWE Champion, CM Punk, for the most coveted prize in the world, the WWE Title. The Rock has been gunning for the title since last year, after he defeated John Cena and announced that he would face the champion at the Royal Rumble.
Fast forward to January 2013, and here we are. The Royal Rumble event is approaching, and the WWE Champion is the same. Since November 2011, the WWE Title hasn't changed hands. Many people are calling this the greatest title reign of the modern era, including the champion himself. The WWE Champion, is the best in the world, Mr CM Punk.
What happens when the Great One collides with the Straight Edge messiah?
It took me a lot of time to predict this match, considering a lot of factors: A) the Royal Rumble winner, B) the Elimination Chamber winner and C) the match we'll get at WrestleMania. After a lot of thinking, I'm going to go with the People's Champion defeating CM Punk to become the WWE Champion, and then hopefully facing someone other than John Cena and winning at the grandest stage of them all.
Massey: CM Punk has to win. He just has to. To have the Rock win would mar what has been a historic reign. He needs to last until WrestleMania, and the one reason I want him to is so that he can face the Undertaker in a Title vs. Streak match at WrestleMania 29. I dare someone to say that wouldn’t be awesome.
As well as this, beating The Rock cleanly will validate his reign as he has had a lot of cheeky wins over the course of his reign. He really could do with a clean win to highlight how dangerous he actually is and to prove he really is the Best in the World! This match will be electric, and the atmosphere will be as high as WrestleMania. I can’t wait!
Scaccia: Very interesting matchup here. After a great buildup, these two will finally face off. I think you can expect a great long match that will definitely steal the show. Looking at the whole setup and build of this match, I am leaning towards The Rock winning here. He has been made to look weak over recent weeks, so he is due for a big breakthrough.
Defeating CM Punk will do just that. Find some way for Punk to not look weak by losing, though. No reason for Punk to be beaten cleanly here. Rock wins and sets up Cena winning the Rumble.
Final Consensus: Rock-3, Punk-1
GSM: My expectations for this match aren't that high since the build to this bout has been subpar and last year's Royal Rumble was vastly disappointing, but I have my fingers crossed that we're in for a treat.
Obviously, the most predictable pick would be John Cena, but I don't think even WWE would be stupid enough to go with the guy everyone expects to win.
I'm not too keen on Sheamus or Randy Orton winning either, but I've got my money on Ryback. He's been on fire since re-debuting last spring and is one of the most over guys in the company at the moment.
I predict for him to clear house in the Rumble, win it, and advance to WrestleMania 29 and win the World Heavyweight Championship. Aside from that, the rest of this Rumble looks to be extremely exciting.
SiD: The most unpredictable event of the year, the Royal Rumble, is surprisingly predictable this year. While many fans, such as I, desperately want John Cena to lose, but in the end, it's pretty obvious that the Cenation leader will be the last man standing, as he wins the Royal Rumble.
Ryback and Randy Orton have some legit claims to win the Rumble, but in the end, it has to be John Cena to win, and face either Punk or the Rock. While I'm terribly hoping it's Punk, because I do not want to see Cena/Rock again, it will most likely be the Most Electrifying Man in all of sports entertainment, because WWE wants the money.
Expect multiple legends to return and do their flashy offense, but expect John Cena to defeat everyone, and be the one standing tall, as the show fades to black. Ladies and gentlemen, John Cena will win the Royal Rumble.
Massey: Sheamus and Randy Orton will be the last two and if they aren’t it’s a travesty. It has certainly been hinted at over the past few weeks on both Raw and SmackDown, and I’d love to see it. It would make for an extremely exciting climax to what will be a hell of a Royal Rumble match.
Sheamus will ultimately take it in my opinion as it is looking like he will face Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 29 and it is Orton that will be turning heel.
If Sheamus wins, it will validate his rise to the top of the mountain and put him in the same leagues as huge stars from the past. Winning two Rumbles is no easy feat, but I think Sheamus is fully capable of doing so as people would accept it. The Celtic Warrior going for two is my prediction.
Scaccia: So many people could win the Rumble this year. Orton, Sheamus, Barrett and, yes, John Cena could all be victorious. Personally, since I have The Rock going over CM Punk, I have John Cena winning the rumble. Obvious yes, predictable yes. But it makes the most sense. I don`t like it, but I think that is what is going to happen.
Final Consensus: Cena-2, Sheamus-1, Ryback-1
Overall, this looks to be like a strong show on paper, with each bout as equally exciting as the other. With the highly anticipated WWE Championship match potentially headlining the show, I've set high standards for an extremely entertaining pay-per-view.
Regarding the Royal Rumble match, the annual bout never ceases to disappoint, so I surely hope they take full advantage of the immense intrigue of the contest. Being the more unpredictable pay-per-view of the year, my fingers are crossed for the upcoming show to be the huge kick-off to what looks to be a memorable year in 2013.
As WrestleMania 29 quickly approaches, expect the initial seeds to be planted for the historic event this coming Sunday. If you're on the fence about purchasing the event, I strongly recommend doing so, as failing to ordering the pay-per-view may result in being a major mistake in the end.
I'd like to thank SiD, Daniel Massey and Nate Scaccia for collectively participating in my Royal Rumble preview. All of them put in valuable time and thought into making their respective predictions.
Drop a comment with your thoughts going into the Royal Rumble, and be sure to tune into tonight for what could be an outrageously amusing show with the strong card provided.
Read every past prediction piece from Bleacher Report's Evolution here.
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