Coming on the heels of this past January's Royal Rumble being one of the most anticipated in years thanks to CM Punk's WWE Championship defense against The Rock, it didn't seem like the 2014 show could come close. Well, the latest buzz is that WWE is at least going to try.
According to PWInsider (h/t WrestlingInc.com), Brock Lesnar will likely be wrestling at the Rumble this year. There had been discussion of him using his last allotted pre-WrestleMania match at Hell in a Cell or Survivor Series, I guess to blow off the CM Punk-Paul Heyman feud, but now he's being saved for what's traditionally the second biggest show of the year.
In addition, a lot of the scenarios pitched for the Royal Rumble match itself involve Daniel Bryan winning. If this is the case, then he obviously wouldn't be WWE Champion at that point.
Lesnar at the Rumble is a great idea. He gives them a "special attraction" to follow up The Rock with, even if he he's appeared more than The Rock has. If Lesnar is going to wrestle before WrestleMania, then Rumble is the best show for him to be booked on because the more minor pay-per-view events historically have a lower potential ceiling of buys.
Right now, though, I'm not sure who would be the best opponent for Lesnar at the Rumble. If CM Punk is still feuding with Heyman going into the TLC event the month before, then he's the natural choice. Their match at SummerSlam was incredible, probably the best of the year so far. While Punk looked great in losing, a win would go a long way in priming him for a return to main events, solidifying his position as a top guy, eliminating whatever barriers are left about him being "too skinny/unassuming," etc.
Bryan winning the Rumble also seems like the best idea, at least as of this moment. A big win there, setting him up for winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, would put him over the top as a star. It also doesn't preclude him from winning the title "for real" sooner as much as it would put an artificial time limit on his reign.
Having Bryan get the "iron man" spot in the Rumble on the way to winning would also guarantee a great match in addition to fitting his current storyline. It's very much in tune with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon's characters right now to give him the chance but make it hard for him by forcing him to be the first entrant in the Royal Rumble match.
Bryan, with the right opponent in a WrestleMania main event, would also be something really special. A lot of people have fantasized about a Bryan vs. Punk WrestleMania event as of late, and while they've historically had great matches together, this could leave those in the dust. I don't necessarily think it will happen, but it's fun to speculate since there are a lot of question marks right now as far as how everyone will be slotted, which is a lot different from where we were a year ago when the top three matches were obvious.
So, what does everyone else think? Where would you like to see Bryan and Lesnar go during WrestleMania season, either within this framework or otherwise?