WWE Royal Rumble 2014: Power Ranking Likely Rumble Winners After Dec. 23 Raw
The 2014 Royal Rumble is just about a month away, and as always, speculation about who could win it is one of the best topics in wrestling each year.
With the Royal Rumble, the road to WrestleMania officially begins.
With WWE recently unifying the WWE and World Heavyweight titles, it greatly reduces the number of Superstars who could possibly win the annual Battle Royal.
In years past, WWE had many options with the Rumble match because it had two major titles. It didn't necessarily need to have the top star in the company win the match in order to headline WrestleMania.
This is why Superstars like Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus were able to emerge victorious in the match.
Currently, Randy Orton holds the WWE World title and would meet the winner of the Rumble match in New Orleans at WrestleMania 30.
Whether or not Orton keeps the title that long remains to be seen.
Taking into consideration the probability of every Superstar being given the opportunity to main event WrestleMania due to their current standing in WWE, we have identified eight potential winners.
Click forward to see who is most likely to head to the main event at WrestleMania.
At this point, Ryback would have to be considered a long shot to win the Royal Rumble.
WWE doesn't seem to have as much confidence in him as it did a year ago when he became the runner-up in the 2013 Royal Rumble.
Recent losses to Superstars such as R-Truth have made it seem like Ryback's star is fading, but there is still time to change that.
It would be a big surprise to see Ryback prevail in Pittsburgh, but he will still be one of the most formidable challengers in the 30-man field.
7. Big Show
It has been a long time since Big Show was considered a legitimate headliner for WrestleMania, and that likely hasn't changed.
However, he recently had a shot at the title against Orton along with a feud with The Authority, albeit one WWE has tried to make fans forget.
A match between Big Show and Orton wouldn't be a sexy WrestleMania main event, but the history is there to build upon.
Besides, there's no guarantee Orton will take the title to WrestleMania, either.
6. Big E Langston
Big E Langston, the reigning intercontinental champion, is one of the hottest Superstars in WWE right now.
Could he ride that momentum into the Royal Rumble and outlast 29 other guys? It's not very likely.
While he probably won't win the match, it wouldn't be at all surprising to see Langston eliminate numerous Superstars and have one of the most impressive showings of the evening.
5. CM Punk
After finding a way to defeat all three members of The Shield at WWE TLC, CM Punk seems to be positioning himself for another run at the WWE World title.
The 2014 Royal Rumble may just be a little too soon.
While Punk certainly has what it takes to win the Rumble, WWE seems to be planting the seeds for him to face Triple H or even Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 30.
But winning the Royal Rumble is something Punk has yet to do in his illustrious career, and he should never be counted out.
4. Brock Lesnar
There is no guarantee that Brock Lesnar will even be entered into the Royal Rumble, but if he is, he will be an immediate contender.
Lesnar will no doubt be a huge part of WrestleMania 30, so if he is part of the Royal Rumble, it will be to set up one of the marquee matches for the biggest event of the year.
Lesnar has won the Royal Rumble once before, and it's not too far-fetched to think he could do it again.
It was announced on the December 23 edition of Monday Night Raw that Batista will make his long-awaited return to WWE on January 20.
That just happens to be the last Raw before the Royal Rumble.
A little over a week ago, Batista would not even be on this list, but now, having him at No. 3 might be too low.
If Orton holds onto the title, a feud between the former Evolution members would be easy to book, and fans would be highly interested, so long as it wasn't mishandled.
Batista could very well win the 2014 Royal Rumble in his first match back with WWE.
2. Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan is still the choice of most fans who tune into the program each week, but is WWE willing to put him in position to be the top guy in the company?
That is the question that will likely follow Bryan his entire career.
After a long, heated program with Randy Orton in the latter stages of 2013, Bryan was abruptly dismissed from the title picture and put into a feud with The Wyatt Family.
WWE knows Bryan is likely the best in-ring worker it has, and it also know how much the fans appreciate him. It just don't ever seem to have the confidence that he can carry the torch for the company.
Still, Bryan has to be considered one of the top contenders to win the Royal Rumble so he can go on to have his moment at WrestleMania, something that has thus far eluded him.
1. John Cena
Would WWE have John Cena win back-to-back Royal Rumbles? Would it pit him and Orton against each other again?
Unfortunately, WWE probably would.
Because he is still the top guy in WWE and likely will be until the day he retires, Cena will be a threat to win every Royal Rumble he enters.
While guys like Batista and Bryan might have just as much of a chance to win this year as he does, Cena gets the nod for now because of one key statistic.
Since WrestleMania 21, Cena has competed for the WWE or World title every single year other than WrestleMania 28.