WWE's Royal Rumble pay-per-view is coming up on Sunday, January 26, and for many fans, this is quickly becoming a must-see event. The reason for that is because it will be the company's first pay-per-view of 2014, and it is the night that officially kicks off the road to WrestleMania.
But which current feuds will bring fans to the table for 2014's first WWE event?
The Rumble match itself is obviously the biggest draw for this event, as the winner will go on to face the WWE world champion at 'Mania. But the undercard should be a good one, and it's the rivalries that have been entertaining fans for weeks that will make up the bulk of that card.
So what will happen for the company's top feuds at the Royal Rumble? How will it all play out?
Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family
Bray Wyatt has been on a mission to indoctrinate Daniel Bryan into his family. The attempted brainwashing began several weeks ago, and even though Bray has been unsuccessful in his efforts thus far, that has not stopped him from trying.
Bray's message of distrusting the machine and choosing to follow his own path has not resonated with Bryan, and as of now, Daniel continues to fly solo. But while he does so, Wyatt is lurking the shadows just watching and waiting.
I believe that we have not seen the last of this feud, and the Royal Rumble could bring more of the same. But the question is what will the key players in this rivalry do to keep it fresh at the Rumble?
The truth is that I for one do not see an end in sight for this rivalry. The reason for that is because it just seems to keep going in circles. Basically, Bray insists that Daniel would be better off following him, and when Daniel refuses, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan attack him, leaving him for dead.
I think that a bottom-line match between Daniel and Bray is the only thing that will settle this once and for all. I think that at some point, Bryan will grow extremely tired of this feud and will demand a singles match with Bray in which he will give up his freedom and join the clan if he loses.
However, if he wins, then the angle stops and we move on to something else.
That something else could very well be Bryan challenging Randy Orton in a match that will likely become a triple threat involving John Cena. The WWE World Championship is a trophy that Bryan has wanted for some time, and I have a hard time believing that he would not be included in a rematch if the opportunity presents itself at the Rumble.
But if Bray distracts him, then it's right back to square one, and he will have to be dealt with. Wyatt is not someone to be overlooked or taken lightly, and that fact could once again throw a wrench into the machine for Bryan.
I believe that the aforementioned three-way match is what we will see booked for the Rumble. But I also believe that Wyatt will make his presence known and ruin it all for Bryan.
The Shield vs. CM Punk
The Shield has been taking on everyone in the company since the moment they debuted just over a year ago. Basically, if you got in their way, then you paid the price. And much of the time, they were the ones looking for a fight.
And unless you could stand toe-to-toe with them, you were eaten alive.
But CM Punk may be the one to bring about the end for the Hounds of Justice. His pinfall win over all three Shield members at TLC stands out as one of the worst defeats for the former NXT trio. Punk put them down when he was supposed to be the one tasting defeat.
This likely does not sit well with Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, who wanted nothing more than to destroy Punk before he became too much of a problem.
But could this overall frustration lead to another match between The Shield and Punk at the Royal Rumble?
A very strong possibility is that Big E Langston could join Punk in the fight this time around. Langston recently tagged with Punk and Cena against The Shield, and I would not be surprised if we saw some variation of that bout at the Rumble.
But despite whether or not we do, the truth is that there is always the Royal Rumble itself to give fans some more of this particular feud to sink their teeth into.
The fact is that if Seth, Roman and Dean are all in the Royal Rumble and if all three are in the ring at the same time as Punk, then I expect more fireworks. I believe that The Shield could forget why they're in the ring and decide that revenge on Punk is much more important.
And if that happens, then we could see them lose focus, and that's when Punk could strike.
Punk could eliminate one or perhaps even the entire Shield, leaving them on the outside looking in. And in what could be a more surprising twist than that is the possibility that each man could turn on the other, and they would eliminate themselves.
But either way, I believe that Punk will once again somehow be involved against The Shield at the Royal Rumble.
John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan?
As stated earlier, this potential matchup hinges on whether or not WWE decides to move forward with Wyatt vs. Bryan. If they do not go that route, then I believe Bryan should be booked in this Triple Threat match for the newly unified WWE World Championship.
In many ways, that match would make perfect sense. After all, it was Bryan who defeated Cena for the WWE title back at SummerSlam, only to lose the belt within minutes to Orton. Since that time, Bryan and Orton battled over the strap while Cena was sidelined with injury.
Cena has always been seen as an ally of Bryan's, while Orton has done everything he can to escape Daniel in the ring. But throw in the WWE World Championship and anything can happen. The entertainment value that exists between these three is off the charts, and I would be surprised if WWE did not book this match for the Rumble.
However if they don't, then Cena will probably still receive his rematch against Orton. And if he does, I for one do not see him going over. I believe that it's much too soon to take the belt from Randy, and the fact is that Orton as the top dog is the perfect setup for WrestleMania, if Punk were to win the Rumble.
The truth is that WWE has nothing else happening in regards to its No. 1 title. There has been no one else to step up against Orton, and as long as that is the case, there is no reason to believe that anyone other than Cena and perhaps Bryan will get the nod at the Royal Rumble.