WWE Royal Rumble 2014 is sure to carry on the event's tradition of surprises and big returns.
Kevin Nash and Goldust returned to action at recent Rumbles and the match has seen injured Superstars like Edge and John Cena make their dramatic entrances. Batista's return and entry into the Rumble is already confirmed. What other names from the past will join him in the 30-man battle come Jan. 26?
For most of the names fans expect to see, denials of returns have been commonplace. Those may turn out to be cases of misdirection, though.
Chris Jericho managed an unexpected return in an era where the Internet makes secrets rare when he returned at the 2013 Royal Rumble. The current word is that he won't be around for this year's event, but Jericho may be readying yet another surprise.
Wrestling Observer, via WrestlingInc.com, reports that "as of a few days ago, there was no deal in place for Chris Jericho to make his return to WWE any time soon but word is that it's not like the door is closed on a potential deal."
An earlier report points out something that hints at Jericho being at the Rumble. Raj Giri of WrestlingInc.com wrote the following:
Chris Jericho is scheduled to appear at the 2014 World Of Wheels Convention at the David L Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA on Saturday, January 25 from 12pm - 3pm. The appearance just happens to take place the day before The Royal Rumble in the same city.
Sheamus is also scheduled for this event. He's been out with injury since the summer.
F4WOnline, via SEScoops.com, reported in September that the plan was for Cena and Sheamus to both be surprise Rumble entrants. Cena has since made a faster-than-expected recovery. Sheamus, on the other hand, is having more trouble on the road back.
He told Brian Fritz of Between the Ropes in October that his shoulder was "far off" from being 100 percent.
He's since had three more months to rehab and there haven't been any reports of any setbacks in the process, so chances are good for Sheamus to make his return at the Rumble. Will "The Snake" join him?
Jake Roberts has been lobbying for a spot in the 2014 Royal Rumble for months.
He's gotten in increasingly better shape thanks to DDP Yoga and made his return to WWE programming on the Jan. 6 edition of Raw. Is that moment going to replace a surprise entry into the Rumble? One outlet thinks so.
PWMania.com reports that the feeling backstage is that Roberts is a shoo-in for the 2014 Hall of Fame class, but also wrote that there is "no word yet if he will be brought in for the Royal Rumble but since he returned on RAW, it’s less likely now."
Despite that report, the cameo on Raw felt like a step to something bigger. WWE.com has since put up a surplus of Roberts-related material from a video playlist to a photo gallery. That certainly smells like a way to promote an appearance at the Rumble.
As for Goldberg, he tweets that we shouldn't count on him being part of the event.
Wrestlers have mislead fans on Twitter before, but there's plenty of reason to think Goldberg is being genuine here. Unlike with Jericho and Roberts, it's been years since he's been part of the company. He's also been highly critical of WWE.
For example, in 2011, Goldberg announced that he was wrestling again and when folks wondered if that meant he was returning to Vince McMahon's operation, he offered the following tweet.
It ain't WWE, they can kiss my ass— Bill Goldberg (@Goldberg) August 20, 2011
Of course, putting the right amount of zeroes on a check can quell a lot of bad blood.
Rob Van Dam fans have reason to be pumped. After taking a long break following a hard-fought match against Alberto Del Rio at Battleground, it appears that "Mr. Monday Night" will be back for the Rumble.
As reported by PWInsider, via WrestleZone.com, Van Dam "is expected to be returning to the company at The Royal Rumble." The report goes on to say that he will working through WrestleMania XXX.
Van Dam looked fantastic in his most recent WWE run, so fans can set their expectations high for what he does at the Rumble and WrestleMania and in between.
His addition ups the star power of the Rumble match. It's unclear for now who else will join him.
Should Roberts get the spot he's been asking for, Jericho sneak up on us again and WWE offer up a surprise or two that fans don't see coming, the 2014 Royal Rumble is going to be teeming with energy and star power.