The Royal Rumble is traditionally a show where Superstars get more of a chance to steal the spotlight than they do at any other show in the year.
With a main event match that can often last longer than an hour, there is a huge opportunity for a Superstar to have a lengthy run on screen to boost his or her momentum heading toward WrestleMania.
This year, there are a selection of WWE stars who almost deserve to have that lengthy run in the traditional Rumble match. Whether it is stars who have been devoid of TV time of late—or simply guys who will benefit from a longer period in the Rumble match—there are a few who will feel they should be in the Rumble for an extended period.
Let's take a look at some of the Superstars who deserve a lengthy run in the Royal Rumble match this year.
We start with a guy who has been somewhat absent from WWE shows over the past few months—at least by his own standards, anyway.
Alberto Del Rio spent a good portion of 2013 as the World Heavyweight champion—but heading into the 2014 Royal Rumble, he is slipping down the card dramatically.
Has the promo he cut on Batista on Raw a few weeks ago saved his position at the upper end of the card in the WWE? Perhaps—but we will have to wait and see what the plan is with Batista when he returns on Raw this coming week.
Del Rio is, of course, a guy who won the Royal Rumble back in 2011, when it was a 40-man extravaganza. He is still very much a guy with a future at the top end of the company, and a good run in the Rumble may hopefully set him rolling again heading into WrestleMania.
Another World Heavyweight champion who has fallen down the card over the past few months is Dolph Ziggler. He's been absent from TV over the past couple of weeks due to a concussion he suffered during a match with Ryback.
But could the Royal Rumble be a defining moment in the career of Ziggler? He's a guy who plenty of people want to see do well in the company—but it just hasn't happened of late.
Nobody is expecting to see Ziggler back in the championship picture anytime soon—with just one champion at the head of the WWE now, that simply will not happen.
But a good Royal Rumble would certainly start to enable Ziggler to pick up some momentum. And he certainly does deserve it after some poor booking over the latter part of 2013.
Like Del Rio, Antonio Cesaro spent a decent chunk of 2013 as a champion. He was a pretty good United States champion, too.
He's since teamed up with Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter to form a tag team that has bizarrely never tasted gold in the division. The Real Americans seem like a pretty good package—but they have never managed to actually win the belts.
Cesaro is without a doubt the guy who could break free from the team and go it alone again, though. His patented swing maneuver is a move that brings the crowd to its feet—and we could see it in the Royal Rumble.
He's a great worker and a guy who does seem to have a future with the company. It would be nice to see Cesaro get some exposure in the Rumble of 2014.
Big E Langston has been on a roll for a little while now in the WWE and has been impressing people all over with his rapid rise to championship material.
He's been the intercontinental champion for a couple of months now, but he won't be defending it at the Royal Rumble—as he has entered the main event.
Like Cesaro in the previous slide, it creates a good opportunity for Langston to build even more momentum behind him heading into WrestleMania. The Rumble may well be a scenario where Langston thrives, too.
He's been a solid champion and has had a remarkable 2013 in the ring. That is why Langston is worthy of a good run in the 2014 Royal Rumble match.
In 2013, we were treated to a pretty special moment as Cody Rhodes and Goldust squared off against each other in the Royal Rumble match.
After a year that has seen them reunited to win tag team gold—and be excellent champions, for the record—could the same happen in 2014?
The brothers are both in the Rumble match this year again, and it could be the start of a new road for the Rhodes brothers—where they kick off a rivalry with each other.
It's hard not to like Cody. He's proven to be effective as both a face and a heel, and he is naturally a fantastic worker inside the ring.
There are many who would like to see Cody Rhodes go above and beyond the tag division, and maybe look toward the top of the company. He will no doubt show people what he is capable of at the Royal Rumble.
Whatever the WrestleMania plans are for CM Punk, he will surely have a massive say in the 2014 Royal Rumble.
Since losing his WWE Championship to The Rock almost a year ago to the day, Punk has been drifting from rivalry to rivalry without any real purpose. That seems a shame, as he is a guy who belongs in the main event.
His rivalry with Paul Heyman and Ryback went on at least a couple of months too long—Punk is simply better than that.
He deserves a good run in this Rumble to eradicate a difficult latter part of 2013 and start to move toward being championship material once again.