WWE Royal Rumble 2014 Card: Examining Most Anticipated Matches

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WWE Royal Rumble 2014 Card: Examining Most Anticipated Matches
Photo Credit: WWE.com

This Sunday night from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, World Wrestling Entertainment will present the 27th annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view.

The show, as usual, will be headlined by an over-the-top 30-man rope battle royal, and the winner will challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX on April 6.

With that said, the undercard of this year's show in uncharacteristically strong, with championship and grudge matches carrying nearly the same amount of heat as the namesake main event. These bouts feature some of the top Superstars in all of professional wrestling. John Cena, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar and the Big Show will put personal vendettas and championship glory ahead of entering the Rumble.

Two Superstars who have not are CM Punk and Batista, both of whom are strong favorites to leave the Steel City with a guaranteed shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

With so many main event stars spread out over the Rumble card, every match this Sunday night will be that much more meaningful.  

But which ones are the most anticipated and why?

Let's take a look.

 

The Royal Rumble Match

Photo Credit: WWE.com

Regardless of the star power or predictability of any given Rumble match, it will always be among the most anticipated matches of the annual January event.

It is a gimmick match the WWE has perfected over its 26-year history, and it is only utilized once a year as to not overexpose it. It works because there is always an intangible excitement surrounding the match, which even some WrestleMania main events cannot replicate.

The drama generated by entrances and eliminations has made it the most exciting bout in wrestling, and that will not change this year.

There is an eclectic mix of talent in the 2014 Rumble. There are former world championsBatista, CM Punk, Rey Mysterio and The Mizand bright young starsThe Shield, Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes and Big E Langston. There are also wild cards, such as Luke Harper and Erick Rowan of The Wyatt Family and The Usos.

And let's not forget Kofi Kingston. How will the former intercontinental and United States champion stave off elimination this year?

Given the fact that other main event competitors are sprinkled throughout the rest of the card, the number of legitimate Rumble winners this year is limited, but do not allow that to dampen your enjoyment of the match.

Punk, The Shield, The Wyatt Family, Rhodes, Goldust and Sandow have been responsible for some outstanding wrestling this past year. And the return of Batista, coupled with his budding feud with Alberto Del Rio, will make for some outstanding segments in this year's match.

Of all the announced talent thus far, Batista and Punk are the favorites to win, but never count out surprise entrants. Chris Jericho, Sheamus and Rob Van Dam all appear poised to be back on WWE programming as the road to WrestleMania XXX kicks into high gear.

Regardless of who wins, the Rumble match remains one of the most anticipated bouts of the year for good reason.

 

Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt

Photo Credit: WWE.com

What started as a disjointed story has become one of the hottest feuds in WWE thanks to the creative team realizing its mistake and fixing it in short order.

Bryan joining The Wyatt Family never felt right, especially given fans' desire to cheer for the former WWE and World Heavyweight champion. The moment it was decided that Bryan would betray Wyatt and beat him senseless inside a steel cage, the entire program was righted and has picked up significantly because of it.

Wyatt has cut three outstanding promos, including one in which he promised that the goat-faced Superstar will "burn with the saints."

The Aberdeen native is the hottest star in wrestling today, and The Wyatt Family's gimmick has only gotten better with each passing week. Those two elements have come together to make their match on Sunday night arguably the most anticipated of the undercard bouts.

The heat and the story are there. Now, it will be up to Wyatt to rise to the occasion in what is his greatest test to date.

Will he pass with flying colors or fail miserably?

 

Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar

Photo Credit: WWE.com

Anticipation for Lesnar's return to the ring is high. His match against the plodding, lethargic Big Show? Not so much.

The Beast Incarnate is a spectacle WWE only trots out for its marquee shows, and Royal Rumble definitely fits that description. It is one of the most important events on the pay-per-view schedule, and adding unquestioned star power in the form of Lesnar only enhances that importance.

His matches against John Cena and CM Punk have been outstanding, while his wars with Triple H were physical and well wrestled, even if they were somewhat disappointing in terms of quality.

Quality will not be a question come Sunday. No one expects Lesnar to drag a good match out of Big Show, who has looked terrible since returning to the ring in November. He has been slow, appears out of shape and has yet to have anything resembling a truly entertaining singles bout.

How Lesnar is booked and how dominantly he goes over Show is something to watch for, especially since the former UFC champion should be involved in something big come WrestleMania XXX.

The lower the expectations for the actual in-ring content of the match, the more fun the viewer will have. But all eyes will be on Lesnar and his performance Sunday night.

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