WWE Royal Rumble 2014: Best Subplots to Follow

Sharon GlencrossContributor IJanuary 21, 2014

WWE Royal Rumble 2014: Best Subplots to Follow

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    Punk, been clashing with Kane.
    Punk, been clashing with Kane.from WWE.com

    Heading into the Royal Rumble, it would be foolish to focus solely on Batista’s heavily-hyped return and overlook several of the other storylines going on right now.

    Indeed, the WWE’s booking team have been making the effort as of late with their midcard angles and feuds, and the results have been pretty fun to watch.

    With this in mind, let’s have a look at the top storylines to keep an eye on heading into the show on Sunday.

5. Ryback

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    Ryback, gone a little crazy recently.
    Ryback, gone a little crazy recently.from WWE.com

    Ryback has been causing quite the stir in WWE with his on (and off) screen antics. With his outrageous statements and mocking of the fans, the behemoth appears to be trying to be a modern version of Brian Pillman. Per reports (F4Wonline via WrestlingInc), the company is at least somewhat on board with this.

    It remains to be seen whether this gimmick is going to take off, but at least it’s something different and exciting, which is something WWE television sorely needs right now. Will his new character get developed further at the Royal Rumble?

4. Brodus Clay's Heel Turn

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    Brodus Clay, turned heel.
    Brodus Clay, turned heel.from WWE.com

    Brodus Clay turned heel recently after a lengthy stint as a lovable, dancing babyface. He hasn’t quite managed to make an impression as a monster heel—although he certainly has the height and size for it—but could that change at the Royal Rumble? Brodus almost certainly won’t win the event, but he could still deliver a dominant and memorable performance and get his heel turn off to a proper start.

    A showdown with former tag partner Tensai during the Battle Royal also seems likely, too. Those two have unfinished business.  

3. Kane Returns as a Wrestler?

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    Is Kane coming back as a in-ring competitor?
    Is Kane coming back as a in-ring competitor?from WWE.com

    At the Royal Rumble, will we see Kane ditch the fancy suits and step back into the ring again? A potential in-ring return has been hinted at—Kane certainly isn't against getting physically involved as last week’s edition of SmackDown proved—and it would certainly be interesting to see.

    And what if he does shock the world and win the event? What impact will that have on his role in The Authority? He’ll inevitably clash with current onscreen foe CM Punk again during the bout if he does end up entering, which would be a showdown worth seeing.

2. The Shield Break-Up

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    The Shield make their grand entrance.
    The Shield make their grand entrance.from WWE.com

    On Sunday, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins will likely find themselves facing off. The Royal Rumble is an “every man for himself” situation, something the guys have even acknowledged on television themselves over the past couple of weeks.

    Complicating matters is the fact that trouble has been brewing within the trio in recent months. Could the Royal Rumble be where things finally boil over? Come the end of the event, will The Shield even be in tact anymore?

1. CM Punk Tries to Go the Distance

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    CM Punk faces off against Kane.
    CM Punk faces off against Kane.from WWE.com

    On Monday’s Raw, Director of Operations Kane spitefully placed CM Punk as the No. 1 entrant in the rumble.

    Come Sunday, Punk had better have his working boots on because he’s obviously going to be a significant part of the match. It’s not impossible to see the star lasting the distance and winning, similar to Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels in the past, either. Interestingly, the former ROH wrestler has never actually won the Royal Rumble before. Could 2014 be his year?