WWE presents the 27th edition of the Royal Rumble on Sunday, Jan. 26 at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., where titles are liable to change hands and 30 contestants get a shot at a headline spot at WrestleMania XXX.
The company has done an excellent job of blurring the lines between real and fake in recent months, so a major swerve to shock fans is not out of the question in any of the matches on the card.
While the WWE Universe may have an idea of what is set to unfold, surprise entrants, returns of injured superstars and potential swerve results make this pay-per-view event worth the price of admission.
Where: CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.
When: Sunday, Jan. 26, at 7:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WWE.com
|Match||Stipulation/ Title||Predicted Winner|
|30-Man Royal Rumble Match||Over-the-top-rope Battle Royal||Daniel Bryan|
|Randy Orton vs. John Cena||WWE World Heavyweight Championship||Randy Orton|
|Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar||n/a||Brock Lesnar|
|Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt||n/a||Daniel Bryan|
|Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. The New Age Outlaws||Kickoff match for WWE Tag Team Championships||New Age Outlaws|
Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar
After a strange role in the title feud with Randy Orton, Big Show was briefly in storyline purgatory until the company found him a purpose—pair him with old rival Brock Lesnar to act as cannon fodder to hype The Beast Incarnate.
Lesnar has been booked as nothing short of a monster since his return, which saw him break Mark Henry's elbow:
WWE is clearly treating Lesnar, a valuable crossover commodity, much differently than last time he returned, when he took inexplicable losses.
Big Show has had the advantage as of late over Lesnar and tossed him around with rather ease. The booking of Big Show as a dominant force will make Lesnar's win much more significant as he heads to WrestleMania.
Randy Orton vs. John Cena
After an extremely awkward closing segment to the Jan. 20 edition of Raw between Orton and John Cena, something seems a bit off about the WWE Title match.
Maybe it is just wishful thinking, but something was strange about the ending to that Raw, where Orton casually hopped into a car driven by an unknown person and escaped a furious (and late-to-work) Cena.
With all the hype and returning big names like Lesnar and Batista proclaiming themselves No. 1 contenders, this match is destined to end dirty. This is especially the case considering WWE, for all it has done right as of late, understands that this is a tired matchup.
The best guess? Let's say the promos with Batista and Triple H to start Raw were a swerve. Batista interferes in this match, which is a jump-off point for a triple-threat match between Orton, Cena and Batista—three names with plenty of history to work a buildup around.
30-Man Royal Rumble Match
This is where things get truly tricky.
The sexy pick here is Daniel Bryan, whose storyline with Bray Wyatt is sure to officially end earlier in the night. While Bryan has not been officially named a participant, there is no chance the company leaves out its current biggest star.
That said, there are plenty of other factors to look at. Returns of big names like Sheamus and Chris Jericho seem likely, especially with the former suffering an injury that needed six months to heal—six months ago.
Who wins the Royal Rumble?
There is also the propensity for a breakout star, with the leading candidates being Big E Langston and Roman Reigns. The quiet muscle behind The Shield was reportedly the subject of "big plans" that "are even bigger than anyone would have thought," per Wrestling Observer, via WrestlingInc.com.
Realistically, we are a year out from Langston or Reigns taking the next step, but a nice jump start to that journey would be one of the two looking absolutely dominant throughout the match.
Add in the propensity for Triple H or Brock Lesnar to make an appearance, not to mention CM Punk entering No. 1 and potentially going all the way, and this match is impossible to pick.
Which was WWE's end goal. Batista is far too obvious, which was a means to deflect the obviousness that is Bryan winning it all—which he will.