With TLC over, we now look to the Royal Rumble as our next stop on the road to WrestleMania.
As one of the "Big Four" pay-per-views, the Rumble is certainly one of the most exciting nights in the company. We have 40 or 30 men fighting for a shot to headline the company's biggest show, all in one ring. There are always a few surprises and many memorable moments in store.
But what will happen at the upcoming edition of the event?
It may be a but early to tell, but with a little logic (and wishful thinking), here is how I would book the 2012 Royal Rumble pay-per-view:
The next slide contains a possible spoiler regarding the "It Begins" promos. I have booked the rumored superstar of those promos into the 40-Man Royal Rumble Match.
If you do not wish to know who the promos may be for, skip the slide.
Logic: It's the Royal Rumble match, so it's obviously happening. But the logic I'll explain pertains to Chris Jericho actually returning to win the traditional match.
It isn't certain, but many rumors point to the "It Begins" promos as the return of Y2J. Further rumors around the IWC have also indicated that the WWE plans to have CM Punk face Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XXVIII for the strap.
If so, it seems likely Jericho would win the Rumble. He's never done it before, so why not now? We know he's legit, we know him winning the match is believable and it would tie into those Punk rumors.
Wishful Thinking: Despite his laundry list of accomplishments in the professional wrestling industry, Chris Jericho has yet to win the traditional Royal Rumble match. It would be a great to see him win and it would be even better to see him match up against CM Punk at WrestleMania.
We could very well see the Best in the World vs. the actual Best in the World. (That's right, Chris Jericho is the latter.)
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho is a fantasy match for many, and could give The Rock and John Cena a run for their money in terms of stealing the show in Miami.
Logic: A feud between CM Punk and The Miz would need little to no build for the Royal Rumble in January. They've already faced each other, along with Alberto Del Rio, at TLC for the WWE Championship. So there is already a bit of heat there.
And since Punk has already faced the likes of Del Rio and John Cena, a one-on-one with Miz is the next logical matchup.
Wishful Thinking: Not only would this make sense, but it could provide us with an incredible feud for the next month and a half or so. Punk and Miz are both untouchable on the mic and can work a very nice main event caliber match.
If booked properly, we can see some great verbal and physical battles, building up possibly one of the most promising feuds in recent memory.
I would have CM Punk retain in this match. He's certainly embraced his new babyface role, and has shown he has the ability to carry the strap for a decent amount of time.
Logic: The build for this matchup started as soon as we saw a quick clip of John Cena in one of Kane's return promos. On the very same night on Raw, Kane did indeed appear and ended up planting Cena with a chokeslam to close out the show.
In addition to that instance, the company has been throwing Kane at Cena during recent house shows. This perhaps indicates a possible feud between the two. But either way, this is going to happen. Cena has to be kept busy until his match against The Great One at WrestleMania, and Kane seems likely to be his guy.
Wishful Thinking: I think the IWC can agree that Kane's character has been in a steady decline ever since he took off that mask a number of years ago. Since then, he has had one meaningless World Title run. One in which he cashed in his MITB briefcase against a vulnerable Rey Mysterio.
But it's not even the one major strap that really put the legitimacy of his character in question. It's the fact that Kane was never really booked as good as he previously was. Instead of kicking ass and taking names, we're seeing Kane doing the Santino trumpet dance.
Perhaps a clash with Cena, the WWE's top guy, can bring back THE Big Red Machine. The one with a mask that didn't talk and didn't give a damn about who stood in his way.
As far as the result of the match, I would have anything happen where Kane is on top. Whether it's Kane destroying Cena through a disqualification or Kane actually picking up a pinfall over Cena, the Big Red Machine has to get the better of the Fruity Pebble.
This would make Kane seem more relevant right after his big rebuilding and keep the "breaking down of Cena" angle going into his Rocky match.
Logic: I guess there has to be a Divas match.
Wishful Thinking: We all know Divas Battle Royal matches aren't exactly exciting. (See Kim, Gail)
But would you rather see Beth Phoenix squash Kelly Kelly again or this? Keeping with the whole Rumble theme, perhaps the women can have one of their own. It isn't the same one-on-one stuff we've been subject to the past six months.
Phoenix wins here, only to keep the strap until Mark Henry's twin brother, Kharma, comes back to action.
Logic: I guess Daniel Bryan capturing gold at TLC was a great moment. Bryan has worked his hump off quite a bit and does deserve to be World Heavyweight Champion. But is that time now? I don't think so.
Although seeing him hoist the strap in a very exciting development, now is not the time for Daniel Bryan to be World Heavyweight Champion. This could be an instance where the company knew they screwed up and decided to diffuse the situation before it progressed. So instead of allowing Bryan to carry his title shot in 'Mania, they just took it off of him and gave him the title now.
Bryan is great, but would you have really believed he had a chance to win the strap at the company's biggest stage against the company's biggest talent? No. His character is not built up enough and it is far too late to make him a viable contender at WrestleMania.
So until he does, here is where he drops the title. The most logical opponent would be Mark Henry. Henry and Big Show both hold rematch clauses, however, Henry would be a much more sensible matchup for Bryan, given their past history.
Wishful Thinking: Like I said, Bryan has to drop this title. He can have a nice little month-long run, but it has to stop well before WrestleMania. It could be here at the Rumble against Henry, or at Elimination Chamber against somebody else.
The bottom line is that a legitimate heel or even face, not Daniel Bryan, must go into WrestleMania as the World Heavyweight Champion.
Traditional Royal Rumble Match
WWE Championship: CM Punk (c) vs. The Miz
John Cena vs. Kane
Divas Championship: 10-Diva Battle Royal
World Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Mark Henry
What do you think?
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