WWE Royal Rumble 2023 Predictions: Most Eliminations, Longest in Ring, Final 4, More
All eyes tend to be on the eventual victors of the men's and women's Royal Rumble matches, but the hour-long gauntlets present many opportunities for WWE Superstars to make names for themselves, even if they fail to win.
Among the ways wrestlers can enter the history books are through the Royal Rumble records that are calculated every year.
These feature questions such as who will last the shortest and longest times, who will toss out the most competitors, who will be in the final four and more.
With plenty of chances for anyone to steal the show, this opens the match up to interesting side bets for anyone running predictions contests for WWE's second-biggest event of the year.
Let's dive into these statistics, accolades and oddball aspects of the Royal Rumble and offer some predictions for who to keep an eye on for the 2023 edition on Saturday night.
What Will Kofi Kingston Do? Will Anyone Else Pull off a Big Stunt?
In 1995, The Shawn Michaels Rule was invented when The Heartbreak Kid saved himself from elimination by having only one foot touch the floor.
Over the years, there have been numerous ways Superstars have avoided elimination through various stunts. John Morrison, Naomi, Katana Chance and even Mandy Rose have been saved in fun ways, but no one tops Kofi Kingston, who has made this his trademark above all others.
Unfortunately, things went wrong last year, as he failed to save himself in the men's Rumble match. Both of his feet hit the ground, and the spot was ruined.
Kingston will undoubtedly want to make up for that this weekend with something that not only goes off without a hitch but could also top his other performances.
Watch out for something more impressive than standing on a plate of pancakes or being caught in someone's arms. What that will be is anyone's guess. And to further draw attention to that, don't expect anyone else to attempt anything like this and steal the spotlight.
Prediction: Kingston—and only Kingston—will be given a featured spot successfully saving himself from elimination this year. However, he'll again fall victim to the same fate that always awaits him, wherein every single time he does this, he's eliminated within 60 seconds through some other means.
Iron Man and Woman: Longest Time
Liv Morgan has already expressed interest in kicking off the match as the No. 1 entrant in the women's match this year. If she does and manages to stick around past the average 46 minutes, this record could be hers to lose.
If by some chance she isn't quite as lucky—or if she doesn't get that early entrant number—two others who may steal the show are Becky Lynch and Rhea Ripley.
Both are big names who are among the favorites to win and could last until the final four, even if they come up short.
The Man stands a slightly better chance than The Judgment Day member, though, as this is more frequently a babyface accolade.
As far as the men's match is concerned, there is a strong likelihood WWE starts this off with Seth Rollins and Cody Rhodes as the first two participants.
That not only allows them to have entrances that the fans can sing along to and fully take in, but it also allows them to put their past feud to bed before both move on to something else for WrestleMania 39.
Both going the distance and making it to the tail end of the match would be a good story, too. They're the top babyfaces who fans would root for throughout the 60-minute gauntlet.
On the off-chance that's not how this starts, be on the lookout for Finn Bálor to last until Edge comes out to eliminate him, and for Drew McIntyre to withstand punishment for some time.
Prediction: Morgan and Rhodes last the longest in their respective matches, with the latter making it to the runner-up spot, if not winning it. Morgan could be taken out just prior to the final four.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, someone will wind up with the unfortunate distinction of being eliminated in the shortest amount of time.
Sometimes, WWE makes a spectacle of this, embarrassing a Superstar with a spectacularly bad showing, such as Santino Marella's record of one second in 2009.
Other times, it isn't something premeditated, but someone has to last a shorter amount of time than the 29 other Superstars.
This year could well be more of the latter, as there aren't any exceedingly comedic characters on the roster.
Legends are almost always gone fast, like Molly Holly, Ivory and Hurricane Helms all lasting less than 30 seconds in the previous two matches. But with none of them announced yet, eyes turn to the main roster flops.
Among them, Dana Brooke has arguably the worst overall track record, taking part in all five women's Rumbles and only amassing a total of 21 minutes. On average, she's out by the three-minute mark. Considering how diminished her on-screen time has been since dropping the 24/7 Championship, it stands to reason she might fall victim to a bad showing this year.
If anyone will be the butt of the joke on the men's side, watch out for Dominik Mysterio.
Assuming Logan Paul is healed up enough to appear, he might have a short run, coming in toward the tail end of the match. The same could happen with almost anyone, though, no matter how dominant they are. Brock Lesnar was among last year's shortest times and actually won it. The same could happen to The Rock if he appears at No. 30.
More than likely, though, this is an arbitrary person WWE won't have planned in advance, so it could go to anyone. Flip a coin on anyone in the midcard or lower.
Prediction: Brooke and Mysterio are taken out the quickest.
On average, each Royal Rumble sees one Superstar score roughly six eliminations to become the most dominant person in the match, whether or not they actually walk out victorious.
Currently, the record is shared by Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar at 13 eliminations from The Greatest Royal Rumble and the 2020 edition, respectively.
On the women's side, Michelle McCool set the original record of five, which has since been overtaken by Bianca Belair and Shayna Baszler with eight.
When thinking about who could pull off these feats, it typically comes down to three factors: strength, longevity and star power.
Watch out for a returning Strowman and/or Lesnar to try to exceed their records, as well as Gunther and Drew McIntyre in the pure strength game for the men, while Raquel Rodriguez stands a good chance to toss out several women during her run.
Longevity is interesting. The more someone is out there, the more chances they have to rack up eliminations one at a time.
If Morgan starts the women's match and lasts a considerable time, an elimination here and there will add up fast. The same goes for Lynch.
Apply that logic to Rhodes and Rollins in the men's match if they're the first two entrants.
Ronda Rousey hasn't been confirmed, but she would take priority as a marquee name for star power to potentially score the most eliminations and still come up short, particularly if she teams up with Shayna Baszler. Together they would be almost unstoppable.
But when it comes to Superstars who may check off all three boxes, keep an eye out for Bobby Lashley and Rhea Ripley.
The All Mighty easily has the strength to hurl anybody out of the ring, including Omos and Lesnar. Ripley has demonstrated similar feats, after slamming Luke Gallows and being Raw's resident powerhouse in the women's division.
While Lashley doesn't have as much of a chance to win and could get this as a consolation prize, The Eradicator does pose a considerable threat to both Belair and Flair. Lasting up until the end, if not winning it, boosts her odds even more.
Prediction: Lashley and Ripley score the most eliminations for their matches.
Outside of pure numbers, another fun element to track in Royal Rumble matches is when an elimination has a story to it or some extra flair.
This can come about in numerous ways, such as tag team partners turning on each other, Superstars starting feuds after being eliminated, wrestlers being taken out by people not in the match and some not even making it to the ring.
Here are some predictions for oddball, noteworthy or special eliminations to look out for:
- Omos will be the big man who takes more than one person out unless he is tossed over the ropes by Lashley in a feat of strength.
- Whoever Gunther is eliminated by stands a strong chance to fight him at WrestleMania. In particular, this could be McIntyre or Lesnar.
- If Randy Orton and Matt Riddle both end up in the men's match, it will be the end of RK-Bro, as one will turn on the other.
- John Cena and Austin Theory will be involved in each other's eliminations if the 16-time world champion is an entrant.
- Rey Mysterio has refused to lay his hands on his son in the past, but he may well take out Dominik here.
- Edge will return and take out Finn Bálor, while Beth Phoenix could spell the end for Ripley.
- Dexter Lumis might scare The Miz out of the ring.
- After teaming for several months last year, a returning Doudrop taking out Nikki Cross to start a feud would be fitting.
The Final Four
Every few years, just as WWE starts developing a trend for determining the final four, the dynamics change and render it a wild guess again.
For a stretch of time, it meant nothing. Only the runner-up and winner mattered. Some years, like in 1997, Fake Diesel outlasted Vader despite a retcon happening days later to pretend it didn't happen.
In recent years, though, WWE has typically had at least one of the final four challenge for the belt the winner doesn't pick, a marquee veteran or specialty act, and an up-and-comer to accompany the winner.
Not knowing the full lineup of competitors makes predicting the final four considerably difficult but not impossible.
For the women's match, Rodriguez works as the up-and-comer, Lynch as the runner-up, Phoenix as the veteran specialty act, and Ripley as the possible winner.
The men's side will have Rhodes and Rollins. For a shot in the dark, they'll be joined by Lesnar and Logan Paul.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, Spotify and everywhere you find podcasts. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.