10 Superstars Who Deserve Lengthy Runs in WWE Royal Rumble 2019 Battle Royals
With 30 men and 30 women in each Royal Rumble match, it can be hard for anyone other than the winner to stand out and make a name for themselves, but it isn't impossible.
One of the best ways a Superstar can grab some of the spotlight is by putting on a great performance, outlasting the competition for a good amount of time to show that while they couldn't get the job done, they fought admirably.
Often, that is the best a wrestler can ask for, as it keeps them relevant in a losing effort.
With the field of participants for the 2019 Royal Rumble matches steadily filling up, determining who will be competing in the match at all, let alone stand out by lasting a long time, is difficult.
However, let's play favorites and pick out several men and women who deserve to stick around for lengthy stretches of time, win or lose.
It should go without being said that Drew McIntyre deserves a good showing because of his massive potential.
The guy is one of the biggest people on the roster without suffering from the problem of being a lumbering giant who can only work a powerhouse style. He has "top tier" written all over him.
If the Universal Championship weren't on Brock Lesnar, McIntyre would be one of the favorites to win this match, and as OddsShark relayed, he's still near the top of the betting odds despite the fact that WWE would be loath to set up a heel vs. heel match at WrestleMania.
Since he's probably coming up short, it would be nice to see him play one of the more dominant parts in the match, entering rather early and lasting until at least the final four, if not the runner-up spot.
That way, he could still tout his performance as a success and not lose credibility in the eyes of the fans.
Given Lesnar holds the universal title and is almost assuredly on the path to beating Finn Balor at the Royal Rumble, his most feasible opponent at WrestleMania is Seth Rollins.
He's arguably the top pick to win the men's Royal Rumble, and it would mean so much more if he did it by going through an arduous task rather than swooping in toward the end and not having to fight as hard.
Rollins has the never-say-die attitude built into his character that keeps him going for long matches, illustrated by his gauntlet performance last year on Raw.
Seeing him struggle and be victorious would be more triumphant. Watching him come in at No. 26 or later and win just wouldn't feel as earned.
Fans should see him scratch and claw his way to victory so the WWE Universe knows he has it in him to overcome the odds by defeating Lesnar at WrestleMania and putting an end to yet another oppressive title reign.
Despite making a name for himself years before coming to WWE and proving himself a top guy in NXT, Samoa Joe has not accomplished anything since joining the main roster in January 2017.
He hasn't won any championships, he's lost every important match he's been involved in, he's yet to compete at WrestleMania and, last year, when he was being set up for an important spot in the Royal Rumble with John Cena, he succumbed to an injury that stopped that from happening.
If not out of pity and the hopes to turn this bad luck around, but also because he's too good of a performer to be treated so poorly, Joe is someone who would benefit greatly from a long stint in the men's Royal Rumble.
It wouldn't fix all of the problems, as he would still lose in the end, but at least it would restore some of his credibility after having lost to AJ Styles so many times in 2018.
He's one of the biggest men on the roster, and he should be booked like a monster who is extremely hard to get out of the match, akin to how Big Show used to function in these matches rather than someone who only sticks around for a short while, which we should be fearful might happen to him.
It's going to be easy for EC3 to get lost in the shuffle on either Raw or SmackDown, as he fell victim to that even in NXT.
He could be pushed to the moon if Vince McMahon and company dig what he's doing, but if something isn't clicking, he could wind up being midcard fodder, wrestling on Main Event if he's lucky, similar to how Bobby Roode's career has gone in the past year.
To help counteract that, WWE should start him off with a bang by having him turn heads in the men's Royal Rumble by being out there a long time.
He doesn't have to score the most eliminations or last until the final two or anything. All he has to do is stay in contention long enough that when he does get tossed out, it feels like he put up a good fight.
That way, fans who aren't familiar with his work in NXT can be introduced to him as a legitimate star and not some glorified extra hogging part of the ring that could have been filled by someone who's not in the match.
If WWE wants to build a monster out of Lars Sullivan, he needs to do one or both of two things: score eliminations and be a major roadblock who is hard to take out.
Depending on how much of an investment there is in him, both would be better, but if only one can happen, lasting a long time is the better option.
Theoretically, if Sullivan entered, tossed out six people and was thrown over the top soon after, he could be forgotten about, whereas it will be much harder for fans to overlook him if he's hanging around in the ring a considerable amount of time.
Think along the lines of Rusev's debut in 2014, when he lasted only seven minutes and took out three men, in comparison to his spot in the 2015 match, which saw him eliminate seven people and last more than 35 minutes.
If Sullivan is more of the former, he can be overlooked, but if he's around a long time like the latter performance, there will be more flexibility to give him enough eliminations to stand out.
Bayley is in a position where she's the afterthought of the Four Horsewomen, as Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch and even Sasha Banks are all entangled in Ronda Rousey's hype.
The hugger is stuck in limbo, waiting to get the ball rolling alongside Banks in the Elimination Chamber for the new women's tag team titles.
Until then, though, she will have to settle for trying to do something noteworthy in the Royal Rumble, even though she will fail to win the match, which means the only other thing she can do is be the anchor.
This will be the opposite of what happened last year, as Bayley entered at No. 29 and only had five minutes of ring time before Banks took her out.
For the 2019 match, Bayley should start within the first five or so competitors and last until rather close to the end so she can prove herself as one of the better wrestlers in the women's division like we all know she is.
Easily one of the top candidates for the most overlooked woman on either Raw or SmackDown lately has to be Ember Moon, who has been largely pushed aside since the start of her main-roster run.
It's strange WWE even bothered bringing her up from NXT if it had no intention of doing much with her, as the most she's done has been eating losses to Nia Jax to put her over more as a setup for TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs.
Since that's over with, it's rehabilitation time for Moon, who needs to start 2019 with a new lease on life.
If she's going to amount to anything other than just another name on the roster, Moon should be one of the surprise breakthrough performers of the match who can show people she has what it takes to be champion, be it on Raw or SmackDown, before or after the Superstar Shake-up.
That is when she will most likely be saved, with a move to SmackDown after WrestleMania. But for her to be a big get for that brand, she will need to look like she has a lot of potential.
A long run in the Royal Rumble would help get that perception out there and give her something to build on.
The level of talent Mickie James has is perpetually understated—as are her contributions to setting up the Women's Evolution we're all enjoying.
She's criminally underutilized and forgotten about, rarely having any worthwhile storyline to sink her teeth into or the wins she deserves to illustrate how she's still at the top of her game.
There's no way she's winning the women's Royal Rumble, but she should at least be booked to last longer than she did in 2018, when she was eliminated by Trish Stratus eight minutes and 24 seconds after entering, scoring zero eliminations.
That's just not good enough for someone who is a first-ballot Hall of Famer who needs to be cherished and given her due while she's still around to be enjoyed.
First impressions are incredibly important, so when Lacey Evans steps into the ring at Royal Rumble, that will be her introduction to many people who haven't seen her work in NXT.
She has all the tools to go far on the main roster, as she's talented in the ring, over the top enough in playing her character, has a phenomenal look and can be both a sympathetic military veteran as well as a villainous snob.
However, all that goes out the window if WWE makes her a laughing stock or someone who comes in and out without making much of a splash, which they often tend to do when someone isn't a pet project.
Evans should be prioritized over people who can take a hit, like Naomi, Lana, The Riott Squad and others, who have already established themselves. She can't just be someone who picks a fight with Flair or Lynch and gets humiliated to prove how great those two are.
If WWE treats her like someone the fans should love to see made to look foolish, she's going to have that stigma from that point on. But if she comes in with a blaze of glory and nails a Women's Right or two while hanging in there for a decent chunk of time, she can impress and go places.
Deservedly so, everyone is going gaga over Becky Lynch lately. And if WWE doesn't give her the Royal Rumble victory, it will be a major mistake. But Charlotte Flair shouldn't be lost in the shuffle.
It's easy to imagine both of them winning and challenging Ronda Rousey in a Triple Threat at WrestleMania by doing something similar to the 1994 or 2005 men's Royal Rumble matches, during which the final two Superstars fell over the top rope at the same time.
If that does happen, Lynch should be the surprise entrant at the end, having already wrestled Asuka earlier in the night. Flair's distinction, however, should be starting early in the match.
To add an extra element of fun to it, Flair should enter at No. 3 and go nearly the entire distance to hark back to her father's performance in 1992.
That would put Flair in the category of Iron Woman for this match, as well as possibly overtaking Sasha Banks' time from last year to set the new female record.
It's a spot befitting of The Queen to illustrate how she is in the top echelon of performers in WWE.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.