WWE Royal Rumble 2019: B/R Expert Match Picks, Predictions and Analysis

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2019

WWE Royal Rumble 2019: B/R Expert Match Picks, Predictions and Analysis

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    Carmella, Bobby Lashley, Seth Rollins and Ember Moon.
    Carmella, Bobby Lashley, Seth Rollins and Ember Moon.Credit: WWE.com

    The Royal Rumble is always one of WWE's most entertaining shows of the year, and this year, management has gone to great lengths to make the show worth watching. 

    In addition to the titular Battle Royals, the company has booked seven title bouts. Here is a rundown of the card, according to WWE.com:

    • Men's Royal Rumble
    • Women's Royal Rumble
    • Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor (Universal Championship)
    • Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles (WWE Championship)
    • Ronda Rousey vs. Sasha Banks (Raw Women's Championship)
    • Asuka vs. Becky Lynch (SmackDown Women's Championship)
    • The Bar vs. The Miz and Shane McMahon (SmackDown Tag Team Championships)
    • Rusev vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (U.S. Championship)
    • Buddy Murphy vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Kalisto vs. Hideo Itami (Cruiserweight Championship)

    Our writers will analyze some of the biggest feuds and provide predictions for all of the matches. Our group is made up of the following:

Erik Beaston

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    Men's Royal Rumble

    Q: Which Superstar who has never won a world title in WWE deserves to win the Rumble the most and why?

    Taking into consideration the "never won a world title in WWE" stipulation, I'm going to say Drew McIntyre. The Scottish Psychopath has found himself in a slump as of late, losing more than he wins despite mixing it up with top Superstars. A Royal Rumble win would essentially erase those defeats and earn him momentum on the Road to WrestleMania. Unfortunately, it does not appear a heel Rumble winner is the direction WWE Creative is heading in.

                                 

    Women's Royal Rumble

    Q: WWE.com lists 23 women for this match, leaving seven spots open. If you could pick one legend or NXT rookie to make a special appearance as an entrant, who would it be and why?

    A year ago, Andrade successfully retained his NXT Championship against Johnny Gargano at TakeOver and drew a huge ovation as a surprise entrant in the following night's Rumble. Though she may not defeat Shayna Baszler to win the women's title, a surprise appearance by Bianca Belair and the opportunity to showcase her raw power and incredible athleticism would make for a great moment—one I really hope happens.

                             

    Asuka vs. Becky Lynch

    Q: Based on personal opinion, who would you rather see leave with the title on Sunday?

    Becky Lynch. I am a huge fan of Asuka's and am so glad she finally was able to build momentum entering the new year after a mediocre 2018. With that said, Lynch is the hottest star in the industry and needs to find her way into the main event of WrestleMania.

    While she could always enter the Royal Rumble later in the night, that feels cheap. Letting her get her win back and roll into WrestleMania as one of the undisputed faces of WWE feels like the right move. With that said, it will probably come down to interference from Charlotte Flair.

Kevin Berge

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    Men's Royal Rumble

    Q: Which Superstar who has never won a world title in WWE deserves to win the Rumble the most and why?

    It will never happen, but if we're talking about who deserves a shot, it's got to be Kofi Kingston. He's going on 12 years in WWE, and he's never gotten that chance at the top. His work with The New Day has opened more eyes to how good he is yet still not led to a serious push outside of tag team action.

    Few men have done more with less in this company, and it feels like he's one of the few stars to make it out of his era in wrestling without a world title or leaving the company. The Rumble has been defined by many of his wild stunts to stay in the match and would be the perfect place for him to shock the world.

                                

    Women's Royal Rumble

    Q: WWE.com lists 23 women for this match, leaving seven open spots. If you could pick one legend or NXT rookie to make a special appearance as an entrant, who would it be and why?

    I'm not much for bringing in legends if it's not necessary, but I am all for giving rising stars a spotlight. I'd give the opportunity to Baszler, who would add a fascinating dynamic to the match. It would be believable for her to win. She would make the most of the spotlight.

    Moreover, she has to be on her way up to the main roster soon. This would be the perfect time to introduce her to main-roster fans. She can get a few eliminations and look impressive in her first appearance and then return after WrestleMania to establish herself.

                                

    Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles

    Q: This feud has become about more than titles. What stipulation would you use to elevate this match, and how would it make the bout better?

    This match should be Falls Count Anywhere, which was exactly what I expected they were building toward. The two have been battling outside of the ring for much of the past month. Why not let them do so legally? It would give them more room to fight and get the crowd invested.

    If they don't compete until late in the show, they can destroy the concession stand and the merchandise booth along the way. Right now, Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles have been too confined. They need to be let loose.

Jeff J

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    Men's Royal Rumble

    Q: Which Superstar who has never won a world title in WWE deserves to win the Rumble the most and why?

    McIntyre. He has the look, the charisma, the skill and a great storyline to add to the Road to WrestleMania. The Chosen One who left WWE and returned better and more popular? Why not?

                          

    Women's Royal Rumble

    Q: WWE.com lists 23 women for this match, leaving seven open spots. If you could pick one legend or NXT rookie to make a special appearance as an entrant, who would it be and why?

    Baszler. After she hopefully drops the title to Belair, she can make an immediate impact on the WWE universe with a strong performance in the Royal Rumble.

                              

    Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor

    Q: Has WWE done enough to build Balor back up into someone who can carry the Raw brand as universal champion?

    It has because of the Superstars he's beaten. Pinning John Cena to claim the opportunity worked, and fan support never waned for him. That universal title win, and subsequent forfeiture, still resonates. The loose end could only be tied with a chance to reclaim the belt from Lesnar.

Anthony Mango

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    Men's Royal Rumble

    Q: Which Superstar who has never won a world title in WWE deserves to win the Rumble the most and why?

    I wish the circumstances for this particular year were better and that I could say Braun Strowman or Samoa Joe, as they would definitely be my picks, but this set of champions wouldn't work for either of them. As such, I'd have to say if Balor were to beat Lesnar, I'd go with McIntyre to win the Royal Rumble and win his first world title, as he has all the tools for the top tier. WWE just has to pull the trigger.

                                

    Women's Royal Rumble

    Q: WWE.com lists 23 women for this match, leaving seven open spots. If you could pick one legend or NXT rookie to make a special appearance as an entrant, who would it be and why?

    As far as legends go, I'd love to see Victoria return, as she's been sorely missed. For others on the roster, I'd lean toward Toni Storm so NXT UK can get some love and more eyes can start to pay attention to that product. Both would upgrade the match quality too.

                                         

    Ronda Rousey vs. Sasha Banks

    Q: Is Banks the best option to dethrone Rousey as champion on Raw? Why or why not?

    Absolutely not. It has to be Lynch. The fans won't accept anything else, and WWE doesn't need another Bryan situation of ignoring what the audience wants in favor of its own preference. Sasha Banks and Bayley have the women's tag titles to look forward to instead.

Chris Mueller

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    Men's Royal Rumble

    Q: Which Superstar who has never won a world title in WWE deserves to win the Rumble the most and why?

    There are a few names that come to mind, but the one who both deserves it and would benefit the most from winning is Samoa Joe. He has been built up and knocked back down by WWE Creative too many times. It's time WWE realizes the kind of special talent he is and gives him the push he should have been given after his debut.

                             

    Women's Royal Rumble

    Q: WWE.com lists 23 women for this match, leaving seven open spots. If you could pick one legend or NXT rookie to make a special appearance as an entrant, who would it be and why?

    I am going to go with someone unexpected and pick Kacy Catanzaro. The former American Ninja Warrior mainstay was impressive and fun to watch during the Mae Young Classic this year, and her athleticism and agility would allow her to perform a few high spots before her elimination. It would also allow WWE to gauge how many fans are aware of her.

                              

    The Bar vs. The Miz and Shane McMahon

    Q: Is The Miz more valuable as a heel or babyface at this point in his career? 

    The Miz can perform both roles well, but he is undeniably better and more valuable as a heel. He is too good at playing the stuck-up Hollywood wannabe to play a good guy for too long. He is experiencing a surge in popularity thanks to his tag team with Shane McMahon, but when that is over, he needs to go back to insulting everyone because that is what he's best at.

Bonus Question

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    Q: What was the greatest finish to a Royal Rumble match in WWE history? What made it so great?

    EB: I always have been and always will be partial to the finish of the 1994 Royal Rumble. Some complain about the indecisiveness of booking a dual-winner scenario, with Bret Hart and Lex Luger hitting the floor at the same time, but it was completely unexpected and fed into the "anything can happen" aura the event has mustered throughout its existence.

    Was it a creative cop-out? Yes, but it was awesome when I was a kid and set up the unique WrestleMania X two championship match situation. Plus, I was (and still am) a huge fan of The Hitman. so seeing him get his due was rewarding.

                                 

    KB: I'm a bit biased here because it was the first Rumble I got to watch live, but I also think it was a rare moment when a mistake helped WWE. Royal Rumble 2005 was an influential moment in WWE history that ended with an unforgettable finish to the Rumble match.

    Batista and Cena ended up eliminating each other at the same time. In the ensuing chaos, Mr. McMahon blew out both his quads, and these two megastars were established as the future faces of the era. It was great because it did exactly what the Rumble match should do: create an opportunity.

    The Animal won once the match restarted, but it was the false finish that established that the 16-time champ was also about to make his indelible mark on WWE for the next decade.

                                 

    AM: I love so many, but I have a special place in my heart for 1995. The match itself may be one of the worst, but the finish, with Shawn Michaels being the first to go the distance from the first spot and setting a standard for only one foot touching the ground, was magnificent and brought two entirely new dimensions to the game.

                           

    JJ: The 2008 Royal Rumble when John Cena made a surprise return from injury. Triple H was ostensibly the last entrant, and when the final 10-count appeared, the crowd became confused. I was in the Garden for this one, and the crowd was so shocked. No one booed him out of the building (this was the apex of the "Cena sucks" era). He tore the house down and claimed one of the most unexpected RR wins ever.

                               

    CM: The first year we saw two winners was 1994. Hart and Luger eliminated each other at the end in a draw, which was a memorable moment for anyone who watched it live. These were two of WWE's rising stars, and instead of choosing between them, management opted to give them both the push. It was unexpected and exciting, two things we don't get enough of in WWE these days.

Predictions

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    Each writer has provided predictions for the card. Their picks will be represented by their initials next to their chosen competitors' names.

                         

    Predictions

    Men's Royal Rumble

    • EB: Seth Rollins
    • KB: Seth Rollins
    • JJ: Seth Rollins
    • AM: Seth Rollins
    • CM: Drew McIntyre

                              

    Women's Royal Rumble

    • EB: Charlotte
    • KB: Becky Lynch
    • JJ: Becky Lynch
    • AM: Charlotte
    • CM: Charlotte

                            

    The Rest of the Card

    • Bryan (EB, KB, JJ, AM, CM) vs. Styles
    • Lesnar (KB, AM) vs. Balor (EB, JJ, CM)
    • The Bar (JJ) vs. The Miz and McMahon (EB, KB, AM, CM)
    • Rousey (EB, KB, JJ, AM, CM) vs. Banks
    • Asuka (EB, KB, JJ, AM, CM) vs. Lynch
    • Rusev (EB, KB, JJ, AM, CM) vs. Nakamura
    • Murphy (EB, KB, JJ, AM) vs. Tozawa vs. Itami (CM) vs. Kalisto

    What are your Royal Rumble predictions?