Way-Too-Early WWE Royal Rumble Match Picks Before 2019 Survivor Series
WWE Survivor Series is almost here, which means the 2020 Royal Rumble is just around the corner.
Before we know it, the Superstars on Raw and SmackDown will be vying for the competitive edge to outlast 29 other men and women in order to win title shots for WrestleMania 36 in Tampa, Florida.
2019's roller-coaster ride has proved how plans are always subject to change, even a month ahead of the biggest show of the year. But there has to be at least a general game plan in motion for who will win the men's and women's Royal Rumbles on Jan. 26 and fight for the titles at WrestleMania, right?
We can at least hope that's the case, and with the way the rosters have shaped up after the WWE draft and the given the lineup of champions and storylines, we might just know who is in line to triumph in January.
Let's take a look at some very early predictions for the winners of the two Royal Rumble matches coming in 2020.
A Look at the Current Champions
Before addressing the possible winners of the Royal Rumble matches, it's important to figure out what the endgame will be.
Unless something strange happens, both the men's and women's matches should have the No. 1 contender positions on the line, with the winners able to choose either Raw or SmackDown's titles. Sometimes WWE lets people go to the opposite brand, although other times, they have been locked to their roster.
Raw's champions are Brock Lesnar and Becky Lynch, while SmackDown has "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt and Bayley on top.
There is always a chance any or all of those championships change hands before January, but given their popularity, it's doubtful.
If any of those stars lose their titles, it will probably be Bayley. The others seem to be bigger projects with more popularity, while Bayley has Superstars like Sasha Banks who are on her same level, if not higher.
For now, though, let's assume all the champions keep their titles heading into WrestleMania and judge the possible Royal Rumble winners based off that trajectory.
Honorable Mentions: Women's Picks
At face value, there aren't any standout huge matches in the women's division for either side that feel like a must like last year's Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair setup.
Lynch is unequivocally the main attraction, with no hot contenders on Raw who can step up and make waves as far as media coverage and buzz.
Natalya already had her shot at SummerSlam, and nobody would consider her to have a chance to beat Lynch at WrestleMania. Flair has wrestled Lynch well past the point of anyone caring to see it again.
Still, they are the best honorable mentions to challenge for the Raw Women's Championship.
When it comes to Bayley, the four runners-up would be Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Lacey Evans and Sasha Banks.
None seem particularly likely. Nor do any of those matches scream "must-see." The best option of the bunch is Banks vs. Bayley, but if both stay firm heels and best friends, there's no way that match happens.
Honorable Mentions: Men's Picks
Assuming Brock Lesnar is still WWE champion by WrestleMania, he will need a big name to face. He's only ever fought major opponents like Kurt Angle, Undertaker, Goldberg, Triple H and The Shield's members at the Showcase of the Immortals.
It's doubtful he would be paired up with Ricochet, for instance, no matter how talented the high-flyer is.
It's even a stretch to imagine more likely options such as Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre, as they are both heels, and it would throw off The Beast Incarnate's dynamic as the ultimate villain.
A rematch with Seth Rollins would be groan-inducing, and his feud with Rey Mysterio can't possibly last that long, which only leaves Kevin Owens or Cain Velasquez, and neither is a certainty.
If Bray Wyatt holds the Universal Championship that long, his only options are Daniel Bryan, The Miz, Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns.
As it seems Wyatt vs. Bryan will happen at Survivor Series on Nov. 24, and the plan appeared to be The Miz in that position until the travel issues from Saudi Arabia pushed MizTV off the table. It's hard to think either will be coming back around to win the Royal Rumble to have that match.
With regard to Strowman, he's sadly the perpetual bridesmaid. The Monster Among Men continually gets title shots he fails to win, and none of them are ever at WrestleMania. There's no reason to believe things will change and that he will fair better this year, but at least he has a better shot than most on SmackDown.
Women's Pick: Ronda Rousey or Shayna Baszler
With no clear-cut Superstars waiting for their inevitable match, WWE has to look outside the rosters to find worthy challengers for Lynch and Bayley.
If all hands are on deck, the biggest name possible is undoubtedly Ronda Rousey.
A rematch against Lynch would be the easiest setup for WWE, as the foundation for the feud is already done. All that would need to happen is to remind everyone what happened at WrestleMania 35—as if anyone's forgotten—and pick up where everyone left off.
If Rousey is unable to perform, the backup plan could be Shayna Baszler, as she would have the next biggest crossover appeal because of her MMA background.
All she would have to do is vacate the NXT Women's Championship and win the Royal Rumble in order to jump ship to Raw or SmackDown.
The Survivor Series match with Baszler, Bayley and Lynch could even be a test run to see which one of the two she works the best with in preparation for WrestleMania or set up the return of Rousey to help Baszler win and get the ball rolling for Royal Rumble.
Stranger things than both picks could happen, but the simpler of the two is Rousey, and that's the Superstar everyone should put their money on.
Men's Pick: Roman Reigns
Although last year's WrestleMania was a change of pace, Roman Reigns main-evented the previous four years in a row. This year, things could revert back to the status quo with Reigns on top again.
Since SmackDown's debut on Fox in October, it seems like no Superstar has been more heavily featured in the promotional material than Reigns. He's the final person on the intro every week despite the fact that Kofi Kingston, Brock Lesnar and The Fiend have been the only champions.
Although Wyatt is popular with the audience and getting cheered, WWE has been notoriously out of touch with how to book Reigns and often puts him in positions where he will be booed. It's not at all a stretch to imagine that is the plan for WrestleMania.
Wyatt vs. Reigns is the biggest match in terms of star power, and it's easier to pick The Big Dog getting that top spot again than assuming someone like Strowman will finally reach that level instead.
Whether all that works and WWE gets the storyline it wants of a babyface Reigns as a source of positivity taking down the evil Wyatt on the Grandest Stage of Them All will be interesting to see. There's just as much of a chance this sets Reigns back to where he was, being booed out of buildings.
In any fashion, watch out for Reigns to be the chosen one yet again and win his second Royal Rumble in January.
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.