Final Predictions for Lesnar, Lynch, Fiend and WWE Royal Rumble 2020 Match Card
One of the most beloved events of the year is almost here. WWE Royal Rumble 2020 comes our way Sunday with a kickoff show at 5 p.m. ET and the main card at 7 p.m.
Thirty men and 30 women will compete for title shots at WrestleMania, and a handful of other matches will help to space out the epic Battle Royals.
Roman Reigns will clash with King Corbin in a Falls Count Anywhere match, Becky Lynch is seeking to make up for her loss last year against Asuka and Daniel Bryan has another shot at Bray Wyatt's Universal Championship in a strap match.
The long wait is just about over, and the clock is ticking to get in some final picks for what will happen at WWE Royal Rumble 2020. Let's have one last round of predictions on which Superstars will be victorious.
Shorty G vs. Sheamus
WWE has come a long way from being a company wherein only huge wrestlers can succeed, but when facing someone the size of Shorty G, Sheamus still has an advantage.
Sometimes, the underdog wins. There's always a chance Shorty G will score an upset and the story thereafter will follow the Celtic Warrior's frustrations for having lost to someone smaller.
But Sheamus has just returned after many months away dealing with an injury that almost took him out of the game completely. He's a beloved member of the roster and a multi-time world champion who has pretty much done it all.
For him to lose to Shorty G—someone who hasn't had much of a push recently—would be quite the surprise.
He should be able to knock off Shorty G's head with a Brogue Kick and secure the win with relative ease, no matter how much Shorty G plans to "rise above size."
Prediction: Sheamus wins.
Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch vs. Asuka
Asuka won the SmackDown Women's Championship from Becky Lynch at last year's Royal Rumble. While The Man quickly turned around her luck that night, winning the women's Rumble and going on to capture both women's titles at WrestleMania, she still hasn't beaten The Empress of Tomorrow.
Everything has come full circle, and it's time to find out whether Lynch is ready for Asuka.
The Man is up against arguably her biggest test as champion, but she will overcome the odds.
This is not a story of impending failure, with Lynch as Sisyphus and Asuka as the boulder. It's a story of retribution to give the the champion one more hurdle to overcome before the biggest show of the year.
There is no way the face of the company will be dethroned with WrestleMania right around the corner.
Prediction: Lynch wins.
Falls Count Anywhere Match: Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin
The Roman Reigns-King Corbin feud could have easily ended at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2019, which felt like a logical end point for their story. But WWE chose to stretch it out an extra month.
Sunday, they will be fighting in what is essentially a do-over, as the Falls Count Anywhere gimmick is very similar.
Most likely, this was done just to avoid the extra work of coming up with a new feud to keep both of them busy for January, so there shouldn't be much to this match.
As Corbin won in December, it is The Big Dog's time to win and put an end to this. He will have The Usos by his side to counteract any interference from Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode.
With a Superman Punch and a spear, he will secure the victory and everyone will move on.
Prediction: Reigns wins.
Strap Match: Universal Champion Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan
WWE's top champions rarely lose their titles at Royal Rumble, as there are typically opponents already lined up for them for WrestleMania.
Such is the case with Bray Wyatt, whose popularity has shown no signs of slowing down to a point that WWE would have to step in, take the belt off him and move on to another Superstar this late in the game.
Daniel Bryan is beloved, and plenty of people will cheer for him and even believe that he has a shot at winning. That way, when he loses again, The Fiend will have more heat to work with for the next few months.
Whether that leads to something like an Inferno match with Kane in Saudi Arabia in February or a title defense in the Elimination Chamber is up in the air, as is his challenger for WrestleMania—although anyone's best guess should be Reigns.
What is certain, though, is that WWE wouldn't have invested in new belt designs for Wyatt's character just to have him lose in January. He's walking into WrestleMania as champion, and not even The Yes Movement will stop him.
Prediction: Wyatt wins.
SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley vs. Lacey Evans
The SmackDown Women's Championship picture is perhaps the most confusing in the company as there isn't a clear and obvious match being hinted at for WrestleMania.
If Lacey Evans were to win the title here, whom would she fight? As talented as they are, nobody on the blue brand could stand opposite Evans on The Grandest Stage of Them All and have fans think it feels special.
Looking at the roster, the biggest spectacle WWE could do would be Bayley vs. Sasha Banks, but the best friends remain tight with no signs of friction.
Perhaps it will take The Boss winning the Royal Rumble to drive a wedge between them, a story that could play out over February and March, but there doesn't seem to be any other option.
When in doubt, go with the champion's advantage.
Prediction: Bayley wins.
United States Champion Andrade vs. Humberto Carrillo
The United States Championship has bounced around a bit the past few months, but on Andrade, it feels like it has found a place it will stay for quite a while.
To get to this point, Andrade had to take out Humberto Carrillo and put him on the shelf. Now, it's time for Carrillo to get his revenge.
Sadly, that isn't how things should play out. It's too soon for Andrade to lose the title to someone who can't bring the same magnetism to the title picture and will get lost in the shuffle for WrestleMania.
Andrade has to win this so the United States Championship serves a purpose at the biggest show of the year beyond a lackluster Fatal 4-Way of random people, which is what will happen if Carrillo becomes champion.
This is Andrade's chance to finally make a mark on the main roster and start ascending the WWE hierarchy. If he loses, it will be hard to take him seriously as a potential world champion.
Whether on his own or because of influence from Zelina Vega ringside, Andrade must retain.
Prediction: Andrade wins.
30-Woman Royal Rumble
Most of the focus for this year's 30-Woman Royal Rumble has centered around Charlotte Flair to the point that she should be everyone's favorite to win.
But that is because WWE doesn't want more speculation on any other potential winners, which would spoil the fun of the Superstars who might win.
Outside of the unlikely chance Ronda Rousey comes back and WWE wants to have a match between her and Lynch at WrestleMania, there are two women who stand out above the rest as the top picks.
One is Sasha Banks, who, as previously mentioned, is Bayley's top potential opponent for the SmackDown Women's Championship. There isn't a better storyline for WrestleMania on the blue brand than the best friends splitting.
The other, and more likely, option is Shayna Baszler.
She dropped the NXT Women's Championship to Rhea Ripley in December to free her from commitments to that brand. Now, she's able to transition to the Raw roster, where she can pose the biggest obstacle for The Man.
Baszler has a nearly spotless win-loss record. Her association with Rousey, as well as the media coverage that can come out of her former MMA career, makes for the perfect recipe for Lynch's challenger.
If someone other than Baszler, Banks or Rousey wins, even if it is The Queen, it will be one of the most shocking things on this show.
Prediction: Baszler wins.
30-Man Royal Rumble
Brock Lesnar plans to enter No. 1 and run the gauntlet, but watching him eliminate 29 other men one by one would make for the most boring Royal Rumble of all time.
In the first five or so entrants, if not entry No. 2, watch out for someone to come into the mix and eliminate The Beast Incarnate to set up the WWE Championship match for WrestleMania.
Beyond that point, it should be a regular Royal Rumble, with the winner hinging on one question: Does WWE want to go all-in on whoever takes out Lesnar, or will everyone split the difference?
As much as Kevin Owens or Drew McIntyre would make for a great opponent for Lesnar, this is WWE.
Any time CEO Vince McMahon has a choice between mainstream media coverage and spectacle or sticking to the Superstars who are on the roster all the time, he goes for the outsider.
Watch out for Cain Velasquez, Tyson Fury or Daniel Cormier to play this role, with a stronger likelihood for Velasquez based on his contract status and time in the WWE Performance Center.
Assuming the priority will be to book him strong to counteract his Crown Jewel loss, Velasquez will win the whole thing and make his title shot at WrestleMania official.
However, there's a chance WWE might want to have that story play out differently. Eliminating Lesnar could be enough to justify the match without having him win the Royal Rumble.
In that case, the winner should be someone who will challenge The Fiend, and the only option for that from SmackDown is Reigns.
The Big Dog has been out of the title hunt for the past year, is SmackDown's premier player on all promotional material and the show's intro and remains as much of a priority in 2020 as he has been for more than six years.
On paper, Reigns is the perfect opponent, as his superhero status balances out Wyatt's evil villain role. Nobody is better suited to vanquishing The Fiend, so he will either win the Royal Rumble or earn a No. 1 contender spot another way.
All roads lead to Wyatt vs. Reigns and Lesnar vs. Velasquez. It's a coin toss between Reigns and Velasquez for this year's Royal Rumble winner.
Prediction: Velasquez wins.
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.