WWE Royal Rumble 2021 Predictions for Most Eliminations, Surprise Entrants, More
While everyone is focused on which two Superstars will come out of the men's and women's Royal Rumble matches as winners, there are plenty more aspects worth trying to predict.
This is because the Rumble matches are some of the most intricate contests of the year. They are a complex weave of 30 Superstars from different brands all working together to create many different stories within an hour of in-ring action.
Keeping track of Royal Rumble statistics shows someone can make an impression in the match and still not win; they might last longer than anyone else, score the most eliminations or have a shocking return.
Let's dive into some of the more overlooked aspects of the Royal Rumble pay-per-view and give some predictions of how these tropes might play out for the 2021 edition on Sunday.
Surprise Entrants for Men's Match
Don't expect to see many surprises—if any—in the men's Royal Rumble match. There are more than 30 male wrestlers on the Raw and SmackDown roster who could fill all the spots.
Of course, someone like Damian Priest from NXT would make a great addition to the main roster and could show up here as a surprise. A good showing in the men's Royal Rumble could go a long way in giving him momentum for a move to Raw or SmackDown.
Don't get your hopes up for Jay White from New Japan Pro-Wrestling appearing, though. More often than not, major acquisitions from big companies that are rumored for the Royal Rumble don't pan out.
Surprise Entrants for Women's Match
For the women's Royal Rumble, WWE has to seek other talent from NXT, NXT UK, returning legends or other outsiders.
Watch out for Melina making a return. Her appearance on Legends Night was as good of an indicator as any that she's back in the company for more than one cameo. The same could apply to Alicia Fox, Torrie Wilson and any others who have been regularly in contact. Kelly Kelly, Molly Holly and Beth Phoenix could all show up.
NXT talent is almost guaranteed. Rhea Ripley makes the most sense and is more than ready for a main roster run. Toni Storm and others could join in, but it's difficult to predict who exactly. WWE seemingly picks people at random for those spots, but it would be nice to see Kacy Catanzaro pull off another impressive save as she did in 2019.
Kavita Devi and/or Sareena Sandhu could be included if WWE is looking to keep the promotion going for its Indian markets following the Superstar Spectacle.
Most Eliminations: Women's Royal Rumble
On average, one Superstar will throw out six others to get the award of scoring the most eliminations per match. The highest figure for the women's matches so far is last year's eight eliminations.
That record is shared by Shayna Baszler and Bianca Belair. Charlotte Flair should never be counted out for any accolade, either. She scored the most eliminations in 2019 and could do the same this year.
If Rhea Ripley is in the women's match, though, she might be an even better fit. The more eliminations someone records, the better they look by the end of the match.
After the miserable year of defeats she had in 2020, the Australian could use all the wins possible in 2021 to correct her course.
Most Eliminations: Men's Royal Rumble
The most dominant men in terms of eliminations in recent years have been Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Brock Lesnar and Rusev.
Reigns isn't in the match, Strowman is injured, Lesnar isn't under contract and Rusev is now with All Elite Wrestling, which opens the field for a new player to shine.
Randy Orton cultivated a vicious streak in 2020, so he may be the easiest prediction here. He has won two men's Rumble contests in the past, and the more people he takes out, the more it will mean when someone else eliminates him.
However, this could be a match where someone like Daniel Bryan outwits the bigger Superstars and racks up eliminations throughout the hour. As he's looking like one of the top contenders to win, don't count him out to score the most points along the way toward accomplishing that goal.
Iron Woman: Longest Time in Women's Royal Rumble
Natalya has the longest cumulative time in women's Royal Rumble matches, but Charlotte Flair isn't too far behind. Given their prominence in the division, both could get this year's record and solidify their spot as No. 1 overall.
Bayley is another contender. She's coming off a long title reign and most likely won't win the women's match, so being the Iron Woman of Sunday's could be WWE's way of giving her a positive.
Belair and Ripley could be two of the favorites to win the whole thing, though. And if either starts early enough, they will likely make it to the final four.
Iron Man: Longest Time in Men's Royal Rumble
While plenty of heels have lasted longest in the Royal Rumble than anyone else, it's typically best utilized as a babyface honor. Watching someone start at No. 1 or 2 and go the distance is a fun journey to track throughout the match.
If that's WWE's intention for this year, the only viable pick is Daniel Bryan. He not only has the record of longest single time as the Iron Man of the Greatest Royal Rumble, he is also the best person to root for to win.
Another potential candidate would be AJ Styles, who isn't likely to win but could have an early entrance and last until one of the final spots.
Shortest Time in Women's Royal Rumble
Every year, one person has the unfortunate distinction of being eliminated the fastest.
As far as the women's match goes, the current record is Liv Morgan's abysmal eight seconds in 2019. This year, she shouldn't fall victim to the same booking as her character has upgraded in terms of legitimacy.
Ideally, no one who is a serious competitor should be in this position. It would be a shame to see someone like Mandy Rose or Reckoning get cast aside for no reason.
The best-case scenario is to use this as a comedic spot, and no one would pull that off better right now than Billie Kay. She could easily come into the ring with her resume in hand, show it to everyone and get tossed out in a few seconds.
If not Kay, it will probably be a scenario in which WWE doesn't intentionally book anyone to have the fastest time and someone else arbitrarily fills the role. In that case, it could be anyone.
Shortest Time in Men's Royal Rumble
This could be a year when a heel gets eliminated very fast in the men's Royal Rumble, if not just to shock people.
If it's played up more for laughs, Sami Zayn, The Miz or John Morrison are the best villains at this time to take that fall, but there are still more spots to fill on the card.
R-Truth would be the best babyface here. Given his character's confusion at nearly everything, he can easily toss himself over the top rope thinking that's how he has to win the match. Alternatively, he could eliminate himself while running away from people chasing after his 24/7 Championship.
Likewise, 24/7 title contenders such as Drew Gulak, Akira Tozawa or Erik could be fodder for this match and get tossed out unceremoniously.
It would be a shame to see someone like Dominik Mysterio eliminated quickly, but his storyline has revolved around being green and needing to learn the hard way, so he's a possible swift departure on Sunday.
Potential Shocking Eliminations
If any tag team members are to turn on each other in the Rumble matches, it's likely to be Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax. They haven't gotten along since the start of their partnership, and their rivalry has only become stronger in recent weeks.
The Hurt Business has seen some dissension with Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin, too. If they are both in the men's Rumble match, one of them may take the other out.
Randy Orton is almost assuredly not surviving this match without interference from Bray Wyatt, Alexa Bliss or Edge. Those feuds are too intense for the rivals to sit back and allow The Viper to win.
Omos may get involved, too. Even while on the outside, he could not only save AJ Styles from being eliminated but also help send people over the top rope.
New Feuds to Emerge from Royal Rumble Eliminations
The biggest feuds that will come from the Royal Rumble will be the winners against the champions they choose to challenge at WrestleMania 37, but other eliminations will have the potential to spark new stories, too.
Riddle has had his opportunities at Bobby Lashley's United States Championship, but if anyone else takes The All Mighty out of Sunday's match, they will likely be the next in line to challenge for the title.
The same could be the case for Big E. Once he forces Apollo Crews and Zayn to the back of the line, he'll need a new challenger for The Road to WrestleMania 37. Perhaps Seth Rollins would make a good fit for that or King Corbin with some help from Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake.
If Baszler and Jax do turn on each other, they will feud going forward. It's highly unlikely they'd be able to put their differences aside for another tag title reign.
Whoever takes Mustafa Ali out of the men's match will be Retribution's next target. That could be Ricochet, but this would be a prime opportunity for WWE to pivot to someone new like Jeff Hardy.
Finally, if someone like Damian Priest does get called up to the main roster going forward, he could start a grudge in the men's match in order to seek vengeance after the Royal Rumble.
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.