Updated 2021 WWE Royal Rumble Card and Predictions Before Go-Home Raw, SmackDown
WWE enters Raw and SmackDown this week with one job: Create excitement and anticipation for Sunday's Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
The annual spectacular, one of the most popular events on the company's calendar, hits the WWE Network airwaves with an unfinished card and Rumble matches with less than half of the entrants already named.
As the company's creative forces get to work on the final build for the event, find out what you can expect from Sunday's event with this preview of the 2021 edition of the Royal Rumble.
Match Card and Predictions
Announced for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view:
- WWE Championship match: Drew McIntyre vs. Goldberg (Prediction: McIntyre)
- Last Man Standing match for the Universal Championship: Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns (Prediction: Reigns)
- Men's Royal Rumble match (Prediction: Brock Lesnar)
- Women's Royal Rumble match (Prediction: Bianca Belair)
The action begins at 6 p.m. ET with the Royal Rumble Kickoff Show. The main show starts at 7 p.m. ET.
Updated Men's Royal Rumble Entry List
Confirmed entrants for the men's Royal Rumble match:
- Jeff Hardy
- Jey Uso
- The Miz
- Bobby Lashley
- Randy Orton
- AJ Styles
- Daniel Bryan
- Sami Zayn
- Shinsuke Nakamura
- Dolph Ziggler
With less than half of the 30-man field announced for the match, there are plenty of opportunities for surprise entrants in this year's men's match.
Last year, Edge shocked the wrestling world by making his first in-ring appearance in nine years. After a torn triceps derailed his comeback in May, The Rated-R Superstar may pick Sunday's event for his return.
Might Brock Lesnar return to the fray? Could The Beast Incarnate signal his return to the WWE Universe in the most unpredictable match on the company's schedule?
This week's additions of Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura and Dolph Ziggler helped to solidify the field and provide fans with an outside chance of WWE's workhorses seeing their efforts rewarded with a career-defining victory, but that story is highly unlikely to play out come Sunday.
Updated Women's Royal Rumble Entry List
Confirmed entrants for the women's Royal Rumble match:
- Shayna Baszler
- Alexa Bliss
- Peyton Royce
- Bianca Belair
- Charlotte Flair
- Nia Jax
- Mandy Rose
- Dana Brooke
- Tamina Snuka
- Liv Morgan
- Ruby Riott
Like the men's match, less than 50 percent of the field for the women's event has been announced heading into the final week of WWE television before Sunday.
If history tells us anything, some of those remaining spots will be reserved for some talented wrestlers in NXT. Last year, Bianca Belair introduced herself to the main roster via her performance, while Shotzi Blackheart began her NXT Breakout Star of the Year Award-winning 2020 with her appearance in the match.
Don't be surprised if former NXT women's champion Rhea Ripley makes her presence felt and uses her Rumble showing to officially jump to the main roster.
Superstar to Watch: Daniel Bryan
The sands of time are running down on the in-ring career of Daniel Bryan.
Arguably the best professional wrestler of his era, the 39-year-old has accomplished things some performers can only dream of: A storybook ending to a monumental run in the main event of WrestleMania 30, championship victories, a push demanded by the fans, and a relationship with Brie Bella that turned into a beautiful family.
Despite all that he has done in the industry, though, one question persists: Can Bryan headline The Grandest Stage of Them All again?
Sure, his win in 2014 was unforgettable. It was a WrestleMania moment everyone dreams about, but was it one and done for The Yes Man? Injury forced him to the sidelines shortly thereafter, robbing him of the sort of run one would hope for after a magical moment like that.
Retirement and an improbable comeback followed, but one cannot help feel Bryan's journey is unfinished. Like an all-time great quarterback chasing a second Super Bowl ring to cement his legacy, he needs another dance on wrestling's most prestigious night.
He enters the men's Rumble match on a losing streak, recognized more for putting over others than spotlighting himself with his trademark selflessness. Beaten most recently by Cesaro, he has to prove to his doubters he is still the guy who rolled into New Orleans seven years ago and knocked off Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista in one night to realize his childhood dream.
It's a story that writes itself.
Now, it will be interesting to see if WWE pays off his recent losing streak with one more run before he hangs up his boots and presumably moves into a behind-the-scenes role with the company.