The WWE is set to showcase its 30th annual Royal Rumble, live from Philadelphia, this weekend.
In what has long been this writer’s favorite match and PPV, the show is set up for a ton of drama and surprises as the Road to the XF….er… WrestleMania begins.
In addition to the usual championship matches and men’s over-the-top fun, this year we will get to see the ladies fill the ring in a long-overdue-way. The first ever 30 Women’s Rumble match could be set up for a spectacular ending.
Before we get to the card and thoughts and predictions from me and a few other Pittsburgh Sports Castle writers, we need to clear up one match that will no longer be on the card.
Enzo Amore was released by the WWE this week amid rumors that he illegally put his biscuit in someone else’s basket last fall. You can read about that more, here:
So gone is the Cruiserweight Title match between he and Cedric Alexander, and instead, 205 Live will be announcing plans for the title on next week’s show.
The Card and Predictions:
First, with the pre-show starting at 5 p.m., WWE announced this afternoon that three matches would take place only on the WWE Network.
Bobby Roode defending the US Title in an Open Challenge, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs The Revival and a Cruiserweight six-man tag with Kalisto, Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik taking on TJ Perkins, Jack Gallagher and Drew Gulak.
Right now, joining me for today’s fun in predicting the main card, are fellow PSC staffers Matt Hladio and Jarrod Prugar.
SmackDown Tag Championship: The Uso’s (c) vs Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin. 2-out-of-3-falls
Matt’s Winner — Gable/Benjamin: After getting screwed over by video replay, I think it’s time to give the newly turned heel team of Gable and Benjamin a title run. The Usos have been the best team for a while but it is nice to see a new team try to have a nice little run.
Jason’s Winner — Gable/Benjamin: The Uso’s have been so dominant for so long, and a nice run into Wrestlemania would normally be in the cards, but with Jey Uso recently arrested for a DWI ( couldn’t he have tagged his brother into the driver’s seat?! ) it leaves this very murky. Will Jey ACTUALLY end up in an Uso Penitentiary?? Add to it that the Gable/Shelty combo got a ‘false-finish’ win as a test drive a couple of weeks ago on SmackDown and this makes sense.
**Has ANY 2-out-of-3-falls match ever only went TWO falls?? Can’t think of one.**
RAW Tag Championship: Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan (c) vs The Bar
Matt’s Winner — The Bar: Last Monday on Raw 25, they teased tension between Rollins and Jordan when Rollins accidentally hit Jordan with a flying knee. Jordan might cost Rollins and himself the win and give The Bar another title reign.
Jason’s Winner — The Bar: Mother of God, PLEASE let Rollins and Jordan lose and then implode. It just doesn’t work with them together even IF the crowd hates Jordan more for being in the Dean Ambrose spot here. Rollins deserves better. Period. Jordan will work just fine as a cowardly heel going forward, but it needs to be on his own. A feud between the two would be a ton better going forward.
SmackDown WWE Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs Kevin Owen and Sami Zayn- 2-on-1 Handicapped Match
Matt’s Winner — AJ Styles: I don’t see AJ Styles not walking into Wrestlemania as champion. Something with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan will cost Owens and Zayn the match.
Jason’s Winner — AJ Styles: I would LOVE it if I was wrong here. I think the potential of K.O. and Zayn co-holding the title would open up to endless and fresh entertainment and trickery. However, I feel we are being set up for a huge WrestleMania match with AJ as I will explain later. Also, keep an eye out for an escalation in the slow-simmering Danile Bryan/Shane McMahon conflict.
RAW Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs Kane vs Braun Strowman — Triple Threat Match
Matt’s Winner — Brock Lesnar: Lesnar is a main attraction talent. He is definitely walking into ‘Mania as champ. We might see Roman Reigns vs Lesnar for the championship again. Kane will eat the pin to protect Strowman.
Jason’s Winner — Brock Lesnar: PLEASE BE STROWMAN, PLEASE BE STROW. Alas, nope, it won’t be. Kane looks strong throughout the match but takes the pin as his retirement is rumored to be neigh. Lesnar moves on to defend at Mania where he should drop it then. There will be a lot of stuff broken in this match, everyone at ringside needs to be aware like they are at a Gallagher show.
Thirty Man Over the Top Battle Royal
Matt’s Winner — Nakamura: This is a tough one to pick, which isn’t a bad thing. Nakamura hasn’t been booked strong leading up to the Rumble but that could help his win a bit more of a “surprise.” Personally, I’m hoping for a Nakamura/Styles Wrestlemania match.
Jarrod’s Winner — Roman Reigns: Reigns is beltless, he is going to end up the eventual winner taking down Finn Balor in the process. Balor will get helped out immensely by the club, but one too many Superman Punches and Spears will get him taken out.
Jason’s Winner — Shinsuke Nakamura: This sets up a dream match of Styles and Nakamura at WrestleMania with maybe a hint of Randy Orton dogging Shinsuke a bit between now and then. No worries red-blooded women of the world, Roman Reigns will still get his ‘Mania title shot when he wins at the Elimination Chamber next month. Dark horse pick: Finn Balor. The Balor Club is filling the role of the Shield since the injury to Ambrose and look of Finn to get into the final four of this match as the company appears to finally be getting behind him again.
As for surprise entrants? I look for a one-off appearance for Chris Jericho, and I see Batista also coming into this match as he has been quoted as wanting to have one last run and a match with HHH.
Thirty Woman Over the Top Battle Royal
Matt’s Winner — Asuka: Asuka hasn’t lost a match in WWE yet, and the Rumble will be no different. No one else is a viable winner, except maybe a Ronda Rousey surprise entry.
Jason’s Winner — Ronda Rousey: The women are going on last, as they should. This is a historical first for the company and will produce the most shocking moment of the night. Rousey is long rumored to be signed-sealed and ready to debut. A win by her will garner maximum main-stream press attention and put her in line to face Charlotte Flair at the Show of Shows. Asuka can be eliminated and still maintain her dominance in not having lost a one on one match so she may continue on her path to face Alexia Bliss as those seeds have already been planted on RAW.
Speaking for thousands, if not millions of nerds across the globe, Asuka please don’t hurt Mrs. Bliss too badly. Look for female superstars of the past to be littered through this match. Mostly ones from the Attitude Era.
Jason’s Final Thoughts
So what do you think? On the surface, it looks like a very predictable show but one that always to deliver.
Well, except that one time in 2014…
Send YOUR predictions to the Sports Castle Twitter page and let us hear your voice!
I’ll be back with a recap on Monday. Until then I’ve got THREE words for ya: Thanks for reading.