This Saturday, January 29, the road to WrestleMania begins with the Royal Rumble match. Inside The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, winners will eventually be announced from the men’s and women’s Royal Rumble matches. They must both go through 29 other individuals before they can get their hands raised.
As always, there is a feeling of unpredictability heading into this event. Anything is possible in the world of professional wrestling, especially at Royal Rumble.
What is your excitement level for the Royal Rumble? What are you looking forward to the most?
Andreas: It’s obvious that Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns is the match to make for WrestleMania. How they can get there has piqued my curiosity. Does either Reigns or Lesnar drop the title at the Rumble? Will one of them enter the Royal Rumble to challenge the other for the title? There’s no way they don’t pick this feud back up, but I want to see how booking handles their story now that Lesnar is on Raw as champion.
Carlan: I’m always excited for the Rumble. It is by far my favorite PPV, or premium live event, whatever they want us to call these things now. The Royal Rumble for me is like the start of a new season in the NFL or NBA. I feel like everyone gets a fresh slate, and everyone puts their best foot forward, given the fact that WrestleMania is right around the corner. No matter how you feel about the current product, I feel like the Royal Rumble is the one event every year that you can count on WWE to deliver a good night of wrestling.
Dan: This is the first time I recall where the winner for either isn’t so obvious. The unpredictability factor coming into play makes me excited to see what will happen. The results from the WWE and Universal Title matches can determine how the men’s Royal Rumble goes, so I will be keeping an eye on those matches. I’m excited to see if WWE has a few surprises up their sleeve. Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley is a dream match in MMA or wrestling. That one will be a match to keep an eye on.
Liam: Excitement levels for this year’s Royal Rumble are insanely high for me. After last year’s show in front of no fans, I’m keen to see a big crowd pack the arena and provide plenty of noise for both Rumble matches. There’s also a huge element of unpredictability about this year’s show, with two blockbuster world title matches likely going to dictate who wins the men’s Royal Rumble match. Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley is a dream match I’ve been looking forward to for many years, while Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns never disappoints. With so many spots left open in both Royal Rumble matches, I’m hoping for some big surprises and an outstanding show from beginning to end. The Royal Rumble is my favorite event of the year, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Royal Rumble predictions: picking men’s and women’s winners
Andreas: This is one of those years where both Royal Rumble’s do not have a clear-cut winner. As a matter of fact, it’s incredibly unpredictable as neither the men nor the women have built someone who makes sense to win. Bianca Belair should be the favorite to repeat in the women’s Royal Rumble, but something tells me that they’ll find another way to have her face Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania. Charlotte Flair doesn’t have anything close to an opponent, so that would leave Bayley, who should return to a babyface pop. That would promptly position herself back into the title picture as a hybrid version of the Bayley that we have come to love.
There is absolutely nobody in the men’s Royal Rumble that makes sense to me. Lashley is working with Lesnar, and Rollins is challenging Reigns, taking them both off the table. Big E has been cooled down significantly since dropping the title to Lesnar and is now involved in a feud with Madcap Moss and Baron Corbin, which probably takes him out of the running. SmackDown has nobody worth mentioning to challenge Reigns. So the winner will have to be someone from Raw. And that winner is going to be…
Considering that he never got his shot at Reigns due to COVID shutting down the match at Day 1, the babyface version of Lesnar will likely kick off the Royal Rumble by beating Lashley and then insert himself into the Royal Rumble match to get his shot at Reigns. That would lead to a champion vs. champion match on night two of WrestleMania. It’s kind of messy and pushes the rest of the card down, but I can’t see Vince McMahon not taking full advantage of having Lesnar at his disposal.
Carlan: I think both matches have the potential to deliver great results. It feels like it’s wide open for both Royal Rumble’s, and you can truly see several people winning it.
As far as predictions go on the men’s side, I have Bobby Lashley entering and winning it after failing to beat Brock Lesnar for the title earlier in the night. If Lashley wins the Royal Rumble it sets up a nice rematch at WrestleMania and a good story of Lashley trying to prove to the world that he can indeed beat Lesnar.
On the women’s side: if Bianca Belair doesn’t win, we riot. After that debacle we saw at SummerSlam, we need to see this feud get its big payoff. Belair needs to get her revenge over Lynch and do it on the grand stage of WrestleMania. If it doesn’t happen, then everything that happened at SummerSlam would have been a complete and pointless mess.
Belair is not just a star but a superstar, and she should be treated as such. I’m all for long-term storytelling, as long as they actually follow through with it. Don’t let me down, WWE.
Dan: There are a lot of interesting scenarios that can take place when it comes to the men’s match. It all depends on what will happen in the WWE and Universal Championship matches. Bobby Lashley, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Brock Lesnar can enter the Royal Rumble following their matches. I would say Lesnar would be the one to enter, even if he retains the title.
If we are not counting those men, the best bet would most likely be Kevin Owens. His relationship with Seth Rollins is something to look into. After all, you can never trust Owens as a friend (ex: Sami Zayn, Chris Jericho).
The women’s match features current and former stars. Everyone is betting on Bianca Belair to win the Royal Rumble and regain the title Becky Lynch took from her. While that could be the smart bet, other factors are in play. There are rumors that Ronda Rousey could be in the Royal Rumble. If she joined in on the action, there is no doubt the former UFC bantamweight champion could win the match.
Liam: The men’s Royal Rumble is extremely hard to predict. That is especially true because of the two massive world title matches that will be taking place.
One thing I know for sure is that Omos will finish with the most eliminations, probably in double-digits. This will be a huge showcase for the giant. There are still plenty of spots open, so I’m expecting a good mix of legends returning, NXT call-ups, and possibly even a “forbidden door” entrant or two. As for the winner, it will all depend on the Lesnar-Lashley and Reigns-Rollins matches. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict Kevin Owens as this year’s Royal Rumble winner, with a match against Seth Rollins for the Universal Title at WrestleMania 38.
I feel like the women’s Royal Rumble is wide open as well, but there’s a clear front-runner. Bianca Belair has been featured heavily on TV all year and has been screwed out of title shots by Becky Lynch. There is a built-in story if WWE wants to go back to the well for that one and turn Bianca into a huge star. I’m expecting an NXT call-up to finish with the most eliminations and a couple of big returns to take place as well. As for the winner, I’m predicting Belair to go back-to-back and headline another WrestleMania – this time against Lynch.
Can we expect to see any surprise appearances at the Royal Rumble?
Andreas: It’s Bill Goldberg season, isn’t it? With the WWE heading back to Saudi Arabia and WrestleMania upon us, I would not be surprised to see Goldberg appear at the Royal Rumble, and whoever eliminates him ends up working with him at WrestleMania. Who else? How about Diamond Dallas Page, Kane, Carlito, Hurricane Helms, and King Booker? For the women? Eh, I don’t see much in terms of surprises outside of Trish Stratus and Jazz. Let’s book them.
Carlan: I honestly don’t know what to expect. I’d love to see Ronda Rousey make her return at the Royal Rumble. It is unsure if she is ready for that or if it will happen. I’m sure a lot of people will pop big for it.
Dan: Besides Rousey, Mickie James, and Lita, a lot of spots are available in the women’s match. Asuka could very well come back, and Trish Stratus still hasn’t been advertised for the event. Depending on if traveling is possible, we could see some NXT UK stars debut. Do not count out more people from Impact.
In the men’s match, X-Pac has announced his comeback and may be very for a Royal Rumble appearance. WWE may also bring in stars they have released in the past: Matt Cardona, Gangrel, and the former Braun Strowman.
Liam: As of this moment, there are still plenty of spots available in both the men’s and women’s Royal Rumble matches.
With the inclusion of Mickie James in the women’s Rumble match, it’s led to plenty of speculation about a potential “forbidden door” entrant from another company making an appearance in the men’s Rumble match. I’m not expecting to see a big name from AEW like Chris Jericho or Jon Moxley, but I feel like we could see Matt Cardona (fka Zack Ryder) or Enzo Amore make a cameo. Those names have been working in plenty of different places and would get a decent pop from the crowd.
As for a couple of legends in the men’s match, I think we could see X-Pac and Gangrel both make an appearance. A couple of NXT call-ups in Pete Dunne and Tommaso Ciampa could also be in the picture. For the women’s Rumble match, WWE has announced plenty of returning legends ahead of time, so I’m not expecting too many familiar faces. I’m hoping to see Raquel Gonzalez and Io Shirai join in from NXT. A return from injury should be on the cards for Asuka.