Imp’s Wrestling Adventure
WWE Royal Rumble Predictions
January 26th 2020
Who’s Going To Win The Rumble?
The Royal Rumble is my favourite WWE PPV by a landslide. Or at least it was. I still enjoy the Rumble matches themselves immensely, but the show as a whole is an absolute marathon to get through. Last year’s show was 15 minutes shy of 5 hours and that’s EXCLUDING the 2 hour Kick Off show beforehand.
Today’s all about predictions, with that in mind my first one is that the Royal Rumble continues it’s recent trend of feeling like a chore to watch. Why was Andrade vs Humberto Carrillo added to a card that’s already guaranteed to break 4 hours? A feud that really has earned its status of ‘mid-February mid-card RAW rivalry’.
Sheamus vs Shorty G? A match that screams Pre Show and has absolutely no business being featured on the main card.
I love Chad Gable the wrestler, I hate with a passion every one of his ‘you are a short person’ storylines. Well, all but the Samoa Joe promo from back in the King of the Ring. Where the heel directly told him the only reason he’ll continue to make short jokes is because they get to Gable as he’s mentally weak. Not because he’s targeting him for being a Shorty McShort Face. Which is what he’s been ever since.
And I feel no connection to Lacey Evans as she battles Bayley. Not being American, or someone who automatically gets behind a character because they’re a parent, probably doesn’t help there. But it’s one of those WWE rivalries that’s had such a short window to build that the animosity seemingly just burst out of nowhere. Immediately elevating to the next high point the following week as there’s no time to let things breath between Pay Per Views.
I can see why some people might be getting behind Lacey Evans, but I’m nowhere near that point. Can’t deny she’s bloody improved a ton over this past year, but that doesn’t mean I have to pretend I’m invested in her character. Because I’m not. The build’s not been good enough to do that.
To be fair, outside of Lynch vs Asuka and The Fiend vs Daniel Bryan, none of them have. Not even the Rumbles. I’m entering what is normally my favourite PPV not really feeling much excitement, if anything dreading the length of the show over the matches actually on it.
I’m really looking forward to those two Championship matches, obviously alongside both Royal Rumble matches too. But there’s so much fluff in between that it’s hard for me to really be that pumped.
So sorry if I don’t feel inclined to go through the entire card, I’ve neither the time nor energy for it.
However, going through and trying to predict all the possibilities of both Rumble matches is always a ton of fun. So who’s going to WrestleMania this year? Well, everybody. But who gets to point at the sign and cut that post-Rumble promo on Monday Night RAW this week?
Who will we see return? Which NXT superstars get the spotlight? How many baseball references will commentary blurt out that’ll all fly right over my British head?
And most importantly, who are the worst case scenario picks to win it all and send us down the bleakest road?
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
Favourite: Roman Reigns
Should The Big Dog Win The Rumble?
My, look at all those announced participants and their stock PNG images.
When following an all over the place year, anyone can win!
26 announced participants so far: Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, Ricochet, Drew McIntyre, Rey Mysterio, Erick Rowan, Randy Orton, Elias, King Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, Braun Strowman, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kofi Kingston, Big E, John Morrisson, The Miz, Rusev, Bobby Lashley, Aleister Black, Seth Rollins, Buddy Murphy, Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe and Otis & Tucker of Heavy Machinery.
With the other likely lads in the undeclared R-Truth (also shudder for24/7 Champion Mojo) and the recently returned Bobby Roode, we’re already up to 28 and an almost full Rumble. Leaves not much room in the way of surprises, which is a nice shift back after we got 5 last year in: Jeff Jarrett, Kurt Angle, Johnny Gargano, Aleister Black and Pete Dunne.
Really I’d call that too many, the more there are the less of an effect they have. The surprise dies down a tad, however one or two sprinkled in keeps the element alive.
On the other hand it’s also kind of sad as there’s also no real space for a big pop return. One spot for a veteran/legend, one for an NXT lad, or even two for one and none for the other.
Obviously the biggest name floating about in regards to a big return is Edge. After being forced to retire after WrestleMania in 2011, the Canadian stayed well away from any in ring action for years. Right up until the SummerSlam Kick Off show half a year ago where he surprised everyone and Speared the daylights out of Elias. Queue rumours galore!
If he’s cleared and healthy, yeah bloody go for it. Metalingus blasting out over that baseball stadium would be one hell of a pop to remember, as long as the lad doesn’t win go all in on that moment. In fact, if the Rated R Superstar does show up I almost guarantee Baron Corbin eliminates him so Reigns gets some residue Canadian cheer.
NXT wise Keith Lee’s literally the biggest nominee for the spot. The new North American Champion was given one mighty showcase back at Survivor Series and this would be such the perfect time to follow up on that. The man’s one of the yellow brand’s fastest rising stars, dripping in the odd bit of main roster exposure feels like such the natural next step.
CM Punk giving him the praise on WWE Backstage this week is just the cherry on top of the mountain of reasons to feature Mr Limitless in the annual royale.
Either that or Matt Riddle, although I’m not sure that isn’t more a fan driven desire than WWE actually being optimistic to feature the lad.
When it comes to the Road to WrestleMania though, please for the love of God don’t use the Royal Rumble to set up a Lesnar vs MMA star match via the winner. Perfectly down for Cain Valesquez eliminating the man who embarrassed him back at the start of November, but under no circumstances should either man be actually winning to set that up.
For me even The Beast winning and challenging The Fiend would be a step in the wrong direction, WWE cementing the ceiling atop the current generation. Last week I wrote that Roman Reigns was WWE’s ONLY choice to win this year after falling into a mess of state through 2019, a week has passed and there’s been nothing to change my mind.
There will be backlash, yes, but that won’t have anything to do with the ‘what have you done for me recently?’ effect. Reigns was pushed way too hard, way too fast, for far too long. But now? No, this is his era, he’s out and out the face of SmackDown on FOX. 2015 was not the right time for him to win, 2020 without a shadow of a doubt is. Reigns’ time is now and he’s been one of the few consistent characters on WWE TV during a mess of a year where half of them have had to be/in the process of being rebuilt.
The other constant being Bray Wyatt. A match in which I’d be infinitely more interested in than yet another Brock Lesnar main event, a story where the result doesn’t matter because it’s only a matter of time before The Beast is champion again.
But The Big Dog vs The Fiend? There’s history there, proven chemistry from their brilliant rivalry back in 2015, “Anyone but you, Roman!” A Universal Champion so dominant he’s seemingly overpowered by design, questionably that was the role Roman Reigns seemed destined for last time they met.
I’m also someone who’s been drawn right in to the week to week storytelling via Bray Wyatt’s latest complex character, so seeing that play out over a WrestleMania main event build with Roman Reigns? You’re damn right I’d be bloody excited for that. Even if I have no idea how they’d get round actually booking the match, would The Fiend losing kill the character right there? Completely remove the strings of mystique still left stranding?
Eh, who cares. Giz Imp his big lad main event spooky entrance please.
Because who else? Seth and his wanking glove? King Corbin? Mr Big Loser Cain Valesquez? This is Roman’s time, no other character is anywhere near a good enough state right now. This time Reigns wins when he actually should do, even though I’m fully aware a section of the audience will never accept him now.
Who might win that’s a tad scary:
Oh God no, please not him again. He’s already won a Money In The Bank match he wasn’t even in. I’m pulling for his early entering number being used to confirm The Beast gets put over as a dominant force, rather than actually go the long haul and potentially win. If he gets taken out on the outside, maybe you should begin worry.
Worst Case Scenario:
Turns out what he has in his cage is The Fiend’s one true weakness! And people say WWE don’t do long term storytelling. They do. It’s just not often very good.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
Favourite: Charlotte Flair
The One With No Build
My, look at all those announced par- wait, where are all the women at?
Is Vince McMahon already bored of the Women’s Rumble? There’s 7 announced participants at the time of writing… come on now, at least put in some effort.
Charlotte Flair enters the heavy favourite, but to be fair that’s mostly because she’s the only one that’s been built for the match in any way. No one else has even had a modicum of a programme for the Rumble. We’re entering the thing with such a small scope of potential, like the first half of last year’s Women’s Royale but instead for the entire match.
There’s rumours about a potential Bayley vs Sasha SmackDown Women’s title match at WrestleMania, but without anything actually hinting to that on television I’m inclined to box that away with the other wrestling fan made stories folk get attached to.
Also a potential return for Ronda Rousey, but realistically I see Shayner Baszler from NXT as the likelier favourite. Even if the Rumble hasn’t been mentioned once on NXT TV, after the massive main event rub at Survivor Series there’s surely a chance for something there. With the small size of the main roster women’s division paired with the tiny announced pool, we’re guaranteed NXT slots. There’s no question talent will show up, it’s just which ones?
All that said, with only: Charlotte Flair, Natalya, Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross, Sarah Logan, Dana Brooke & Carmella announced there’s almost nothing to work with here. Literally anything could happen because literally anyone could be in the bleedin’ thing. There’s 23 unnanounced spots. Do they even know who’s in it?
I mean, of course every active female wrestler on the two main rosters will take part, they’ve just not been announced. So expect a slew of entrant announcements this weekend, as WWE continue their latest utterly weird habit of announcing PPV card info right before the show.
Apparently they’re under the idea giving people something to talk about the day of the show drives online interest and last minute folk to sign up for the Network. I’m not exactly a connoisseur in online marketing, but I’ve got an inkling having something to promote ahead would trump last minute hype every time.
I love the Royal Rumble, but with no build there isn’t really anything to say here. Really it all falls down to which of the few stories WWE wants to tell this WrestleMania season.
Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair on the grandest stage? The promised match that never came to fruition last year in Lynch vs Rousey, or even the other horsewoman clash set up at this year’s Survivor Series in Shayner Baszler?
Or will they jump to the SmackDown side and set up a WrestleMania programme for Bayley? The blue brand needs the jolt to send them sailing into PirateMania a lot more than the red one does, but with Elimination Chamber to set up #1 contenders winning the Rumble’s not exactly vital for that anymore.
Like Kofi squishing a pancake, there’s been little mid-promo looks and tweaks that could easily be called upon to launch right into this one. But also like Kofi, there’s been zero sign of it from WWE themselves so my hopes aren’t particularly high.
Who might actually win:
She’s the only lass who’s had a build, will it really be that simple? Surely she’s a MacGuffin… unless she was built because she really was the only candidate to win. Would certainly explain the lack of a build for the match!
Worst Case Scenario:
After the raging success of her main event angle. The numbers back it up! Lana’s our breakout star, RAW’s top draw and guaranteed future Women’s Champion!
And that’s it, what are your thoughts and predictions going in to the Royal Rumble? Who are your favourites and worst scenario picks?
I’ll be back next week to talk about the past week of wrestling with my RAW, SmackDown, AEW & NXT weekly mega write up.
Comment below, rate and click an emoji too. I’ll be here to reply and chat this weird wrestling world.
Imp’s LIVE every Thursday with ‘Imp’s LOP Radio Adventure’, this week he went over and predicted the WWE Royal Rumble 2020 card.
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