Imp’s WWE Adventure
We’re 6 days away from WWE’s 2019 Royal offering and… well the card looks great, even if the build has been painfully mediocre. WWE’s in a weird phase, claiming to be transitional whilst seemingly exactly the same. ‘Change takes time’ is an ideology I’ve used before, however if anything, in my mind said change has already occurred. Not in the RAW Universal Championship scene, nor with the treatment of ‘wrasslers’ like The Revival, but with a division that has been pushed as ‘just as good as the men’.
If not better, I say.
Last year during the build up to Survivor Series, Jim Ross said: “Right now, none of the men are red hot. You can’t say that about the women. They have captivated the attention of the fans. There is no male red hot enough to make me want to supersede putting them above Rousey or Lynch in the main event at WrestleMania.”
Fast forward 2 months, and could you really argue any differently? Becky Lynch is the hottest star in WWE, and with her rival Ronda Rousey, the biggest potential match heading into April orbits around her. The question is no longer ‘if’ the women WWE will main event WrestleMania, it’s now ‘when’. For me there’s no debate, the answer is now.
The women have the momentum, the most over acts, the biggest rivalry. The only reason not to go with them would be ‘tradition’, the men’s title main events WrestleMania end of. But in an era that’s all about breaking tradition? Tearing down those walls, smashing that ceiling and proving to everyone just how damn great you are? If anyone has grabbed that brass ring, it’s the women.
Really, to not have them main event WrestleMania would be a spit in the face. WWE have tested the waters, with Evolution, the women being one of the double main events of Survivor Series and the TLC Triple Threat main eventing last month. The fans have given back a resounding thumbs up, so again, there is no reason to not 100% go with the women in 2019.
Which leads to next Sunday, the Royal Rumble and the start of the road to WrestleMania. With the 2nd Women’s Royal Rumble, will WWE look to make a statement with a major victory for a shooting star, or look to elevate someone to the top ahead of the grandest stage of them all?
The Road to the Main Event of WrestleMania
Part 1 – The Preview
Who’s Winning The Women’s Royal Rumble 2019?
So yesterday, Sunday 20th January, WWE’s Twitter account announced 9 new names for the Women’s Rumble. All of whom were expected to be in the thing anyway, but I guess it’s nice to have them officially confirmed. With that, 21 names have been officially revealed, leaving 9 exciting surprises (we’ll get to those later). Looking at the list of names however, there’s actually very few favoured to win.
First off is quite possibly the biggest of those announced: Charlotte Flair. Her character change during her feud with Becky Lynch has arguably made her WWE’s second hottest act behind the Irish Lass Kicker herself. The matches the two put on not only elevated the perception of themselves, but women’s wrestling as whole. The multi-time Women’s Champion had an amazing 2018 and things are looking to be just as phenomenal for her on the road to WrestleMania.
The rumour going round is there will be a huge ‘Mania Triple Threat between Rousey, Lynch and Flair herself. To believe this, I feel Charlotte has to be winning the Rumble, right? Becky already has a huge storyline tie-in with Rousey, and can very easily be directed into it outside of the battle royal itself. Whilst Charlotte’s road feels less organic, she needs that spark to ignite her road.
There is story already there between her and Rousey, but the feud with the former UFC champ and The Man is so white hot that does it need really Charlotte Flair? Which brings me to the other women’s champion, Asuka. Is there a chance of a WrestleMania rematch taking place in New Jersey? Even if I find that scenario more unlikely, there are options for Charlotte if she were to win.
This has lead quite organically into the next one, the lass fans are crying out for: ‘The Man’ Becky Lynch. She isn’t actually announced for the match, but I’m hoping WWE at least learnt something from the backlash over not including Daniel Bryan in the 2014 Royal Rumble. I proposed earlier the idea of Lynch vs Rousey being set up outside of the Rumble itself, it’s something that could easily be done. However, I’d say that would once again be going against what the fans are telling WWE.
They’ve chosen Becky Lynch, she is the one they are crying out to win the Rumble, I guarantee if she isn’t even in the match it will get booed.
They’re my two scenarios, I can’t see The Man winning the title, but I can see her either getting screwed by Rousey or post-match entering the Women’s Rumble. I’m not ruling out Lynch and Rousey costing each other in their respected matches, but both walking out as champion would certainly raise some question marks.
As would nothing ‘screwy’ happening, followed by Lynch not being in the Rumble. That’s what they did in 2014, look how that went. The Irish Lass Kicker is WWE’s most over female act, here’s to them not making the same mistake again.
The Outside Picks
There’s a fair few outside shots, folks who don’t currently have anywhere near the amount of momentum you’d expect for the actual winner, but you never know.
I’ll start with #30 Carmella, unlike the men’s Rumble where there’s a big expectancy that R-Truth will get attacked backstage and not actually make the match, the Queen of Staten Island really has stepped up and shown she can hang with the top of the Women’s Division.
Her feud with Asuka over the Summer left a lot to be desired, however in her matches alongside Lynch and Flair the former SmackDown Women’s Champ really impressed. We could be in for a ‘feud done good’ between her and the Empress, however I feel Carmella is more in rising star territory rather than that of a WrestleMania major match. Blame her time with R-Truth, as soon as she stepped back into that big match slot she was once again fantastic.
That said, if WWE do go ahead with Rousey, Lynch & Charlotte, who does Asuka face in New Jersey?
Next outside pick: Sasha Banks. She may be in a RAW Women’s Championship match against Rousey, but if we’re speculating Lynch being in the Rumble surely the same goes for The Boss? One of the most respected superstars on the roster, is it a given that she’ll eventually have her time to shine in a one-on-one WrestleMania showcase? Especially in this New Era, where wrestlers like Sasha who are lauded for their in ring ability appear to be in line for more opportunities.
If Rousey and Banks impress at the Rumble (of which all money is on them doing so), you’ve got to think The Boss will be in line for something come WrestleMania… right?
Which leads me to the one reason that may not be the case: Bayley. The Banks and Bayley feud/relationship has been one hell of a confusing, incoherent ride where continuity and cannon have been continuously up in the air.
However, this is the nEeW ErRaA so you could put La Sœur Hugs in the same boat as her tag partner. A character who even though she didn’t have much going for her in 2018, this is a whole new year and who knows where 2019 will lead.
BossHug are likely to be a tad bit busy becoming the 1st ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, so the chances for either of the two aren’t particularly high. Hence them both being in this section! Gunning for Bayley to be the ironwoman this year though, given she entered the Rumble so late at #29 last year I’m expecting a bigger showing this time around.
There’s also Nia Jax, but let’s not.
Onto the final category!
The best part of any Royal Rumble, as those 10 seconds count down and the anticipation builds up. Watching last year’s Women’s Rumble, the pops for those surprise entrants were amazing. The atmosphere certainly helped, but this also has its fair share of open spots for the taking! Nine women in total are a complete mystery going in, could one of them surprise everyone and actually win the thing?
From the NXT side of things, last year the NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon and Mae Young Classic winner Kairi Sane were their two surprise entrants. Although the latter was a last minute replacement after Alicia Fox’s sudden injury, it’s something I really wouldn’t mind seeing become a recurring feature. Aside from one issue: it would kind of ruin the ‘surprise’ element to know the NXT champs were always in the Rumble.
However, putting that aside, I’m all for Shayna Baszler and Toni Storm entering this year’s Royale. Both are exceptional and a spotlight like this would be great for them… thinking about it, maybe it’s worth giving the NXT women 3 spots this year! Thank God I’m not the one who gets to decide, I’d want so many of the women to get those spots. As soon as I settle on Baszler and Storm, Io Sharai pops into my head, which then triggers Meiko Satomura and then Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair, etc.
I’ll stop there before I go on too long, I think that means NXT is in a good place right now.
There’s also a slither of chance for the other two MMA Horsewomen to back up Baszler, they evidently need more time in NXT (only really recently debuting), but I sense an angle coming! Possibly not this early, but I am predicting the NXT vs MMA Horsewoman feud to be in full swing during 2020.
Onto the legends! My big shout this year is Victoria. In 2018 she announced 2019 would be her last year wrestling, plus there are multiple shouts for her to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. When you talk about Trish & Lita, you can’t forget how important Victoria was. Also not forgetting how great her TNA run as Tara was, her matches with Mickie James were main eventing iMPACT whilst WWE were airing 2 minute roll ups.
A big part of women’s wrestling throughout all of the naughties, so it would be awesome to see her in the Rumble in her final year.
There’s been rumours of Eva Marie making a quick stop, even though I couldn’t care less for the Big Brother promotion that comes with it, the pop for her would be great. Such an amazing gimmick before… everything… and the wrestling… oh God the wrestling.
Speaking of Eve’s (close enough segway), Eve Torres has apparently been on good terms with WWE since her departure. One of the bigger names of the Diva era.
Also Michelle McCool was in it last year, so how about Layla? A little LayCool reunion would be a rather ‘cool’ moment for the Rumble. I am a little biased as I loved their team back in the day, the lines written for them weren’t always that great, but the two women themselves were rather brilliant!
Finally, given how much she was brimming from ear to ear in the Evolution battle royal, gonna give a shout for Ivory. With the popularity of GLOW on NETFLIX, her HOF induction and the sheer enjoyment oozing out of her at WWE Evolution, I’d really be surprised if she didn’t get one more dance in the WWE lights. Speaking of, she should also totally enter late, Royale Dance Break 2 cometh.
Looking at it, there are so many that could take up those surprise spots, I’ve not even mentioned the likes of Kaitlyn or Alundra Blaze or Vickie Guerrero again because I like pain.
Plus, don’t forget the losers of the title matches would each be taking one of those spots were they to enter. Saying Lynch enters, you have 2 NXT spots and Trish & Lita, suddenly there’s only 4 real unknowns in there. The 2018 call ups last year really have helped flesh this match out a tad!
Oh yeah, and never count out the Bellas.
A final Worst Case Scenario Rumble victory pick to end on: Stephanie McMahon AKA the real Rousey feud all along! What do you mean this hasn’t been set up perfectly?
But what do you think? Who do you see winning the Women’s Royal Rumble? Who would you like to see make a surprise return? Which future stars should get those prestigious NXT spots? Should any of them actually win? Comment down below and let me know!
Hoping to bash out a Rumble Review column next week, so stay tuned. Also check out LOP’s newest call-up Don Franc who debuted today! He debuted in the Colums Forum later the same year I did, we’ve collabed a couple times, reccomend you check out his stuff!
The Main Event Vol.85 – Laying The Smackdown On RAW
Email Imp – [email protected]
Imp’s on LOP Radio every Thursday with Perfect 10 Wrestling! Last Thursday he was joined by Clive from the Ricky & Clive Show to chat about the state of 205 Live, NXT and NXT UK!
This Thursday Imp will be LIVE at 8ET with his former co-host Burn to preview the Royal Rumble!
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Imp’s NJPW Adventure – The Story of Hiroshi Tanahashi Part 2: The Ace of the Universe
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