Its about that time of the year when things start to heat up for the WWE. The Royal Rumble PPV will take place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 28th. The WWE has coined a saying called “The Road to Wrestlemania”, which happens directly after the Royal Rumble match has concluded. One superstar from either brand, Raw or Smackdown Live, has the opportunity to punch their ticket to the main event at Wrestlemania.
Superstars have used this match to become iconic legends in this business. Names like Shawn Micheals, Ric Flair, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, John Cena, and Randy Orton have won this match and gone on to win the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania. This 30 man, over-the-top-rope challenge, can create legacies. The question is who will be the last man standing in the ring this year for the 2018 Royal Rumble match? Well let’s find out who has the likeliest chance to get the golden ticket to headline the main event.
Royal Rumble Match Predictions
Roman Reigns (2015 winner)
“This is my yard now”-Reigns
Lets turn back the clocks to exactly three years ago to 2015 in Philadelphia. The Rumble was once again in the city of brotherly love, but their was more hate then love in the arena for the winner. Roman Reigns won the match and became the new WWE Champion at that time. The WWE has been trying to get his character over to the WWE Universe for quite some time now. I was in the arena and I never heard so much anger and rage from the result of that match. Unfortunately, the fans do not write the script or Reigns would be eliminated first every single time written.
However, it is very interesting that Roman Reigns lost his Intercontinental Title on last week’s episode of Monday Night Raw, to The Miz. To me, that is an easy prediction that the WWE is setting up a run at the title for Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 34. It is clear that Reigns is the next John Cena. He will be put in every opportunity possible to try to carry the company for the next 10 years. But, the fans do not connect to him like they did for Cena back in 2005 when he made his push as the man. Roman has zero mic skills, and in today’s WWE it’s more about entertainment than physically being able to wrestle.
However, WWE usually finds ways to disappoint the fans so I can easily see Reigns being the 30th entrant to the match and winning. He will then go on to beat Brock Lesnar for the title at the big dance.
John Cena (2008, 2013 Royal Rumble Winner)
“The champ is now 40”
If John Cena is in a match, he has to be a favorite even if he is on one leg. The 17 time champion is set to be apart of this year’s Royal Rumble match. He has won it in the past twice, so there a good chance it happens again. I personally do not think that he ends up winning. The message the WWE would be sending would make no sense. He would be taking a spot for a full time superstar to get the push that they need in order to get over with the WWE universe. I, of course, expect him to be one of the last four superstars left in the match. To me, this is just a way to get more people to want to buy tickets and tune into the show.
I think that he will end up facing The Undertaker at Wrestlemanina 34. So therefore, he will not win this match but odds say he has a great chance only because his name is John Cena. Lets not forget, he is 40 years old and a part-timer. His prime is over and he is part of the company to help with ratings and push over young talent. Look what he did on Raw 25, one of the biggest, anticipated event of the year. He ended his segment flat on his back with a guitar shot by Elias. If that is what they are having him do. He is not winning the Royal Rumble match,—period.
His old saying was, “My time is now”, but now it reads, “My time is over”.
A man that was not even on the WWE roster this time last year at the Rumble is Shinsuke Nakamura. He faced Bobby Roode for the NXT title and lost in San Antonio last year at the 2017 Royal Rumble. Its time to flip the script and crown Nakamura as the Royal Rumble winner to go onto Wrestlemania.
Listen, I do not know what the hell he is saying when they give him a mic, but he has a way with the audience. He is a pure wrestler, coming over from New Japan wrestling and immediately making himself known through NXT. Think about the expanded amount of viewers the WWE will have if he does headline Wrestlemania from all over the world. Having him win would be a great business decision for the global brand. That is the route WWE is taking, just look at their events in the United Kingdom with the king of the ring event and Triple H battling Jindar Mahel in India a few weeks back for the first time ever.
Having Nakamura win the Royal Rumble would be another step into a new market. I like the odds on him winning.
The Miz (Intercontinental Champion)
My pick to win the Royal Rumble match is The Miz. He proclaims that heis “Awesome” — well to me he has proven to be the hottest ticket in the WWE for the last year. He has been around for so long and his last big push was back in 2011 when he won at Wrestlemania 27 against John Cena. He has so much pop these days that people forget he was hated by many only a few years back.
Imagine him winning in Philadelphia tonight, with his Intercontinental belt by his side. He deserves the push with all the buzz surrounding his character. He gave a promo that 2018 was the year of The Miz, and I am sold. He is expecting his first child very soon, so why not let him go to Wrestlemania and win the WWE Championship to celebrate.
The Miz is someone that not to many think will have a chance to win, but not a lot of people thought Randy Orton would end up winning last year either. I believe the creative team could ride this wave The Miz has created with his excellent mic skills.
Daniel Bryan (dark horse)
My dark horse pick would be Smackdown GM, Daniel Bryan. He has been out of action since 2015 with a career threatening injury that forced him to retire. He has served as the GM for over a year now and has done a great job. He is starting to have a feud with Shane McMahon on Smackdown and we are seeing the old Daniel Bryan once again. Is this a sign of something? I believe so.
Daniel Bryan got into a heated argument with Vince McMahon at Raw 25 the other night about his potential angle headed to Wrestlemania. It was pitched to him that he would face Shane McMahon or be in a tag team match with Shane against Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Bryan, did not like these options and wanted to be used to the best of his ability. This is why I believe you could be hearing his ring music hit as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble match. He could win and go on to headline Wrestlemania before his contract expires in September.
There is a certain point where an organization has to do what is best for business and this is one of those situations. Daniel Bryan got the ratings and brought in the merchandise during his “Yes” movement days, it’s time the WWE gives him the chance to wrestle on his own terms one last time. Lets remember, doctors have cleared him to wrestle, it’s the WWE who is holding him back. I would love to see him win tonight in Philadelphia.
Here is a guy who has not been on TV in over a month. There has been speculation on if he has left the WWE or if the creative team is putting together a big push for Dolph Ziggler. The Royal Rumble would be the place to do it. He said when he left TV that he deserves the spotlight. This makes sense to have him win. I think the Philly fans would be satisfied with this story line.
Card for 2018 Royal Rumble match
Men’s Royal Rumble:
Women’s Royal Rumble:
Universal Championship — Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kane:
WWE Championship — AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (Handicap Match)
Raw Tag Team Championship — Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan (c) vs. The Bar
SmackDown Tag Team Championship — The Usos (c) vs. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin (2-of-3 Falls Match):
United States Championship — Bobby Roode (c) vs. TBA (Kickoff Show):
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. The Revival (Kickoff Show)