It’s Royal Rumble season and that is always a chaotic time in the WWE for many reasons. It officially begins the Road to Wrestlemania, so deciding a winner of the Royal Rumble is very important.
Now, not all Rumble winners go on to win the WWE/Universal Title as evidenced by Edge as last year’s Men’s Royal Rumble winner. It is still a big accomplishment that can go a long way into building somebody as a legitimate player in the company as evidenced by Bianca Belair. This year is probably one of the most unpredictable fields as far as both Royal Rumbles in recent memory. There is not a clear-cut winner for either match which makes it exciting. That being said, I have compiled a list of five likely candidates that could win the Men’s Royal Rumble.
#5: AJ STYLES
The feud with Omos is done. The feud with Grayson Waller likely ends tomorrow night on NXT 2.0. AJ Styles will be free of any obligations.
There were rumors of big plans for AJ after the Omos feud and this would be perfect. AJ Styles was in the tag team division throughout 2021 and did a good job of protecting Omos. I think everybody is ready for AJ Styles to be back in the singles division. He seems to be a babyface again so this would be a good way to give him a good push going into Wrestlemania. He is kind of my dark horse candidate. Either way, I am excited for AJ Styles to finally be a singles star again.
#4: DREW MCINTYRE
The winner of the 2020 Royal Rumble. Wrestlemania 36 was supposed to be his moment to win the WWE Title in front of all the fans at Raymond James Stadium. It didn’t work out due to the global pandemic. Drew got a title shot in front of fans last year at Wrestlemania 37, but lost to Bobby Lashley.
I think Drew is a very reasonable pick for this year’s Royal Rumble. He is the top babyface star on Smackdown. I know he is dealing with a neck issue but he can easily come in at #30, eliminate a few people, and win the Rumble. Then he can rest his neck while still promoting his Wrestlemania match. I’m not saying it will happen, but it could.
They have done a good job of rehabilitating Drew Mcintyre since his move to Smackdown after basically jobbing out his last few months on Raw. Drew McIntyre will be in the title picture at some point this year. It is just a matter of when. I think it could be Wrestlemania. Regarding the neck injury, I’m hoping he’ll be fine, but if it’s not then unless the plan is for him to win the Rumble match, I would keep him out altogether.
#3: WWE CHAMPION BROCK LESNAR
I know what you’re thinking. He’s the WWE Champion. Well, he entered the Royal Rumble as the WWE Champion two years ago as well. There are two avenues in which I can see Brock Lesnar entering the Royal Rumble. Avenue one is he loses the WWE Championship to Bobby Lashley possibly due to Roman Reigns/The Usos or maybe even Paul Heyman turning on him.
Brock still wants that match with Roman so he enters the Rumble and wins it because that is the only way he knows he can get another match and chooses the Universal Title. The other avenue is that he defeats Bobby Lashley and retains the WWE Championship, but he still wants Roman. So, like Charlotte Flair for the women, Brock Lesnar enters the Rumble match as the WWE Champion and wins it. Then we get the Title vs. Title match at Wrestlemania. Could it be a Unification? I guess it is possible. I don’t see that happening. I know Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns is the plan for Wrestlemania. It’s just a matter of how they get there.
#2: BRON BREAKKER
I know. Bron Breakker is the NXT Champion after beating Tommaso Ciampa at New Year’s Evil last week. However, I don’t see him holding that title for that long. He will be main roster bound by the summer in my opinion. What better way to make a star than by having him win the Royal Rumble? It is obvious that WWE has big plans for the son of Rick Steiner.
Breakker wrestles like he’s been doing this for years and he’s only wrestled nine matches. Breakker is over with the crowd and could provide the fresh spark WWE needs heading into Wrestlemania season.
Breakker could easily lose the NXT Title at any time between now and Wrestlemania. Or they could protect him by having him forfeit the title before going to the main roster similar to how Asuka gave up the NXT Women’s Title rather than losing it and ending her streak before going to Raw. I think Bron Breakker can handle it. Whether he wins or not, I think he will definitely be in the Rumble.
#1: BIG E
This is, as of January 10, 2022, my pick to win the Royal Rumble. I know people are upset about him losing the WWE Title and being pinned by Brock Lesnar at Day 1. I get it. However, what I won’t subscribe to is how Big E is buried or people saying how “This is a Kofi Kingston situation.”
Big E is considered a main event guy by WWE standards. Most of the matches he lost as Champion, he did not take the pin in. Now, if you believe the rumors, Big E was planned for a spot in the Wrestlemania title match regardless of whether he won or not. I think Big E gets that match at Wrestlemania. He could easily win the Rumble and challenge the champion on Smackdown and reunite with The New Day, or he could challenge the champion on Raw. I say “The Champion” because both the WWE and Universal Title matches have superstars from Raw facing superstars from Smackdown. We won’t know which champion is really going to which brand until after the Rumble.
I don’t think Big E is done. Far from it. I think Big E wins the Rumble and gets a proper push and proper major title match at Wrestlemania. I think Big E wins a WWE or Universal Title at Wrestlemania. It starts on January 29th at the Royal Rumble.
That’s it. My Top 5 picks to win the Men’s Royal Rumble. Of course, anybody could win it, but I feel like those five are solid choices based on where they are right now. Guys like Edge, Omos, and Damian Priest will probably get solid looks if they are in the match (Edge is in a mixed tag match, so maybe he’ll sit out the Rumble), but I feel like it will definitely be one of those five. I guess we will see what happens. Until next time when I might have some thoughts on the Women’s Royal Rumble match.
Thanks for reading. Check out my TJRWrestling writing archive here. I’m on Twitter @GiftedMoney talking about wrestling among other things, so feel free to message me on there with any thoughts or comments.