TJRWrestling WWE Royal Rumble 2023 Preview

wwe royal rumble 2023 tjrwrestling preview

It’s WWE Royal Rumble time with the Men’s and Women’s Rumble matches, plus Roman Reigns facing Kevin Owens and a whole lot more.

John: I am pretty excited about this year’s Royal Rumble taking place in San Antonio. It’s the first time in 35 years of the Royal Rumble that Vince McMahon isn’t booking because after his July “retirement” it’s Triple H calling the shots even though Vince is back as the Executive Chairman of WWE. I think a lot of things, booking-wise, have been better since Triple H has been booking. Just look at long-term storytelling as an example. The Bloodline angle is awesome and will probably have a major impact on this show when it comes to the Roman Reigns-Kevin Owens match as well as the Men’s Royal Rumble considering Sami Zayn’s potential role with some people considering him a favorite to win. There’s also the intrigue of Cody Rhodes coming back for his first match since early June when he tore his pectoral muscle. I’m excited to see Cody back. Plus, what about the potential rumored surprises? That’s always fun.

The Women’s Royal Rumble hasn’t been built up as well in terms of naming competitors in the match, but I think we’ll see a lot of the big names in the company. Maybe less surprises there because they have re-hired a lot of women in the Triple H era of booking and I think they will want to put those women in the match.

As write this on Friday afternoon before Smackdown, there aren’t that many matches on the undercard, but when you have two hour-long Rumble matches that is a big reason why. The build for the three non-Rumble matches have been very good, so that’s nice to see.

Joining me for the preview are TJRWrestling writers Joel McIntyre, Matthew Fowler, Alex Podgorski, Kelly Dishnow, and Kristian Thompson.

Alex: I’m being much more cautious this time around. Last year I got my hopes up and thought WWE would go the extra mile to elevate new stars and create some genuine surprises. Sadly WWE didn’t go all out with starting the year off with a truly wild show, so this year I’m lowering my expectations. I’m not saying it’ll be a bad show; far from it. The Royal Rumble is my favorite wrestling show of the year and I can’t way to see what happens. Then again, we are in the middle of a regime change (of sorts) and Triple H is calling the shots now, not Vince. So maybe, just maybe, WWE actually might live up to its “anything can happen” tagline after all.

Kristian: It’s that time of year again, when you get your fantasy booking hat on and are usually let down on the road to WrestleMania but you have fun along the way. The Royal Rumble used to be my favourite PPV. I loved the surprise element, the fact that (potentially anyone could win) and the drama of the final few eliminations. The last few years have been soured somewhat by bland or predictable winners and only few surprises. The best part of the Rumble for me is guessing the mystery entrants, so once again I’ll look forward to that. I think it’s a two-horse race on the men’s side, whereas the women’s is more open but there are a few standouts. With the PPV being on a Saturday in the US, that’s Sunday mid-morning here in Australia so a much more friendly time for us Aussies (even though it is my wife’s birthday!).

Women’s Royal Rumble Match

Announced Names So Far: Liv Morgan, Raquel Rodriguez, Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Shayna Baszler, Zelina Vega, Emma

Joel: There hasn’t been much announced so far for the Women’s rumble. I expect more to be announced on smackdown and then the rest will be surprises and NXT talent. I do think women like Lita, Chelsea Green, and Naomi will be a part of the match. Conventional wisdom says Rhea Ripley should be the clear cut favorite to win the rumble but I’m going to take a shot in the dark. Rhea can get her title match by winning elimination chamber next month. IF Triple H really wants to make a statement, he puts Naomi over in this match. Show her that you’re committed to things being different this time around. I think Naomi winning the rumble could garner the biggest pop of the night unless a certain movie star shows up.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Liv Morgan

Most Eliminations: Rhea Ripley

Final Four: Naomi, Rhea Ripley, Liv Morgan, Asuka

Winner: Naomi

Kelly: This is Rhea Ripley’s Rumble to lose. She’s the only one with a good enough story behind her to get the win. It’ll also be interesting if this is where Asuka returns as Kana and if that gimmick goes after Charlotte Flair to get her win back.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Rhea Ripley

Most Eliminations: Rhea Ripley

Final Four: Liv Morgan, Rhea Ripley, Asuka/Kana, Indi Hartwell

Winner: Rhea Ripley

Matthew: As of this writing the WWE has only announced seven women for this match, with the overall promoting of the match this year quite frankly being awful. I do feel this will make for a lot of surprise entrants however, with names like The Bella Twins, Molly Holly, Madusa and others possible appearing. Of the actual seven women that they have bothered to announce, I do also think that one of them will win it all. Rhea Ripley has been killing it for months, and is ready to take the next step into the main event. I expect Ripley to dominate in this match and win it all to go on to WrestleMania.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Liv Morgan

Most Eliminations: Rhea Ripley

Final Four: Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Becky Lynch, Bayley

Winner: Rhea Ripley

Alex: Since the Royal Rumble match is more or less a free-for-all, I’m going to do the same here. I’m just going to list out some possible outcomes, happenings and ideas that may or may not come true. It’s the Rumble match, chaos reigns.

– Tamina appears, does the monster ‘roar’ spot and gets eliminated by five other women

-Naomi makes her surprise return. She won’t win, but her return will lead to a s**tstorm online

– Ava Raine, The Rock’s daughter, makes a surprise appearance and maybe eliminate one person, just to continue fueling speculation that her father might be coming back

– Beth Phoenix returns and pulls a Mick Foley and eliminates both herself and Rhea Ripley to setup a WrestleMania match between them

– Jacqueline will make a surprise appearance as a local Texas wrestler

As for a winner, I’d prefer it be someone new and not a repeat winner. And since she still has a story to tell and has some unfinished business as champion, I’m going with Liv Morgan.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Rhea Ripley

Most Eliminations: Raquel Rodriguez /Rhea Ripley (5 each)

Final Four: Liv Morgan, Becky Lynch, Candice LeRae, Rhea Ripley

Winner: Liv Morgan

Kristian: There haven’t been many women announced for this one, which is either laziness or that means there will be lots of surprises. Hopefully it’s the latter. I think there will be a lot of wrestlers in there to make up the numbers, but for me, there are probably 3 real candidates for winning: Raquel Rodriguez, Becky Lynch and Bayley. Bayley could do with the win, to be honest. She’s lost twice to Belair and is losing the feud to Becky Lynch. I could see her winning and finally beating Belair at Mania for her big career victory. I could see Lynch winning and challenging Charlotte Flair, too. This would not be my preferred choice, neither would Raquel who would probably be a popular winner.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Rhea Ripley

Most Eliminations: Rhea Ripley

Final Four: Bayley, Becky, Raquel and Trish Stratus

Winner: Bayley

John: I am intrigued by the Women’s Royal Rumble just like I am every year. Something I think WWE could do better is announce more people for the match before it takes place. It’s weak to have less than ten names officially announced just a day before the show. We are writing this before Smackdown and I’m sure Smackdown will see WWE announce more names, but why not do that beforehand? Give us some more participants and let’s see some promos from people about how they are going to win. Anyway, I’ll fire off some point form notes.

* Asuka should make her return here after being on a break. I don’t think there was an injury, but she went back to Japan to recharge a bit. I think she’ll do well.

* Chelsea Green will probably make her official WWE return after signing a few months back. They were likely waiting for this show.

* Another returning name could be Natalya, who has been out for about three months due to a nose surgery. I think she’ll do fairly well too. Perhaps she’ll eliminate Shayna Baszler, who caused the injury in the storyline.

* Beth Phoenix might be in the match to look for payback against Rhea Ripley. If I had to guess, I’ll say yes to Beth being in the match.

* Naomi is another name that comes to mind. I think she’ll make her WWE return at this show and will get a huge reaction from the crowd.

* There might be a few NXT women in the match like NXT Women’s Champion Roxanne Perez, Zoey Stark and Cora Jade, but it will probably be less than five of them.

* I’m going with Rhea Ripley for the win. Rhea Ripley is a former Raw Women’s Champion, but she hasn’t been pushed to that level for a couple of years. As part of The Judgment Day, she is often on the floor during matches supporting her friends instead of being in the ring as the star that she is. This is going to be her breakout match leading to a WrestleMania title match against the champion because it’s a fresh matchup as well. I think Ripley makes the most sense as the winner although there are other women in the match that could work out well as the winners too.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest:Becky Lynch

Most Eliminations: Raquel Rodriguez

Final Four: Rhea Ripley, Becky Lynch, Raquel Rodriguez & Asuka

Winner: Rhea Ripley

Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match: Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight

Joel: I have no clue what the hell this match is but I have enjoyed the feud so far. For all of those goofs who said anybody who feuds with Bray comes out looking weaker in the end, how has LA Knight looked? Like a star. LA Knight has come out of this feud looking like a mega star and better than Bray in some respects. Regardless of whether he wins or loses, Knight is a made man moving forward. It’s Bray’s first match back so I fully expect him to win this one, as he should.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Kelly: Gotta get the sponsor’s name in here. This is going to be an interesting match as the stipulation is rather unique. I do wonder if they will do this match live in the arena or if it’ll be a pre-tape. That could determine how the match will flow. I think that Wyatt will win to keep the mind games going and perhaps another character will be introduced with Uncle Howdy.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Matthew: I have no idea what a Pitch Black Match is, and quite frankly I don’t care. I know people love Wyatt and all his magical voodoo stuff, but I personally am not a fan. I feel bad for Knight here, as I feel he is a talented guy who is not going to be able to show what he can actually do in this match. I expect lots of magical shenanigans, talking puppets and a weird dude in a top hat to all help Wyatt get the win. Hopefully after this is all done, Wyatt can possibly try wrestling an actual match.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Alex: I have a morbid curiosity towards this match in that I want to see just how bad it is. Bray Wyatt is a discount Undertaker in that he does some wacky theatrics and hokey stuff and expects to pass that off as wrestling, entertainment, or both. Right now, the rumor is that this match will have some neon effects to give people the ability to see some of it. But that’s still less than half of an answer. We don’t know what this will be; the only thing we know is that Mountain Dew probably paid a king’s ransom for the product placement. And considering the other gimmick matches Bray Wyatt has put on over the years, I think the Pepsi-Cola Company will be the only winner here.

Winner…because there has to be one…Bray Wyatt

Kristian: This rivalry has been a bit all-over-the-shop. Lately, it has really picked up and I have enjoyed Knight’s heel work as he goads Wyatt with the match getting closer. We all know Knight has no chance of winning, but I have enjoyed him being given the spotlight. I was worried that Wyatt would lose momentum after his initial return with all of the supernatural stuff and I think I am proved correct here with the choice of match type for this feud. A straight up match to assert Wyatt’s dominance could’ve been the way to go but who knows what we will see on Saturday night. However, as long as the stupid red light doesn’t appear I won’t whine too much.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

John: I have seen some people complain going into this match about how they don’t know what a Pitch Black Match is. To me, it’s not an issue at all. I am absolutely fine with not knowing what it’s going to be like because we can find out when we watch the Royal Rumble. The draw for this show are the Rumble matches themselves, but there is certainly some intrigue about Bray’s first televised match in well over a year.

I think they’ll probably work a match with most of the lights in the arena out, maybe there’s a spotlight following both guys and that’s it. I assume weapons will be allowed too. It’s really just guessing at this point. I like LA Knight a lot as a performer, so I’m happy he gets his first high-profile feud on the WWE main roster. With that said, Bray should win and if he doesn’t win I’ll be surprised.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Alexa Bliss

Joel: I’m not a huge fan of all the spooky stuff going on but I enjoy both women. Alexa always does her best with whatever she’s given and this is no different. Bianca is officially at 300 days as Raw Women’s Champion. I fully expect her to reach 365 days and a full year as Raw Women’s Champion before they take the title off of her.

Winner: Bianca Belair

Kelly: This match could have some carry over from the Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match. I think the ultimate goal there will be to transform Bliss back to her dark character controlled by the Wyatt universe. Belair going into WrestleMania as champion has more possibilities than Bliss as champ. It will be a solid match, but I think Belair retains to get Ripley at Mania.

Winner: Bianca Belair

Matthew: If you did not get enough magical nonsense in the Bray Wyatt match, I have great news for you. I fully expect even more shenanigans in this match, with creepy dolls and another appearance of the weird dude in a top hat. Unfortunately, these shenanigans will likely take over the match, preventing these two talented ladies from having a good wrestling match. As for who wins, I am hoping the shenanigans somehow lead to Belair winning, as I don’t want to see them tied into the title going into WrestleMania.

Winner: Bianca Belair

Alex: Once in a while, a defending champion should have an easy night and just demolish their challenger without much effort. That is what should happen here, but won’t. Instead of Belair beating the tar out of Bliss in five minutes to remind people of how dominant she is, this will be another competitive match that won’t lead to a title change. Logically speaking, Belair shouldn’t have any trouble beating an opponent who is almost half her size, even with the presumed theatrics that Bliss will bring along now that the Bray Wyatt/Uncle Howdy stuff has seeped onto RAW. But since apparently Bliss can’t be made to look weak, she’ll last way longer than needed against such an imposing champion. Neither one will really gain anything from this and ultimately it’ll be an average and forgettable match. Not good, and certainly not bad, just forgettable.

Winner and STILL RAW women’s Champion: Bianca Belair

Kristian: They have tried to book Alexa as a credible challenger, along with throwing in the Wyatt/supernatural character again, much to most fans’ chagrin. This is really just a feud to bide time for a bigger match for Belair and I think it’s pretty obvious to most people that she’s heading into Mania as champion.

Winner AND STILL Raw Women’s Champion: Bianca Belair

John: The build for this match has been good with Alex Bliss going back to the dark side (so to speak) as a heel that might be possessed by The Fiend, Uncle Howdy, Bray Wyatt and so on. I think some of that stuff is a bit silly to watch in 2023, but Bliss hasn’t had much to do creatively in the last year, so at least she can show off her acting skills.

With all of that said, the story should be about Belair getting payback for Bliss attacking her repeatedly in the past. Plus, as I mentioned earlier with Rhea Ripley winning the Royal Rumble, I think WWE is going to want to do Belair vs. Ripley at WrestleMania 39. Bliss should come close to winning a few times, but I think Belair is going to put her away with a KOD.

Winner: Bianca Belair

Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Kevin Owens

Joel: This is the match I’m most interested in. The match itself is going to be a banger. We all know Roman Reigns is going to win the match. But the Sami story has me intrigued. What is this final test? I have a feeling Sami’s time as an honorary uce maybe reaching its conclusion. I believe Roman will win and then ask Sami to finish off KO and take him out. Sami will refuse and that is when he will get one legendary ass beating that will take him out. It’s been a wild ride but I think Sami in the Bloodline ends on Saturday.

Winner: Roman Reigns

Kelly: We all know who is winning this match, so it’s more about the underlying story between The Bloodline and Sami Zayn. This could be where Zayn has to choose his loyalty: The Bloodline or Kevin Owens. Zayn has always called himself the master strategist in the past and it shows here. I think he turns on The Bloodline before they turn on him. I think Zayn gets a title shot at Elimination Chamber in his hometown, but does not win the Rumble.

Winner: Roman Reigns

Matthew: For the third time in WWE history, Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens will face off at The Royal Rumble. The other two matches between them have been excellent, and I expect this one to be great as well. The build to this match has already been great, thanks mainly to the incredible work of Sami Zayn. Zayn will likely factor heavily into this match, with his actions likely costing Owens the win. I will predict that Zayn actually refuses to help Reigns hurt Owens, causing Reigns to brutally attack Zayn. Owens will then focus on his fallen friend, allowing Reigns to pick up the win.

Winner: Roman Reigns

Alex: While I appreciate WWE trying to tell the story of Sami Zayn possibly betraying the Bloodline ahead of Reigns’ scheduled title defense against Kevin Owens, I don’t think any of that will matter come the Royal Rumble. Reigns has been built as this historically dominant champion and Kevin Owens as a challenger has done…what? Who has Kevin Owens beat to prove he could beat Roman Reigns? What sort of unexpected, earth-shattering things has Owens done to elevate him to Reigns’ level? No one and nothing. He hasn’t even beaten Reigns in non-title action to sell the idea that he could win. Because of that, this match just screams “placeholder” and will probably treated as such.

Even if the match features good-to-great wrestling, it won’t matter because the result stays the same. Kevin Owens isn’t winning at the Royal Rumble. WWE have invested WAY too much time and effort into building Reigns up and in the process they failed to ask the million dollar question that comes with such title reigns: “who will we build up as the inevitable reign-ender?”

Kevin Owens doesn’t fit that bill. Drew McIntyre didn’t fit that bill. Brock freaking Lesnar didn’t fit that bill. John Cena, WWE’s golden boy for over a decade, didn’t fit that bill. And since The Rock isn’t expected to make it in time for the Rumble or WrestleMania, there’s only one person left that has the tiniest chance to do it…and that wrestler certainly isn’t Canadian.

Winner and STILL Undisputed WWE Universal Champion: Roman Reigns

Kristian: The build-up to this match has been phenomenal. And that’s mostly due to one man who isn’t even in the match: Sami Zayn. I could write paragaphs about his rise to the top but I will hold off for now and focus on this match. We all know that Reigns is winning the match. Nevertheless, it has been an intriguing angle that has focused on whether or not Zayn is fully with the Bloodline or still has ties to Owens. The segment on Raw was outstanding at making us care what happens to Zayn during this championship match on Saturday. It has been the best angle in wrestling in the past 12-months, hands down. The way they book the finish to this match is the most interesting part for me. I think it will come down to Sami interfering and almost costing Reigns the title, but then redeeming himself and ensuring Reigns retains. Maybe Sami goes to hit Owens with the championship and hits Reigns by mistake, then there’s a really close nearfall and Reigns can recover after that. Owens has been terrific in his feud with the Bloodline and I think this match will be excellent.

Winner AND STILL WWE Universal Champion: Roman Reigns

John: There has been a long build up to this match going back to prior to WarGames when Kevin Owens made it clear he was coming for Roman Reigns just like when they feuded two years ago around this time. They even feuded a few years before that with Owens as the Universal Champion as well. There’s a lot of history here and we know they are both outstanding performers, so I expect a great match.

I actually thought they would go with a Street Fight kind of match or something along those lines to push the idea that they are rivals that hate eachother and want to have a brawl. Perhaps it is building to another match between them. Anyway, there’s obviously the intrigue involved with Sami Zayn potentially helping Reigns win, but maybe Zayn realizes that Reigns doesn’t trust him anymore, so Sami may not be as loyal as Roman thinks. The rest of The Bloodline could be involved too.

It would be a major surprise for Reigns to lose because I doubt anybody thinks he is dropping those two titles before WrestleMania. I’m interested to see if WWE decides to split up the titles at any point as they did with the two sets of Tag Team Titles held by The Usos. Anyway, I’m going with Reigns to win likely in cheap fashion after 20-30 minutes. They should get plenty of time to have an excellent match and I think they’ll deliver.

Winner: Roman Reigns

Men’s Royal Rumble Match

Announced Names So Far: Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston, Ricochet, Bobby Lashley, Seth “Freakin” Rollins, Austin Theory, Gunther, Drew McIntyre, Sheamus, Omos, Braun Strowman, Baron Corbin, Santos Escobar, Rey Mysterio, Karrion Kross

Joel: One thing I like about these rumbles this year as their unpredictable nature in that they could go several different directions. On one hand most think Cody Rhodes is going to win and that is a good bet. Some think Sami will win. I don’t think so based on what I outlined in the Reigns match. I also find it convenient that news came out of The Rock not being at Wrestlemania a week before the rumble. Rock did not just find out that they wanted this match. Let’s be real. He’s known about this for months now. So, it seems a little weird that now the information gets out that he’s not going to be there. I think it’s a smoke screen to distract from Rock being there. They announced Cody for the rumble because they were confident in the surprises they already had. The only surprise I think could be bigger are Austin and Rock. I’m going Rock here.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Austin Theory

Most Eliminations: Solo Sikoa

Final Four: The Rock, Cody Rhodes, Solo Sikoa, Brock Lesnar

Winner: The Rock

Kelly: This Royal Rumble match has some intrigue in it with the two likely favorites of Cody Rhodes and Sami Zayn likely being the final two. Neither would break my heart if they won, I just think it fits the Rhodes story more.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Cody Rhodes

Most Eliminations: Karrion Kross

Final Four: Cody Rhodes, Sami Zayn, GUNTHER, Santos Escobar

Winner: Cody Rhodes

Matthew: Here we go the big one, with the winner going on to main event WrestleMania. I have always loved the Rumble since it’s debut way back in 1988. Unlike the Women’s Rumble, half the participants have already been announced for the match. As for surprises, there is one big one that everyone is waiting to see if it happens.

I don’t think The Rock will enter this match however, with names like Brock Lesnar, John Cena and possibly NJPW star Jay White being more likely. As for who wins the match, I am going to go with the guy who has been the most over with the crowd for months. I will predict that an already beaten down from earlier Sami Zayn will make a courageous entrance into the Rumble to win it all.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Seth Rollins

Most Eliminations: Bobby Lashley

Final Four: Seth Rollins, Cody Rhodes, Sami Zayn, Braun Strowman

Winner: Sami Zayn

Alex: Same as above, I’m just going to throw out some possible ideas for things that may or may not happen at the Rumble. That’s the beauty of this PLE: you can propose some wild ideas and they have a greater chance of happening here than on any other show during the year.

– Rick Boogs returns, does a full showy entrance, and is promptly eliminated by Nakamura, who is bitter following last year’s WrestleMania

– Big E enters at #30 and promptly eliminates Ridge Holland…and once in the final four, eliminates Kofi

– Brock Lesnar enters at some point, cleans house, and is eliminated by GUNTHER. I want this to happen more than anything else; Lesnar vs. Gunther at WrestleMania is a license to print money.

– Ten people will try to eliminate Omos working together but will fail and then Braun Strowman will complete this feat by himself.

– Either Jay White or Hikuleo from New Japan debuts.

– Edge returns and eliminates any and all members of the Judgment Day still in the ring.

– Cody Rhodes returns and eliminates anyone still in the ring that was once a challenger to Roman Reign’s title, specifically: Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley.

– “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s music plays…and The Miz comes out wearing a bald cap. Cue a torrent of boos.

In terms of winner, there’s only one logical choice. It’s the only one that makes sense since Roman Reigns has beaten every other credible threat on the roster and a few semi-retired legends as well. The only person that had a flawless 2022 in WWE and who is making his heroic comeback this Saturday: Cody Rhodes.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Sami Zayn

Most Eliminations: GUNTHER with 6

Final Four: Kofi Kingston, Big E, Cody, Sami Zayn

Winner: Cody Rhodes

Kristian: I was just looking at the odds online for the winner for this match and one of the betting companies has Stone Cold third favourite and the Rock fourth favourite, which shows how clear cut the two GENUINE favourites of the Rumble are this year.

It’s Sami or Cody. Both tell a great story. One is of redemption and return, back to the company that he left long ago to forge a new path and win a championship that his father could not. On the other hand, Sami’s story is one of a tsunami of momentum that not a lot of us saw coming. Could they really book him to win the Rumble and challenge Reigns for the title? For me, that’s the more gripping storyline but probably not the one that HHH will end up going with. Whatever happens, I see big things happening with Sami Zayn at WrestleMania. There’s also lots of talk of splitting the titles and having two championship matches at Mania. Because of this there was speculation that maybe Seth Rollins could win the Rumble. In my opinion, Roman Reigns barely works enough SmackDown’s (and good for him!) to keep one storyline afloat, let alone trying to balance two at once. My heart says Sami, but my head says Cody which will also be fine with me.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Gunther

Most Eliminations: Brock Lesnar

Final Four: Rollins, Rhodes, Sikoa, Zayn

Winner: Cody Rhodes

John: I’m intrigued by this match even more than the Women’s Royal Rumble because I think it will be an outstanding Rumble with a lot of teases for future matches along the way.

* It looks like no Jay White here. He’s still with NJPW. I had a line here about here, but it’s not happening yet…we think.

* Bobby Lashley and Brock Lesnar will eliminate eachother. Maybe it’s a double clothesline spot or one guy gets thrown out, so then the other guy comes back and tosses him out. I think that’s going to happen in the first half of the match.

* I hope Kofi Kingston’s near elimination spot goes better this year compared to last year. Kofi is awesome at those spots, but it’s still tough to do and that’s why he missed it last year.

* Cody Rhodes will enter the match early with Seth “Freakin” Rollins as the only other man in the ring and they will both last a very long time. Since Seth is a face now, they will be respectful towards eachother following their epic 2022 rival.

* Pat McAfee as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble makes a lot of sense as a way to bring him back into the mix.

* Edge will return and eliminate Finn Balor. They will have a mixed tag at Elimination Chamber with Edge & Beth Phoenix against Finn Balor & Rhea Ripley.

* There will probably be some Rey Mysterio-Dominik Mysterio interaction. At this point, Rey has chosen not to hit his son, so they should have Dominik do something dastardly to piss off Rey. Maybe Dominik gets eliminated, then helps somebody else (like Finn Balor) eliminate Rey and that can further the story.

* I think it comes down to Cody Rhodes or Sami Zayn as the winner. I don’t expect to see The Rock or Steve Austin in the match, but I certainly could be wrong about that. Seth Rollins has a shot to win too just based on his history with Roman Reigns and he’s a face now, but I think Cody or Sami is the better choice. I’ll go with Cody although if Sami wins, that would make me very happy for my fellow Canadian.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Seth Rollins

Most Eliminations: Drew McIntyre

Final Four: Cody Rhodes, Seth Rollins, Sami Zayn, Drew McIntyre

Winner: Cody Rhodes


The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most

Joel: Men’s Royal Rumble Match.

Kelly: Pitch Black Match.

Matthew: Men’s Royal Rumble Match.

Alex: Men’s Royal Rumble Match.

Kristian: Men’s Royal Rumble Match.

John: Men’s Royal Rumble Match.

The Match I Care About The Least

Joel: Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss.

Kelly: Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens.

Matthew: Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight.

Alex: Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss.

Kristian: Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss.

John: Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight.

Longest Match

Joel: Men’s Royal Rumble Match.

Kelly: Men’s Royal Rumble Match.

Matthew: Men’s Royal Rumble Match.

Alex: Men’s Royal Rumble Match. (~60 minutes)

Kristian: Men’s Royal Rumble Match.

John: Men’s Royal Rumble Match.

Shortest Match

Joel: Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss.

Kelly: Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss.

Matthew: Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss.

Alex: The Mountain Dew Lights Out Match (10 minutes max).

Kristian: Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss.

John: Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight. This is Bray’s first TV match in well over a year. Don’t make him go too long.

Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)

Joel: 9. I am excited to see how a Royal Rumble PLE plays out under Triple H’s leadership. I expect some surprises but I also expect some guys and girls to get made. It should be an interesting Wrestlemania season under Triple H and I am here for it.

Kelly: 7. We’ve got a solid lineup and the Rumble usually upholds expectations. What’s Sami Zayn going to do is the biggest attention holder right now.

Matthew: 8. It is the Royal Rumble, so of course my excitement level is high! Both Rumble matches plus Owens vs. Reigns should make this a fun, exciting show to watch.

Alex: 7. Although this is my favorite wrestling show, I’m not as excited as I was in previous years. One title match will have some good action but a predictable finish. The other one will feature a gimmick that really doesn’t work. And the only other singles match sounds like a bad gimmick that’s being built on intrigue alone and will probably under-deliver. At least the Rumble matches themselves ought to be fun.

Kristian: 8.

John: It’s an 8 out of 10 for me. The Royal Rumble matches are the draw, no question about it. I think they are both going to be outstanding matches and like I wrote in the opening, I’m intrigued to see how Triple H books those matches with his creative team. The Reigns/Owens match is awesome while the other two matches do have good storylines, so that helps a lot. Perhaps a bit of a stronger undercard would have led to me being more excited, but like I said I think with the Royal Rumble the event sells itself.

In Closing

John: I’ll be back with a review of the Royal Rumble on TJRWrestling.net on Saturday night, so check that out live or any time after it’s over. You can also tweet me @johnreport as well.

If you want to send an email, send it to me at mrjohncanton@gmail.com. Thanks for reading.