It’s the WWE Royal Rumble with two Rumble matches, plus a big Roman Reigns title match.
This has been a tumultuous news week for WWE with some highs and obviously some lows. It started with big news with The Rock joining TKO’s Board of Directors and that Netflix would be the home of Raw as well as airing WWE shows internationally, including here in Canada.
The latest Vince McMahon scandal story was released by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday afternoon. A former female WWE employee detailed stories of sexual harassment, sexual assault and sex trafficking involving other people associated with WWE. After a couple of years, the relationship ended, then Vince agreed to pay her millions of dollars, she signed an NDA and then Vince stopped paying her, so now she’s coming back with this lawsuit.
I read the whole thing and it’s disgusting. It’s truly despicable. I’m not saying he’s guilty, but it looks bad for him. Vince’s team issued a statement denying these accusations and he plans to fight it, so we’ll how that develops. You would think that Vince McMahon at 78 years old would lead a normal life as a grandpa that’s a billionaire, but no. He’s a weirdo. I think we’ve all known that for decades.
On Friday while Smackdown was on the air, Vince McMahon officially resigned from TKO Group and WWE. Good. Stay the f**k away, you creepy old man.
Moving on, I’m not going to write about the off-screen stuff anymore in this preview. We’ll cover it on TJRWrestling in our News section, so stay up to date on that on our site. I am not going to stop watching WWE just because of Vince McMahon’s sex life. I think he’s a weird, crazy, disturbed man. I’m also glad he’s not running the day-to-day operations of the company. I’m sure people are going after Triple H and Nick Khan since they might have known about some of the Vince stuff, but it doesn’t mean they were involved in it. Anyway, I’m still going to watch the product, review it and support the talent.
The Royal Rumble is one of my favorite events of the year. I think some years it’s predictable and that’s fine, but I still enjoy seeing it take place. It’s the second year that Triple H is the main booker of the Royal Rumble. Last year, we saw Rhea Ripley and GUNTHER go the distance with record-setting performances in the Women’s & Men’s Royal Rumbles. Gunther didn’t win because Cody Rhodes eliminated him, but it was still a record for time in the Rumble match. I don’t know if those records will be topped this year although clearly Triple H likes booking the endurance story in the Rumble matches.
There are only four matches on the show. Last year’s Royal Rumble PLE only had five matches. I guess they could add one more, but I can only preview what I know is on the show. Let’s get to it.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
The Women’s Royal Rumble match has a few women who are former champions that have been pushed as top contenders for the match and there could be some surprises. I like to do point form notes when I do Rumble match previews.
* I can see Jade Cargill debuting here. She signed back in September, was put on TV a few times after that and we haven’t heard much since. Cargill has been training at the WWE PC and I think this is the right time to have her start in WWE. I’m not sure who she’ll feud with, but I can see Jade having a few big eliminations. They might protect her in the match and have some cheap elimination if she gets thrown out.
* We know former WWE Women’s Champion Naomi is coming back to WWE after her TNA run ended, so the Rumble is a great time to bring her back. I can see her making it into the final four in the match.
* Trish Stratus has been gone since last September’s cage match against Becky Lynch. She had a falling out with Zoey Stark after, so maybe Trish comes back as a face here and eliminates Stark. I’d like to see a Trish return.
* Carmella gave birth to her son in early December and Alex Bliss gave birth to her daughter in late December. Is either of them going to be in the Royal Rumble? I think not because they might need more time to get ready to come back.
* Liv Morgan is a possible returning name as well. She has been out for about half a year with a shoulder injury, so maybe she’s ready to return.
* Bayley seems to be on the path where she’s acting like she’s happy with the Damage CTRL group, but they make decisions without her and it seems like she could be kicked out of the group she created at any time. That will probably lead to Bayley going back to being a babyface after five years of being a heel. It also means Bayley could win this match since she says she is going after Rhea Ripley, but instead, she could use the title match opportunity on her friend IYO SKY. I’m going to predict Bayley as a woman who enters in the first five spots and makes it until the end.
* I’m not sure where Bianca Belair fits in the match. She’ll probably have a good showing and maybe eliminate the most people, but I don’t think she’s going to win. I could see Belair making it to the final four.
* Nia Jax is my pick for most eliminations. I think she’ll be in the final two.
* Becky Lynch is my pick to win. She last won the Royal Rumble five years ago. I think the match with Rhea Ripley has been set in stone for about a year and they haven’t had a match as the two top women on the Raw brand. Lynch will be in the final two with Jax, who beat Lynch on the first Raw of the year. I think Lynch will find a way to eliminate Jax in a way that makes it look almost like an upset since Jax has the win over Lynch.
* I think whoever doesn’t win between Becky Lynch and Bayley will be the winner of the Women’s Elimination Chamber match at Elimination Chamber next month. I assume that match will be for a title shot. We have to act like the Royal Rumble is the only way to get a title shot, but there is Elimination Chamber too.
Wrestler That Lasts The Longest:Bayley
Most Eliminations: Nia Jax
Final Four: Becky Lynch, Nia Jax, Bayley & Naomi
Winner: Becky Lynch
United States Championship: Logan Paul vs. Kevin Owens
It is Logan Paul’s first title defense since winning the US Title way back at Crown Jewel on November 4th. I only remember the date because it was my birthday. That was nearly three months ago. It sucks that Logan doesn’t wrestle more, but it is what it is.
I feel like they’ll have plenty of time to have a 20-minute match with Kevin Owens likely selling the worked right hand injury throughout the match. Owens said he wouldn’t wear the cast during the match, so that’s something they can use to tell a story with Owens having issues throughout the match. Most Logan Paul matches that end in a victory are because he gets an assist from a friend, so maybe we see that yet again with the brass knuckles or some kind of illegal object. I don’t see Paul winning clean, but I do think Paul winning is a lock.
As for the future, I think LA Knight should take the US Title from Paul at WrestleMania. We don’t need to see Paul have a super long title reign when we see that from other people, so get the title on Knight, who certainly deserves some sort of title reign.
Winner: Logan Paul
Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. LA Knight vs. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles
I think the build for this match has been excellent for the most part. When they did the triple threat match, I figured Orton would win, but then Reigns attacked all three guys as the classic booking method to set up the four-way match. All four guys are talented enough to have an entertaining match.
The fans are strongly behind Orton the most out of the three challengers. I’d be surprised if Orton took the pin. I think it’s more likely that Knight or Styles takes the pin. Perhaps it will be yet another cheap win for Reigns just like we have seen many times over the last three plus years.
They should get plenty of time to have a 30-minute match where the announcers can push the story that Reigns can lose the title by not being pinned, so there will be a lot of nearfalls to build that up throughout the match. In the end, I think Reigns will retain and if he doesn’t, I would be absolutely shocked.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
If you read my reviews regularly then you know that I have criticized the booking going into this match. On the Raw side, they really have done a tremendous job with some great promos from the top guys. Meanwhile, on Smackdown, they have barely mentioned this match at all. I find it to be ridiculous that the Smackdown men’s roster didn’t get much promo time to talk about wanting to win the Royal Rumble. That’s disappointing from WWE. If a Smackdown wrestler wins this match I would be very surprised.
* When it comes to surprises, I think this is a logical spot for Andrade to return to WWE. We know that he was in AEW, his deal expired there and he’s going back to WWE with his wife Charlotte Flair. With Triple H booking instead of Vince McMahon, maybe Andrade will be used better. I think he’ll do well if he’s in this match.
* Sheamus is a guy that I think might come back for this match. I don’t know the severity of his injury, but a guy in his mid-40s can take a few months off sometimes. It would be a good spot to bring him back.
* Rey Mysterio should be ready to go after being taking out by Santos Escobar over two months ago. Rey said it was about 6-8 weeks, so he should be back. Rey should get a nice pop and eliminate Escobar from the match.
* Sami Zayn will likely be back in this match. He was given nearly two months off (aside from a few Canadian house shows) and will probably go after Drew McIntyre, who storyline injured him.
* As far as NXT talent goes, I’d like to see Bron Breakker in the match. I’ve wrote for months that he hasn’t had that much to do in NXT, but his team with Baron Corbin has been interesting of late. Anyway, if Bron isn’t in the match that’s okay because he’ll be a factor in the future.
* I was expecting Brock Lesnar to be back for this match for his first appearance since SummerSlam last August, but after Lesnar was alluded to in the Vince McMahon story that came out on Thursday, I doubt WWE is going to bring Lesnar back here. The timing is bad. I wouldn’t do it if I was them.
* To start the match, I think Jey Uso should be #1 and Jimmy Uso should be #2. I’m writing this part after Smackdown when Jimmy picked his number and acted like it was awful. I think if you start with the Usos fighting, it sets the tone for the whole match. Jey should eliminate Jimmy from the match, but then Jimmy should go back in to cost Jey. This should set up Jey against Jimmy at WrestleMania.
* I like Drew McIntyre as the guy that throws out the most wrestlers. Drew is doing amazing work as a heel and if he eliminates the most wrestlers then it will make him more of a threat at the end of the match.
* The top Raw guys will probably do very well. For the final four below I have all Raw guys with the babyfaces CM Punk and Cody Rhodes along with Drew McIntyre and GUNTHER. By doing that it plays upon last year when Cody/Gunther ended the Rumble while Punk/McIntyre had a memorable promo segment on Raw where Punk told McIntyre he would throw him out last.
* I think Cody Rhodes will be in the match early on and they’re going to play up the story about how everybody is targeting him, so can he last nearly an hour to win the match? Cody is a terrific seller, which means he should thrive there.
* GUNTHER should be impressive again, but I don’t see him in the final two. I would have wanted Brock Lesnar to eliminate him. Since I doubt they use Brock, the person who should eliminate him is somebody who should get an Intercontinental Title shot soon.
* I wanted Cody Rhodes to win the Royal Rumble again to set up the WrestleMania 40 match with Roman Reigns just like last year, but I think CM Punk winning to set up his World Heavyweight Title match with Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 40. I think Cody will win the Men’s Elimination Chamber match to set up the Roman Reigns match. I’m not sure if The Rock will wrestle at WrestleMania 40 or where he fits in. I just think Cody will get his moment.
* CM Punk and Cody Rhodes are my final two. CM Punk is my pick to win and it wouldn’t shock me if he’s in one of the final five spots. I don’t think WWE wants him to have to work 20 minutes or more in the match. They can tell the story that Cody is exhausted after working most of the match, Punk is fresh and then Punk finds a way to win.
Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Cody Rhodes
Most Eliminations:Drew McIntyre
Final Four:CM Punk, Drew McIntyre, Cody Rhodes & GUNTHER
Winner: CM Punk
The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most
Men’s Royal Rumble Match.
The Match I Care About The Least
Logan Paul vs. Kevin Owens. I don’t mind it, but there are only four matches so I had to pick something.
Men’s Royal Rumble Match going a few minutes more than the Women’s Royal Rumble Match.
Logan Paul vs. Kevin Owens for around 20 minutes. I think the 4-Way goes 30 minutes and the two Rumble matches are around an hour long each or more, so that leaves Paul-Owens as the short one.
Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)
It’s an 8 out of 10.
The Royal Rumble is always one of my favorite shows of the year. I think only having four matches is on the low side and I would have liked to see maybe six matches. A women’s match on the undercard would be nice to see. I get that the two Rumble matches sell themselves and the other two title matches have been booked well, but maybe another match or two would have helped the card.
I look forward to the show. I’m not going to say I like the Royal Rumble more than WrestleMania because I think WrestleMania is better. However, I do love this PPV and most years it delivers the goods. Bring it on.
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