Every year, the Royal Rumble is one of the most exciting shows of the year. We get returns, debuts, and the WrestleMania picture becomes clear. Personally, it’s my favorite show, even when the guy I’m rooting for never wins (that changes this year. Spoilers).
Ryan’s Royal Rumble Predictions (2019 Edition)
Here are my predictions. Are you ready?
The Kenny Omega of It All
Nobody really knows where Kenny Omega is going when his NJPW contract expires. AEW seems like the odds on favorite, but Vince McMahon and Triple H know how much it would mean to take The Cleaner away from the upstart promotion, and that could encourage them to open up their wallets more than usual. However… he will not be in the Royal Rumble. He’s under contract until the 31st, so even if he does sign with WWE, he won’t appear at the event. Obviously I don’t think NJPW would let him breach contract to help a rival promotion, and you would be foolish to think so.
The Royal Rumble isn’t just the battle royals, it’s also arguably the second biggest show of the year. Here are my predictions for the rest of the card first.
Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy (C) vs. Kalisto vs. Akira Towaza vs. Hideo Itami
Man, this match could be legendary just based on everyone that’s in it, but it’ll get ten minutes as part of the pre-show in front of a half-full arena. That’s depressing. The luckiest man on Earth retains.
United States Championship: Rusev (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Ru-Ru retains and the rumors surrounding Shinsuke Nakamura’s future continue to get more attention than they need to.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship: The Bar (C) vs. The Miz and Shane McMahon
Man, just once, I wish we could have a big show without a member of this family getting involved. I guess the Miz and Shane win, because if they don’t, why even have this match? Are we setting up Miz vs. Shane at WrestleMania? Because I’d really, really, really rather not.
Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (C) vs. Sasha Banks
So, I wasn’t the biggest Roman Reigns fan, but I am confused as to why people consistently buried him for his mic skills (or lack thereof), but we all forgive Ronda for stuttering and sputtering through all of her obviously scripted promos. I don’t know why, but despite being the biggest legitimate badass in the women’s division, I have the hardest time taking her seriously.
Anyway, Sasha Banks definitely isn’t getting a win this big, Ronda retains. Next.
SmackDown Women’s Championship: Asuka (C) vs. Becky Lynch
Match. of. the. night. How weird is that? The secondary brand’s women’s championship is going to be the best singles bout. How about it? I’m actually kinda torn. Asuka hasn’t been champion for very long, but Becky Lynch is just so red hot. I honestly don’t know. I’m leaning towards Asuka retaining, and then dropping the belt to Charlotte down the road, with Becky Lynch… well… with Becky Lynch showing up somewhere else on this show.
WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan (C) vs. AJ Styles
I love AJ Styles, and I’m very happy that he’s found as much success as he has in WWE. But A. I’m just tired of him being champion, and B. I’m tired of getting my hopes up for matches that never live up to expectations. I don’t know what the plans for WrestleMania are for either of these men, but I hope they aren’t with each other. I think Bryan retains, and Vince, if you’re out there… please take a chance on Mustafa Ali for a big match in the future.
Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Finn Balor
I wish that Finn Balor would emerge as the Demon and beat Brock Lesnar, but I just don’t see it. Lesnar isn’t going to drop the strap on a PPV that isn’t WrestleMania or SummerSlam, c’mon. And as high as everyone else might be on Finn backstage, I don’t see Vince really letting someone that small beat Brock.
His time in NXT is almost up, and there are always a few NXT standouts in the event (like Adam Cole last year). Don’t be surprise if Black makes a cameo in the event, especially since he’s not NXT Champion anymore.
Since the Heartbreak Kid technically isn’t retired anymore, wouldn’t it make sense for him to make an appearance in the event he helped popularize? After all, at least one wrestler will do the famous skin-the-cat gimmick. Would he really end a retirement for a gimmick tag match? Would he really toss aside the gravitas of one of the best matches in company history for a quick payday?… Probably.
Booker T has actually returned to the ring for his own promotion, Reality of Wrestling, and if you need a good wrestler that’s guaranteed to get a decent pop, throw Booker in there with a Spinaroonie.
This doesn’t really count as a surprise because he’s made cameos on main roster television, but as the protoype of what Vince McMahon likes, he’ll likely make an appearance.
Kane is supposedly semi-retired, but would it really be the Royal Rumble without Kane? Kane has the most eliminations in Royal Rumble history, and it would be a nice moment of nostalgia if he returned to add to his total.
Kevin Owens and Bray Wyatt
Kevin Owens and Bray Wyatt have been gone too long, and it’s all but confirmed that they’re ready to return. Where better than as a surprise entrant in the rumble, perhaps eliminating his future WrestleMania opponent? It makes too much sense not to happen.
Matt Hardy is “retired” but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him make a splash in the Royal Rumble. I’m tellin ya guys, they love those nostalgia pops.
Longshot Surprise Entrants
Batista (Hollywood Megastar, but did tease HHH feud at SmackDown 1000)
Triple H (Hurt, but HHH looks a lot like HGH)
John Cena (Hurt, but superhuman Wolverine healing powers)
CM Punk (Legal battle/hatred, but people bring him up anyway so whatever)
Chris Jericho (Signed to AEW, but you never know with Jericho)
Ric Flair (69 years old because of course he is, but he was cleared to return)
The Rock (Hollywood Megastar with Rumored Heat, but he loves a quick pop)
For me, the winner of the women’s Royal Rumble is conditional. If Asuka retains the SmackDown Women’s Championship match, then I bet the house on Becky Lynch working double duty and getting the win. If Becky becomes a three-time SmackDown Women’s Champion, then my money is on Charlotte. It’s really that simple.
It’s gotta be Seth Rollins, right? Sure, Drew McIntyre is going to be Universal Champion at some point, but he’s a heel. He’s deep, deep in the heel pool, and a heel vs. heel main event doesn’t make any sense. Rollins has been cutting babyface promos against Brock Lesnar for a year. Even as Intercontinental Champion, he was taking shots at Lesnar. He’s clearly headed to the main event, where he’ll slay the Beast Incarnate.