by Mat Lindsay
Originally published in SteelChair Magazine #12 – Read here
With little more than a fortnight to go until the day of the 30th annual WWE Royal Rumble, here are the predictions, hopes, wishes and – some might say – hallucinations that have sprung from the best and brightest of the SteelChair writers when they were tracked down and made to give them up to the business end of a smartphone set to record.
What follows is pretty much like the Rumble match itself – diverse, chaotic, sometimes downright daft, but as with the real thing, it has the potential to make you sit on the edge of your seat and pick your jaw up off of the floor as you witness something truly unexpected and spectacular.
So here it is, the collective wisdom of SteelChair magazine, for your enjoyment and enlightenment.
The Rumble always loves to throw together alliances and team members reunited, so what would be better than a Club Reunion featuring a returning Finn Bàlor? Imagine those three battling The Wyatt Family at some point.
Also, if Triple H would cause Rollins to lose his chance at the WrestleMania main event, that would kick-start their feud.
From a pure sadistic point of view, I’d love to see James Ellsworth at the mercy of the combined team of The Undertaker and Triple H.
As for the little predictions, you can bet there will be riots if Tye Dillenger doesn’t make his main roster debut at No. 10 in the Rumble match, although it would be nice to see him get the gold in NXT first.
There will be surprise returns; Vladimir Kozlov, and The Great Khali and potentially Scott Steiner come to mind.
What I’d like to happen? The Shield reunite and stare down the Club (Styles, Gallows and Anderson), potentially leading into a dream match at Mania.
What will probably happen? Joe and/or Nakamura will make appearances, Lesnar and Goldberg eliminate each other and have another match at WrestleMania, and a returning Finn Balor takes out the show, reclaiming the title he never lost.
In terms of shaping a WrestleMania stacked with ‘money matches’, a part-timer such as Undertaker, Lesnar or Goldberg seems likely to win (though I predict the latter two to toss each other out to set up the Mania rematch).
However, with a rumored Braun Strowman/Roman Reigns title match pencilled in, don’t be surprised if the ‘Monster Among Men’ goes on to win.
I honestly feel The Undertaker will win right now. Before Cena returned I called for him to win it but it looks certain that Undertaker will fight Cena at Mania. With him retiring soon, this should be a fitting way to bow out and a match with Cena makes the most sense. While I think an Undertaker/AJ Styles match would be better, I feel from a story point of view they could create magic with a Cena/Taker feud.
This is the first Rumble in a few years where the outcome doesn’t feel pre-determined. It’s loaded with star power and, thus, injected some unpredictability back into proceedings. Goldberg, Lesnar and ‘Taker must be considered favourites, while guys like Strowman, Rollins and potentially Samoa Joe and Balor could be dark horses. If I had to put money on it, I’d go with Undertaker.
The royal rumble is usually my favourite show of the year, because usually anything can happen; but this year feels different. After three years of horrible endings, I just can’t get excited for it. In some cases there has been a chance of 6 weeks worth of build up but only now are we learning that a full time member of the roster is actually entering.
WWE have concentrated so much energy on Goldberg, Lesnar and Taker that aren’t even gonna be around for the build up to ‘Mania that I hope Finn Balor comes in at 30 and [naughty word]’s them all up!
I predict a strong an exciting card. AJ Styles vs Cena will be another cracker and hopefully so will Charlotte v Bayley. But it’s always all about the 30 man!
Goldberg and Lesnar don’t even make it to the ring – they both destroy each other in a brutal, albeit brief, brawl to add further intrigue to their ‘Mania face-off.
Bray Wyatt eliminates Orton “they say never trust a snake Randy but you shouldn’t have ever trusted a GAWD!” to set up a ‘Mania match.
The clock ticks down and the lights go out every cheers because they think it’s the Taker but then – “Brother Nero I Knew You’d Come!” Surprise entrant Broken Matt Hardy!!!! If that happened I’d die of a Mark-Out. By the time Taker has walked to the ring R-Truth has entered and been eliminated. Stroman eliminates the deadman setting up their WM match. Oh and Kevin Nash comes out drinking a fine red wine…and pulls his quad.
I believe they’ll use this year as an experiment, and my pick is for Samoa Joe to come in and win the Rumble in his debut. Joe won’t headline Mania with Brock and Goldberg colliding, but this will put him up in the top mix immediately with an instant credibility that will get the wrestling world abuzz.
Who are you and what are you doing in my office?! Get the hell out – Predictions? CM Punk or Hogan to win!