The WWE Royal Rumble 2014 goes down this weekend, and the Rumble might be the most talked-about and unnecessarily-predicted thing in professional wrestling. It’s the first stop on the “Road To WrestleMania,” so most of the important stuff you’ll see at WrestleMania XXX begins here.
In lieu of simply providing an open discussion thread on the day of the event, let’s take a look at the card and see if we can predict its winners, shall we? Here’s your full card:
– Pre-show match for the WWE Tag Team Championships: Goldust and Cody Rhodes © vs. The New Age Outlaws
1. Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show
2. Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt
3. WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Randy Orton © vs. John Cena (the winner can only be decided by pinfall or submission)
4. The Royal Rumble Match
Yep, that’s it. Here are my OFFICIAL PREDICTIONS, which are legally binding. Let us know who you think will win the matches and why in our comments section below.
Pre-show match for the WWE Tag Team Championships: Goldust and Cody Rhodes © vs. The New Age Outlaws
What Should Happen: Oddly enough, I’m happy with whatever happens here. The New Age Outlaws are maybe my least favorite thing in history, but win or lose, the Cody and Goldust story can go somewhere great. If they lose, they’re both also in the Rumble match, which means we could have them lose via miscommunication and continue that later, with maybe Cody eliminating Goldust (on purpose or by accident) and Goldust getting mad at him. Mania match. If they win, their run of great (but low-on-story) tag team matches continues. And hell, maybe if they win here they can lose the belt to a team from this decade at Elimination Chamber, do the same breakup story and have the same match at Mania.
What Will Happen: A lot of people are calling a title change here with the Outlaws transitioning the belts to somebody like the Usos, but I think Cody and Goldust retain. Why have them be champions for so long only to lose in a pre-show match? Oh, right, because you hate the tag titles.
Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show
What Should Happen: Brock Lesnar has spent a year being the least threatening “major threat” in the world, so he needs to MAUL Show here. Basically the Lesnar/Henry brawl from Raw in pay-per-view form. Give Show zero offense. Lesnar shows up, murders him, F-5s him, tosses him through the stage or something and poses while doing that crazy alien yell. If Lesnar gets beaten up by Show the entire time and does one or two power moves to win, he’s that same wishy-washy threatening he’s been since he started losing to Triple H every couple of months. Seriously, how did Lesnar have so much trouble with CM Punk?
What Will Happen: Wishy-washyyyyy. A back-and-forth thing with Lesnar getting some kind of unexpected advantage (Heyman distraction, maybe?) and hitting an F-5 for the win. The announcers will NOT BE ABLE TO BELIEVE IT, even though we’ve seen him do it several times.
Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt
What Should Happen: I’m honestly not sure. Bryan got his revenge against Bray on Raw a couple of weeks ago, so this match needs a new plot point or unexpected story turn to be as engaging as it should be. At the same time, this is Bray’s biggest and best chance to show that he can “go” in the ring. He hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in terms of in-ring performance since he got brought up to Raw, so a great match here against a guy who can get a great match out of everybody will go a long way toward cementing him as a dude worth investing in beyond “engaging hillbilly mouthpiece.” I’d vote for a non-finish here, either to progress the story in the direction of Kane (the inside man!) or to get everybody into the Rumble.
What Will Happen: The pessimist in me says “plodding clubbering with Bray on offense most of the time and then a disqualification,” but f*ck the pessimist in me. This is going to be great, Bryan will be about to get the win and get jumped, Kane will run out to back him up because FRIENDSHIP, and then the goddamn Undertaker returns to even the sides. Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania in Louisiana, please and thank you.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Randy Orton © vs. John Cena
What Should Happen: REGULAR MATCH! I don’t know. John Cena wins with the STF? That’s really my default prediction for John Cena matches.
What Will Happen: They’ve made such a point to say this is a NORMAL MATCH where there must be a winner that there’s no way we get a decisive winner. I’d call something ridiculous like Batista interference leading to the champion being in question again, leading to a John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista thing at WrestleMania 23. Sorry, 30. Anyway, John Cena wins with the STF.
Royal Rumble Match
What Should Happen: Here are three guys I’d like to see win the Rumble, and why.
1. Daniel Bryan because obviously. Shenanigans abound in the match against Bray Wyatt and Bryan and the Wyatts end up in the Rumble. It comes down to Bryan and Punk as the final two, and either Bryan dumps him to guarantee his main event at WrestleMania, or they pull a Hart/Luger by going over and hitting the floor at the same time, setting up (I’m assuming) Cena vs. Orton vs. Punk vs. Bryan in the main. And by “main” I mean “match that goes on third to last so older guys can be happy.”
2. Cody Rhodes. This isn’t happening, but I’d love to see Cody take the Rumble. It’d give him back his forward momentum and play into the most interesting story of last year: the Rhodes family vs. McMahon family power/respect struggle. Cody wins and gets a shot against Orton, the man who made his life as a young boy a living hell and got him fired. As a bonus, that gives us a Cody vs. Goldust title match at Extreme Rules, which can either be Dustin’s farewell to end his recent epic run or the first match in Goldust’s King Booker-esque legacy title run.
3. Roman Reigns because ROMAN REIGNS. I’d love to see The Shield as the last three guys in the ring and Roman just going Super Saiyan on them to claim the throne. Worst case, Roman’s this year’s ring clearer. If four guys don’t get speared the second Roman hits the ring, I’ll be shocked.
What Will Happen: Punk or Batista. Getting the #1 spot in the Rumble with fanfare is usually a guarantee that you’ll be there at the finish. “Royal Rumble winner” is something Punk needs to check off on his pre-retirement checklist, after all. There’s a chance that The Shield or Kane (or anybody) will throw Punk out, though, so my official prediction is Batista. You’ve gotta have the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the guy’s shoulder when he’s going to movie premieres and telling the Tonight Show audience about Guardians Of The Galaxy, right?
Unannounced Entrants You’ll Probably See: Ryback, Curtis Axel, Los Matadores. El Torito! Maybe 3MB will get to enter and count as one dude.
Surprise Entrant Predictions: Sheamus. Evan Bourne, maybe? Jericho, to get his January-to-April paycheck. Just kidding, Sting will take all three of those guys’ spot and win the Rumble in triplicate.
You can hear more predictions (including which dumb spot I think Kofi Kingston will do) over at The Mandible Claw podcast.