WWE Royal Rumble 2019, the Biggest Party Of The Winter®, airs this Sunday, January 27, live on WWE Network. The popular event once again features two Royal Rumble matches, as well as marquee showdowns for the WWE, Universal, and Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championships. We’ll be here all weekend with live results, an open discussion thread, news breakouts, and everything you need to know. Here’s the card as we know it.
WWE Royal Rumble 2019 Card:
1. Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Finn Bálor
2. WWE Championship Match: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles
3. Raw Women’s Championship Match: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Sasha Banks
4. Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Asuka (c) vs. Becky Lynch
5. Men’s Royal Rumble Match (so far featuring R-Truth (at #30), Titus O’Neil, Rey Mysterio, Mustafa Ali, Andrade, Apollo Crews, Elias, Baron Corbin, Jinder Mahal, Bobby Lashley, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Drew McIntyre, Kofi Kingston, Big E, Xavier Woods, Jeff Hardy, and a possibly injured John Cena)
6. Women’s Royal Rumble Match (so far featuring Carmella (at #30), Alexa Bliss, Lacey Evans, Bayley, Tamina Snuka, Lana, Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, Sarah Logan, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Ember Moon, Peyton Royce, Billie Kay, Alicia Fox, Natalya, Mickie James, Nia Jax, Nikki Cross, Naomi, Zelina Vega, Charlotte Flair)
7. Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: The Bar (c) vs. The Miz and Shane McMahon
8. (Kickoff) United States Championship Match: Rusev (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
9. (Kickoff) Cruiserweight Championship Match: Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Kalisto vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Hideo Itami
As always, we’ve got your complete rundown of the card and analysis below, featuring predictions for all nine matches. Make sure to drop a comment and let us know who you think’s winning, and be here on Sunday to see if you’re correct.
Here’s what we think will go down at Royal Rumble 2019.
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Kalisto vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Hideo Itami
What Should Happen: It’s probably time for the artist formerly known as KENTA to seem like an important character in wrestling again, doesn’t it? While the fan in me kinda hopes Buddy Murphy stays champion indefinitely, I’d love to see Hideo Itami finally win some WWE gold. WWE putting Cruiserweight Championship matches on at the very beginning of pre-shows when the minimum amount of its Network audience will be watching makes it hard to get excited about these things, no matter how good they’ll probably be.
What Will Happen: While the fan in me kinda hopes Buddy Murphy stays champion indefinitely, the Guy Who Feels Like He Knows How The Company Operates in me thinks they’ll give it to Kalisto, or something ridiculous. I’ll just abridge my “what should happen” here and say I’m internally rooting for Hideo Itami, but will be pretty okay with Best Kept Secret continuing to shush us about the purple belt through WrestleMania.
Bill Hanstock – Buddy Murphy should just hold this title forever, let’s be honest. But if you’re ever going to take the title off him, do it in a four-way match where he doesn’t have to get pinned. Everyone in this match has held this title except Itami, so I’m going with Hideo. He’ll pin Kalisto and win the big one, and then challenge Daniel Bryan to a non-title match on Smackdown Live and we’ll all faint with delight.
Emily Pratt – Give this to Hideo Itami, please! That dude has been killing it on 205 Live, and Ariya Daivari supporting him as essentially a Pro Wrestling NOAH stan who hasn’t yet given up hope on KENTA has been fun. I would love to see this dude have a higher profile on the C [Cruiserweight] Show, and I think his character is in a good place for one.
Raj Prashad – Buddy Murphy has looked great as the face of the 205-pound division, and despite his toughest test yet, I believe he’ll pull this one out.
Elle Collins – This should be a really fun match, but it would be no way for Murphy to drop the title. I’m guessing he keeps it.
United States Championship Match: Rusev (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
What Should Happen: You know what? I’m about to say it.
A match between last year’s Royal Rumble winner and a guy who spent most of the past year surging in grassroots popularity (and is currently the on-paper second most prestigious champion on your best main roster weekly show) shouldn’t be battling it out over a wife falling down on a pay-per-view pre-show.
What Will Happen: Since it’s happening on the pre-show, I imagine Nakamura will be about to win with the Kinshasa when Lana shows up from out of nowhere, grabs his leg, and distracts him. A confused Nakamura will push her off, and turn around into a Matchka Kick. Rusev and Lana celebrate while Nakamura grabs at his own cheeks and makes upset faces.
Bill Hanstock – Handsome Rusev will retain, on Rusev Day of all days, thus leaving Shinsuke free for WrestleMania to … uh … hell, let’s go with “wrestle KUSHIDA.”
Emily Pratt – This match should be good! It sucks that it’s on the pre-show, but these two have been given a real pre-show worthy feud. What happens with Rusev in the next few months probably depends on boring contract stuff, so this title reign is hard to predict. I hope they give it back to Nakamura just because I like him and always want him to win, but I suspect Rusev retains.
Raj Prashad – Calling Rusev Day to roll on, beating Nakamura again to hold onto the U.S. crown.
Elle Collins – Nakamura’s US Title reign turned out to be a whole lot of nothing, which makes me doubt he’s getting it back, and I hope Rusev keeps the belt long enough to take part in some sort of storyline that makes the best seem to matter. This belt needs that, and so does Rusev.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: The Bar (c) vs. The Miz and Shane McMahon
What Should Happen: Miz starts the match, does a full armdrag and twist, tags out to Shane McMahon. Shane takes heat for about 10 full minutes, building and building to a hot tag, and then this happens:
What Will Happen: I’ve used every fantasy booking bone in my body to rationalize why The Miz is just stringing Shane McMahon along and emotionally manipulating him just to turn on him, but part of me wants it to go the other way. Like, maybe Shane preemptively turns heel on Miz because he thinks he’s “one step ahead of him,” but Miz has actually been changed by the birth of his daughter and is attempting to be a better dude. That would be such a more interesting story than, “whoops, Miz is still evil actually,” even though I’m also extremely into watching Shane get his guts kicked in again.
Anyway, give Shane the Tag Titles and then run Shane vs. Nicholas in the battle of pro wrestling’s Best Pure Strikers at WrestleMania.
Bill Hanstock – MizMahon wins. BUT CAN THEY COEXIST
Emily Pratt – I just can’t get behind Shane McMahon as a babyface ever, even though I think the storyline between he and the Miz has been written pretty well so far. So I hope the Bar wins, and I think the Bar wins because the Miz and Shane O’Mac are going to have a singles match at WrestleMania.
Raj Prashad – After weeks of the two becoming best friends, it seems like a perfect opportunity to turn The Miz on his buddy Shane, setting up a likely WrestleMania match between the two. Naturally, the Bar wins here.
Elle Collins – I think Miz and Shane are going to win, because holding the Tag Titles at least briefly seems like an important chapter in whatever story they’re telling.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
What Should Happen: It’s not a thing that I actually expect to happen, but my ultimate fantasy booking here is Sasha Banks defeating Ronda Rousey and winning the Raw Women’s Championship, Becky Lynch defeating Asuka for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, and Bayley (of all people) winning the Royal Rumble. Let Asuka enter after her match and eliminate Charlotte in the final four or something. That’d give us Bayley vs. Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s Championship, Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, and Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair in a WrestleMania rematch with some heat behind it.
What Will Happen: Rumble matches are fun because even when they’re super obvious, they aren’t. Charlotte Flair winning seems like an easy bet. So does Becky Lynch and/or Ronda Rousey getting involved in each other’s matches and setting something up for/in/with the Rumble. Hell, they could be crazy people and give it to Nia Jax. If I’m making a formal, actual prediction … yeah, I’ve probably gotta go Charlotte Flair, setting up Ronda vs. Becky with Charlotte once again nosing her way in. For a final four I’ll say Charlotte, Bayley, Carmella, and Jax.
Also, if R-Truth doesn’t get confused here and enter at #30, what are we even doing?
Bill Hanstock – Final Four: Becky, Charlotte, Nia, R-Truth. Either Nikki Cross or Ruby Riott gets the Iron Woman treatment. R-Truth will enter the women’s Rumble match by mistake, and Becky will either be in the match or jump someone and take their spot, a la Stone Cold or Randy Savage or however many people have done that in the past. One of two finishes here: Either Becky dumps Nia and Charlotte at the same time to win, or Becky and Charlotte recreate the Bret/Luger Rumble tie. THIRD OPTION: Ronda shows up and dumps Becky early, allowing Charlotte to win the match and Becky to wreak absolute havoc on both shows until she’s added to the match at WrestleMania.
Emily Pratt – The Women’s Royal Rumble, aka the home of the true final showdown between Mandy Rose and Naomi or whatever! Anyway, I think fewer legends show up this year, but I’m expecting to see the Bellas and Trish and Lita. I’m also expecting big moments for Lacey Evans, Nikki Cross, and the returning Alexa Bliss. I think Becky Lynch enters the Rumble after losing to Asuka, wins the thing, and challenges Ronda Rousey. Everyone freaks out.
My final four: Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Carmella, and a wild card pick, Shayna Baszler, who gets moments with at least one of the NXT Four Horsewomen to continue the slow, steady build to that feud.
Raj Prashad – A little fantasy booking here, but I could see Ronda Rousey costing Becky Lynch the title yet again, and the former champ becoming a late entrant into the Rumble. Predicting the final four here to be Nikki Cross, Charlotte Flair, Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch, with Lynch winning the Rumble.
Elle Collins – Everybody has a narrative in their head about how this match is going to go, centered around somebody who isn’t even officially in it, and I worry that everyone will judge the match entirely on whether or not it adhere’s to the expected narrative. I’m guessing the final four will be Charlotte Flair, Sonya Deville, Ember Moon and yes, I’m giving in to the narrative, Becky Lynch. And as long as I’m predicting that she’ll be in the match, I have to predict her to win, or what’s the point? Becky Lynch for Royal Rumble 2019.
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
What Should Happen: GIVE IT TO KOFI KINGSTON. JUST DO IT. HE DESERVES TO WIN ONE OF THESE. DO LIKE 15 OF HIS “ALMOST ELIMINATED” SPOTS IN THE SAME RUMBLE AND HAVE HIM LAST FOR LIKE 80 MINUTES, I DON’T CARE. DO IT.
What Will Happen: Seth Rollins. Sometimes the most obvious Royal Rumble prediction is the they’ll go with. Rollins proving himself, being an iron man (like his epic match on Raw), winning the whole thing and cashing in for a guaranteed match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania is the way to go. I’m just sad one of the other Shield guys couldn’t be around with a Money in the Bank briefcase to bring thematic closure and ruin it. Goal #1 needs to be “get the championship off Brock Lesnar,” and if Finn doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning, Rollins has gotta be The Guy.
I’ll say the final four here is Rollins, Kofi (just to mess with us), The Big Show (for some reason), and Chris Jericho in an AEW t-shirt.
Bill Hanstock – Final Four: McIntyre, Rollins, Kingston, Joe. I think Kingston or Joe gets the Iron Man treatment in this match, and I also think there’s a super real chance that Kofi actually wins, setting up the New Day feuding with Bryan leading up to WrestleMania. But I think there’s a much realer chance that Rollins rightfully wins the thing to solidify him taking on Lesnar at WrestleMania, and finally giving Raw the champion it deserves.
Emily Pratt – I think it’s Braun Strowman to set up a Universal Championship match with Lesnar. With them taking away his title match and what happened on Raw this week, I really think they’re going to try and rehab this dude and make people care about this feud like they used to. Overall, I’m looking forward to this year’s Rumble (like every year’s Rumble), especially the inevitable showdowns between Andrade and Rey Mysterio, whatever Kofi Kingston and Elias get up to, and the performances of Samoa Joe and Mustafa Ali.
My final four: Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe since he was really built up as a threat on SmackDown this week, Seth Rollins, and let’s say Drew McIntyre.
Raj Prashad – Predicting the final four here to be Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Drew McIntyre and Samoa Joe, with Joe winning the Rumble.
Elle Collins – Even without John Cena, this is a pretty loaded Royal Rumble. For the Final Four, I’m guessing Mustafa Ali, Andrade, Drew McIntyre, and Seth Rollins. I’m guessing Seth wins, although I can also imagine it being McIntyre.
Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Asuka (c) vs. Becky Lynch
What Should Happen: As mentioned above, I’d put Lynch over Asuka here to really establish her as “The Man” and show that whatever Charlotte Flair can do, she can do, too. Then you wind your way into Lynch vs. Rousey at WrestleMania, because Rousey doesn’t need to be champion to say, “hey, give me a championship match,” and get one. Neither does Flair.
What Will Happen: Every logical bone in my guts is saying Rousey shows up to cost Lynch the match, just like she did at TLC. Ronda Rousey being a “sore winner” of sorts (who hasn’t actually won, but feels like she has) is a great way to build to a WrestleMania blowoff that establishes Lynch as the biggest female star in your company for real, and sends Rousey off to literally live on a farm upstate where she has a lot of room to run around. This is gonna own, by the way.
Bill Hanstock – Since Becky and Ronda are pointed at each other, and since I doubt WWE is interested in merging the women’s championships this early into having women in the main event, I think Asuka retains here via some sort of outside interference, whether it be Ronda or Charlotte inserting themselves into the match — or both brawling at ringside, distracting Becky and leaving her open to DEATH BY ASUKA.
Emily Pratt – I’m guessing Asuka wins a really good match. This is partly because I think Lynch wins the Rumble and goes on to face Rousey at WM. Also, I want to live in a world where we get both that AND Asuka in a championship match at WrestleMania 35. Also, Lynch’s finisher is a Fujiwara armbar, and Asuka already beat the ACTUAL FUJIWARA in 2014 (when he was super old) (in a tag match) (which she did not pin or submit Fujiwara to win) (I refuse to admit this does not hold up) (the point is that I think Asuka should win the battle of the armbars here.)
Raj Prashad – Ronda Rousey has picked her places to jab at Becky Lynch, so I’m going to take Asuka here thanks to some outside interference.
Elle Collins – Becky’s the best there is, which in theory means she should always be champion, but that’s not really how wrestling works. Everybody already knows that Beck’s the best, so she doesn’t really need the title. Asuka’s amazing too, but she still has something to prove after she spent so much of 2018 having tag matches in the undercard. So I’m calling it for Asuka.
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Sasha Banks
What Should Happen: See above, again. If Rousey’s not going to stick around past WrestleMania, or is leaving sometime shortly thereafter, I think there’s value in giving her some marquee losses so when she’s gone her talking point isn’t, “I can easily defeat everyone except that one person.” Banks could get a much, much, much needed rub after slumming it in the bowels of Raw in 2018.
What Will Happen: nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana I DON’T GIVE A DAMN BOUT MY REPUTATION nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana, etc.
Bill Hanstock – I love you Sash, but you’re not where Ronda’s story is going. Sasha and Bayley may be the first or second Women’s Tag Team Champions, or at the very least may be in a match for those titles at WrestleMania (against, oh, let’s say the IIconics.) Ronda wins, but Sasha gives her a great match.
Emily Pratt – Rousey wins so she can go to WrestleMania as champion. This plays into the MMA vs. NXT Four Horsewomen battle in the future somehow. I think this match should be pretty good.
Raj Prashad – Picking Rousey to go over ad eventually defend her belt at WrestleMania.
Elle Collins – There’s nothing I’d like more than for Sasha to win this match. She’s long overdue for a real title run, and she could really make the most of the heat she’d get for ending Rousey’s winning streak. Unfortunately I just can’t imagine Ronda dropping the belt before Mania, or to Sasha Banks, if I’m being honest. So as much as I’d like for Banks to win, I’m predicting Rousey.
WWE Championship Match: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles
What Should Happen: In a better world, everyone in the crowd would say, “you know what, The New Daniel Bryan? You’re exactly right, AJ Styles IS the worst,” and cheer enthusiastically while Bryan pins him with an inside cradle. I don’t like knowing WWE has positioned “cares about things, researches his beliefs” against “does what he’s told by the old man, is enraged by razor commercials” as a thing you’re supposed to boo.
What Will Happen: If Daniel Bryan loses the championship here and we get another year of piss-poor non-Daniel Bryan AJ Styles pay-per-view title matches, I’ll flip every table in my house. The WWE Championship scene is fun and good for the first time since before the dark Orton/Wyatt/Mahal days, don’t just give it back to the best wrestler from four years ago so he can beat the same guy five pay-per-views in a row via wacky bullshit.
Bill Hanstock – The New Daniel Bryan is one of the best things that’s happened to main-roster WWE in a long time, and he needs to be holding that title when WrestleMania rolls around. Styles will find something else worthwhile to do (he always does), but he’s now so upper-echelon in WWE that he doesn’t need a world championship. Plus, the New Daniel Bryan is just getting started. Bryan wins decisively. (Although I’m not ruling out a punch to the nards.)
Emily Pratt – This match should be really good, and I’m guessing more aggressive than their last one. Bryan definitely retains.
Raj Prashad – The Planet’s Champion isn’t slowing down anytime soon, and I’m fully predicting him to push past Styles on his Road to WrestleMania.
Elle Collins – It’s about time for this feud to end. Bryan’s doing career-best heel work and is obviously going to be champion for a while yet. Styles already had this belt for a really long time, so it’s about time for him to move on and find something else to do.
Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Finn Bálor
What Should Happen: Finn Bálor doesn’t lose, somehow.
What Will Happen: Finn Bálor definitely loses. We get six more weeks of, “ugh, Brock Lesnar” on the Internet, and maybe Seth Rollins finally beats him with a spear, a Superman Punch, and a stomp at WrestleMania. Maybe.
Bill Hanstock – Boy, it sure would be something if Finn Bálor were able to reclaim his Universal Championship, wouldn’t it? We could set up Bálor vs. Rollins in a rematch for the title Bálor never lost and Rollins never won! Alas, That’s probably not a big-enough money match for WrestleMania, and would leave Lesnar with nothing to do and minimal television appearances to create a grudge for him to want to pursue at the year’s biggest show. A demon-less Bálor comes up just short, but Lesnar once again reminds us that he’s better than just about anyone else in pro wrestling when he actually likes his opponent.
Emily Pratt – As much as I want Finn to win, my money’s on Lesnar. I think WWE wants this dude in a championship match at WrestleMania and is just using this to wrap up the years-long story of Finn Balor’s quest for the Universal Championship. I think this match should be pretty rad though.
Raj Prashad – WWE has done its best to stack the odds against Bálor in recent weeks, and wouldn’t it make the most sense in the world for the first Universal champ to win his title back? Unfortunately think Lesnar holds onto the title in an entertaining match.
Elle Collins – There’s nothing I’d like more than for Finn to win this match. He’s long overdue for a real title run, and he’s one of the few who could redeem the Universal Championship at this point. Unfortunately I just can’t imagine Brock dropping the belt before Mania, or to Finn Bálor, if I’m being honest. So as much as I’d like for Bálor to win, I’m predicting Lesnar.
Those are our thoughts on Royal Rumble 2019, the fourth-to-last stop not counting Raw or Smackdown on the Road to WrestleMania. Who do you think’s winning what, and why? Let us know down in the comments section, and make sure you’re here all weekend for our Royal Rumble coverage! It’s not the greatest Royal Rumble, but it should be pretty good.