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It’s here; the road to WrestleMania 31 begins here at the Royal Rumble. I love the Rumble. Always been a favourite of mine ever since I was a young child growing up in the late 80s/ early 90’s. This year is no different and for us UK fans it’s the first show to be broadcast live on the WWE Network (for just £9.99 per month) since it was released a week ago. The line-up for this show is weird. Four of the matches, including the pre-show, are tag team matches. Reminds me a lot of the 1992 Royal Rumble where they had three tag matches on that card. To WWE’s credit, they’ve done a great job building up the Royal Rumble and WWE title match. The Royal Rumble is a huge draw on its own because of the name and history, plus it has been boosted by the return of Daniel Bryan as a lot of people want to see him win it after what happened last year. It’s a fun match I enjoy watching since it only happens once a year.
As always, we all predict the outcomes of the matches for 3 points plus some special tie breaker questions. For the past three years, I, Rif, have been victorious over the 12 months and I want to defend my title and make it four in a row. Here’s to a positive start!
The New Day (Big E, Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) vs. Cesaro, Tyson Kidd & Adam Rose
RIF: The New Day
Michael: The New Day
Joe: The New Day
Dan: The New Day
The good guys always go over in the pre-show, it’s a way of rallying up the fans and setting the tone for the show. Do I like the New Day? Wouldn’t say I was a massive fan but it’s a group I’d love to see do well.
The Ascension vs. New Age Outlaws
RIF: The Ascension
Michael: New Age Outlaws
Joe: New Age Outlaws
Dan: New Age Outlaws
All of The Ascension’s promos ripping on older teams were done to build up to that moment on Raw where they got their asses kicked and apparently to set up this match. The way The Ascension has been booked in their first month on the main roster has been disappointing, but it’s early. Hopefully it gets better. It has to be a short and dominating win for the Ascension, a win for the Outlaws would not just be the wrong call but will prove how little faith management have in the former NXT guys.
The Bella Twins vs. Natalya & Paige
RIF: Natalya & Paige
Michael: The Bella Twins
Joe: The Bella Twins
Dan: The Bella Twins
A Divas tag match isn’t appealing and this is something that should be shown on television with a title match taking place at the Rumble. I was hoping to see a triple threat match involving Nikki, Natalya and Paige but for some reason we’re not getting a title match. I see Paige picking up the win here to set up a future title match down the line and re-establish her as the top babyface diva in the WWE. A win for the good girls.
WWE Tag Team Championship
The Usos © vs. The Miz and Damien Mizdow
RIF: The Usos
Michael: Miz & Mizdow
Joe: Miz & Mizdow
Dan: The Usos
The Miz and Mizdow partnership is coming to an end soon. They don’t need the titles. I believe that the seeds will be planted for that said split. There could be a moment in the match where Mizdow loses the match and Miz gets angry at him for it. Later on in the Rumble (providing that both men are involved), Mizdow shows that he wants to be his own man and eliminates Miz from the Rumble for a big moment. No matter what happens with them, the Usos are going to continue their second reign as WWE tag team champions.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Brock Lesnar © vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins
RIF: John Cena
Michael: John Cena
Joe: John Cena
Dan: Seth Rollins
Originally when it was just Cena v Lesnar, I would have said Lesnar to win but with the inclusion of Seth Rollins I’m leaning towards John Cena pinning Rollins for the win, which is why I believe they included Rollins into the match. That way Lesnar can say he didn’t get pinned and still lost while either staying heel or going face depending on whoever he faces at WrestleMania. He could justify the face turn by attacking Heyman saying that he didn’t want to be in a triple threat where he could lose without being pinned. That could set up Lesnar vs. Rollins for WM31. Cena can go into WrestleMania to take on a babyface opponent in the main event. Cena didn’t main event WrestleMania last year; do you think they’ll make it two in a row? I don’t think so.
The Royal Rumble
RIF: Daniel Bryan
Michael: Roman Reigns
Joe: Roman Reigns
Dan: Daniel Bryan
There’s so much I want to cover in the Royal Rumble match but as for my pick to win, I’m really on the fence right now. I’m leaning towards Daniel Bryan. Roman Reigns is hard to ignore and has been the favourite to win this year’s Rumble ever since last year. I honestly don’t think he’s ready for the main event scene just year. He’s a talented guy for sure so there’s plenty of time to push Reigns into the top slot. I think it would be smart to have Bryan win it. He’s overcome a serious injury. He’s the ultimate underdog and for him to make it back to back WrestleMania victories would be the comeback story to end all comeback stories. Other guys to look out for are Bray Wyatt, Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose and Rusev. Rusev is going to look great. He’ll be the guy to eliminate the most people from the match only to be eliminated by Ryback. I’m calling that now. Ambrose is going to be one of the first two to enter the match and last all the way till the final four. Ziggler has been in that role before so that’s why I’m going with Ambrose in that role, and Wyatt is the wildcard. He hasn’t been utilized well recently, he’s not going to win but I reckon he’ll do well here.
Name the final four in the Royal Rumble match (1pt per correct answer)
RIF: Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose & Bray Wyatt
Michael: Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose & Bray Wyatt
Joe: Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Ryback& Dean Ambrose
Dan: Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose & Bray Wyatt
I fully expect Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns to be the final two in the match so it’s a question of who will make up the numbers so to speak. Ambrose and Wyatt make the most sense to me. They have unfinished business in their rivalry. They could do a spot where Ambrose eliminates Wyatt only for Wyatt to sneak back into the ring to eliminate Ambrose. Other than that, it’s a complete shot in the dark.
Name four of the mystery participants in the Royal Rumble match (1pt per correct answer)
RIF: Rob Van Dam, Bubba Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley & Randy Orton
Michael: Tommy Dreamer, Bubba Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley & Chris Jericho
Joe: Bubba Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley, Tommy Dreamer & Rob Van Dam
Dan: Bubba Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley, Tommy Dreamer & Sheamus
With the Rumble taking place in Philly, expect some presence of ECW legends. It’s hard to ignore the Dudley Boy rumours so that had to be taken into account. Rob Van Dam has also teased an appearance and it’s half expected for Randy Orton and Sheamus to make their returns.
Enjoy the Rumble guys, feel free to post your thoughts and predictions.