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WWE Royal Rumble 2014 PPV Predictions

January 25, 2014

Royal_Rumble_2014_poster

Onwards and upwards now, as WWE kicks off 2014 with its penultimate PPV – the Royal Rumble.  Just one more to go after this and then we’re onto the brave new world built around the WWE Network, of which you can read more here.

A quick word about that Rumble poster first.  WWE rarely takes much interest in ensuring the relevance of these things but this one is rather loose, even by their standards.  Mark Henry is bald, which happened after Kane took off his mask and started wearing a suit, only Kane is still shown in his old masked get-up – and Mark Henry is supposed to be out hurt and not even on this show.   Oh, and they’re wasting time putting Dolph Ziggler, Ryback and Kofi Kingston into prominent positions.  Sure, one of these men recently got a clean win over the reigning WWE World Heavyweight Champion and all but, c’mon now, let’s keep things in perspective.

wwe royal rumble cody rhodes goldust new age outlaws

WWE Tag Team Championship Match:

Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs New Age Outlaws

So, for some reason Road Dogg and Billy Gunn are back.  I believe Road Dogg made his WWE debut in 1995 and Billy Gunn in 1993 (and Goldust way back in 1991).

In theory, there’s nothing wrong with bringing in a couple of veterans for a short run.  It allows them to work with younger talent and help to elevate them to some degree.  In practise, WWE has elected to have the Outlaws turn heel.  This is a terrible decision as the crowd has too strong an affinity for their loveable goofballs gimmick to ever really hate them, even back in the Attitude Era.

Furthermore, if Triple H really wanted to get an Authority-endorsed tag team to take the titles off of Cody and Goldust, would his character really be so stupid as to go back in time and drag out these guys?  There are a bunch of tag guys on the main roster who could have filled this role – Prime Time Players, Real Americans, Brodus Clay & Tensai, Ryback & Curtis Axel – not to mention the Ascension in NXT.

With a bit of luck this will just be a fun, throwaway match on the pre-show.  Certainly all four men have the talent to deliver such a thing.  There have been rumours of doing a title change, however, which would appear to be very short-sighted given that the crowd is not yet tired of the Rhodes Brothers act.

The Rhodes have in the past lobbied to work a WrestleMania match against one another but they would be better off avoiding that.  At the moment, they remain stronger together than as singles.  Plus, who benefits from this match?  If Goldust loses, his glorious comeback collapses into a sad ending.  If Cody loses, they hurt the younger guy who will be with them longer.

All of which is a rather long-winded way of saying, hey, don’t change the titles until you’ve gotten a decent plan in place for them.  These belts are more over now than they have been in years.  Don’t ruin it.

Winners – Cody Rhodes & Goldust

wwe royal rumble big show brock lesnar

Big Show vs Brock Lesnar

Funny how Brock seems to be booked as a babyface now. First he comes out and makes a polite, well-reasoned argument for why he should get a title shot (well, Paul Heyman did the talking but same difference).  He didn’t beat up the champion or anything, just made a request.  The cowardly heel champion refuses to face him and the heel authority figures don’t appear to want to make the match, even though they were the ones who re-signed him.

Then Mark Henry decides to pick a fight with him without provocation, like an utter heel, and gets his ass handed to him as Brock valiantly defends himself. Twice, in fact.

Then Big Show decides to pick a fight with him without provocation, like an utter heel, after Brock’s already been in a brawl with Henry. Then he celebrates this by punching an old man in the head, leaving him in a wheelchair.

So, really, why should people not be cheering for Brock at this point and willing him to beat the crap out of Show? Just because Heyman has an annoying voice?

The match is nothing more than an exercise in reminding people that Lesnar is a big, strong mofo so that people may, just may, on a whim, in a fleeting moment of madness, believe he has a shot at beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania.  One could argue that having Show as an opponent is a waste of Lesnar’s limited dates.  The alternative is to just put him in the ring with a genuine top guy and either beat him, making the supposed top guy look weak, or have Lesnar losing again.  So, there’s no problem with this match.  Just keep it brief and try not to break the ring this time – it might make the Rumble match a tad difficult.

Winner – Brock Lesnar

wwe royal rumble daniel bryan bray wyatt

Daniel Bryan vs Bray Wyatt

Let’s try to break this one down.

Daniel Bryan went through four PPVs last year, from August to October, being repeatedly screwed out of winning the title.  This led to a mutual bitching session with C.M. Punk that, for some reason, the Wyatt Family took exception to.  Punk soon went off to fight with the Shield and left Bryan against the Wyatts.  Punk more or less held his own but Bryan decided to give up and join the Wyatts… only to leave them after a couple of weeks, claiming it was all a ploy to get Bray Wyatt when he least expected it.

Under any normal storytelling convention, you would expect this to have been a brief detour en route to Bryan getting back into the title hunt and winning the bloody thing for real at WrestleMania.  Well, nope.  The title scene is now being clogged up by the tattooed bellies of Batista and Lesnar, which means this Bryan/Wyatt thing is indeed going to drag on until the big event.

Thing is, Bryan’s popularity perpetuates and has sort of started to cross over into the real world.  Witness just one of many examples of the Yes Chant breaking out at major sporting events this month:

Although WWE would love to make the Yes Chant a generalised WWE trend, it remains inextricably linked to Bryan – and the sports stars interviewed about it have made sure to mention his name.  This all convinced WWE to cut-short the “Daniel Wyatt” heel character, with the new goal apparently being to get 70,000 people doing the chant at WrestleMania.

Whether or not that will be in a title match remains to be seen, although chances are it will not be.  There has been some talk of Bryan being put into a six man tag match against the Wyatts, with his illegitimate brother-in-law John Cena and a third man on his side.  Hulk Hogan had been mentioned as a possibility but he is unable to clear a WWE physical nowadays.  Sting is rumoured to be done with TNA at long last and on his way in… who knows?

So, for the time being, it is looking like yet another defeat is on the cards for Bryan.

Winner – Bray Wyatt

wwe royal rumble john cena randy orton

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match:

Randy Orton vs John Cena

Last month, Orton defeated Cena to unify the two old world titles into one championship.  Still two belts though, which just reminds me of Joey Tribbiani.

Rather than just going ahead with Cena getting an obligatory rematch, WWE felt the need to become “creative”.  This led to the asinine sight of career mid-carder Kofi Kingston getting a clean fluke win over Orton, after which Orton snapped and attacked Cena’s father in the front row.

Cena was so incensed by this that the following week he turned up for Raw two hours and fifty-five minutes late, going straight to attacking Orton and so interrupting Kingston’s rematch.  Orton fled the scene through the crowd, getting into some random car at the front of the arena and leaving Cena to celebrate with some children.

I, for one, feel slightly dumber for having watched all of this unfold.

The match should be fine.  These two are incapable of having a bad main event match with one another, although they are just as incapable of having a great one.  For whatever reason, the crowd has never taken to the WWE’s insistence that Cena/Orton is this generation’s Austin/Rock.  It may have something to do with Austin and Rock being around as full-time main event stars for less than half the time that Cena and Orton have been.

Winner – Randy Orton

Royal-Rumble-photo

2014 Royal Rumble Match

This is the official list of competitors announced so far, as per WWE.com…

  • Batista 
  • CM Punk (Director of Operations Kane declared Punk will enter the match at No. 1)
  • Alberto Del Rio
  • Big E Langston
  • The Miz
  • R-Truth
  • Xavier Woods
  • Kofi Kingston
  • Cody Rhodes
  • Goldust
  • Rey Mysterio
  • Fandango
  • Roman Reigns
  • Seth Rollins
  • Dean Ambrose
  • Erick Rowan
  • Luke Harper
  • Damien Sandow
  • Jimmy Uso
  • Jey Uso

That’s 20 names, leaving space for 10 additional entrants.

There has been a lot of talk of having Jake Roberts taking one such spot, getting to deliver just one more DDT as reward for his recent recovery.  It would be a tremendous feel-good moment so here’s hoping that WWE makes it happen.

Beyond that, there is also speculation that Sheamus and Christian may make their returns here.  Even some talk of Jimmy Wang Yang getting a cameo appearance due to his friendship with Big Dave Batista.

DAVE would have been a spectacular surprise entrant, yet WWE elected to promote his return for Raw instead.  This lead to some massive ratings that will no doubt help their efforts at getting increased TV rights fees, so it’s safe to say that plan worked.

DAVE remains the overwhelming favourite to win this thing.  The seeds have already been sown for him taking the title off of Orton at WrestleMania.  In case you haven’t heard, Batista has a starring role in Marvel’s latest summer superhero movie, Guardians of the Galaxy.  That’s going to get a hell of a lot of promotion, so no doubt WWE will be quite keen on having him carrying around the WWE title belt while he’s doing the interview rounds.

The only potential problem is, well, check this out…

That’s not just Josh Mathews looking suspiciously like Ricardo Rodriguez.  That’s Batista cutting more or less the same promo on Orton that he did this week on Raw… only eight years ago at WrestleMania 22.  There are plenty of main event opponents for Batista to work with that would offer up something fresh – Punk, Bryan and Lesnar alone would provide months worth of material for him.  Going over the old, well-worn ground trodden by Batista and Orton and their time with Evolution and Triple H is not going to spark anybody’s interest.  Surely there are better things Dave can do in his return?

what-batista-wanted-to-tell-renee-7778

Uh, quite.

Looking down the announced participants list, there really aren’t any other likely winners.  Just as in 2011, C.M. Punk has the responsibility of being #1 and becoming the iron man of the match.  He’ll provide the central narrative of scaring the Authority that he might just win the damn thing, only to be screwed over in the end.  Perhaps we might even get Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns conveniently drawn at #2, #3 and #4 to deal with him.

Reigns is very much an outside bet.  As the heir apparent to Cena’s main event throne, his time will come.  As with his stand-out performance at last year’s Survivor Series, this match will be another important step towards that destiny, complete with ample spears and more eliminations than anybody else in the match.  It’s too soon for him to go all the way and win a WrestleMania title match, though.

So, the only other option is a mystery entrant… and the only remotely plausible mystery entrant that people would buy as a suitable winner is Daniel Bryan.  Could he pull off a Bret Hart ’94 style trick of losing earlier that night, limping out into the main event and winning the big one?

If WWE wants to deliver a result that would maintain the goodwill of their audience, that is precisely what will happen.  If WWE does not give much of a shit as they assume their audience will merely carry along aimlessly and buy the network no matter what, Batista will win.

Choose your own adventure!

Winner – Batista

Most Eliminations – Roman Reigns

Iron Man – C.M. Punk

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From → Wrestling, WWE

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