The Royal Rumble is almost upon us, and I can’t wait. It is easily one of the best pay per views of the year because it always has the mystique of not knowing what is going to happen. Even if you believe you think you know who the winner is going to be, there is usually a surprise entrant or some kind of swerve that keeps the Rumble fresh and exciting. There are some years where this is the best pay per view that the WWE does. That includes WrestleMania.
This year we have the joy of not only the 30-man over the top Royal Rumble but we have a dream match for the ages. Much like when Hogan faced The Rock or Flair hooked up with HBK, The Rock vs. CM Punk is as close to a can’t miss match as wrestling fans get. Those two matches alone make this Sunday a must buy. There are also a couple of other good matches that have been added to the card that make it a really strong showing by the WWE. It truly is WrestleMania season. Here’s a look at each match.
Antonio Cesaro vs. The Miz - United States Championship
This match was announced for the online pre-show. Their feud has been going pretty well on WWE Main Event. The show is actually an enjoyable hour of TV on a Wednesday. I have a feeling that the WWE is going to break these two apart with Miz doing his Flair's apprentice angle and Antonio moving on to a new challenger for WrestleMania season. Miz's work has slumped a bit lately. Cesaro is becoming a hot star in the company. With this being on the pre-show, I don't see a title change in the future. This also makes me believe neither has a true shot at winning the 30-man Royal Rumble match, but they did get some rub during the Beat The Clock challenge. So who knows.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro (Your United States Champion!)
Kaitlyn vs. A WWE Diva
This hasn’t been announced. Kaitlyn just got crowned Divas champion. Yet the Divas division is traditionally used as a buffer or bathroom break between big matches. I don’t know if this goes on between Rock/Punk and The Rumble or before Rock/Punk. I do know it won’t be worth the price of admission. I for one would like to see Natalya get the shot. Tonight on Smackdown she gets a win, which might be a sign she'll get a shot at the strap at the PPV. She is probably the best female wrestler left on the WWE roster. As my friend Sign Guy Joe always said, “Low expectations brings higher returns”, so this match should be better than I thought as long as both ladies don’t pull a Jackie Gayda.
Winner: Kaitlyn (Duh)
Team Rhodes Scholars vs. Team Hell No – WWE Tag Team Titles
Daniel Bryan and Kane have become one of the most enjoyable parts of the WWE. They are both good in the ring. Bryan is a certified workhorse between the ropes much like Ricky Steamboat or Chris Benoit. Kane has always been great in his character as it continues to evolve. The two as a comedy duo are pure gold with some of the campiest segments. You don’t change the channel when Team Hell No is on TV. That is saying something.
Team Rhodes Scholars has quickly become another joy to watch in this revitalized tag team division. Cody Rhodes has tried to do the singles action but he finds better success in tag teams. Sandow is a good young talent with an amazing persona. The two have meshed well and play the smarmy high class heels to perfection. Also Cody’s mustache is epic. Super Troopers had a baby with Magnum PI and made a 70’s porno epic.
These two teams should have another good match to continue their feud. Kane and Bryan beat Sandow and Rhodes in squash matches last week on RAW. It doesn’t seem that Kane and Bryan should lose this match at this point in the feud. They have been booked too strong against Rhodes and Sandow. Also fans still go nuts for Team Hell No and their antics. I don’t see them dropping the belts until Mania. Also with the reported rumor of the New Age Outlaws coming to the Rumble, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a dream match between the NAO and Team Hell No. The promos alone should be great.
Winner: Team Hell No (YES! YES! YES!)
The Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio – Last Man Standing Match for the World Title
This feud has been thrown together quickly. Albert Del Rio had a surprise win on Smackdown a few weeks ago to capture the title. They are not doing another Last Man Standing match. That is a quick burn on this feud. Not a lot of time to develop the rivalry. It really looks like this was all done to complete the face turn of Del Rio as he prepares to face off with Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, and Orton at the Elimination Chamber.
The Big Show is a trooper. The man always seems to do the right thing when it comes to the WWE. He place holds the World title for them as they pass it from Sheamus to Del Rio. Now he is helping turn Del Rio into Smackdown’s biggest star. I don’t know how many years he has left but dude deserves to be a first ballot hall of famer. He might even be a better worker than Andre the Giant, and that is saying something.
This match should be some good plunder, but I don’t see the WWE taking the strap off Alberto after a few weeks. While I do think this will be a short title reign I believe he keeps the title until Elimination Chamber. The Big Show will again do the job here with some kind of cheap ending. Something like Del Rio hits him with a car. I hope not that, but something in that vein of screwy endings. I don’t see Big Show getting legit 10 counted by Del Rio.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio (Until Next Month)
The Rock vs. CM Punk – WWE Championship
This might be the biggest match on the pay per view. These two are both megastars right now. The Rock will always have his fans. He is the Magic Johnson of the Attitude era. He was showtime. Steve Austin might have been the biggest name, but Rock was the kind of wrestler than formed the “sports entertainment” version of the current WWE product with catch phrases and goofy over-the-top characters. I mean he turned an elbow drop into a believable finisher. Hello, Five Knuckle shuffle.
CM Punk is probably the best wrestler to step foot in the WWE ring since HBK. He might even be better. His mic skills are the best of his generation. Between the ropes he is light years ahead of most in the company. He has a persona that blurs the lines of reality as fans don’t know where the on-screen and off-screen CM Punk differ. He can make any talent look better than they are, and that is rare today. He also might be the one person who equals The Rock’s current stardom in the WWE with his own strong base of loyal die-hard fans.
This Sunday is the clash of the two schools of pro wrestling. The Rock represents the “entertainment” faction that has been the last decade of the WWE. CM Punk represents the “wrasslin” faction that once was the corner stone of the sport that Harley Race, Ric Flair, and Macho Man Randy Savage built. This has all the makings of a true wrestling classic. It could be too much pressure, but both men traditionally excel beyond the height of expectation. No matter what happens the wrestling world will be talking about this match for months.
Winner: CM Punk (If the WWE wants to make real money)
30-Man Royal Rumble
It is the crown jewel of the pay per view. It is the most exciting 70+ minute match in the company. The match traditionally has surprise entrants and cool spots. There is talk of former talents like Shelton Benjamin, MVP, and The New Age Outlaws returning to the company in this match. I would also expect The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar to have appearances, but I’m not counting on either.
As far as favorites go, I would say that John Cena and the six men from the Beat The Clock challenge: Antonia Cesaro, Wade Barrett, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler Sheamus, and “Reefer” Randy Orton have the best chance to win it. Then again the WWE can always toss a wrench in the plans. It is the Rumble and nothing is certain. Well accept that one year when everyone knew HHH was gonna win it.
This year looks to be Superman In Jorts. It just seems that Cena and Rock are on a collision course for WrestleMania. The WWE believes their rematch is the true money maker. I for one think the current WWE title feud is the real money maker. I have a feeling I’m going to be wrong, but I think they can still have Cena pull this one out and get their rematch at the next PPV. Just read my Armchair Booker article from a few weeks back.
Winner: John Cena (Only to lose his Main Event Spot to The Rock at Elimination Chamber)
That is my look into the crystal ball for WWE’s Royal Rumble. It should be a good time this Sunday as the WWE has a couple can’t miss match ups. Enjoy and hopefully we get a couple surprises that make you tingle all over. Like when Hogan slammed Giant or Tyson KO’d Michaels. Those were good times, and great memories. The WWE needs to start making more of those again. They’ve been in short supply recently.