Inside Pulse 12

Rasslin’ Roundtable: 2016 WWE Royal Rumble

 

WWE Royal Rumble 2016

OFFICIAL MATCH CARD:

Fatal Four Way to determine entry into the Royal Rumble:

The Dudleyz vs The Ascension vs Mark Henry & Jack Swagger vs Darren Young & Damien Sandow

US Championship Match:

Alberto Del Rio (c) vs Kalisto

Divas Championship Match:

Charlotte w/Ric Flair (c) vs Becky Lynch

Intercontinental Championship Last Man Standing Match:

Dean Ambrose (c) vs Kevin Owens

Tag Team Championship Match:

The New Day (c) vs The Usos

WWE Championship Royal Rumble Match

 


 

Fatal Four Way to determine entry into the Royal Rumble:

The Dudleyz vs The Ascension vs Mark Henry & Jack Swagger vs Darren Young & Damien Sandow

Pat Metalhead: Well, I guess they had to have something as their pre-show match. Good news is this shouldn’t last too long as I’m sure Renee Young and friends will regale us with all sorts of meaningless comments and standard pre-Rumble interviews. As for the winner, I’m not going for the obvious crowd-pleader (as The Dudley’s have been toned down in recent weeks anyway) but I predict Mark Henry and Jack Swagger will win, so we can have a “Real Americans” vs “League Of nations” thing during (and probably after) the Rumble.

Winners: Mark Henry and Jack Swagger

James Wright: While I love multi-team tag matches I hate matches like this where the premise exposes the sheer pointlessness and inconsistency of most WWE booking. No other person had to qualify to enter the Rumble and yet here we are, (also why was that, wouldn’t it have added some stakes to some of the otherwise pointless matches held over the past few weeks) some arbitrary reason to try to justify this thrown together tag match. Why not just have it for the number one contender-ship to the tag titles, at least that would make some sense.

As for the match itself I’m sure it will be fun, although what is with the out-of-nowhere pairing of Young and Sandow? Henry and Swagger have at least been working together a little bit in the weeks leading up to this, but Young wasn’t even a part of that eight-man tag with Sandow in it on Smackdown. Usually I would stake my reputation on the Dudleys coming out on top with this one, but due to the added stipulation and the sheer strangeness of the pairing, and because I want Sandow in the rumble, I am going to have to go for the newbie team in this one.

Winners: Darren Young & Damien Sandow

Michael McMonigle: Maybe the WWE will go with the Dudley Boys, just to try to give the fans a smile before letting them down later in the show. However, if this is Mark Henry’s last rumble, maybe he and Swagger get the nod. There doesn’t seem to be any path for The Ascension and as far as I know, Sandow and Young have never teamed before. Hmm… Let’s say Dudleys for no apparent reason but to try to pop the crowd.

Winners: The Dudleyz

Kate Hartford: It could easily be any of these teams, but with Mark Henry retiring soon, this is quite possibly his last Rumble and it would make sense to see him participate.  While Jack Swagger hasn’t had screen time lately, he’s still easily qualified to be in the Rumble match.  There was also that mix-up regarding Henry being added to the Rumble entrants list, then crossed out, then the addition of him in the kickoff.  I’d rather see Ascension or Darren and Sandow added to the Rumble, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Mark Henry and Swagger win.

Winners: Mark Henry and Jack Swagger

Widro: Bubba Ray Dudley went from a surprise superstar in the 2015 Rumble to a pre show qualifier with jobbers. Ouch. Maybe they break up in the Rumble and Bubba gets a singles heel push
Winners: Dudleys
Rhett Davis:  Well this match is just bizarre.  There isn’t even a group I just really want to win.  The Ascension winning would just be a waste.  Wouldn’t really want them in a singles match wince there is zero chance in them winning.  Swagger and Henry are a better option but once again won’t make an ounce of difference in the Rumble aside from the team up on the big guy spot for Henry.  Sandow and Young are the weirdest tag to be paired up.  Honestly, it would have made more sense for Sandow and Swagger to team up with Young and Henry teaming.  Anyways, I say all of that to go with the fourth team, The Dudley Boyz.  They have to have some kind of benefits to coming back and putting everyone over.
Winners:  Those Damn Dudleys

Matt Harrak: Last year, Bubba Ray Dudley returned to the WWE in front of a “hometown” crowd in Philadelphia to a heroes welcome. Now he’s in a thrown together match on the kickoff show to earn a place in the Rumble. It’s hard to watch Ray fall from a strong run in TNA on the main event scene to a lackluster nostalgia mid-card tag team. Still, they are the most over stars in this match and I expect them to pull double duty in the Rumble match.

Winners: The Dudleyz

 

Del Rio vs Kalisto

US Championship Match:

Alberto Del Rio (c) vs Kalisto

Pat Metalhead: I’ve said this before, I fail to see how this particular feud has done anyone any favor. Kalisto scored the upset win, Del Rio nullified any effect that win might have had by defeated the new champ on the next episode of SD! and this brings us to the tie-breaker. Now I know that WWE is the land of 50/50 booking but this is getting ridiculous especially since Del Rio win here is not really in doubt since he’s the bigger star. My question to WWE is: why even bother if you’re going to go with such unimaginative booking?

Winner Alberto Del Rio

Spain: After seeing the kind of shenanigans used to get the belt off Kalisto, and with the constant mentions of dead/retired Latino wrestlers, I reckon that this is going to be his moment. He can probably do a lot of good with a real title run, and Del Rio doesn’t need the belt as much as he does.

Winner (and new United States Champion): Kalisto

James Wright: I’m still not sure why this little title exchange took place, maybe to test what kind of pop Kalisto was able to get. Either way I don’t see Del Rio dropping the belt again to the pint-sized wonder. Moreover I can’t see the WWE even letting Kalisto win via disqualification or count out since they seem to have gone back to protecting Del Rio at all times like they did before, I never really did get why they did that. Hopefully Kalisto will have a good showing and that will make up for the inevitable loss.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio

Darren Paltrowitz: Winner: Alberto Del Rio (but Kalisto is further elevated up the roster)

Michael McMonigle: I’d have to think the Kalisto push is done. As fun as he is in the ring, I can’t imagine Vince McMahon having faith in him carrying a belt for long. I have to think this whole feud is just a way to push Del Rio harder and making the League of Nations look dominant. Prediction – Del Rio pretty dominant with enough hope spots for Kalisto to earn a heavy League of Nations beat down after.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio

Kate Hartford: Del Rio didn’t return to WWE just to get a title run and have it lost to a younger talent.  But at the same time, Kalisto is certainly deserving of a title run and we barely got a taste of what his reign would be like.  It makes more sense for Kalisto to have the title, considering there are more opportunities available for him compared to Del Rio, a veteran in the well-decorated League of Nations (well, save for Rusev – no offense).  I can see this feud extending beyond the Rumble, but Del Rio needs to be booked more effectively to make him a solid champion.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio

Darek Foreman: This should be an entertaining match.  Del Rio is a solid worker that is known to have pretty good matches.  He has never gotten over the way WWE has wanted him to, but he has been a solid worker.  Kalisto has the talent to be the next Rey Mysterio.  If the WWE pushes that way is a whole other story.  This should be fun and Kalisto should pick up the win and reclaim the US title.  One can argue that he never should have lost it in the first place.

Winner and New US Champion Kalisto
Brittney Soban: If Kalisto doesn’t win it puts his brief reign as US Champion in the realm of a “fluke”. If Alberto Del Rio wins it won’t be an exciting win. While each superstar is capable of putting on great matches and giving us great moments in/outside of the ring WWE Creative drops the ball more often than not and end up failing us a whole. If they want to push Del Rio & Kalisto properly this match needs to be well done and it needs to turn into a proper feud. A title on the line does not a feud make. They say they’ll bring prestige to the title but they haven’t done so yet. If this match isn’t boring I will be surprised. WWE restricts their stars and what they’re allowed to do so, as much as I want an exciting win for Kalisto I don’t see it happening any time soon.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Sam P: Kalisto lasted a full 24 hours as US Champion. That’s only a day longer than me. It seems as though WWE are testing out his popularity, and there’s a very real chance the masked pinball could slot into Rey Mysterio’s illustrious boots if pushed the right way. He’s super fun to watch, and as long as Del Rio turns up bothered, this could be a fun bout.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio

Penny Marie Sautereau: I WANT to hope Kay-Lo wins it back here, but Vince’s hatred of pushing “flippy shit” guys plus the League of Nations shenanigans, they’ll likely keep the belt on Del Bore-O regardless of the complete lack of fan reaction to him and the huge pops Kallisto gets.

Winner: Alverto Your Eyes-O
Widro: Both Kalisto and Alberto Del Rio have been booked poorly, but another clean loss here buries Kalisto. I think League of Nations interference backfires here and Kalisto gets the title
Winner: Kalisto
Rhett Davis:  This has actually been very interesting.  Kalisto got a nice win over ADR to obtain his first singles title only to lose it directly back on SmackDown!  It’s nice to shuffle things up like this.  At least to get the OMG moment on Raw.  Here, I’m torn.  I feel like Alberto wins via cheating.
Winner:  Albertoooooo del Riooooooo

Matt Harrak: It’s no secret I’m not a fan of Alberto Del Rio. I never have been and I doubt I ever will but his series of matches with Kalisto have been great. It’s amazing how good two people can be when they have similar styles. Kalisto has been making the most of his 15 minutes since TLC and it’s been great to see a new star breakthrough due mostly to his talent. I think the time is right to take a chance on Kalisto and I expect him to carry the US title into a multi-man ladder match at WrestleMania 32.

Winner: Kalisto

 

Charlotte vs Becky Lynch

Divas Championship Match:

Charlotte w/Ric Flair (c) vs Becky Lynch

Pat Metalhead: It’s come this far that I want Becky to win just because I wanna watch her kick Ric Flair’s ass. Not a bad thing some of you might say, but this should e about the title, and, once again, it isn’t. It’s more about Ric Flair than anything else. Which is a shame as we all know Becky and Charlotte could have a great match if left to their own devices. My pick here is a completely subjective one as I wanna see Becky Lynch have her big moment much more than I wanna see Ric Flair strolling around and Whooooo-ing us all into complete boredom.

Winner: Becky Lynch

Spain: I’d love for Becky to have the belt, but I personally don’t see it. I figure Sasha’s going to be there hero we need, and this will be a hell of a match that’ll make Charlotte seem like a long-term Champ. All I ask is that Ric is an absolute non-factor.

Winner (and still Divas Champion): Charlotte

James Wright: I’m looking forward to this match if only for the possibility of Lynch finally capturing a title and not continuing her role as bridesmaid-but-never-the-bride. I don’t want her to be the next Naomi. However I’m not hopeful for her actual chances as it seems too soon for Charlotte to drop the title. The only hope Lynch has is the fact that Banks and Paige are injured right now so there isn’t really anyone else for the Divas champ to really feud with right now. Still this doesn’t mean that Becky has to win, only that she doesn’t lose clean, which will very likely be the outcome what with the current ‘Dirtiest Diva in the Game’ storyline that they have going. Hopefully the match will get the time it needs and this won’t be put in the ‘piss-break’ position like divas title matches have been at past PPVs pre-dating the purposeful efforts to avoid this since the Divas Revolution was contrived. Its possible that Becky will beat Charlotte at her own game and cheat to win, but more likely it will be Charlotte who gets her hand raised. Hell its possible that Becky will get caught out trying to cheat, probably by Ric pointing it out to the ref or foiling it himself and she will lose that way, sure it will make the only viable contender for the title look super weak but it is a WWE-worthy twist if nothing else. Win or lose I see Charlotte walking away with the title, but for now I will pick win.

Winner: Charlotte

Darren Paltrowitz: Winner: Charlotte

Michael McMonigle: I can’t help but think this is all setting up Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks at Wrestlemania. So, with that in mind, Becky controls the match only to have Charlotte cheat to win in the end. I’d like to see Charlotte go completely bonkers on Lynch to the point where even Ric Flair wants nothing to do with her, but I doubt they’ll go that far.

Winner: Charlotte

Kate Hartford: I expect Ric Flair to accompany Charlotte to the ring, as well as do some interference – per usual.  However, I’d be interested to see Paige make an appearance during the match, considering she came back to Raw this past Monday.  Her and Natalya appeared to have made amends on Monday night, so it would make sense for her to either do the same with Becky and Charlotte, or pick up where she left off.  Paige’s appearance at the Rumble could also be possible if WWE wants Paige’s progression to happen sooner rather than later.  Having Paige outside the ring could also be a distraction for either Diva.  I’d much rather see Becky win the title, and if so, with a clean win.  But if Paige interacted with Ric (another slap, maybe?), it could be a distraction for Charlotte, potentially costing her the title.  Having her father by the ring could finally be a disadvantage for Charlotte, and a slight change from the same old Becky vs. Charlotte and Ric match.  Again, I want to see Becky win, but I expect Charlotte to retain despite distractions because of her push as a top heel (and I hate saying it, but I do like her better as a heel).  Plus, there’s still a chance to extend her feud with Becky beyond this Sunday, especially after Becky’s impressive promo delivery this past Monday.

Winner: Charlotte

Darek Foreman: Becky Lynch is challenging Ric Flair, I mean Charlotte for the Divas title.  Becky is on fire as a character.  She has been doing good mic work live in the ring and in backstage segments.  Her work is always solid.  Charlotte on the other hand is better as a heel, but a lot of the heat is on Ric and not her.  Most of Becky’s promo work has been directed towards Flair.  That being the case, this feud has still been built nicely. Primarily because Becky is a feisty competitor and she is believable in this role.  The match itself should be good given time.  I would put Becky over, but I am not sure she is the one the WWE is banking on in the long run.  (Yeah it should be Sasha Banks)  Most likely Charlotte retains after some Ric Flair interference.

Winner and STILL Divas Champion Charlotte
Brittney Soban: Becky has fan support, Charlotte has her father. Flair miscalculating and making the match on his daughter’s behalf could potentially lead to a downfall for the current Diva’s Champion. If her and her sneaky father aren’t on the same page there could be a miscommunication. Also, Becky isn’t naive, she knows who she is facing and who will be at ringside so I’m thinking Becky will have reinforcements of some sort in her corner Sunday night. Who that is, I don’t know. However, these two are capable of a good match (as we saw on NXT) so if they are given the proper time for it the match should be good to watch. If WWE wants to validate the Divas Revolution they need to let the women shine and they need to create tension besides the generic “I’m prettier, stronger and better than you” school yard taunts. Hopefully they are given a shot on Sunday to do just that as these two Divas have proven they can do int he past.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Sam P: The champ’s matches since her title win have been about as memorable as Eric Escobar’s WWE career. This programme however, has been pretty solid and hopefully the match will be given enough time as both competitors have proved that they can go.
Winner: Charlotte

Penny Marie Sautereau: Becky is probably going to bring someone out with her to counter the human leather coat that is Ric Flair, most likely Paige. Not sure who they’ll give the duke to, given they generally DON’T listen to their audience, but the crowd wants a Becky win, and so do I, so I’ll hope for that.

Winner: Steampunk Sasskicker
Widro: Becky has really stepped up in a babyface role, but it doesn’t seem like time for a title change to me.
Winner: Charlotte
Rhett Davis:  I’ve enjoyed Becky’s push to the top of the Divas division.  Give her a feud against Sasha going into WrestleMania?  Could be a lot of fun.  I think Becky actually wins here to continue her feud with Charlotte afterwards.
Winner:  Becky Lynch

Matt Harrak: I think Becky Lynch has surprised a lot of people with how quickly she has gotten over as a babyface without the help of a “team” behind her. That being said, I don’t see Charlotte dropping the title any time soon. Expect some shenanigans from daddy and daughter Flair to retain the championship.

Winner: Charlotte

 

Ambrose vs Owens

Intercontinental Championship Last Man Standing Match:

Dean Ambrose (c) vs Kevin Owens

Pat Metalhead: This would have been a top feud. The reason it isn’t is that WWE did everything they could to present this as just another mid-card feud over the largely irrelevant IC Title. Talk about lost opportunities, this is a prime example right here. I see Ambrose retaining for the simple reason WWE won’t allow the more talented, more popular Lunatic Fringe to overshadow their pet project (Roman Reigns) in any way. That means keeping the title most synonymous with mid-card irrelevancy on him. As for Owens, they can go several ways here. Given their lack of really talented heels, it is possible they find a way to have Ambrose win while still protecting Owens so that KO can make his move during the Rumble and position himself much higher up the card. Well, one can always dream, right?

Winner: Dean Ambrose

Spain: Could not be more psyched for this match, especially as I don’t give a damn who wins: I just want the carnage. If pushed to make a guess, I’d say Dean: he can get some mileage out of some more challengers as a defending Champ before moving up; Owens might be going up the ladder a little bit sooner.

Winner (and still Intercontinental Champion): Dean Ambrose

James Wright: This match has a damn lot of potential, but also makes me question the viability of both men to be prominently featured in the Rumble match itself. Hopefully whoever wins we will get the match that on paper could be delivered. As long as both men get enough time I’m sure this match will be great, with a host of memorable moments and innovative violence, I just can’t choose a winner since these guys are hands down my two favourite performers of the past few years (yes Daniel Bryan included). I’ve been a fan of Owens since his ROH days and Dean Ambrose is just plain cool, even if he does seem completely restrained by the current corporate atmosphere of the WWE. I can’t see Owens taking back the title here, if only because I’m hoping he has more to do in the Rumble later on in the night, however if that’s not the case I’d hate to see this prize-fighter continue to fail to capture his prize. I’m so torn!

Winner: (out of protest) Dean Ambrose

Darren Paltrowitz: Winner Dean Ambrose

Michael McMonigle: A last man standing match, eh? Ambrose already lost a similar “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” type match (remember that ambulance match against Brat Wyatt?) I don’t think this feud has gotten either guy more over than they were, so why not switch the belt back to Owens here. After the match, AJ Styles comes out to challenge Owens for the belt, starting a new feud for Owens and popping the crowd.

Winner: Kevin Owens

Kate Hartford: This one’s tough for me to predict.  It could go either way.  The majority of fans are going to want to see Ambrose retain, and having all heels retaining titles at the Rumble would probably lower ratings.  However, the only way I can picture Ambrose retaining the title is what he often does during matches – acts like he’s dying, survives a powerbomb, and resurrects himself.  Owens has also been in the focus pretty frequently and the string of lost opportunities, such as losing the title and a Slammy, would make sense, as well as his overall heel status.  And I want to see him have the IC title, US title, and World Heavyweight title all at once down the line, and setting him up for a huge string of short title reigns with sudden upsets award losses would be perfect.  But back to reality: I want Owens to win, but I expect Dean to retain.

Winner: Dean Ambrose

Darek Foreman: This match should be entertaining and a nice throwback to some ECW style or Attitude Era style of match.  Both guys are solid workers and a little bit crazy.  So this one should go all over the arena.  The lack of blood won’t hurt it in the long run.  Both guys really should be in the main event scene, so that is why i have a hard time caring about this match. Again, that is not saying it will be bad, far from it, it will probably steal the show.  As for who goes over…I could make a case for either guy.  I dont think either would be hurt by a loss here, but I would probably put Dean Ambrose over.  Build him up as a future World Title contender for after Wrestlemania.

Winner and STILL IC Champion Dean Ambrose

Brittney Soban: These two competitors are known for their excellence and exciting fighting styles. Both of them are a little “off the beaten path” in terms of style and attitude which can only mean that they will put on a good match. Ambrose and Owens work well together and I see that happening for this match. Owens is out for blood, as well as the title but Ambrose is stubborn and wild so he will not go down without a fight. We’ve seen both men in more extreme type matches over the years and both have done well so it’s safe to say in a Last Man Standing match that all the rules will be pushed aside and both men will take some serious bumps and hits to give us a great show. Whoever wins I think will deserve the title, heel or face. My prediction is that, to keep the feud alive, Owens will take the title and do his (recently) signature action of beating down his opponent post-match or will even attack Ambrose before the match to boost his heel status. This will enrage Ambrose and spur the feud onward. While I’d like to say WWE Creative will be smart enough to keep this one going until Wrestlemania I’m not so sure it will, despite the efforts of both men.

Winner: Kevin Owens
Sam P: These guys will beat the living crap out of each other. And it will be awesome. Neither man holds back in a match, let alone on a PPV card, and it’s hard to imagine either one of them remaining motionless for a count of 10. It wouldn’t surprise me if the finish was massive. Either a ridiculous spot involving tables / a stage throw / cabling / jumping off the set etc leading to a double count out, or some shenanigans ensuring that one of these loons is incapable of standing because they’re handcuffed or underneath a set piece.
Winner: Draw

Penny Marie Sautereau: Honestly? Who even cares who the hell wins here? This is going to be brutal insane smashmouth fun either way and these two will easily steal the show.

Winner: The Audience
Widro: The war between Ambrose and Owens has been the best thing on WWE TV in recent weeks and this match should be the best of the night.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Rhett Davis:  This could potentially be match of the night if the Royal Rumble disappoints.  A Last Man Standing match is fantastic for these two though.  I can’t see a ton of upside in Owens winning this unless they want to move up Zayn soon for a rehashing of their feud.  But I don’t see that happening.  Ambrose wins this one.
Winner:  Dean Am-Bros

Matt Harrak: After catching the NXT tapings this weekend, my idea that saw Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn feuding over the Intercontinental Championship seems rather mute. Zayn will continue to feud for the NXT Championship while Ambrose and Owens may very well feud over the title straight into ‘Mania. A heel being chased is usually the go-to story in situations like this so I’m going to go with Owens recapturing the belt tonight.

Winner: Kevin Owens


New Day vs Usos

Tag Team Championship Match:

The New Day (c) vs The Usos

Pat Metalhead: The Usos return have been rather underwhelming until now, and that’s not god news for the tag team scenes. Even The New Day has seemingly lost a bit of momentum recently, which is no surprise since they’ve been doing the same thing over and over again on basically every RAW, SD! and WWE PPV. I see the Usos win, with New Day then finding some reason to complain so they can keep this feud alive. After all, it’s not like WWE has much choice at this point. Creating new teams and new scenario’s anyone? Of course that’s not a priority, how silly of me…

Winner: The Usos

Spain: Another match I’m very pleased to see: this should have some real quality to it. I think the New Day are absolutely versatile enough to play the guys gunning for the belts as the Usos (who can guarantee quality matches against any team) hold onto them. It’ll shake things up, and the Usos have been on fire since coming back.

Winners (and new Tag Team Champs): The Usos

James Wright: I think you have to have the Usos win here, otherwise this match seems ultimately pointless and just something to give the New Day outside of the Rumble match itself. At this point I think the group are above the titles and they aren’t really adding anything to the belts by association so they really should drop them to the Usos so that the tag division can be divided into ‘New Day action’ and ‘whatever is going on with the tag titles’. The Usos are a good enough team to carry the titles and put on some good defences going into Wrestlemania where I’m sure they will have a multi-team ladder match or something that will be great. It just makes sense for the New Day to take the loss here.

Winners: The Usos (New Champions)

Darren Paltrowitz: Winners: The New Day

Michael McMonigle: Not the Usos. New Day is still getting good reactions and the Usos are just not over enough. No reason to change the status quo. But, in typical WWE thinking, the New Day is working, so let’s tease a breakup during the match. And maybe follow it up with more tension during the Rumble match itself. Because why keep going with something that works when you can screw it up, right WWE?

Winners: The New Day

Kate Hartford: This one is tough, too.  I picture this match as something similar to the TLC match, obviously minus the TLC props and the Lucha Dragons – plus, Raw and SmackDown have presented the same matches with New Day and the Usos pretty frequently.  I feel like I know what to expect because of their frequent matches, but the Usos having another title run just because they’re faces seems unbelievable to me, mainly because I don’t have good enough reason to view them as solid champions (not yet, anyway).  I just can’t picture the Usos with the titles unless they’re booked as effectively as New Day.  Love them or hate them, I’m always impressed with their delivery, even when I’m cringing – but that’s just New Day.

Winners: The New Day

Darek Foreman: The New Day is the hottest act in the WWE right now, and they have been for some time.  WWE needs to keep the belts on them. The Usos are fun and entertainng and should produce a quality match with the New Day.  There should be some nice back and forth and huge spots.  New Day should retain until Wrestlemania.  At mania they should bring back the TLC Tag Team Title Match.  Maybe New Day drops the belts then to an upstart team coming out of NXT.  New Day is too hot to drop the belts to the Usos.

Winner and STILL Tag Team Champions The New Day

Brittney Soban: I love tag team wrestling. I was excited that they were starting to put the focus back on this division. However, WWE dropped the ball again and this division has begun sharing the “piss break” status with the Divas on occasion. We will have to wait and see if they can bring the prominence back to this division but I’m worried that this will be another mishandling. (Can you tell my faith in booking is less and less every month?) This match, with Xavier Woods at ringside, could become the lowest rated match of the night. Jericho is announced as a Rumble entrant and it isn’t clear so far if he will be in the Usos corner on Sunday night to balance out against Xavier Woods. The New Day have kept hold of the titles for a while so I think that the titles will change hands on Sunday but I don’t anticipate much excitement during this match.

 
Winners: The Usos
Sam P: I worry that the New Day are becoming irritating. They made 2015 their own, but there’s a grating element creeping in to the gimmick. I think a loss here could really help them reinvigorate themselves a little as they’ll be forced to chase the titles again.
Winners: The Usos

Penny Marie Sautereau: Come for the entertaining New Day Promo, stay for the piss break the match itself will provide. Just like any other match we’ve already seen a bajillion times.

Winner: Your Bladder
Widro: The Usos have been chasing the New Day for a while but I don’t think there is enough juice here for a tag title change.
Winners: New Day
Rhett Davis:  NEW DAY! No upside in Usos winning so I think the champs retain.
Winners:  NEW DAY!

Matt Harrak: Am I the only one who thinks the New Day has run its course? I just don’t know what else they can do as a unit and comedy acts only last so long until they jump the proverbial shark into the water occupied by Santino Marella and R-Truth. It’s about time for them to drop the titles but I don’t know if The Usos are the right team. Then again, who else is there? The tag team division is hurting right now and whatever way this match goes, the winners aren’t going to have much competition.

Winners: The New Day


Reigns Royal Rumble

WWE Championship Royal Rumble Match

Pat Metalhead: I’ve tried to point out (most) possible scenario’s in my two columns this week, so I won’t be repeating all of that or we’ll still be at it on Sunday. While I would personally go for a KO win here, which would serve well to completely break open the main event scene, I think they will go for a surprise Triple H appearance while Bray and his Wyatts take care of Brock Lesnar, just for the sake of having HHH vs Reigns at WM. So, in 2016, your winner and NEW WWE Champion: … Triple H???

Oh dear…

Winner: Triple H

Spain: I have been pleasantly on-edge about this whole Rumble situation: it’s one of the times I’ve really been kept guessing. I feel like this is as good a time as any for Reigns to lose the belt, only to get it back in a classic match at WrestleMania, which is what I feel like is going to happen. In which case, I feel like they might be tempted to do Brock vs. Reigns again, and properly put the crown on Roman’s head. Have Wyatt in there as a wild card threat, and Kevin Owens as an indie dark horse. Roman can toss Wyatt: mark-out. Brock and Owens can go at it: mark-out. Both Reigns and Lesnar eliminate their opponents and go at it, with Brock prevailing either through unstoppable force or with McMahon’s assistance. Roman regains the gold at the Show of Shows, and is, unquestionably, the man.

Final Four: Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, Bray Wyatt and Kevin Owens.

Winner (and the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion): Brock Lesnar

James Wright: Now its time for the main event! Despite the terrible booking decisions of the past two years I remain optimistic for the Rumble as it has always been my favourite match in professional wrestling. Honestly if the WWE mess this up again, what with all the potential unknown variables going into the match this year, then I think there is no hope for the company until Vince McMahon actually passes away. You have potential debuts from NXT such as Finn Balor, Apollo Crews or Samoa Joe, a potential mini-divas Rumble revolution, returns to build for Wrestlemania of Undertaker, Rock, Orton or Daniel Bryan, heck we might even see the formation WWE version of the Bullet Club, let alone the fact that any one of these people could end up the new WWE champion! Now sure I don’t expect all of these things to take place, maybe not even half, but god damn it, give us something! I know I will enjoy the match whatever the case, but come on WWE, don’t let another Rumble end in a shower of boos! Honestly the only way I can see that happening is if the match becomes a showcase for Reigns and he either takes everyone out like the 2014 Rumble, or he does next to nothing but ends up winning the damn thing like last year, and surely even Vince McMahon isn’t crazy enough to let things go down like that?!

As for predictions I am going to say final four are Reigns, Owens, Brock and Jericho, because there are too many variables to figure out anything when you take into account possible debuts and returns. But here is where the fan in me comes out, I want Jericho to brawl with Owens while Brock faces off with Reigns, and while we get the big stare-down between the two behemoths Owens eliminates Jericho and it becomes a fake-out as he then knocks out Brock just after the Beast takes out Roman, probably with some distraction by HHH, leading to Owens vs. Lesnar for the belt and HHH vs. Reigns with the title nowhere near that match.

Final Four: Jericho, Lesnar, Owens & Reigns

Winner: Kevin Owens (New Champion)

Darren Paltrowitz: Winner: Surprise Entrant (e.g. Triple H, Vince McMahon), other 3: Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, Brom Stroman

Michael McMonigle: Really? Who knows. Here’s a few moments I think we’ll see. Barry Corbin gets called up and gets an entrance. Sheamus gets to eliminate a bunch of guys. HHH returns to eliminate Roman Reigns and set up a Wrestlemania matchup. Daniel Bryan returns. Kurt Angle returns (neck, why not?) The final four will be – Brock Lesnar, Sheamus, Rusev, and Dean Ambrose. Sheamus and Rusev team up and dump Lesnar, and Lesnar takes Sheamus with him. That leaves Rusev and Ambrose and let’s say the winner is Dean Ambrose. After all, he couldn’t beat a ten count earlier, so let’s reestablish the status quo by having him outlast 29 other wrestlers. Because WWE.

Winner: Dean Ambrose

Kate Hartford: If Brock receives a WrestleMania opportunity – and I have a hard time picturing him absent from it – he’ll obtain it elsewhere.  Bray and Roman have also been in the focus these past few months, but even more so after Brock’s return.  HHH’s lack of screen time makes it slightly predictable for him to make a “surprise” return to TV, take the title, AND secure his spot in WrestleMania, which leads me to predict HHH vs. Roman Reigns at WrestleMania, considering the events over the past few months.

Final Four: HHH, Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, Bray Wyatt

Winner: Triple H

Darek Foreman: The WWE World Heavyweight Title Royal Rumble Match….that was a mouthful….WWEWHTRRM…nah that won’t work either.  Anyway this match has the potential to be great.  Lots of solid workers in it with a few potential winners in Roman Reigns, the current champion, Brock Lesnar, and some long shots, in Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens, and Bray Wyatt.  The mystery of some surprise opponents being in it is huge.  Triple H, a lot of people’s pick to win it, and long shots like the Rock or Daniel Bryan showing up. But you can’t put either of them in the Rumble itself and not have them win it.  Then there is a possibility of AJ Styles being in it.  I don’t think you debut him just to eliminate him, but he isn’t big enough to just come in and win it either. There is also the chance that some NXT guys pop up in it.  So this year is full of intrigue, but the WWE has played it safe the last few years.  Well, not really safe, more stubborn than safe.  Roman Reigns is #1 and he will have to overcome everyone to retain.  If the WWE wants him in the main event at Wrestlemania, I say he drops the belt here and gets a rematch.  Reigns winning effectively means he has beaten the entire roster….so what’s the point of Wrestlemania.

Final 4 will be Roman Reigns, Triple H, Bray Wyatt and Brock Lesnar  Brock is eliminated by Bray Wyatt after Brock eliminates Strauman. Bray sort of eliminates himself along with Lesnar.  Leaving Triple H and Reigns as the final 2 but with either another assist from Bray or even the league of Nations, Triple H eliminates Roman and wins the 2016 Royal Rumble.
Winner of the 2016 Royal Rumble and NEW WWE Champion Triple H

Brittney Soban: The Royal Rumble has a history of being unpredictable. With the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the line, and Roman Reigns confirmed to defend that title from the number 1 spot we can only guess what will happen. We also know that Brock Lesnar, Sheamus, Jericho, Stardust, Bray Wyatt, Rowan, Harper, Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, Big Show and Curtis Axel are confirmed entrants. Other superstars that we can expect to see would probably be the rest of the #Social Outcasts group (Heath Slater, Adam Rose & Bo Dallas) to make an appearance. With rumors of Triple H entering the Rumble as a surprise entrant, as well as rumors about NXT debuts it will be interesting to see who actually shows up at the Rumble. NXT rookie Josh Bredl a.k.a. Bronson Matthews recently messed up big time but mocking the #Social Outcasts group but the veterans, of the group and not of the group, lashed back. WWE may throw him into the mix, only to be beaten down by the same group, might cause for a good pop from fans who were upset by his comments as well. Fans are whispering (or perhaps dreaming) that Daniel Bryan will make a surprise return but I have my doubts. I would like to see him back but I doubt WWE will risk his health with all of the roadblocks they’ve put up so far. I saw a few hopeful fans put out into the universe that maybe Seth Rollins will return but his injury was way too severe and I don’t see that happening just yet.

 
Final Four:
1. Reigns may make it to the end and survive until the Final Four. Chances are slim but he won the Rumble last year without fan support so this year he may at least make it to the Final Four from the number one spot.
2. Brock Lesnar will be in the final four. This isn’t his first Rumble and with WWE paying him so much to appear he will have to go far in the Rumble to make it worthwhile.
3. Bray Wyatt may make it, depending on how well his family protects him and how WWE wants to push him. He has history with Reigns on top of WWE suddenly remembering all they invested in his character he’ll get a push at the Rumble, maybe not to win, but to appear dominant again.

4. Triple H, if he enters the Royal Rumble, will make it to the final four to have his showdown with Reigns. It may be his last Rumble ever although we’ve heard that from a ton of people before about this match/ that match being their “last”.

Winner: Roman Reigns (I wouldn’t call it optimistic but I’d call it a clear path for WWE. Maybe not the right path but a clear path to some hopefully better booking for the rest of 2016.)

Sam P: It didn’t take the use of a solitary brain cell to work out the winners of the last two Rumbles. Even with the title stipulation at this year’s event, it’s tougher to call, and that’s exactly how it should be. The Royal Rumble should be the most unpredictable match of the calendar year. It has the potential to create and renew feuds as well as throwing up surprise returns, unexpected debuts and even some comedy gold and showreel filling manoeuvres. My expectations for this year’s event are high… Surely it’s impossible to generate a trilogy of Rumble car crashes? Roman Reigns has become the new Superman, just sans red underwear, and having him defy his first entrant status and defend the title is the obvious storyline. Let’s hope there’s a fly in the ointment. What about Lesnar? Or even Triple H? Or THE PHENOMENAL ONE? Oh god I’m excited. I have to stop typing.
Final Four: Brock Lesnar, Bray Wyatt, Triple H, Roman Reigns
Winner: Any of the above. Except for Bray Wyatt

Penny Marie Sautereau: I honestly cannot call this. Pretty sure Roman will somehow “tough it out” to the final four, as will Lesnar. The other two in the final four are wide open, though my personal thoughts are that one will be Sheamus because Creative refuses to accept no one wants to see him in the main event picture, and Bray Wyatt because it feels like Lesnar is who gets to bury him at Mania this year.

Final Four: Bebop Bore-lula, Bray Whyaren’ttheypushingmeproperly, Roman Strains, and Shaved Gorilla Thug.
Winner: Um….. Reigns I guess? Just because they’re so hellbent on having him play a woefully miscast Stone Cold in this scenario that of course he’ll somehow beat the odds.

 

Widro: The Rumble might have some surprises, but given that the title is on the line and Roman is #1, that means that it’s likely to be Roman for 60 minutes, which is a recipe for disaster. this should be the third straight ruined Rumble unless Roman or HHH doesn’t win. Thumbs down in advance
Final Four: Sheamus, Big Show, HHH, Roman Reigns
Winner: Roman Reigns
Rhett Davis:  My favorite match/show of the year and I’m excited for it!  The winner is in doubt but the obvious choice seems to be Roman Reigns.  Although with AJ and Daniel Bryan looming, it’s hard to detect the direction.  I’ll go against the grain.  I’ll say that Roman, Triple H, Daniel Bryan, and Brock Lesnar are in the final four.  Someone (re:  Bray) will cost Brock the elimination as Triple H and Roman eliminate each other.  So for my winner…
Winner:  Daniel Bryan

Matt Harrak: It’s been awhile since the Royal Rumble picture was so vague and I love it. I hate to say it but recent injuries have really opened up the WrestleMania card and in turn, the Royal Rumble. Add in the stipulation that the winner is the new WWE Champion and this Royal Rumble is one of the most anticipated in history. While I’m not a fan of Roman Reigns entering at #1, reason states that Reigns could lose the WWE title without truly being defeated for the belt. This frees him up to face Triple H at WrestleMania and two others to wrestle with the industry’s top prize. I’m expecting Triple H to be a surprise entrant and to eliminate Roman Reigns setting up another surprise entrant, Seth Rollins, to return and reclaim the WWE Championship he never lost.

Final Four: Triple H, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins

Winner: Seth Rollins

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