I can’t tell you how excited I am for the Rumble. I know that we’re supposed to look forward to WrestleMania the most, but I have to confess, Royal Rumble may be my favorite event of the year. Two things about the Rumble make it my favorite. One is its rarity. Only once a year do we get to see a full-blown 30 man Royal Rumble. Even other gimmick matches that get their own PPV like Money in the Bank and Hell in a Cell have at least two of the gimmick match in one night. But every year there can only be one Rumble winner. The other great thing about the Rumble is its unpredictability. Thirty different wrestlers could be the winner of the Rumble. Yes some of the lower card guys don’t have a chance and are just there to fill out the slots but predicting the winner of the Rumble isn’t like predicting the winner of any other match. To even begin to guess a Rumble winner you have to start thinking about the booking for the company all the way to WrestleMania. No easy feat. And with WWE’s love of having surprise returns come back to the Rumble and win it all, it makes the guess work all that much harder. So lets start guessing.
The Real Possibilities
Chris Jericho: According to Internet rumors he is currently the most likely to win the Rumble right now. And it makes a lot of since. If we are expecting CM Punk to hold on to the title until WrestleMania he’s going to need a heel to face and having Jericho return early instead of being a surprise entrant has given him some time to turn the inevitable cheers at his return back into boos. After weeks with refusing to talk to the audience, an “I just won the Rumble” promo right after winning, or the next night on Raw, would help to kick start a great feud that would easily last all the way till April. Plus you know that a Punk vs. Jericho match would make an awesome main event.
Sheamus: Earlier rumors were suggesting that Randy Orton would be the rumble winner. Now with him out of the picture it looks like Sheamus is stepping into his spot as main guy on Smackdown. And if that’s the case why shouldn’t he get to step into the role of Rumble winner as well? The only problem is that Sheamus is in the middle of about three personal grudge feuds right now and nowhere near the title scene, but hey, that’s what February and March are for.
The Long Shots
CM Punk: Had this been last year this would have been a no shot instead of a long shot as Punk already has a match at the rumble. But now we have seen guys with matches on the PPV still get slots in the Rumble. We already know that Johnny Ace had publicly stated that he plans to screw Punk out of the title at the Rumble. And we know that Punk and Ziggler have the ability to put on a great match together. Imagine Dolph, through very clear cheating and a biased ref winning the title away from Punk only to have Punk turn around and win the Rumble, putting him right back in the main event of WrestleMania only this time he’s trying to get back his belt instead of simply defending it.
Mick Foley: It looks like Mick is finally starting to get a real feud going in the WWE. There’s a lot going against Foley getting to be in a title match at WrestleMania. He’s not in the same shape that he used to be. I don’t know if he could still produce a main event match at WrestleMania. We already have one Attitude Era draw in the Rock; surely Mick Foley won’t pick up any extra buys that he missed. Still I’d just be happy to see him in the Rumble again even if he doesn’t win. Shame Johnny Ace had to be a jerk about it.
Drew Mcintyre: Every year a small part of me hopes that one of the bottom of the card wrestlers comes out of nowhere to win the Rumble, just to justify all of the “I’m gonna win the Rumble” promos we have to hear from everyone for a month. And to really drive home the point that anybody could win the Rumble and a win can really be a career changer. And who’s further from being in the main event of WrestleMania right now that Drew? Multiple losses against Santino? I know it’s the longest of shots (hey that’s why it’s in this category) but if WWE wants to go for shock, this is certainly one way to do it.
The Surprise Returns
Randy Orton: He’s out on injury right now so nobody’s expecting to see him at the Rumble. But surely he’ll be back by WrestleMania. They won’t let one of their biggest stars miss that. So perhaps he can win the Rumble by coming in at the end and not doing anything too strenuous, then just sit on the sidelines like Mark Henry has been doing until he’s well enough to get in the ring for WrestleMania.
John Morrison: I know he’s gone from the company, but something about his leaving just felt odd to me. After weeks of jobbing to everyone he gets a few victories and even a PPV match just before leaving? And the fact that they took time on TV to wish him luck in his future endeavors so that everyone would know that he was gone? Most likely I’m just looking for connections that aren’t really there because I want Morrison to be in the Rumble. But hey, after his performance last year, can you blame me?
Brock Lesnar: We know that he’s retired from UFC. And some of the more recent interviews have said that he’s open to another run in the WWE. Had he won his last UFC match he would still be fighting for them, so there may not be enough notice to plan something for his return. And maybe returning to, but losing in the Rumble is not how you want to re-debut the character. But can you image any theme music getting a bigger pop during the match than his?
Thanks for sticking around for what turned out to be a whole lot of armchair booking. Tune in next week to see how wrong I ended up being.
Tags: Brock Lesnar, chris jericho, cm punk, John Morrison, Mick Foley, randy orton, Raw, sheamus, Smackdown, WWE