The Stomping Ground: Post-Wrestlemania Implications of the Royal Rumble

I could go on and on about the statistical likelihood of any given WWE Superstar’s chances of winning the Royal Rumble this Sunday but, honestly, it’s been done to death here at the Pulse so i won’t bore you with the same rehashed stuff.

No, I thought I’d take a different route here and take a gander into what the future of 2013 might hold as a result of this weekend’s PPV results. It’s been heavily implicated that the top four matches set for Wrestlemania XXIX are as follows: Rock vs Cena 2, Sheamus vs Orton, Triple H vs Lesnar 2, and Undertaker vs Punk. If that’s the case, we can assume that CM Punk will not be in the title scene by April 7th (and the same can be said for Lesnar). That leaves three possible candidates for winning the Rumble: Cena, Sheamus, and Orton.

With the focus seemingly on a Rock/Cena return bout, and with Rock currently in the hunt for the WWE Championship, it stands to reason that Cena will get his big win over The Great One at Wrestlemania while also regaining the belt he’s been missing for nearly a year-and-a-half. There are multiple ways he can achieve this goal, and the most likely scenario is by winning the Royal Rumble. As obvious as that may be (thereby ruining the surprise nature of the match itself), the WWE can go the Orton route for a swerve, or even have Sheamus win back-to-back Rumbles. I’m going to go with my gut and predict that Randy Orton will win this year’s Royal Rumble. A Cena victory is too easily telegraphed and Sheamus is not over enough with the fans to deserve such a huge honor a la Stone Cold Steve Austin.

However, that’s not what this column is focused on. If we can look past the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania itself, there seems to be an interesting turn of events. If Cena does in fact win the title from Rocky, and The Rock does not stick around past ‘Mania, then who will be John’s next opponent?

The obvious answer is CM Punk.

Punk can easily claim that although Cena defeated The Rock, he never bested Punk in a title match. This will thereby renew their rivalry for at least the next month or so. I think it’s also safe to assume that this will be Cena’s last big hurrah with the WWE Championship and he will hold onto it for a decent amount of time (perhaps SummerSlam?). If this is indeed Cena’s time to pass the babyface torch, the only two candidates I see as likely replacements are Daniel Bryan and Kofi Kingston. Bryan is ridiculously over and can easily transition between face and heel, making him a great choice. Poor Kofi seems to be treading water as of late.

There are quite a few columnists and commenters who believe a Daniel Bryan victory at the Royal Rumble is a good idea; I’m not one of them. I say we let Bryan work as a singles wrestler for a few months before giving him the opportunity to run with the ball. Then, when the time comes, the WWE can pull the trigger on a great underdog story.

I’m not worried about the Wrestlemania card as I’ll be there in person to enjoy the festivities with friends and bask in the greatness that is the spectacle of professional wrestling.

I’m looking more toward what the future actually holds, beyond The Showcase of the Immortals.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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