WWE Royal Rumble - Predictions
It's Pink and Alex, and we're back for another round of WWE PPV predictions with the 2017 Royal Rumble. Of course for our second go around we've got the most difficult WWE PPV to try and predict. But that can only mean things should be even more interesting, and I may have a better chance of not getting spanked like last time.
Just as before, Pink and I will each be choosing the winners of each bout, with a point awarded for each correct prediction. As for the rumble match itself, we'll each choose 3 superstars to win, and rank them according from most to least likely. If either of our most likely candidate wins, we shall receive three points, two for next, and a single point for our third superstar. Also, we'll each choose a single superstar as a surprise entrant in a side bet. This surprise entry can either be a returning injured superstar, a legend, or a debuting superstar to the main roster.
With all of those legalities out of the way, let's get this going with the pre-show.
Pre-show Match: Sasha Banks v Nia Jax
This "feud" was fabricated rather hastily when WWE creative realized that they needed to give Sasha a new rival after being defeated by Charlotte. For most of the buildup Nia has been dominant as would be expected, however this last Raw, Sasha was able to get the upper hand using a crutch she no longer needs. It's with that in mind that Pink believes Sasha Banks will lose, because she's reliant on an aide to get the upper hand, and they're still building Nia Jax into this monster heel and they won't break that during a pre-show match. I agree to a point, but for me it is because this is a pre-show match, possibly the first of the night, WWE is going to want to start off with a Face winning to build the crowd excitement leading into the rest of the PPV.
Pink - Nia Jax
Alex - Sasha Banks
Pre-Show Match: Naomi, Nikki Bella, Becky Lynch v Alexa Bliss, Natalya, Mickie James
Speaking of a quickly thrown together match! Story 1) for weeks/months Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch have been feuding, and when it seems that they're going to wrap this story they introduce Mickie James via La Luchadora into the mix and extend the program. Story 2) for even longer Nikki Bella has been "investigating" (if you can call it that) who blindsided her to later learn it was her 'friend' Natalya because Nikki is pretty and steals the limelight from 'real' female wrestlers or some other crap. Story 3) Naomi has returned from injury and wants to fight. Fairly certain the writing process for this match was something along the lines of: 'Carmella is busy with James Elsworth, we can't use her. I've got it! 6 woman tag, we don't have to do anything special, and we'll further show the Raw Women's title is more important.' Pink and I both agree that the heels will win this one. I can't imagine, even with how little they seem to care about the title, that they'll have the Smackdown Women's Champ lose on a pre-show match. Pink figures with Mickie James just having returned, her first match will be a win. If the heels somehow lose, it'll be Natalya to take the fall.
Pink - Alexa Bliss, Natalya, Mickie James
Alex - Alexa Bliss, Natalya, Mickie James
Pre-Show Match: Cesaro & Sheamus (c) v Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (Raw Tag Team Championship with 2 referees)
Oh yes, the rivalry so hot, so wild, so uncontrollable it take not one, but two refs to contain the action! You'd think with all the screwy finishes The New Day employed to retain their titles, this is something they would have broken out sooner. I by no means accept this as a viable stipulation ever, but if they were going to, it should have been sooner. Regardless here we are. These two teams have had some very good matches, and I believe they can have some truly exceptional matches, but we haven't seen that yet. Will this be the time? Perhaps, but if it is, it's a shame that the match is relegated to an overcrowded pre-show. The Club (am I allowed to call them that still?) are due for a big win, both Pink and I agree on this, but Pink is the only one who thinks it will finally come to pass. I just feel that after halting The New Day's historic reign, the unlikely duo needs a handful of defenses to legitimize their own reign. Plus, I don't ever want to see Cesaro lose a title. He's one of my guys, as Booker T used to say.
Pink - Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
Alex - Cesaro & Sheamus
Rich Swann (c) v Neville (Cruiserweight Championship)
Rich Swann came in hot after the CWC tournament last year, and he was rewarded with the Cruiser belt, but no one has come into the cruiserweight division with more momentum of the repackaged Evil Neville. Both of these guys can go, and I expect this to be another great cruiserweight match that the crowd falls asleep on. Seriously, screw those crowds! It almost seems like a foregone conclusion that Neville is taking this. Pink and I both agree that he's on too good of a roll now, and is just an absolute beast among the cruiserweights. I not only expect him to win the belt, but for him to have a lengthy reign on top until Austin Aries comes back for an amazing feud between the two.
Pink - Neville
Alex - Neville
Charlotte (c) v Bayley (Raw Women's Championship)
From what we've seen back in NXT, this has the potential to be a match of the night contender, but I don't have faith it'll reach that potential. The booking for Charlotte has left a lot to be desired, although over the last few weeks Bayley has really come into her own like she had in NXT before her call up set her character back. Whether the match is good or not, Pink doesn't have the highest of hopes for the outcome. He believes Bayley will win, but only so that Charlotte can win the title back soon after, increasing her amount of total title wins. While I do agree that WWE wants to protect a record of Charlotte's, I believe it will be her PPV win streak, only for Bayley or another woman to beat her at Wrestlemania.
Pink - Bayley
Alex - Charlotte
AJ Styles (c) v John Cena (WWE Championship)
AJ has had a hell of a year, he's had amazing matches with most everyone WWE put in the ring with him, and I can't imagine this fight being anything less than another banger. AJ v Cena at Summerslam 2016 was a match of the year contender in almost anyone's book. Love him or hate him, it's hard to deny that Cena has a bit more of an edge to him since his return, and this could possibly be what allows him to go over Styles. Having lost to Styles every time so far (whether clean or dirty) Pink believes it's finally Cena's time to get the win. I can't argue with that, and believe they'll finally have him tie Ric Flair's record, but more importantly this match will build to what I predict to be a huge Wrestlemania match against... keep reading.
Pink - John Cena
Alex - John Cena
Kevin Owens (c) v Roman Reigns (Universal Championship with Chris Jericho suspended in a shark cage, No DQ match)
A common complaint about WWE is the over booking in title matches. Meaning the finish is almost never a clean finish, but always has something screwy. So what do they do to counter this? Over book the match before it can even begin. Shark Cage match? Fine, not the most exciting stipulation, but it's proven interesting in the past, like with Chyna. But to then make the match no DQ? Doesn't that negate the shark cage? If Jericho is able to escape, he'd be able 'legally' interfere in the match regardless. Which is exactly what I think is going to happen. Not so much that he'll escape, but after some distraction (perhaps Seth Rollins and/or HHH getting involved) Chris will drop The List down to Owens who will use it on Reigns to pick up the win. Pink sees things going along similar lines, but Jericho's interference won't be the deciding factor. In either case, we both have Kevin Owens retaining over Roman.
Pink - Kevin Owens
Alex - Kevin Owens
Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, Sami Zayn, Braun Strowman, Kofi Kingston, Big E, Xavier Woods, Baron Corbin, Dean Ambrose, The Miz, Cesaro, Sheamus, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, Luke Harper, Chris Jericho, Mojo Rawley, Dolph Ziggler, Big Cass, Rusev, Big Show, - Royal Rumble Match
First, I want to say that I was able to remember all 22 announced participants from the top of my head. That may not sound like that big of deal, but I'm surprised. Let me have this moment. Like I said in the beginning, this is the most difficult match to predict, and this year there really are a large amount of wrestlers who have a legit shot at winning the whole thing. A few things I'm predicting are Kofi Kingston wowing everyone with another inventive way of surviving just a bit longer, Chris Jericho starting the match as a sexy pinata when he refuses to leave the shark cage for a good part of the match. Braun Strowman, who initially was in my top 3, will clear house eliminating more than a handful of wrestlers. Part of me feels like someone on the Raw side of the match is going to get injured, and will be replaced by Seth Rollins, but the other part of me says that the only reason to do that with Seth Rollins is to have him win the whole thing, and I don't think they're going to do that. And as many are predicting that Goldberg will eliminate Brock Lesnar, who will then re-enter the ring and cost Goldberg the match. I know the betting odds have shifted to Goldberg's favor, but I don't buy it.
Pink - surprise entrant = Finn Balor (1 point)
Alex - surprise entrant = Samoa Joe (1 point)
Pink - #3 winner = Cesaro (1 point)
Alex - #3 winner = Finn Balor (1 point)
Pink - #2 winner = Dean Ambrose (2 points)
Alex - #2 winner = Chris Jericho (2 points)
Pink - #1 winner = Finn Balor (3 points)
Alex - #1 winner = The Undertaker (3 points)
Samoa Joe needs to be called up finally, that's all there is to it. He's been off NXT for the past few months, it has to be to clear his schedule for a main event run, finally. Pink is putting all his point eggs into Finn Balor's basket, believing that not only will he return, but is his favorite pick to win the whole thing, to eventually go on to face Kevin Owens at Wrestlemania. What's interesting is that Pink initially didn't even have Finn in his top 3, but after discussing how things would play out afterwards heading towards 'Mania he was convinced The Demon King is taking the whole thing. It would make for a great story arch for the returning Finn, and WWE clearly has faith in him, they made him the first Universal Champion ever, and all signs pointed to him holding it for a while. It's very likely they'll throw him right back into the title picture, and that's why I made him my #3. My list shifted around a few times, it went from including Braun Strowman at #3, Taker at #2 and Balor at #1. As for my current #2, this is the year of Jericho, drink it in man. Not only has he won the US belt for the first time, they can cap his current run with the blow off to the building feud with his best friend Kevin Owens. Pink's #2 surprised me almost as much as his #3. Dean Ambrose and Cesaro are those wild cards that the fans really enjoy, but I don't see them pulling the trigger on Cesaro just yet (even though it is way passed over due (same with Bray Wyatt)) and Dean's WWE title run wasn't the most impressive, but Pink has faith. I, on the other hand, have faith that Vince McMahon is trying to pull a fast one by saying that he is no longer planning a Cena v Undertaker match at Mania. What better sendoff for the dead man, than winning the WWE title one last time, at the grandest stage of all, and walking off into the sunset as champ? It is too perfectly laid out to ignore it.
I can only hope that I do better than last time. Check back tomorrow for the results post.
All images courtesy of WWE