It has been a heck of a week for the Nosebleeds writer. A throat infection that has demolished my vocal cords and left me in severe pain has caused me to lose several days of work and enjoy the wonderful world of codeine. With no voice, readers are getting more words out of me than my wife has all week. I think she secretly enjoys the break. This week has given me some time to think. With the Royal Rumble approaching, I began to go through the names of the participants. What struck me was how there are so many possible candidates to win this year, yet there is a huge gap between the main eventers in the match and the mid card guys looking to break through. So few of them seem ?ready? and having the main eventers win would be underwhelming. Still, I found myself going through all the names and wondering for each man, what if this guy one the Rumble? What follows is a rough list of official and possible participants to the Rumble match and where their win could go.
The Animal is a favorite because of his main event status, but there is really neither of the top champions would be a good match for him at this point. Undertaker has been done and Sheamus is a heel. Perhaps if one were to turn face, the match would be intriguing to some, yet Batista’s best opponent for Mania looks to be John Cena or Rey Mysterio. With Mysterio’s inevitable surgery, maybe the littlest big man could take the gold from the Dead Man only to face his former best friend at Mania. Batista could then destroy Rey for the title and put him out of action. Still, that possibility is very unlikely.
Kane’s stake in this match will likely be acting on his brother’s behalf and keeping HBK from winning the Rumble. Other than that, The Big Red Machine really has nothing going on. That’s a shame too, because the man has worked hard for so long and deserves a little recognition.
Matt is another one of those guys who has worked hard for a long time, but seeing him in a Mania main event will not happen soon unless something drastic happens. Intriguing opponents would be Christian, Rey Mysterio, CM Punk, and John Morrison.
This guy looks more and more like Curt Henning every time he’s on camera. His time isn?t coming yet, but hopefully one day it will. The obvious dream match for him would be John Cena.
Tatsu is a blast to watch. If WWE can keep from turning him into another Funaki, he could be a big star one day. His approach would be very interesting in a tile match against the likes of Jericho, Orton, or Punk.
Regal can wrestle and fight with the best of them. This is a guy who has put on technical classics and fought in the sandpits of India. He is legitimately a tough guy. A main event run with Randy Orton would give fans a touch of everything.
There’s nothing for The Game in this match. It would be a win for the sake of a win. Hunter is not even taken seriously these days as he is busy fooling around with Hornswoggle. The man needs a program that will either reignite his intensity as a baby face or turn him heel. Either way, he needs something to happen. Should he win next Sunday, the rumored match between him and Sheamus will be interesting, but have a long ways to go to give fans a reason to watch. Never before would one have thought Triple H would be without a paddle on the Raw brand.
Unless Primo becomes champion there really is no interest. Carlito was once the next big thing. The man has talent, but for reasons he is no longer a big player.
Now here is someone to get excited about. Kofi is a great baby face and he really can get the crowd behind him. If there is going to be a young baby face win a title at Mania, this is the guy. Now all that is needed is the right heel for him to take on. Jericho anyone?
Santi is so good at what he does he has been pigeonholed into his role as comic relief. However, WWE would be able, should they choose to, turn him into a legitimate contender. His charm and personality is reminiscent of Eddy Guerrero. Santino could be that guy who is just too entertaining to boo as a heel and become the most popular star on the roster.
Not yet for the I-C champ. At this point it is tough to pick out a dream match for him aside from HBK or HHH. The kid needs some more time to develop and find his way.
Zach Ryder, R-Truth, Hurricane, Shelton Benjamin, and Evan Bourne obviously will not be going to Mania. Ryder is another guy who just needs some more time. Although it would be great to see him go against HBK before the veteran hangs it up. Truth’s time for a Cena match has passed. Hurricane should have been pushed years ago, same with Benjamin. Bourne is a great talent and a dream match for Mysterio, but these men will likely end up in Money in the Bank if they go to Mania.
The story writes itself just as it did back in 2008. Cena could win this match again and take on Sheamus one more time. The problem is that it defines Sheamus? title run as a John Cena storyline instead of a new wrestler breaking into the main event scene. If Taker is still champion, Cena may want to challenge the Dead Man, or better yet, maybe Mysterio walks away with the title and wrestling fans are treated to a Cena-Mysterio match.
To think just a year ago, this guy was beating the Undertaker and wrestling in the title picture. Still Kozlov has improved in the last year. He may enjoy a dominant role in the Rumble by eliminating several men. Just think, what if we had an Irish-Ukrainian title match at Mania?
Swagger is one of those mid card guys who works so well where he is at. Perhaps one day he will break into the main event scene. If he were to do so, the man he should fight would be Cena.
Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase
Rumors of a Dibiase ?Orton match have been running for months. If Legacy breaks up, it is only fair to make it a three-way feud and put all of Legacy in a triple threat match. Evolution could have been broken up in the same way, but instead it happened in phases. If they do that with Legacy, they run the risk of turning Rhodes into an afterthought. Should Orton win the title, Rhodes would be a great choice to win the Rumble as they can always find a way to throw Dibiase into the mix. However, something else is at work here. Perhaps Orton will steal a spot from one of his cronies or even prevent them from winning himself. Having Orton go nuts over not winning the title and becoming insanely jealous of his younger allies would make for great TV.
The Big Show
Show has always done well at the Rumble but never won the match. An ideal position for him would be a title match at Mania with Jericho. With Elimination Chamber coming up, there are plenty of options to get a title on Show’s former partner.
If MVP goes to Mania with the Rumble under his belt, he could go either way. Challenging Taker or Sheamus would work for him. Getting the title on Jericho, Cena, HHH, or Punk would also work. For now, MVP will remain in U.S. title contention.
There was a time when Finlay’s career was over. The man suffered an injury after going through a table back in WCW. Having him as one of those guys that the locker room can look up to is a great thing for both WWE and for Finlay. Someday the man will get a nice payoff for his hard work. If WWE were to compensate him with a Mania match, the obvious choice would be to have him take Sheamus to school.
Punk seems like an ideal candidate for the #1 spot in the Rumble. He could be that obnoxious heel that remains for much of the match. A match with Cena at Mania for a championship would be great, but the two have fought already on TV where Punk seems to be getting squashed by Cena. WWE really could have done a slow build for Mania with Punk and Taker, but that gun was jumped months ago. Punk now seems to be looking for a guy to fight. A Rumble win would be surprising and perfect for his character. The problem is getting a champions for him to fight. In this case, Mysterio would be the best bet. Punk himself has said that his dream match at Mania would be with Mysterio. The match has already been rumored. For the title? Perhaps.
Jericho is the ?can?t go wrong? pick to win the Rumble match. At this point you can put him in the ring at Mania with anyone on the roster and it would be a good match. Jericho could use the win to put himself back on Raw, and Show would be great as the guy to unseat Sheamus for title, like he did with Brock Lesnar. Still, Jericho seems destined to fight someone else at Mania?
A great pick this man would be if he is able to return at the Rumble. The only step would be to get a belt on Jericho. A Jericho-Edge main event at Mania would be tremendous. Yet being that the whole Jericho-Edge situation stared over the tag team title, it would seem more appropriate if Jericho could patch things up with Show, win the titles back from DX, and go up against Edge and?Christian.
Here is a guy who really deserves it. I?ve said before and I?ll say it again. Henry fighting Sheamus would not be a technical classic, but it would be a great big man match. Having Henry win the title at Mania would be a great prize for his hard work.
A lot of people are crazy for this guy. If Smackdown has one wrestler who is on the cusp of breaking through, Morrison is that man. After winning the Tag Team, ECW, and I-C titles, graduating to the Rumble seems like the next logical step. The problem is finding a champion to pass the torch to him. Jericho would be great, but he will be tied up with someone else. Punk is a great pick and would reignite an old rivalry. Another guy is Miz if they could get a belt on him in the coming weeks. Another guy Morrison could go at is Taker.
HBK is a favorite to win the match right now. Having him go in and win to get a match against Taker for the gold at Mania would add intrigue to their possible Mania rematch. Should Taker lose the title, HBK may even frog the title shot to fight Taker instead. HBK could even get the belt from the transitional champ so he would have something Taker wants. There are many possibilities with this, but despite all the rumors and TV build I still do not buy that WWE will be going with Taker-HBK at Mania. Call me crazy or blind or whatever, but I truly believe we are in for a swerve. Something else is going to come along to distract Michaels. What that is, I don?t know. Jump to conclusions mats would lead us to Triple H or something more with Bret Hart and Vince McMahon. I will say this, if we come to the Monday night after Elimination Chamber and they announce Taker-HBK for WM, then I will eat my words and shut up about this. For now, I think something more is coming.
The reason I think something else is coming is the same line of thought I had back in June when Mi was squashed by Cena at The Bash. Back then I said that we needed to wait as this was just the beginning fro Miz. I still hold to that. Back then I predicted that Mix would be the guy to win the 2010 Royal Rumble and I still believe it is a very real possibility. Miz reminds me Justin Credible back in ECW. He’s the kind of heel who takes what he wants and shows no remorse or shame. He’s just an awful human being. If he were to win the Rumble and take the title at Mania we would never hear the end of it. Miz just may be that guy who will beat Taker at Mania to take his title and end the streak. If not, there is still Elimination Chamber to get the belt back on Cena for Cena-Miz match.
So there you have it. This was not all of the men that are for sure participating, but we will not know that for sure until next Sunday. As always, we may see a few surprises like a JBL or a Booker T. The book really is wide open on this one. Nobody is guaranteed to win this year like we have seen in years past with Orton, Batista, Mysterio, Austin, Rock, Undertaker, Mysterio and Lesnar. Here’s hoping that we see a new face emerge as the driver on the road to Wrestlemania
Next week will kick off with the first installment of Smash from the Past, a look back at an event in wrestling history and what effect it had on the business and its relevance today. The first installment debuting on Rumble weekend will look at one of the greatest Rumbles of all-the 1992 Royal Rumble.
Thanks for reading,