Predicting the Royal Rumble… Sort of…
I’m horrible at making predictions; at times I believe that it is more a strength than a weakness. If I knew what was going to happen in anything, from professional wrestling and other entertainment forms to sporting events and random news items, life would be very boring indeed. It is because of this blissful ignorance that professional wrestling is always enthralling and how occasionally the internet can weaken its impact through countless predictions, reviews, critiques, and overblown commentary.
However, this argument that I seem to make on a weekly basis should be kept for another week lest I begin to look like a hypocrite.
There is only one event, one match in particular, that I love trying my damnedest to predict just because I know I will be wrong on so many levels. Sometimes it is so much better to know that you will be incorrect in your futile efforts rather than have so much confidence in yourself that it takes away from the excitement of it all. Of course I am talking about the Royal Rumble match, 35 days away and counting.
Last week, WWE uploaded their Royal Rumble micro-site complete with 14 mug shots of its performers. John Cena, The Miz, Kane, and many others are seen. What makes this lone page so intriguing is what was missing from it: The list of the participants in the 2011 Royal Rumble.
While everyone and their house pets will be making predictions as to who will win the Royal Rumble (which is far too easy, patronizing, and insulting to you, the seasoned professional wrestling fan), I am determined to go one step further. I will attempt to predict all 30 participants in next year’s spectacle, as well as determine their roles within the match itself. These roles include prolonging current programs, beginning new ones, and their function within the match itself; whether that be as main event fodder for elimination, traffic maintenance throughout the match guaranteeing action, or one of the final four talents left in the ring.
This list of talent is in no way meant to serve as a means for me to know more than anyone else. I have no idea what will happen in The Royal Rumble… and that’s why I love it so much…
Royal Rumble Participants from ‘Raw’
CM Punk – With his exit from behind the commentator’s table and entrance back into the ring via chair to John Cena’s back, CM Punk is an absolute lock for the Royal Rumble match. How far he will go is dependent on what the function of his feud with Cena serves. Is this meant to go into Wrestlemania? If so, then expect both to eliminate each other within the Rumble. (Predicted entry number: 10-20; exit number: 20-29) Speak of the devil…
John Cena – If this feud with Punk is not meant to go into Wrestlemania, and then expect Cena to be a potential winner of the Rumble. (Entry: 15-30; Exit: 25-Winner)
Daniel Bryan – With no competition in sight for his United States title, expect Daniel Danielson to make his first appearance in the Royal Rumble. I’m very curious to see where he will be handed his elimination, but I’m very confident he will be one of the first performers in the ring that night. (Entry: 1-10; Exit: 10-20)
Randy Orton – He is definitely considered a Rumble winner, let alone final four contributor. The curiosity factor lies in what his role will be after Royal Rumble: Will he remain face or will we see a swerve in the mix within the Rumble? (Entry: 10-30; Exit: 25-Winner)
R-Truth – Mid-card mainstay and crowd-pleaser, R-Truth will assume the same role that he had in last year’s Rumble: Slight cameo appearance. With no storyline in sight and no hints of any programs to come, you’re looking at Raw’s MVP. (Entry: 15-25; Exit: 10-25)
Ted DiBiase Jr. – Another mid-card resident but in a less favorable standing than R-Truth. He has a valet that can only be described as a ‘charisma succubus’ and whose entrance music reminds many to hide their kids and their wives… home boy… home boy… (Entry: 5-20; Exit: 1-15)
The Great Khali – It is mandatory that Khali make an appearance at the Rumble. What should remain mandatory is his role within the Rumble, he is the ‘Viscera/Mark Henry’: An intimidating figure walking to the ring, cleaning house, not eliminating anybody, and seeing a quick exit due to typical mob mentality or superhuman strength. (Entry: 1-25; Exit: 1-25) Speaking of which…
Mark Henry – (Entry: 15-25; Exit: 5-20)
David Otunga, Husky Harris, Heath Slater, & Justin Gabriel – The Nexus is far from over. Not only would the insertion of them serve as a terrific paradigm shift in storylines (Cena’s revenge now becomes Nexus’ revenge), a great mob mentality (a la Legacy in 2009), but also provide even better fodder for the late entrance of main event and returning talent. (Entry: 3-28; Exit: 13-24)
Wade Barrett – Of course Woi Barrah will coordinate his troops inside the ring, but do not expect him to make an exit like them. I am very intrigued to see what they do with him post-Cena within the Rumble. Remember Survivor Series? Undertaker is still taking a dirt nap, right? (Entry: 10-20; Exit: 26-29)
Santino Marella – There is an old adage in the Royal Rumble: If you are a member of a tag team, you are fodder. If you are a tag team champion, you may be given an extra handful of minutes in the ring before making your hasty exit… (Entry: 1-15; Exit: 3-15)…
Vladimir Kozlov – …but that is not the case with Kozlov. Expect him to stick around for a little longer than his fellow title-holder but nothing more substantial. I would be very surprised if he were to eliminate anybody within the match. (Entry: 1-20; Exit: 5-20)
Sheamus – This will be the first Royal Rumble for the wrestler who has seen the most WWE PPV singles match ring-time in 2010 (over 2 hours), his performance will be placed under a microscope and analyzed the most. His role will be one of monster/traffic cop… expect him to make a few jobber eliminations, stand toe-to-toe with some big bodies, and come very close to a final four appearance… (Entry: 8-15; Exit: 20-27)… Until…
Triple H – I fully expect him to make his return to WWE television/PPV, however I’m not so sure he will win the Rumble or not. With his role within company growing more behind-the-curtain, his ring-time will be limited on television and PPV. Do you have HHH win the Rumble but continue his feud with Sheamus at ‘Elimination Chamber’ in February, making it seem like less than nothing once Wrestlemania shows up? That is the biggest question: Do you sacrifice Sheamus in order to place HHH back on the main event pedestal at Wrestlemania? (Entry: 25-30; Exit: 27-Winner)
Royal Rumble Participants from ‘Smackdown’
You’ll find that many of these performers mimic the ones previously spoken of on the flagship brand. I apologize for the shorthand, but let’s face it, I’m sure I’ve numbed your brains with enough numbers and speculation.
Alberto Del Rio – The feud between Del Rio and Rey Mysterio has provided ‘Smackdown’ with intrigue since his debut. What will be interesting to see is how far they are willing to carry this feud out, just like the eminent Cena-Punk program. Is this worth carrying into Wrestlemania? I believe it is absolutely worth it. Wrestlemania is where most high-profile, extremely-melodramatic feuds come to be resolved. (Entry: 1-15; Exit: 15-Winner)
Rey Mysterio – However, in comparison to the Cena-Punk program, Rey should not be seen as a potential Rumble winner. Unless I am neglecting an act of God where Rey wins the Rumble and Del Rio wins the World Heavyweight Title at ‘Elimination Chamber’. (Entry: 5-20; Exit: 25-Winner)
Dolph Ziggler – The Intercontinental Champion will be given the same role as United States Champion, Daniel Bryan, as a beginning entrant. The only difference between the two is that Dolph has a semi-program developing between him, Jack Swagger, and Kofi Kingston. These three will all merely serve as fodder to the higher echelon. (Entry: 1-20; Exit: 1-20)
Jack Swagger – (Entry: 10-30; Exit: 1-20)
Kofi Kingston – (Entry: 5-20; Exit: 15-25)
Chavo Guerrero, Cody Rhodes, JTG, Chris Masters & Tyler Reks – This the slate of talent ‘Smackdown’ is providing to those who would like to toss something over the top rope. What will be intriguing about this collection is how long they will be allowed to remain in the ring. Expect Chris Masters or Tyler Reks to outlast the rest. (Entry of all: 3-28; Exit of all: 3-24)
Big Show – There are only so many things you can depend on when it comes to Big Show. You can count on him to clear the ring of fodder, but you cannot count on him for staying very long in the Rumble itself. This fact is only in relation to his entrance number. Big Show cannot pull a 30-minute marathon Rumble appearance like HHH, Mysterio, or Cena, but he can definitely be considered a final four contender. (Entry: 15-28; Exit: 15-27)
Drew McIntyre – Of all of the Royal Rumble participants, I am the most curious and clueless about McIntyre’s place within it. His face is on the micro-site, he has been given an odd program on ‘Smackdown’ attempting to convince Kelly Kelly of his chivalry, and his abilities have grown exponentially as a character actor and effective performer in the ring. I am not anticipating him to win the match, nor appear in the final four. Of all of the participants, I’m expecting him to last the longest. (Entry: 1-10; Exit: 20-26)
Ezekiel Jackson – Big Zeke, the final entrant into the Royal Rumble and my final projected winner of the match itself. I know this sounds crazy and tremendously far-fetched, but why not? Why not insert a dark horse into the match and Wrestlemania for that matter? And who says the Royal Rumble winner won’t be used in a protection-driven, multi-man, cluster-bomb at Wrestlemania? It does sound sacrilege, but it’s WWE… they can do whatever they want, regardless of how insipid it sounds or how it reduces the importance of the Royal Rumble to nothing more than a way to showcase guys you don’t remember. (Entry: 15-30; Exit: 24-Winner)
There are many names that I have left out for obvious reasons:
John Morrison, The Miz, Edge, & Kane – These are all talents who will be involved in matches outside of the Royal Rumble match. I would not be shocked if any one of these four appeared in the Rumble at all, especially Kane. He hasn’t missed a Rumble since 1999.
Evan Bourne & Christian – I’m just not sure about their timetable returning from injury. It would be nice to see either one of them make a cameo appearance but not go so far as consideration for final four placement.
Skip Sheffield & Michael Tarver – We might see these two return from injury in time to join The Nexus in the Rumble. The only problem with this scenario: Who do you sacrifice? If you are not substituting Nexus member for Nexus member, doesn’t more than 5 seem a little crowded for a faction within the Rumble?
So what do you think? Are you brain-dead yet? If not, send me your thoughts about my outlandish speculations and assumptions. This is really the only time out of the year that I love doing these predictions though… because, again… I love being wrong.
Until next time, mouth-breathers!
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