Despite it being one of the most loved WWE events year in, year out, the Royal Rumble has often delivered obvious winners. The last five years have seen Batista, John Cena, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio and Edge walk away with their hand held high, all Superstars who had received quite the rub long before these subsequent victories. It’s a non-occurence that the likes of Fandango survive being thrown over the top rope.
With this year’s Royal Rumble just days away, then, who has a genuine chance of securing a World Title shot at this year’s WrestleMania? Here are the three names most likely…
3 – Sting
Sting hasn’t been seen since the Survivor Series last November… is what I was planning to write until the man himself turned up on RAW. Damn you Sting. Damn you…
But, given what happened at the PPV’s conclusion and how he interfered just this past week, you’d be well within your rights to assume his debut match in the organisation will be against HHH.
In fact, it undoubtedly will be. How they get to that match, however, is still very much up in the air.
Sting has already been slotted into the build-up for WrestleMania thanks to his most recent actions, and each of his arrivals have sparked more animosity between the WCW legend and ‘The Game’.
The flame has been reignited as the ‘Vigilante’ put another spanner in The Authority’s plans.
Given their current playbook, it stands to reason that Stephanie McMahon and her blushing husband will try and influence the outcome of The Royal Rumble.
If Seth Rollins can’t outdo John Cena and Brock Lesnar, there’s nothing to say he won’t try and make amends by injecting himself into the Royal Rumble.
Scrapping to the end of the match – with some help along the way – WWE gives us a ‘where were you?’ moment for the ages as Rollins, once again, is thwarted by Sting, in at number 30, who ejects Mr Money In The Bank and The Authority at large.
It would be a new accomplishment for Sting who has little else to achieve in wrestling, inserts the man into an angle that ends with him sacrificing his title shot for a match with HHH, and ensures a huge reaction as the live crowd experiences not only a genuine shock entrant, but a bonafide icon to boot.
2 – Roman Reigns
WWE’s wannabe poster boy has had a hard time as of late. While Roman Reigns certainly has all the tools to become a main event player, you’d be hard pushed to find anyone – that isn’t in the McMahon circle – who thinks he’s ready to have the trigger pulled.
Inconsistent promos; an over-emphasis on ‘signature’ moves; so obviously being forced down people’s throats.
More often than not fans know who they want to get behind. They’re also well aware when the ‘WWE Machine’ is trying to steer them in a certain direction.
The born Leati Anoa’i has managed to weather the storm so far, and his reaction when he returned to TV recently was proof there’s an appetite for his character and persona. He still possesses all the potential in the world.
It’s with this in mind that he’s a hot favourite to win this year’s Royal Rumble.
Many people behind the scenes believe all Reigns needs is a little extra something to get him to that next level, and standing tall after a strong showing at the Rumble could be exactly the push that gets him over.
His dominant performance in 2014 lit a fire under both the live crowd and those watching at home. Executed correctly, a win could do more still.
Most know that WWE has high hopes for Reigns and that it’s only a matter of time before he’s given an opportunity at the big time.
Those who think it’s too soon would, at the very least, have to give him a chance should he best the Rumble and go on to lift the the title at Mania.
After all, it’s worked before. WWE will be hoping that it can work again.
1 – Daniel Bryan
Batista may have won the Royal Rumble last year, but there was only one question in most people’s minds come the end of the event: Where the hell was Daniel Bryan?
Easily the most over wrestler in the company, the ‘WWE Universe’ had chosen Bryan as its leader, convinced that his turnaround in fortunes would spark at the Royal Rumble.
This is where he would start to turn the tide against The Authority. This is where his charge to reclaim the WWE World Heavyweight Title would begin.
And then he wasn’t even in it…
Rey Mysterio had to bear the brunt of the crowd’s shock that the captain of the ‘Yes Movement’ wouldn’t even have a chance of having his hand raised, booing and jeering until the cameras faded to black. After such a damning reaction, would WWE dare make the same mistake again?
Admittedly Bryan’s injuries and lack of television time have seen his momentum scuppered somewhat, but there’s no denying that he’s still loved and accepted by people everywhere as a top guy. Furthermore, a Royal Rumble victory would round-off an incredible comeback for a man who at one point last year was rumoured to be retiring.
Continuing on to WrestleMania for yet another title win would just be the clichéd icing on the cake and give Bryan the proper run he deserves.
There’s always the worry that his injuries and previous doubters work against him and the crown gets passed to the aforementioned Roman Reigns, but it’s a near-guarantee that Daniel Bryan will be in the Rumble until its closing stages. There’s a great chance he walks away victorious, too.
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