Welcome to another edition of eWN Round Table, where we gather some of the most active writers here on eWrestlingNews and share the platform to answer some questions surrounding a centralized topic, upcoming event, etc.
This is meant to showcase the potential for both a wide range of perspectives as well as how sometimes, there can be a group consensus no matter what your viewpoint is, so we also invite all of you to join in on the discussion by answering these questions yourself in the comments section below.
For this particular volume, we’ll be focusing on NXT TakeOver Phoenix and WWE Royal Rumble 2019.
Participants for this round = Anthony Mango, Chris Holden, Richard Staple, Ethan Absler Kyle Dunning and Robert DeFelice
1) “Will you be following the Worlds Collide Tournament and Royal Rumble Axxess material? If so, who do you think will win the tournament?”
MANGO: Yes indeed. The idea behind the crossover of the brands is very interesting to me, and I’m excited to see which pairings happen and who comes out on top. Right now, I’m leaning toward something like Travis Banks challenging Buddy Murphy or maybe even Johnny Gargano for the North American Championship or something a little more “underwhelming” than a major switch, but I’d be really cool with a lot of options. However, I’m really starting to think Cedric Alexander moves to NXT by winning this and challenging for the NXT Championship or North American title.
HOLDEN: I more than likely won’t be watching it, but I do think it’s a brilliant idea, and I’ll definitely be interested to find out what happens. It might also give some clue as to what WWE consider the pecking order for these brands to be – will the NXT brands come across as equals? Will 205 Live guys look like workers on the cusp of the main roster, or will they be portrayed as hoping to break into an NXT roster in the future? I’ll guess Velveteen Dream to win, with Keith Lee getting a good run.
STAPLE: I’ll be far too concerned with Takeover and the Royal Rumble to pay attention to those events. I’ve never heard anything of worth take place there anyway.
ABSLER: Not following.
DUNNING: Not planning on it. Depends how much time I have. Worlds Collide might be worth a watch, but WWE hasn’t sold it much, so I only know guys like Velveteen Dream and Moustache Mountain will be involved.
DEFELICE: I will be following the tournament but I don’t know if I’ll be keeping an eye out for spoilers considering it will air the following Saturday.
2) “Which is the true #2 pay-per-view of the year, Royal Rumble or SummerSlam?”
MANGO: Over the years, I’ve thought SummerSlam has dipped down in quality and even if the Royal Rumble as a whole might not deliver at a 100% success rate, I’d lean toward Royal Rumble being the true #2 show most fans put on the hierarchy. It’s a tight race, but that wins out just by the narrowest margin.
HOLDEN: No question, Royal Rumble. SummerSlam is like WrestleMania’s little brother; the Rumble is Mania’s wild and crazy buddy from college. It’s more fun, always a change of pace from the usual grind, and encapsulates so much of what wrestling fans love about wrestling – unpredictable surprises, nostalgia, unique pairings in the ring. Even in the long, long ago, before the winner got anything more than a pat on the back, the Rumble was special. Back in the day when there were only really four PPVs a year, SummerSlam could be somewhat unique – these days, it’s just another in a long list of Network specials.
STAPLE: Historically speaking, WWE will tell you that it is Summerslam. But I’d actually think it’s the Rumble. Bigger events tend to take place there, and since the Rumble is considered to be the first stop on the Road to WrestleMania, it only makes sense.
ABSLER: I believe that Summerslam is the true second biggest PPV of the year. Billed as “The Biggest Party Of The Summer” SummerSlam always delivers the magical Wrestlemania-like feeling that let’s you know the importance of the event, as well as boasts the history to back up the claim.
DUNNING: Boy. That’s a tough question. While WWE certainly treats Summerslam like a big deal, it’s safe to say the fans make Royal Rumble #2 because it’s always exciting. You never know who’s showing up. Sometimes we get an unpredictable winner. While Summerslam certainly has its moments, it doesn’t have the gimmick of the Royal Rumble match. So I’m going with the Rumble, although WWE might think otherwise.
DEFELICE: I think in WWE lore, there is a feeling that SummerSlam is the number to pay-per-view but I don’t agree with this because the Royal Rumble is so important. There’s literally no WrestleMania without Royal Rumble.
3) “Ignoring who you THINK will win, who do you WANT to win both Royal Rumbles?”
MANGO: I want Shawn Michaels to win the men’s to fight Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania and for Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair to both win the women’s, as I don’t want WWE to have just Flair win and spend February and March building to some match where she has to defend her title shot and Lynch somehow works her way into the Triple Threat. Just give me the Royal Rumble co-winner situation.
HOLDEN: I want Becky Lynch to win the Women’s match, and I want Kenny Omega to win the Men’s version. I shall certainly be disappointed.
STAPLE: It just so happens that who I think will win both Rumble matches is the same as who I want to win. Seth Rollins for the men, and Becky Lynch for the women. Rollins makes too much sense as a new challenger for Brock Lesnar and to face him in Roman Reigns’ honor only seems right. Becky Lynch doubly so for the women because the feud with Ronda should have a grand stage.
ABSLER: Ignoring who I think will win, I’d love to see Braun Strowman or Drew McIntyre win. As for the women, I’d enjoy seeing Charlotte win to create a triple threat between her, Rousey, and Lynch for the Women’s Title.
DUNNING: Not thought about it too much, but I really want someone NEW to win this year. No Batistas. No Triple H’s. No Randy Orton’s. Give someone else a chance to shine. I’ll go with Samoa Joe .. he really needs an achievement on the main roster. I doubt he will though, as AJ vs. Bryan is likely to continue to Wrestlemania, unless they make it a triple threat or something. As for the women’s match, literally no one is going to see this pick coming .. but I’m super high on Lacey Evans. Let her shock the world with her class.