The Royal Rumble was once again poised for a strong showing, only to be a bit of a letdown. While the title matches were all fantastic, the Rumble itself lacked multiple factors. Aside from Dillinger, there were no other surprise entrants. On top of that, Roman Reigns at #30 was a tactic used so Randy Orton would not get booed, which made sense (although very disappointing, and took the excitement out of the crowd). Another disappointing part of the Rumble was the fact that it only setup a very few number of feuds. Was it the worst Rumble match in modern history? Absolutely not. Was it the best? Again, no. Below is the breakdown and original predictions of the Royal Rumble match:
Link to the original prediction article https://www.ewrestlingnews.com/articles/prediction-day-wwe-royal-rumble-2017-match
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Predicted – Sami Zayn
Actual – Chris Jericho
The two iron men of the rumble (Jericho & Zayn) ended up lasting until the final group of participants. Chris Jericho ended up breaking the record for longest time spent in the Royal Rumble Match overall, which makes sense considering he has been doing this since the Attitude Era. Jericho ended up lasting an hour and thirteen seconds, and was eliminated 27th by Roman Reigns. Although he lasted over an hour, he only eliminated 2 people in the match, when he flipped over both Sheamus and Cesaro.
Going Forward: An eventual breakup between Jericho and Owens and a match for the WWE Universal Championship either at Fastlane or WrestleMania.
Predicted – Braun Strowman
Actual – Braun Strowman
The big man cleaned house, and took home seven eliminations before being clotheslined out by Baron Corbin. Although he was only in the Rumble for 13 minutes, he had a great showing, and a strong impact. Strowman was able to showcase his power by having all of the other wrestlers team up on him, and still powering out in many spots. Strowman took home 7 eliminations, and the Undertaker had the second most eliminations at 4.
Going Forward: Match with Roman Reigns at Fastlane that he wins with Undertaker interference, followed by winning the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at WrestleMania.
Eliminated the Quickest:
Predicted – Xavier Woods (with James Ellsworth as a backup if he entered)
Actual – James Ellsworth
Soon as Ellsworth’s music hit, you knew he would take the not-so-coveted spot of being the quickest eliminated. Dean’s antics with Ellsworth added some much needed comedy into the match. When he was taken out by Braun in 15 seconds, he was thrown directly over the top and onto the floor. No bouncing off the ropes, not apron bump, just a direct fall onto the ground. Props to Ellsworth for taking that bump, because it looked like he died from that.
Going Forward: Ellsworth to continue the odd Carmella partnership, and probably help her win a few additional matches going into WrestleMania.
Non-Raw or Smackdown WWE Superstars to Enter:
Predicted – Tye Dillinger & Samoa Joe
Actual – Tye Dillinger
This entrant was purely a fan-driven spot. If anyone but Tye showed up as #10 in the Royal Rumble, the fans would have lost all their energy. It was nice to see the Canadian wrestler finally get his moment to shine, although it lasted under six minutes. One of the few big questions coming out of the Rumble is what are they going to do with Dillinger now. Will he go to Raw, Smackdown, or back to NXT? His feud with Sanity can only go so far.
Going Forward: Hopefully send Tye to Smackdown to start a feud with someone like the Miz, to kickstart him into the midcard. If he gets sent to Raw, he will likely be a little more lost in the shuffle. If he gets sent back to NXT, expect to see him the day after WrestleMania.
Unsigned Superstar to Enter:
Predicted – Kurt Angle
Actual – None
Well, this was slightly disappointing. While Angle or Omega might have been too much to ask for, WWE has the bonus of having hundreds of former stars who can make fun one-off appearances for the Royal Rumble. This has been a tradition for years. Hopefully next year we get a 40-man Royal Rumble, so they can add in some more of the fun wrestlers. Even someone as simple as Gillberg or the Godfather would have added another element of comedy and nostalgia into the Rumble.
Royal Rumble Winner:
Predicted – Sami Zayn
Actual – Randy Orton
Again, slightly disappointing on this front too. Repeat winners always seem like a bit of a letdown, even if Randy is doing some of his best work in years. If this was the route they intended on going, it would have been nicer to see Bray Wyatt win the Rumble, and have Orton take the title at the chamber. Then have them faceoff at WrestleMania. The upside to this scenario is that we “should” finally see Bray win the WWE Championship at the Elimination Chamber. Having Cena hold onto the title and seeing a Cena/Orton repeat would make for 2 underwhelming title matches in a row at WrestleMania. It also wouldn’t fit into the current storyline, so hopefully the chances of that are slim to none. There could have been worse winners (Roman for example), so this was not the worst case scenario. It was just not the best case scenario.
Going Forward: Bray wins the title, Randy vs. Bray at WrestleMania.