Normally on the go-home show of a pay-per-view, I talk about how the card is essentially locked and we know full-well which superstars are going to be left off the event.
With the Royal Rumble, it’s quite different, as there is always room for surprises all the way until the 30th entrant has made their way to the ring.
Nevertheless, we do know that not everybody will be able to participate in the show in some fashion and with the pay-per-view fast approaching this Sunday night, it’s time for us to start looking at the unlucky men and women who might be left off the schedule.
As this is a co-branded event, I’ll be splitting the breakdown in the Raw and SmackDown side of things, but it’s important to keep in mind that NXT stars and outsiders are going to be eligible to make appearances, so this is pretty much “all hands on deck” and impossible to predict.
With all that being said, here are the wrestlers on the Monday Night Raw roster who are currently not advertised to make an appearance at the Royal Rumble 2018 event:
The Injured List
Sadly, Monday Night Raw has a handful of people we know we can count out due to injuries that are significant enough they won’t be healed in time.
Big Cass, Big Show, Dean Ambrose, Jeff Hardy, R-Truth and the biggest hit of them all, Samoa Joe, are all out of the running. Some will likely not be seen for many months, even after WrestleMania, unless a miracle happens and they somehow heal at a tremendous rate.
Even then, it would take a ton of convincing to be cleared to compete and to bump someone else from the card that WWE no doubt would already have in place instead of these men.
Plus, two of those men—Big Show and R-Truth—are at the end of their careers as it is. The Royal Rumble isn’t an event that needs their names attached to it, nor is it something they would be pushed at in any capacity, and the bump they’d take over the top rope wouldn’t be worth just making a random appearance for the hell of it, so even if they were able to come back, it’s doubtful WWE would want to put them in the match instead of two other alternative options that could be bigger surprises or more regularly featured wrestlers.
Samoa Joe’s injury is the worst of the bunch as he had already announced that he would be in the match and would be targeting John Cena, so there must have been at least some plans for them to cross paths. Now, it’s unclear if he’ll even be able to build to a WrestleMania match at all, but it’s certain it won’t start at the Royal Rumble as he’s been pulled from competition.
The list of singles potentials who aren’t booked yet
Goldust has been very active with 205 Live, but he has yet to be announced for the Royal Rumble, nor has the man with the worst losing streak in the company, Curt Hawkins.
Both of them are low enough priorities that it would be fine if they are skipped over in favor of others, but there is one man who obviously doesn’t fit that bill: Roman Reigns.
Don’t fret. He will definitely be in the Royal Rumble match, even though they have yet to officially announce that he’s one of the participants. That isn’t even up for debate unless he were to be injured or something, which doesn’t appear to be the case.
From the Women’s Division
Technically, there are four women on the Raw roster who are not advertised to compete on this show, but there’s a perfectly valid reason why those ladies aren’t in the mix.
Maryse is an obvious exclusion. If she weren’t pregnant, I’m fairly certain she’d be in the women’s Royal Rumble due to her former status as a competitor.
Stephanie McMahon is another simple one as she’s the commissioner of the brand, rather than an in-ring performer. Despite this, I still have my doubts and I wouldn’t be shocked to see her pop up as an entrant.
Paige, sadly, is no longer able to compete due to her severe injuries, and since that is unlikely to ever change, this will be the last time I bother calling it out in future editions of this column. She was previously advertised and there’s no doubt whatsoever that if her injuries didn’t amount to such a significant problem, she’d be not only in the ring, but also a focal point of the match, so this is just an unfortunate situation for all parties involved.
Lastly, there’s Alexa Bliss, who is the current Raw women’s champion. Holding that title disqualifies her from entering the Royal Rumble during a brand split setup where the champions can’t cross over to other shows to challenge the other champion. We just saw that at Survivor Series and we’re not going to see it at WrestleMania, so even though it’s a shame we won’t see Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss in this historic match, it makes perfect sense why they’re off the card.
Still, that doesn’t prevent Bliss from having some kind of backstage interview segment or possibly even joining the commentary table for the match if she’s ringside, so we should still see her, even if it’s on the pre-show.
From the Tag Team Division
Currently, there are four tag teams who are completely unannounced, even though…of course…they all have the potential to be in the Royal Rumble match.
Heath Slater and Rhyno, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, and The Revival are all out of the mix as far as actual promotion goes.
At the very least, The Balor Club and The Revival should be givens. Then again, Heath Slater and The Miztourage can all fulfill jobber quick eliminations better than almost anybody else that would be in the match.
Despite their lack of advertisement, I would expect most if not all of these men to have a spot on the card.
From the Cruiserweight Division
Things are up in the air about the cruiserweight division with Enzo Amore’s suspension. Before that, it was just he and Cedric Alexander who were scheduled for this event. Now that the title match is on hold, how is WWE going to handle that?
Will he be stripped of the title and we’ll see Cedric Alexander fight someone else from The Zo Train in Enzo’s place? Will there just be a random six man tag team match or something to fill time on the pre-show and take up the spot that this title match would have had?