The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m back and just in time for the best part of the year…the Road to Wrestlemania. It’s the time of year when the creative team finally gets their ass in gear and we start seeing some long(ish) term planning. The quality of television the past few weeks has been noticeably better. The Old School episode of RAW was amazing as was the reaction to Daniel Bryan turning on the Wyatt’s in the steel cage two weeks ago (while we’ll choose to ignore John Cena running into the arena and Randy Orton stealing a car this past week). In happier times, the Shield continues to be the best part of the show every Monday and all indications point towards us getting the true CM Punk/HHH feud we were robbed of during the Summer of Punk. The wheels are in motion with one destination in sight, New Orleans, April 6th 2014. But let’s cover my 2nd favorite PPV of the year first.
Randy Orton vs John Cena in a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match
Yawn. Next. What’s that? I should probably dedicate at least a paragraph to the World Heavyweight Championship match? Fine. Let me start off by saying something good. I’ll admit their TLC match wasn’t the worst main event I’ve ever seen. However, this time around, they won’t have tables, ladders, chairs and handcuffs to help make the match more watchable. I am praying that Randy Orton wins this match in a somewhat clean fashion so that John Cena no longer has any claims in the title hunt. Keep these two separated. I could watch Daniel Bryan wrestle CM Punk a thousand times and never get bored. I feel like I HAVE watched Cena/Orton a thousand times. Give me something fresh.
What should happen (but never will): John Cena aligns himself with The Authority and becomes the new corporate champ. I would also accept The Authority interfering on behalf of John Cena, without his knowledge or consent and having Cena as a reluctant Corporate champion. Alas, this was a wasted paragraph and forget I ever brought it up.
What will happen: Randy Orton retains in dubious fashion. Enters into a feud with Brock Lesnar, culminating in a title match at Elimination Chamber. I would be fine with this option.
Big Show vs Brock Lesnar
Big Show has gotten the better of Lesnar on the past two episodes of RAW. That should be telling. Lesnar will go over here and Show will go back to being the middling Giant who is relevant only when it’s convenient to the story line. The most interesting aspect to me, is to see where Brock Lesnar goes from here. Logic dictates that he will challenge for the WWE title next. Logic also dictates that he will not win the title. His “limited dates” contract pretty much guarantees that no belt will be placed on Lesnar’s shoulders. I’m cool with Brock not showing up every week, because when he makes an appearance, it feels special. Let’s try employing the same tactics with John Cena.
What will happen: Lesnar goes over after Big Show is distracted by Heyman.
What should happen: Lesnar goes over strong. Clean win in the middle of the ring and then F-5’s the Big Show again after the match.
Daniel Bryan vs Bray Wyatt
A lot of people are disappointed with Daniel Bryan’s absence from the Rumble this year. Count yours truly among them. However, I feel like this match could build to something greater for Bryan. If you think about the big picture, Daniel Bryan wasn’t going to win the Royal Rumble. He is clearly not in the picture for the main event of Wrestlemania. It is another argument entirely about whether he should be. Would it be awesome to have Daniel Bryan enter the Rumble as the #2 participant and have he and CM Punk last until the final four? Yes! Yes! Yes, it would be. Do I have even the smallest amount of faith in the WWE creative team to book Daniel Bryan in a manner becoming of his talents? No! No! No! I like Daniel Bryan. I like Bray Wyatt. I want good things to happen for both of them. Maybe this featured matched at the Royal Rumble will help get them to where they deserve to be. But don’t hold your breath.
(Editor’s note: Daniel Bryan has been not been “officially” ruled out of the Royal Rumble, but rather not listed as a participant. But since when does the WWE have to bend to “rules”? They are made, effectively, to be broken)
What will happen: It makes sense for Daniel Bryan to get the win here. However, if the rumors of the WWE considering Bray Wyatt vs John Cena at Wrestlemania are even slightly true, I could see the Wyatt push continuing, possibly even at the expense of Daniel Bryan.
What should happen: Daniel Bryan wins, pulls double duty and enters the Royal Rumble. Is there anything that says he can’t? (besides his concussion)
Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs The New Age Outlaws
I am all about nostalgia. I literally jumped out of my couch when Jake Roberts returned on retro RAW. But having the (not so) New Age Outlaws on television for a prolonged period of time, WRESTLING MATCHES, is not what’s best for business. I would love to see Kamala come out as a Rumble participant, but that doesn’t mean I want the Ugandan Giant wrestling on RAW every week. I’d honestly rather see the Uso’s or Harper and Rowan in this spot with Road Dogg and Billy Gunn getting “guest spots” in the Rumble. Also, every WWE crowd ever, can we maybe hold off until after the wrestlers enter the ring ropes before we start chanting “You still got it!” I feel like we are doling out that chant far too liberally these days.
What should happen: I’ll tell you what shouldn’t happen. Under NO circumstance should the New Age Outlaws be our tag team champions.
What will happen: The New Age Outlaws will be our tag team champions. That was a joke. I hope.
30 Man Royal Rumble
These are the 25 men being advertised for the Royal Rumble match:
CM Punk, Batista, Alberto Del Rio, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, Rey Mysterio, Big E Langston, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Erick Rowan, Luke Harper, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, The Miz, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Xavier Woods, Fandango, Damien Sandow, Ryback, Titus O’Neil, Darren Young, Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro.
That means we have 5 spots available for mystery contestants. Well, 4 after you throw in the obligatory Great Khali spot and 3 if Santino Marella comes out. Goddammit. Can we just make this thing 40 participants?
Possible “Surprise” entrants in order of likeliness
- Chris Jericho
- Rob Van Dam
- Kevin Nash
- Hacksaw Jim Dugan
- Jake the Snake
- Hulk Hogan
- Pete Rose
Let’s break this down to include only people with a realistic chance of winning the Rumble. CM Punk, Batista, and Alberto Del Rio are probably the odds on favorites. Dark horses include Big E Langston and Roman Reigns. We can also add Dolph Ziggler to the list if he’s recovered from his concussion syndromes. The same with Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt if they enter the Rumble, although that is unlikely. I’m having a hard time picking a winner. Forced to pick, either Batista or Sheamus. If he returns, I think Sheamus gets the “2008 John Cena return from injury treatment.” The Final Four will be CM Punk, Batista, Roman Reigns and then either Sheamus if he returns or Big E Langston if he doesn’t. All in all, I am very excited at the unpredictability of this years’ Royal Rumble. Unless Batista wins, then I’ll bitch on Twitter.
Questions/comments/complaints – @TheRAWLibrarian on Twitter.