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Breaking Down Who’s Going To Win The 2016 Royal Rumble

Now that we’re only a few days away from the Royal Rumble, which takes place from Orlando, Florida this Sunday night, it’s time to take a look at who has a legitimate shot at winning the match. The wrinkle this year, of course, is that the winner of the Rumble will be crowned the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. In year’s past, the winner was only guaranteed a shot at the title at WrestleMania, but thanks to Vince McMahon and his on screen disdain for Roman Reigns, this year’s match has the highest stakes possible. With 30 entrants, it’s easy to dismiss most of the guys in the match, but there are a handful of guys who could walk away the new World Heavyweight Champion Sunday night. I’ll break it down into tiers so it’s an easy read.

The Never Gonna Happen Squad

{Neville, Mark Henry, Titus O’Neil, Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, Alberto Del Rio, Wade Barrett, Kalisto, The Uso’s, Tyler Breeze, The Ascension, Stardust, Ryback, Big Show, Social Outcasts, Erik Rowan, Braun Strowman, etc.]

There’s 23 guys right there that really have no chance of winning the Rumble. With 30 guys in the match, you need some throwaways, and although I love guys like Rusev, Kalisto, Strowman and Neville, they’re not going to come out of nowhere and be the new champ. The most they can hope for is to make a little bit of an impact, and I expect Kofi to bring back his creative avoiding elimination spot. I don’t know if all these guys are going to be in the match, but any other similar superstar who enters should be pigeonholed into this category. All I ask is that Big Show and Kane be in there for as little time as possible.

The Long Shots

[Dolph Ziggler, Chris Jericho, Dean Ambrose, Big E, Sheamus]

These four are right in the middle of the pack for me, and while it’d be a long shot for them to win, you can’t 100% rule them out. The most interesting two for me are Ambrose and Big E. Since there’s been no build up towards it, it probably won’t happen, but how awesome would it have been to see Reigns enter at #1, survive the whole match only to have Ambrose eliminate him at the end and become The Authority’s new champion? Then Seth Rollins comes back as a baby face and we have The Shield main event Summerslam in a triple threat match for the title. Maybe one day. Maybe one day.

Big E is intriguing for a similar reason. He’s the star of New Day, both in the ring and on the microphone, and he’s the one that I can see using New Day as a stepping stool towards a successful singles career. The Authority already loves New Day, plus he’s got Kofi and Xavier who could help him win even if they aren’t in the match. It’s a long shot, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t want to see Big E dancing with the title as the Rumble goes off the air.

The ‘I Bet My Life One Of These Guy’s Win’ Squad

[Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, Bray Wyatt, HHH]

Let’s start off with HHH. He hasn’t been seen on WWE TV since Reigns beat the crap out of him at TLC (he was at Takeover: London). If they go with a HHH return, it could go one of two ways. HHH enters the Rumble and wins, becoming the new champion and setting up a HHH/Reigns main event for Mania where Reigns wins back the title. HHH doesn’t enter the Rumble but shows up to cost Reigns the match, setting up a HHH/Reigns match at Fast Lane with the stipulation that if Reigns wins, he gets a shot at the title at Mania. With all the injuries right now and the way they’ve built up Reigns after the disastrous Rumble last year, I can’t see him not being a part of the main event of Mania. Bringing HHH back to avenge himself, his wife and Vince all while costing Roman the title makes a lot of sense.

Brock Lesnar. That’s really all that needs to be said, isn’t it? He’s the best, most physical, scary, strong, animalistic [insert adjective here]  human being the WWE has ever had. Any match or segment he’s apart of is instantly legitimized. Besides all that, he lost his title at last year’s WrestleMania without being pinned or submitted, and after he dominated the current champion for 95% of the match. This is the safest possible decision the WWE  can make, because there’s not a soul on planet earth that is going to boo Brock Lesnar mauling 29 other guys en route to winning the Rumble and the WWE Championship. It’s also a logical move, because it sets up Lesnar/Reigns II, and about half a dozen other dream matches for Mania.

Bray Wyatt. Honestly, before the end of last night’s Raw, I put Wyatt’s chances of winning the Rumble at slim to none. The worst part is that it had nothing to do with the performer or the character and everything to do with how the WWE uses him. Every Bray Wyatt peak has been immediately followed by a valley that takes so long to dig out of. He’s so unique he almost doesn’t even belong in the WWE. Every time he shows up it feels like an anomaly, something so different and refreshing from the norm of the WWE main event scene. Betting on Wyatt means betting on WWE creative to finally do something with their most limitless young performer. The time for Wyatt to look strong in defeat has come and gone, and if the WWE doesn’t pull the trigger now, then when will they? Wyatt lasted over 47 minutes in last year’s Rumble, eliminating 6 other men. The only way to top that is to win the Rumble, and take the title off his career long mortal enemy, Roman Reigns. The best part? He has three bearded monsters that can help him along the way. Wyatt may be the longest shot on this list, but you never know.

Roman Reigns. I defended Reigns after last year’s win because I think the fans hated the way the match played out so much that it flowed over to the finish. Eliminating Daniel Bryan that early was foolish, and then having Big Show and Kane eliminate every single other guy the fans could get behind was downright dumb. By the time Reigns eliminated Rusev to finally win, the crowd was incensed. Why WWE felt the need to dig themselves a hole for the second year in a row during their most important season is beyond my comprehension, but they’ve done a great job of getting Reigns back on track since then. He had a great match with Bryan at Fast Lane, and then was apart of the one of the best main events in WrestleMania history a month later. Now Reigns finds himself in almost the same position as he was in last year, except he’s got the belt and A LOT of guys are hurt. No Daniel Bryan. No Seth Rollins. No John Cena. No Randy Orton. Reigns if officially the top dog, but will he enter at #1 and win the Rumble? I say no. If he does, how do you continue The Authority/Reigns storyline? Are there any greater odds to overcome than defending your title as the #1 entrant in the Royal Rumble? How do you go back to putting Reigns in 1 on 1 or handicap matches after he wins this? The right call would be a Reigns loss, and I can easily see any of the three guys above walking out as the champ.

-Ryan

 

 

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About ryanfoges

I want to experience as much as I can while I'm here. Come along for the ride @rfogarty7.

Posted on January 19, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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