WWE Royal Rumble Preview

Posted by Grey Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Road to WrestleMania kicks off tonight with the 25th annual (not 25th anniversary) Royal Rumble at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

WWE kicked off its PPV year 2012 with the 25th edition of Royal Rumble, quite possibly the most interesting pay-per-view (PPV) of the year. Traditionally, one of the "Big Four" events of WWE (along with WrestleMania, Survivor Series and SummerSlam), there is without a shadow of a doubt that this is one PPV that any self-respecting pro-wrestling fans cannot afford to missed.

As per the annual tradition of Royal Rumble, the winner of the PPV's namesake match will move on to headline the subsequent WrestleMania to challenge for the WWE or World Heavyweight Championship, setting the tone for the Road to WrestleMania. But this year, the opportunity to kick-start the Road to WrestleMania gets even more harder than ever as an unprecedented forty Superstars will be involved in the Royal Rumble match, vying for the much-coveted price of performing in the main event of "The Greatest Stage Of Them All", WrestleMania.

While this month's coverage will be a snap preview, we can't help but felt compelled to complain about the disastrous promotional image featuring Santino Marella. Yes, this is undoubtedly the worst promo image for the annual Royal Rumble series, and we opine that it is almost a crime for the time-honored event.

Last month's third edition of TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs was suitably pleasant for most smark fans, especially with the image of CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Zack Ryder being the WWE Champion, World Heavyweight Champion, and United States Champion, respectively, on the foloowing night's RAW.

Tonight, John Cena returns to his regular PPV slot in a grudge match with Kane following the destruction of Cena's friend (and former United States champion, yes, things move fast in the WWE), Zack Ryder, at the hands of the Big Red Monster, who just wanted Cena to embrace the hate of WWE Universe. Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan is now just one step away from a full heel-turn, engaging in a Triple Threat Steel Cage match with two monster, The World's Strongest Man, Mark Henry and The Biggest Athlete in The World, Big Show. On the other hand, reigning WWE Champion CM Punk will be playing a high stake game with his WWE Championship on the line against Dolph Ziggler with John Laurinaitis, Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager of Raw, as the special guest referee. And then we have the highlight of the night, the Royal Rumble itself, reverted back to the 30-man line-up following last year's 40-man match.

For those keeping the score, we scored a ho-hum four out of the announced six-match card on TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs. Now on with our snap preview for the show.

30-Man Royal Rumble Match

Royal Rumble Match: Consisting of thirty men, beginning with two in the ring. At regular timed intervals, one of the remaining 38 wrestlers enters the ring, with the objective of eliminating all other opponents. When all others have been eliminated, the winner of the event will get an one-way-ticket to headline WrestleMania, being the number one contender to the title of his choosing.

This year's Royal Rumble match has in fact became even harder to predict than ever before. We used to concentrate on who will win the match. Now, we even have to predict who will actually be participating as WWE confirming that "any WWE superstar is eligible to enter".

While we maintain the same logic that only a handful of selected Superstars are actually eligible to headline the subsequent WrestleMania as we have mentioned last year, we were also the ones who posed the hypothetical question, "can you imagine Zack Ryder challenging for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXVII?" Yeah, the notion of that still seemed a stretch but the fact that Ryder has now became a start in his own right is a good indication of how things have advanced in a year.

Till now, only five participants have been confirmed. We now know that The Mix will be number 1, while R-Truth, Sheamus, Wade Barrett, and Mick Foley will also be in.

We are expecting a more-than-healthy number of return, from Christian to The Undertaker, but match-quality-wise, this is Royal Rumble, arguably the most intriguing gimmick match of all pro-wrestling.

Continuing our Royal Rumble tradition throughout the years, we will be picking five likely winners. In 2010's Royal Rumble, our fourth choice, Edge, was the winning ticket. Likewise, in a strange twist of fate, our fourth choice for last year's Royal Rumble, Alberto Del Rio, was also the winner. Hit the jump to check out our choice for this year.

Predicted Winners 1) : Randy Orton
Firstly, it's Orton's hometown. Secondly, the fact that Orton is perfectly cast as the returning killer fact back in the business. Third, a single match for the World Heavyweight Championship between Daniel Bryan and Orton is refreshing enough for all.

Predicted Winners 2) : Chris Jericho
The simple fact that Jericho declared that it will be the end of the world as we know it at the Royal Rumble is pretty much enough. And of course, the fight for the claim of being "The Best Wrestler in The World" between CM Punk and Jericho is a spectacle in itself.

Predicted Winners 3) : Sheamus
The fact that the Celtic Warrior has been on a roll for like forever without a clear direction might be indicative of a most prestigious road to WrestleMania for the former World Champion.

Predicted Winners 4) : Wade Barrett
The Barrett Barrage might just be leading to a Royal Rumble win all along.

Predicted Winners 5) : CM Punk
Just a crazy wild guess in the dark should the writers be in a push for a title unification match at this year's WrestleMania.

WWE Champion CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler (Special Guest Referee John Laurinaitis)

With John Laurinaitis, Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager of Raw, playing the role of a special guest referee, the card is seemingly stacked against reigning WWE Champion CM Punk. That is, if you missed last week's Raw. As we all know, Monday's post-Royal Rumble Raw will also see the return of Triple H with the results of an ongoing evaluation of Johnny Ace's performance with his job on the line.

For everything else, prepare for the match of the night. Punk and Ziggler will not disappoint.

Predicted Winner: CM Punk
While the stars are seemingly aligned for Ziggler, we foresaw a healthy WWE Championship reign defined by longevity for Punk as he head down to WrestleMania to perhaps face the new-and-improved Y2J.

World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show vs. Mark Henry (Triple Threat Steel Cage Match)

While we are still feeling perturbed by Bryan's seemingly and inevitably (if not already) heel-turn as well as Mark Henry's seemingly and inevitably (if not already) face-turn, we must add that things are in good order right here.

Of course, The World's Strongest Man, Mark Henry and The Biggest Athlete in The World, Big Show, are not the best opponents for the otherwise incredibly talented Daniel Bryan, who is just great in his offense and overall in-ring capabilities, but this cage match might just be the best scenario for Bryan to take advantage of the environment and the existing feud between the two behemoths.

Predicted Winner: Daniel Bryan
This might just be the perfect place for Bryan to announced his emergence to the world title scene in an escape from the cage amidst the two behemoths' clashes.

John Cena vs. Kane

With the Royal Rumble match, the WWE Championship, and the World Heavyweight Championship matches in places respectively, the true battle for the souls (if any) of the WWE Universe lies here. Will John Cena embrace the hate that Kane promotes, and just... for Christ sake, just shut up and turn heel for crying out loud?

Predicted Winner: John Cena
While the conventional mentality is for Cena to remain face (and a cool face at that) and defeat Kane in a straight match, we opine that Cena will still win, but not after a serious out-of-character violent burst on the Big Red Machine. Thereby completing the circle of embracing the hate. We longed to see you, heel-Cena.


The Rundown

It's the god-damn Royal Rumble. A sure-fire no-brainer for all pro-wrestling fans.


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