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Countdown to WWE Royal Rumble




By now, you've become accustomed to a certain format for our pay-per-view predictions. Each wisenheimer on staff offers up their picks first on the top three matches on a card, while the rest of the bouts get a quick comment.

We're changing it up a bit for the Royal Rumble, however, as you will soon see.

The Rumble, despite how WWE booking has gone over the past few weeks, remains the singlemost important match on the card, and perhaps the one match in all of sports entertainment, because of its unique structure, that intrigues fans year-in and year-out. Recognizing this, SLAM! chose to only spotlight the bout, while the three world title matches and tag contest will get pushed down. WWE may not have given the Rumble the attention it deserves this year, but we are.

One other note. Those who have followed us through the first two PPVs know we are doing a fantasy format for '07. Given the scope of the Rumble, each SLAM!mer was asked to pick the last surviving wrestler from each brand and the overall winner, giving the Rumble a four-match rating. Be sure to check the News and Rumours section later tonight for our prognostication results.


 
MAIN EVENT: ROYAL RUMBLE
Participants:
Shelton Benjamin, Chris Benoit, Carlito, Tommy Dreamer, Kenny Dykstra, Edge, Finlay, Ric Flair, Chavo Guerrero, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Gregory Helms, Hardcore Holly, Kane, King Booker, Chris Masters, Shawn Michaels, The Miz, Johnny Nitro, Randy Orton, Montel Vontavious Porter, CM Punk, Sabu, Sandman, The Great Khali, Kevin Thorn, Undertaker, Rob Van Dam, Viscera, Super Crazy
 

SLAM! Predictions

Andy McNamara

This is the first year in quite awhile where there is no clear cut winner. Based on the strength of character developments in looks like the victor will come from the Raw brand.
Final for RAW: Edge
Final for Smackdown: The Undertaker
Final for ECW: RVD
Overall Winner: Edge

Bob Kapur

Who doesn't love the Rumble? Should be a good one, with a couple of possible winners. With the Rumble taking place in San Antonio, I see Shawn Michaels being showcased huge, and with HHH on the shelf, I could see them giving HBK a huge singles run - including a match at 'Mania. On the Smackdown side, there's only a couple of top names that I could see in the final four - Undertaker's a safe bet. On the ECW side, I'm thinking that they'll continue shoving Bob Holly down our
throat and book him strong (meanwhile, CM Punk who is the best thing about ECW will be the first guy thrown out of the ring as his stupid backstage punishment continues). They're going to go with 'Taker and Batista anyway, and there's no way an ECW match will ever be considered WrestleMania main event material. So look for HBK to win it all, setting him up to face Cena at the grand-daddy of them all.

Brian Elliott

With recent television teasing John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels and Batista vs. The Undertaker for Wrestlemania, both title challengers have to be considered favourites for the Royal Rumble match. Of the two, the match would seem to suit the larger Undertaker, but I expect Michaels to take this one in his home town of San Antonio, Texas.
As far as who will be the last remaining competitor for their brand, I expect King Booker to be in there at the end with Michaels, and for Rob Van Dam to be within the final five.

David Hillhouse

Time for my favourite rasslin' event of the year. One of my first reactions to Triple H's injury was that it would allow for HBK to flourish, maybe even score the championship, and set up yet another DX-dissolution later in the year with jealousy raging over the belt. So, I guess I have to stick with Michaels as my pick (plus, I read somewhere that one more title run would lengthen Michaels' total tally of days as WWE Champion past Bret Hart's … but a man of God wouldn't care about such petty things, would he?).
As for the final three from each division: Michaels, CM Punk (so as to receive a similar big push to the one he got at Survivor Series) and King Booker (come on, admit it, without KOTR you've all missed the promos from whatever current King was entering the match claiming their guaranteed victory in a “Royal” match). If it is Michaels, then I suppose Orton has to be the runner-up yet again – maybe Edge will cost him the match. Now, if Vince would just change the spoils of victory from a title match at Wrestlemania to winning the 365-day “Money in the Bank” contract, I'd have very little to ask for.

Greg Oliver

The Royal Rumble is a bit of a mystery this year, which is the way it should be. Yet, unless they are going to take a chance, I can only see a few select people winning. On the Raw side, Shawn Michaels is the emotional choice, as the Rumble is in his hometown. Either Edge or Randy Orton could take it too. A few could surprise - Benjamin, Masters or Carlito - but I don't see that happening. I'll take Orton from Raw. On the Smackdown side, it would be crazy to bet against Undertaker. As for ECW, does it even matter? Hardcore Holly has naked pictures of somebody and a chicken or something, so I'll take him to be the last ECWer left, but not one of the last ones in the ring. In the end, it's 'Taker's Rumble, and a bout pitting his undefeated streak at Mania against Batista.

Jon Waldman
WHAT YOU THINK
Here are some Royal Rumble entrants. Do you see a winner?
Shelton Benjamin - 1%
Chris Benoit - 3%
King Booker - 2%
Carlito - 1%
Edge - 8%
Finlay - 2%
Kane - 1%
The Great Khali - 6%
Shawn Michaels - 27%
Rob Van Dam - 3%
Johnny Nitro - 1%
Randy Orton - 11%
CM Punk - 5%
Undertaker - 26%
It'll be a longshot - 4%

Let's do this brand-by-brand. For Raw, I'm betting on Randy Orton taking it after HBK believes to have eliminated him, only problem being that, like Michaels years ago, only one of Randy's feet touch the floor. For Smackdown, I'm going to say that Ken Kennedy causes Undertaker to be eliminated and we get a surprise finalist in Chris Benoit. For ECW, the logical pick would be Rob Van Dam, but I almost expect him to be the first eliminated. Having Kevin Thorn last the longest seems like a good way to build up a new heel for Lashley, so let's take him.
Thorn, however, won't last until the end, which will be the aforementioned HBK and Orton battle. You have to figure Edge will last to the end also, as per a plan by Rated RKO to be the last two in the match laid out earlier. Of course, Orton turns on Edge completely and then eventually eliminates HBK to go to 'Mania to face off against...no, not Cena; but the former Evolution teammate and the man who put him on the shelf nearly two years ago, Dave Batista.

Matt Mackinder

With essentially no program for HBK right now, it would make sense to have him go over in his backyard and go take the title at WrestleMania. Of course, you could also argue that Edge and Orton are splitting soon and may have a say in the title match in Detroit. I don't see any ECW wrestler making an impact in this match as they are Vince's ugly stepchild. Of course, surprises are always in store at the big pay-per-views, so taking a guess saying Michaels will win has basically a 1-in-30 chance of being correct. But should he win, the roof will come off the arena.
Last Raw wrestler – Shawn Michaels
Last Smackdown wrestler – King Booker
Last ECW wrestler – Rob Van Dam


 

UNDERCARD

 

SLAM! Predictions

Andy McNamara
John Cena vs. Umaga (WWE Title, Last Man Standing) - Nothing is really left to prove in this feud since Cena won clean last time. This will be a bloodbath, but in the end the champ will retain.
Batista vs. Mr. Kennedy (World Title) - Batista has just not done it for me since his return, however, Kennedy is not ready for a title run just yet. The Animal wins this one, but the feud continues.
Bobby Lashley vs. Test (ECW Title) - ECW is a dead brand and this title means very little. I believe they will want to keep the belt on Lashley. This match will be unspectacular, but Lashley will retain.
MNM vs. Hardy Boyz - This could be a sleeper for match of the night as both teams work great together. MNM will come out strong, but a Swanton Bomb from Jeff Hardy will finish off the Hollywood team.

Bob Kapur
John Cena vs. Umaga (WWE Title, Last Man Standing) - Umaga put the hurt on Cena on Monday, so look for him to be served his comeuppance. Cena retains.
Batista vs. Mr. Kennedy (World Title) - It looks like they're setting up Taker vs Batista at Mania, and I think the way they'll do it is to have Taker cost Batista the belt here.
Bobby Lashley vs. Test (ECW Title) - Test sucks.
MNM vs. Hardy Boyz - Given that the teammates on both sides are on different shows, it can't last much longer. Unless they do a huge gimmick match at Mania (hopefully). Hardyz win.

Brian Elliott
John Cena vs. Umaga (WWE Title, Last Man Standing) - Although I would love to see Umaga have a one-month run with the title, Cena takes this one.
Batista vs. Mr. Kennedy (World Title) - Batista defeats Mr Kennedy, in a more convincing fashion than in previous encounters.
Bobby Lashley vs. Test (ECW Title) - Surely Lashley cannot drop the belt to Test?!
MNM vs. Hardy Boyz - If nothing else, this should be a great match. Hardyz score the win over Mercury.

David Hillhouse

John Cena vs. Umaga (WWE Title, Last Man Standing) - Umaga's push is reminding me of Yokozuna's run through the WWF, but somehow the idea of the Samoan Bulldozer taking the title seems less tangible. Cena stands last.
Batista vs. Mr. Kennedy (World Title) - Really? At a premiere pay-per-view event? Not that I don't like Kennedy, but this match just doesn't feel big. Maybe I'll be surprised, but I don't see any reason for Kennedy to win.
Bobby Lashley vs. Test (ECW Title) - ECW stalwarts Lashley and Test do nothing extreme whatsoever and Lashley keeps the belt.
MNM vs. Hardy Boyz - I presume the storyline here is to be that MNM cares nothing about a win and gets DQ'd while seeking revenge for Mercury's injury.

Greg Oliver
John Cena vs. Umaga (WWE Title, Last Man Standing) - Umaga the champ going into Mania? Nope. The last PPV until this one, maybe; but not now. Cena wins.
Batista vs. Mr. Kennedy (World Title) - Batista in a rout..
Bobby Lashley vs. Test (ECW Title) - Lashley wins, somebody (Bob Holly? RVD?) interferes to set up Mania.
MNM vs. Hardy Boyz - Hardyz need to get some heat back after Matt got totalled last week.

Jon Waldman

John Cena vs. Umaga (WWE Title, Last Man Standing) - If Umaga has any hope of not dissappearing from the WWE, he has to win here, and he will.
Batista vs. Mr. Kennedy (World Title) - Ordinarily I'd pick Mr. Kennedy, but hey - you know 'Taker wants to protect Batista's title for what he would assume to be the epic 'Mania match (until Orton jmps). Batista gets the duke.
Bobby Lashley vs. Test (ECW Title) - Can Test take the title and join the likes of Chris Benoit, Bret Hart, Chris Jericho, Gene Kiniski and other 'Nucks in the pantheon of top men in the industry? Hell no. Brock v.2 gets the win.
MNM vs. Hardy Boyz - MNM gets the win here, setting up an epic bout at 'Mania. Methinks that will be Hell in a Cell by the way.

Matt Mackinder
John Cena vs. Umaga (WWE Title, Last Man Standing) - Umaga wins the gold, then drops it at WrestleMania.
Batista vs. Mr. Kennedy (World Title) - Kennedy as World Champion? I think not…not.
Bobby Lashley vs. Test (ECW Title) - Lashley retains as I'll vomit if Test becomes a champion.
MNM vs. Hardy Boyz - MNM takes it with the rubber match at WrestleMania.


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  • Preorder WWE Royal Rumble 2007 DVD
    SLAM! Fantasy standings:
    1> Matt Mackinder - .55
    2> Jon Waldman - .45
    3> Bob Kapur - .36
    4> Greg Oliver - .33
    5> Brian Elliott - .33
    6> Andy McNamara - .17