January 31, 2010
Countdown to WWE Royal Rumble
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff
The Royal Rumble is here kids, and this year's 30-man match should be an interesting
As you'll see in our previews, there are a few men who would walk away from
WWE's single best gimmick match. As always there are pretenders to the throne,
but even the most sadsack superstar has the opportunity to elevate their profile
here and perhaps start up a new feud.
The other matches on the card are straight forward, one-on-one bouts that will
factor greatly into the Rumble bout itself (well, except the Women's match).
Let's take a look at the card.
|| WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Rey Mysterio vs. Undertaker
Having just finished reading Mysterio's autobiography, I can say I'm rooting
for him, but even if he did win, it would be another short reign. Taker wins.
You have to wonder if Rey gets the title here to placate the ever-looming threat
of him leaving WWE. I think it will happen, especially when you factor in that
'Taker is likely to be the subject of interference (or "screwing"
if you prefer) from Shawn Michaels. There's also a great possible 'Mania bout
that would work well for Rey Jr., which I'll talk about more later on. In the
interim, take Rey to win the title.
This appears to be an obvious situation for HBK to come in and screw Taker out
of his title so that the Deadman grants him a Wrestlemania rematch. I'm thinking
HBK interferes, but my guess is that he somehow costs Rey the match, setting
up for the two of them at Mania instead.
No doubt Undertaker takes this one and there is really no suspense as the focus
has mainly been on Taker and Shawn Michaels. Rey will make a go of it and get
close on a number of occassions, but The Dead Man will finish him off in the
end. Watch out for a Batista run in as well.
| WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Sheamus vs. Randy Orton
To go with my theory on DiBiase facing Orton at Mania, the belt has to get to
Orton at some point. If they want Sheamus to mean something, then I think he
should win here, with Orton taking the Elimination Chamber bout and the belt.
I don't mind this match since it's fresh, but in the end it does lead back to
the all-too familiar 'Mania match involving Triple H or John Cena. Quite frankly,
I'm done with both of those guys in WM title matches, and I'm starting to get
there with Randy. I think Legacy will botch a run-in here, leading to the long-anticipated
This seems to be the last step of Orton's face turn. Fans have been cheering
for him anyway, so good on them for going all the way with it. Of course, as
a good guy, he has to lose this one to set up a series of rematches.
I don't know the specific numbers, but I would have to guess that Sheamus is
not lighting up the box office as champion, which could be reason enough to
take the strap off of him. On the other hand, a babyface would probably be a
better choice to slay the pasty Irish monster. I'll go with Sheamus retaining.
| ECW CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Christian vs. Ezekiel Jackson
Christian all the way.
Zeke as the title holder intrigues me, so I'll take him.
Christian so deserves to be on one of the flagship shows. I say let him lose
the belt in controversial fashion, and then move onto Smackdown.
Christian will play underdog throughout and make Jackson look like a million
bucks. Ezekial is no where near ready to hold a "major" title so it
will be Captain Charisma keeping the belt.
|| WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH
Mickie James vs. Michelle McCool
Is this the place for Mickie to get her comeuppance? It would seem as good a
time as any. McCool goes down.
For the love of god, let this horrid storyline end here. There's still a temptation
to have Beth vs. Michelle at 'Mania, I'm sure, but they could also easily do
Beth vs. Mickie in some sort of gimmick bout. I'm going to take James here,
but very cautiously.
Mickie has been taking a verbal pounding in the last few months. Hopefully they'll
finally let her give Michelle a long-overdue comeuppance.
One title change has to happen on this pay-per-view so why not with the ladies.
McCool has improved greatly in-ring and this should be a pretty entertaining
match. Mickie dethrones the blonde champion.
Like most years, it's pretty obvious that there only a handful that can win.
To me, it's HHH, HBK, DiBiase and Cena as the top contenders. I'm going to go
with my hunch, and pick DiBiase in a huge upset, star-making role. Then he'll
be able to challenge Orton for the title at Mania. My final four would be Kofi
Kingston, DiBiase, Punk and HBK.
As alluded to earlier, there's a great Mysterio vs. match that I think will
come out of this bout, and it will be with a guy who's been getting a lot of
background support from WWE of late - John Morrison. The DVD, the larger media
presence and the continued exposure on TV have all been building up the Shaman
of Sexy very effectively, and he has had the type of slow-burn build that fans
really buy into. The match will come down to HBK, Trips, Morrison and Drew McIntyre,
with Shawn and HBK eliminating each other while Morrison uses his amazing athletics
on the other side of the ring, simultaneously, to get rid of Drew and end their
The Rumble generally delivers, and with the names involved this year, and the
multiple storylines heading into it, this could be a very entertaining match.
I think the last 4 guys will be Triple H, Michaels, Batista and Cena. I predict
Cena picking up the win to set him up for a Wrestlemania championship win..
Final Four will be Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Big Show and John Cena. There has
been such hype put toward HBK facing The Undertaker at Mania that it would seem
that Michaels has to win. I'm going with the obvious choice...Shawn Michaels
eliminates Triple H.
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Grab past DVDs of the Royal Rumble in the SLAM!
-- compiled by Jon Waldman
ROYAL RUMBLE HISTORY
From the SLAM! Wrestling archives:
Jan. 26, 2009: Orton triumphs, Cena survives, Hardy falls at Royal Rumble
Jan. 28, 2008: Cena wins Royal Rumble in surprise return
Jan. 29, 2007: Old guard dominates Royal Rumble
Jan. 30, 2006: Mysterio claims Royal Rumble; Cena reigns again
Jan. 31, 2005: Batista claims the Royal Rumble
Jan. 26, 2004: Benoit wins the Royal Rumble
Jan. 21, 2002: Triple H wins Royal Rumble
Jan. 22, 2001: Surprises dominate Royal Rumble
Jan. 17, 2000: Rocky wins the Royal Rumble
Jan. 25, 1999: McMahon wins Royal Rumble, Rock champ again
Jan. 25, 1998: Austin wins predictable Royal Rumble