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   July 26, 2014



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Countdown to WWE Royal Rumble
By SLAM! Wrestling





While some of the intrigue of the Royal Rumble is gone, especially with only one world champion for the winner to challenge, there is always the big question of WHO will win the Rumble itself. All 30 names have not been announced, leaving room for a few surprises. Of course, the pay-per-view has some other matches too -- ever seen Cena against Orton before? Our writers weigh in with their thoughts.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match - Randy Orton (c) vs John Cena

MATTHEW ASHER: Not sure if this match will actually headline the PPV or if the Rumble itself will. If it is not the main event, I see Orton coming out on top. If this is the main event, I see Cena picking up the W, probably giving his father a hug from ringside after the match.

MATTHEW BYER: Who wins this contest will say a great deal about the winner for of Royal Rumble Match itself. Since the WWE is currently telegraphing a WWE Heavyweight Championship match between Orton and Batista at WrestleMania - despite it not being 'best for business' - I'll go with Orton for the win.

JON WALDMAN: At this point, the match really doesn't matter to me. Orton and Cena is just such a tired act and both need something fresh desperately. If hard pressed I'd say that Orton the heel goes over so we have the big babyface win to cap off WMXXX.


Big Show vs Brock Lesnar

MATTHEW ASHER: With Brock wrestling so few events, there's no reason that he should lose this match. If Brock wants to make good on his promise to take on the WWE Champion after the Rumble, he can't lose against Show. And since we've seen Show vs. Lesnar in the past, I don't think this match will add to the rivalry, but I don't see it tarnishing it either.

MATTHEW BYER: Logically Lesnar should win this match in order to continue his build towards WrestleMania, but I get the sense there'll be a swerve and Mark Henry will come out and distract Lesnar which will allow Big Show to get the win.

JON WALDMAN: No reason for Lesnar not to go over here if he is indeed headed to a WWE Championship match. Honestly, I hope this builds to an Elimination Chamber 4-way next month between Lesnar, Cena, Orton and Batista, with WWE building up that the four all came from the same class in OVW. It would make for one hell of a dramatic clash and we may never get the opportunity with all four in the upper eschelon again.

Daniel Bryan vs Bray Wyatt

MATTHEW ASHER: I really wish Bryan had stayed a Wyatt a little while longer because this feels too forced too quickly. Bryan deserves to headline WrestleMania XXX, but it looks like we may have to wait until WM 31 for that to happen. I know it was announced that Harper and Rowen would be in the Rumble, but that doesn't rule them out of this match. If the WWE is serious about pushing Bryan I think he'll make Bray tap out to the Yes! Lock.

MATTHEW BYER: I would have preferred both competing in the Rumble Match itself instead of this singles contest because Bryan is the one who should be going on to wrestle in the main event at WrestleMania. Regardless, I get the sense that they may finally be ready to end this feud so I'll go with Daniel Bryan getting the pinfall.

JON WALDMAN: All the reason in the world points to Bray winning, and here's why - Wyatt wins but Bryan takes the Rumble, wins the WWE Championship at 'Mania and now you've got your Spring feud set, with Wyatt being able to claim he beat the champ, a la Owen Hart at WMX.

WWE Tag Team Championship Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs The New Age Outlaws

MATTHEW ASHER: While I have enjoyed seeing Road Dogg and Billy Gunn, I don't think giving them the straps is best for business. But since they are good friends with the COO of the company, that scenario isn't out of the question. I think the New Age Outlaws win with some outside interference, setting up the inevitable brother vs. brother match for Cody and Dustin at WrestleMania.

MATTHEW BYER: This is actually one of the more intriguing matches in large part because if the WWE intends to have Cody Rhodes face Goldust at WrestleMania they need to get the tag-team championship off them. As a result, I'll go with The New Age Outlaws for the duke.

The 30-Superstar Royal Rumble Match

MATTHEW ASHER: Again, picking a winner for this also has to take the WWE title match into consideration. If Orton retains the gold, Batista has to be the favorite to win the Rumble for the "Future" of Evolution to meet up in N'Awlins. If Cena becomes the new champion, I would bet on either Roman Reigns, after possibly eliminating one or both Shield members, or as the dark horse, Daniel Bryan, even if he hasn't been listed for the match.

I think Kofi Kingston is going to really have to outdo himself this year regarding crazy saves. I still thought the battle royal match with Kofi holding onto Cesaro to stay alive should have been saved until the Rumble because that was mind-boggling how he did that. CM Punk or Dolph Ziggler will probably be the iron men in this match with Punk getting thrown out thanks to the Authority's intervening.

As far as surprise entrants, I would love to see RVD make a return because he could actually participate for a handful of minutes rather than be tossed out instantly like the Godfather was last year. I would love it if Stone Cold made an appearance and was actually responsible for eliminating Punk, setting up the WrestleMania XXX match people have been talking about for a while now. But if we're just going for the token appearance, it would be nice to see either Jake "the Snake" Roberts or Psycho Sid.

MATTHEW BYER: CM Punk will probably last the longest in the match, but will ultimately be cheated out of winning by The Authority in order to setup his WrestleMania match against Triple H. Batista will probably draw around number 25 and go on to win the whole thing, though, for a surprise winner I'll go with Roman Reigns. As for unexpected competitors, Jake Roberts has been campaigning to compete in the Rumble so we may see him and for someone completely unexpected I'll go with the Ultimate Warrior which would blow the roof of the place.

JON WALDMAN: Here are my predictions:

  • Longest in the Rumble - CM Punk, who almost goes coast to coast, making it into the mid-20s.
  • Quickest elimination - Bushwhacker Luke - Why not? He's still on the indie scene and it would be a nice hilarity spot.
  • Biggest surprise entrant - Sami Zayn - I liked the inclusion of an NXT rookie last year (not that I liked Bo Dallas as said rookie) and Sami would fit in well and give a good tease in spots with Punk and Bryan.
  • Returning legend - I had the faint thought of Ultimate Warrior going in to setup a match for 'Mania with Ryback, but instead I'll go with another Attitude Era holdover, Val Venis.
  • Returning superstar - Sheamus. Long overdue for a return and build his 'Mania match.
  • Most eliminations - Roman Reigns with 6.
  • Kofi Kingston's spot - outdoes John Morrison by leaping right onto the barricade. Fans in front row, beware!
  • Winner - Daniel Bryan, who goes on to 'Mania to battle Triple H's true Authority poster boy, Batista.

    ROYAL RUMBLE HISTORY