By Jason Powell
Join me tonight for live coverage of the WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Plus, Chris Shore and I will be teaming up for a member exclusive audio review of the show later tonight. You can listen to all Dot Net audio on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership now via Prowrestling.net/amember/signup.php.
***The following predictions are made without any inside information. In other words, I'm guessing just like you are.
The Royal Rumble Match: I don't know if anyone is certain about what WWE is going for with their half-hearted push of the news that everyone on the roster is eligible for the Rumble match. Does that mean a champion such as C.M. Punk, who told Ariel Helwani that he's not in the match, will win and then challenge Daniel Bryan to a unification match? Is it just a case of the wrestlers who work the undercard matches being eligible for the match even though it's happened in the past?
Honestly, I have no idea what they were going for even after reading several reader theories that all differed from one another. At any rate, the Rumble is my favorite annual match and I look forward to the event as much as I do WrestleMania. One can only hope that the lack of advertised participants doesn't mean that the creative forces are throwing the match together at the last minute, as the best Rumble matches are more than just glorified battle royals where everyone stands around punching and kicking until elimination time comes.
When Pat Patterson's brilliant brainchild is booked properly, wresters can be elevated, storylines are created or advanced, and the match is filled with more memorable moments than just the final elimination.
As for surprises, Jim Duggan is likely in due to the fact that he cancelled an indy appearance. I could see something with Goldust given his issues with brother Cody Rhodes. I don't expect to see Triple H since he's advertised for Raw, and Undertaker seems unlikely because he'd either win the match or do a double elimination with Hunter, and I don't see either happening. The early estimates on Christian's return from the injured list were early 2012 and, well, it's early 2012.
With Rock vs. John Cena as the main event and Undertaker vs. Triple H, and Shaq vs. Big Show rumored, WWE doesn't need a title match to sell WrestleMania, so this would be the ideal year for an unexpected mid- or undercard wrestler to go over. I lean toward Chris Jericho or Randy Orton like most people. If I were putting money on the line, I'd go with Jericho to win. Of course, most people feel that way and I like a good long shot, so let's go with the dark horse pick.
Prediction: Sheamus win the Royal Rumble.
C.M. Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Championship with John Laurinaitis as the special referee: The spotlight has been on Punk and Laurinaitis so much that I was initially concerned that the fans would sit on their hands while waiting to see how Laurinaitis factored in. However, I have faith in Punk and Ziggler to deliver a hell of a match, and I also believe the role of Laurinaitis will be compelling enough throughout the match that they'll be able to keep the fans engaged.
As much as I enjoy Ziggler, it just doesn't feel like it's his time. Punk is gaining momentum as the champion and there's no reason to take the strap away from him now with a likely feud with Chris Jericho on the horizon. I can't rule out a surprise finish with Ziggler winning the title and then losing it quickly on Raw, but I believe Punk will be the champion heading into WrestleMania. Here's hoping that Dolph is made to look strong in defeat, because the company should be focussed on making him a legit main event player in 2012. I'm curious to see whether Laurinaitis cheats outright or if he gives himself plausible deniability heading into his meeting with Triple H on Monday.
Prediction: C.M. Punk retains the WWE Championship.
Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry vs. Big Show in a Steel Cage match: Henry was in pain again following his match that aired on Smackdown, as we discussed in Thursday's Dot Net Weekly audio show. He's been nursing a groin injury and he appeared to injure his knee at the Smackdown taping, so there's no telling how much he'll be able to do during this match. In other words, there's a good chance that Henry will do the majority of the selling and leave the work to Bryan and Show.
I was bored to tears by the Bryan character when he captured the title and assumed that his reign would end before or at the Rumble. Fortunately, creative has done a good job of breathing life into his character by portraying him as a snake who is out to keep his title belt by beating the system. It's not an ideal push for Bryan, but he's playing the part well and the character is much more entertaining than the smiling dork he was playing through most of 2011. I don't think they're finished telling Bryan's story as the conniving champion yet, so I expect him to escape through the door in some type of fluky or opportunistic manner despite taking a major beating from his challengers
Prediction: Daniel Bryan retains the World Heavyweight Championship.
John Cena vs. Kane: Can The Emperor convince young Skywalker to join The Dark Side, er, um, embrace the hate? I don't see how that would occur when the two are meeting in a match, so the answer to that question is no. However, that doesn't mean Cena can't take the ultra-violent approach in this match and beat Kane while keeping the hate saga going. I would pick Kane to win their first match to keep the feud going, but I don't think that will happen with Cena's WrestleMania match with The Rock just over two months away.
Prediction: John Cena pins Kane, yet Kane takes pleasure in his belief that Cena is embracing the hate.
Powell's WWE Royal Rumble preview and predictions: A dark horse prediction for someone not named Chris Jericho or Randy Orton to win the Rumble, and potential surprises
Posted in: Powell Editorials
Jan 29, 2012 - 04:33 PM
Jan 29, 2012 - 04:33 PM
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