Powell's WWE 2011 Royal Rumble preview and predictions: Super Sized Royal Rumble match, Edge vs. Dolph Ziggler for the World Hvt. Championship, and The Miz vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship (no entrant spoilers)
By Jason Powell
The Royal Rumble match has been Super Sized with the addition of ten more entrants this year, but the show received Happy Meal hype. WWE teased a confrontation between The Corre and The Nexus. They reminded us that John Cena is in the match and began teasing a future match with The Miz. Where's the hook?
Creative was a bit handcuffed from the standpoint that there are no big showdowns to tease given that Cena is the biggest advertised name in the Rumble match, and there's a big drop after that. They couldn't really go with the "every man for himself" theme when two factions are in the match.
Ultimately, I still feel as though they could have done a much better job of hyping the Rumble match than resorting to the desperation "Mine Goes to Eleven" marketing move of going with 40 wrestlers. Fortunately, the Rumble is a favorite amongst fans. It may not draw a strong buyrate compared to past Rumble events, but I can't imagine a Rumble event bombing either.
Let's get on with the picks. As always, these picks are made with no inside knowledge of the match finishes, and we can only hope that some of the cut and pasters of the world won't try to pass them off as spoilers. Yes, it's actually happened in the past. I will also avoid revealing the names of the spoiler entrants for those of you who want to avoid those details. Besides, it's not like they're going to let Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair walk back in the door and win the match. Oops. Okay, I'm just kidding.
The Royal Rumble: I see three potential winners. First, the home state boy John Cena winning in front of the Boston crowd and moving on to face The Miz in the match that they've already started planting seeds for on Raw. Second, Alberto Del Rio has been getting a ton of love on Raw and Smackdown to profess that his destiny is to win the Rumble match. Third, the mighty Triple H.
We don't even know if Hunter is returning tonight. If he is, then I really question the marketing since they didn't even bother to tease the possibility of surprise entrants in a meaningful way. I'm not saying you beat people over the head with it and essentially kill the surprise, but they should have at least stressed the "anything can happen" vibe for the Rumble.
The most predictable thing WWE could do is give Cena the win. I'd like to think they have something more creative in mind. After all, they can get to Cena vs. Miz at WrestleMania without Cena winning the Rumble. They should use this match to elevate a performer and/or create a star. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I'm going with Del Rio to win the match, meaning Ricardo Rodriguez gets to deliver the personal introduction of the next World Hvt. Champion at WrestleMania. Fingers crossed.
If we have to suffer through yet another "Cena defies the odds" moment, then I hope the people who laid out the Rumble have added several layers to the match. I don't want to see a glorified battle royal with a bunch of punching, kicking, and standing around. Give me some stories scattered through the matches via surprise entrants, twists, and turns.
The Miz vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship: Recent Raw shows have not led me to believe that Orton is on the verge of winning the championship. I love a good surprise, but having Orton top Miz and headline WrestleMania 27 against John Cena would be the biggest groaner ever. Simply put, I feel like we've been there and done that a million times with those two. There's nothing about this match that would feel special. Miz needs a credibility earning victory heading into WrestleMania. He should escape with the title, but I don't believe WWE will use Orton to elevate Miz by having him lose clean.
Edge vs. Dolph Ziggler for the World Heavyweight Championship: The stipulation is that Edge is not allowed to use the spear or he will be disqualified and lose the title to Ziggler. Gee, that almost makes up for Ziggler losing on a regular basis heading into a match that most fans expected him to lose. It's great that they're finally giving Ziggler a big title match, but I don't think he's gained any in-ring credibility with viewers along the way. Sue, it could be the old "heel loses repeatedly before winning the title" bit that WWE has done before, but since I'm banking on Del Rio to win, then I have to go with a babyface champion. Thus, Edge retains.
Natalya vs. Michelle McCool and Layla in a handicap match for the Divas Championship: There's zero reason to bring back the co-holders of the Divas Title bit. Natalya should win the match, and I'd love to see Awesome Kong (or whatever her WWE name is) destroy her after the match. Honestly, though, I'll settle for Natalya retaining because a LayCool victory promo on Raw during a week in which the Green Bay Packers are playing in the Super Bowl might be enough to push me completely over the edge in "Falling Down" fashion.
Check back tonight for Jason Powell's live coverage review of the 2011 Royal Rumble beginning at 7:00 p.m. CT. Dot Net Members will be reading his review on the ad-free version of the website, and will hear an exclusive audio review with Powell and Chris Shore after the show tonight. You can sign up for our rare, limited time "buy two months and get one month free" membership special via the Dot Net Membership Sale Page.
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