Pruett’s WWE Royal Rumble 2013 Preview and Predictions: Can C.M. Punk get past his greatest challenge, The Rock? Who will win the Royal Rumble? Can Del Rio stay standing?
By Will Pruett
This is usually one of my favorite shows of the year, but this year I'll actually be at the Royal Rumble live in Phoenix, so it will most likely my favorite. While the normal build for the Rumble involves the thirty man match taking center stage, this year a WWE Championship match has stolen the spotlight. C.M. Punk vs. The Rock is the true attraction of this show. This is going to be a fun one.
The following predictions are made from a place of complete ignorance to the finishes. They are merely predictions of what I would find logical, entertaining, or interesting. Let's all have a good time.
C.M. Punk vs. The Rock for the WWE Championship: I was ready to throw down as much money as it would take to see this match the second C.M. Punk told The Rock his arms were too short to box with God. I've been looking forward to this match ever since that first intense exchange. Punk an Rock have done great work building up this match. Their story is a perfect example of how to build a big wrestling match with a pure heel and a pure babyface.
The Rock is standing up for the people and attempting to take the WWE Championship back from them. In July, Punk was said to "turn his back on the WWE Universe" and now he is facing the hero standing up for the WWE Universe. It's simple. The story can be explained in very few words. This isn't rocket science. The conflict is clear.
While Rock and John Cena had a long, convoluted path to their WrestleMania matches involving interviews with U.K. tabloids, Hall of Fame speeches from 2008, and a year of anticipation, Punk and Rock have created an amazing dichotomy between themselves in just three weeks. Both men have been at their absolute best building this feud.
When looking at the story WWE seems to want to tell in the next few months, it seems like John Cena vs. The Rock in a rematch is inevitable. As much as some fans don't want to see this rematch, I truly believe it will be a wonderful display of professional wrestling, topping what they did last year. In order to build this upcoming match well, I believe WWE will choose the simplest path. Said path will begin with Punk losing to The Rock.
As for C.M. Punk, this will be a career highlight and I believe he'll be just fine after losing the WWE Championship.
Prediction: The Rock defeats C.M. Punk to win the WWE Championship.
The 30 Man Royal Rumble Match: As I said above, I expect WWE to go with the logical story, and what is probably the best story to tell. John Cena vs. The Rock part two is the best story to tell. I believe they'll get there in the simplest and least convoluted way possible, which will help the integrity of the story. Don't email me about the "Once in a Lifetime" marketing of last year's match. It doesn't matter.
For the sake of this column, I'll write about some dark horse candidates to win. The first, would be Ryback. Ryback was actually my Rumble pick right up until Alberto Del Rio won the World Heavyweight Championship. When he did so, Ryback fell down the list. I still believe Ryback will have a great showing, clear the ring at some point, and interact with The Shield. He's being set up for big things and I'm sure WWE has some major WrestleMania plans for him. Sadly, those plans don't involve him winning the Rumble.
Sheamus is a name people have been mentioning quite a bit. While it would be an excellent start to his 2013, I don't see how it logically fits what WWE is doing with either World Championship right now. Sheamus could go on to face a heel Randy Orton, but that would require Orton winning the title at Elimination Chamber. This is quite a bit of work to set up the major match on the World Heavyweight Championship side of 'Mania and it is probably not worth doing this way.
Dolph Ziggler also has to be considered, although his promise to win both World Championships on one night rings hallow. I doubt this would happen, but I do expect to see Ziggler in the final four and possibly the final two, even though he will be number one.
The Rumble is more than just a chance for a winner to impress fans and management, it is also a chance for every participant to stand out. I expect great performances out of Daniel Bryan, Kane, Ziggler, Damien Sandow, and others. WWE's roster has a chance to step up going into 2013.
As for a winner, I'm choosing not to over think WWE.
Prediction: John Cena eliminates a few people (last eliminating Dolph Ziggler) to win the Royal Rumble and launch into a WrestleMania rematch with The Rock.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship in a Last Man Standing Match: I'm having a deep personal conflict concerning this match. As a rule, I dislike Last Man Standing matches. I just don't find sitting around watching a referee count to nine multiple times very entertaining. I actually did enjoy the Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show Last Man Standing match on Smackdown, which surprised me.
Del Rio is playing a very good babyface. After a slightly disappointing turn, he has been on fire since winning the World Heavyweight Championship. The racial elements of his push are a little too transparent for my tastes, but they're also more fun than hating Del Rio because of his race. He is on the way to being a too babyface and big draw for WWE.
Big Show seemed to be unstoppable as champion, especially after defeating Sheamus on multiple occasions. He was having a nice run as a monster, until WWE decided the monster needed to fall. Show is still a monster, but he may have met his match in Del Rio. This is not a bad thing. There is a lot of equity invested in Show. If he is able to bestow it onto Del Rio, WWE could have a major star on their hands.
This will be an entertaining match with a few bells and whistles thrown in. At the end, I expect WWE to keep things as they are, at least momentarily. The Money in the Bank shouldn't be in play on this night because of the Rumble, so I'll be the winner to leave with the title.
Prediction: Alberto Del Rio accomplishes his goal of counting to ten in Spanish to retain the World Heavyweight Championship and ends the night with it.
Kane and Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow for the WWE Tag Team Championships:
Prediction: Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow defeat Daniel Bryan and Kane to win the WWE Tag Team Championships and usher in a new era of intellectual superiority.
Antonio Cesaro vs. The Miz for the United States Championship: As much as Antonio Cesaro's promos have been rather paint-by-numbers and embraced some stereotypes, I have enjoyed the evolution of his character. His new patronizingly patriotic attitude is really fun and actually something new. His gear, decked out in U.S. flags is perfect for the U.S. Champion.
The Miz has been rather hit or miss as a babyface. He isn't the worst babyface ever, but he isn't exactly climbing up on the best list either. Miz has come off as unlikable and hasn't ditched the loudmouth persona. He also hasn't learned to apply his new signature hold, the Figure Four Leglock. I predict that he will figure out the Figure Four on Sunday. As for the United States Championship, I believe we will be seeing Cesaro's flag-tastic jacket for a long time.
Prediction: Antonio Cesaro pins The Miz to retain the United States Championship and The Miz might apply a decent Figure Four on the way to losing.
This card will likely have a few surprise matches, but with a lot of time allotted to the Rumble and the WWE Championship match, I wouldn't expect much. WWE has a really hot show on their hands here and it could be one of their best in years. I can't wait to watch the show from the arena. I'll be tweeting about it all night on Sunday at twitter.com/itswilltime.
The road to WrestleMania is on and WWE rarely fails to tell compelling stories at this point in the year. This show will produce very fun results and give us a whole lot of hints as to how the next three months will play out.
Let's do some good old fashioned talking about this show! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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