Five… four… three… two… one…
Welcome back, faithful readers, to a brand new year of PPV predictions. There’s no better way to kick things off – if you’re a wrestling fan – than with the Royal Rumble. For thirty-four years, the Rumble has been a staple in the WWE calendar and the first step on the road to WrestleMania. The Royal Rumble match itself is the brainchild of WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson. This year’s event will be the first held since Patterson sadly passed away last month.
As has been commonplace since 2018, there will be two Rumble matches; one for the men and one for the women. Each winner will earn a World Championship match, of their choice, at WrestleMania 37. There is plenty to look forward to with this show. The Rumble is usually well known for surprise entrants. It’s unknown if that will be a factor this year, for obvious reasons, yet we already know that Edge will be making his return, after a lengthy recovery from a biceps injury.
With thirty people in each Rumble match, this is an event that can be difficult to predict, but that also makes it all the more fun. So buckle up and enjoy the ride, because the Road to WrestleMania starts here.
Note: Predictions are pure that, predictions. Nobody at SteelChair has heard anything ahead of time, we promise.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match
Asuka & Charlotte Flair (c) vs Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax
One has to question just how focused Asuka and Charlotte Flair are on this match. While Asuka isn’t defending her RAW Women’s Championship here, she could make the mistake of looking too far ahead, as whoever wins the Women’s Rumble could target Asuka. That person could even be her tag-team partner, last year’s Rumble winner, Charlotte Flair. Although, Charlotte may be looking over her shoulder, due to her ongoing issues with Lacey Evans, who would appear to be dating Charlotte’s father, Ric Flair. With all the likelihood that the Champions are distracted, there may never be a better opportunity for Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax to regain the titles.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Asuka & Charlotte Flair – purely due to a lack of teams in the division, I see Charlotte and Asuka retaining for a little longer. But their ‘partnership’ could be interesting to keep an eye on as we edge closer to WrestleMania.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Asuka & Charlotte Flair. It looked like Jax and Baszler were not really on the same vibe this Monday on RAW. With Charlotte also in the Rumble match, she keeps herself a chance to go against her tag team partner at WrestleMania for the RAW title. Like they say, keep your enemies closer than your friends.
SmackDown Women’s Title Match
Sasha Banks (c) vs Carmella
The curse is over, Sasha Banks has finally retained a singles Championship in her first defence, and got that monkey off her back. While she may be finished with Bayley, for the time being, Banks is now learning the challenge of being the Champion, having a bullseye on her back with plenty of challengers chomping at the bit to dethrone her. The next challenger happens to be Carmella. The Princess of Staten Island is rather more refined these days, drinking only the finest wines. Plus, wherever Carmella is, her sommelier, Reginald is never far behind, and that could make her quite the threat to the SmackDown Women’s division.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Sasha Banks.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Sasha Banks.
30-Woman Royal Rumble Match
Nia Jax, WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Bianca Belair, Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, Peyton Royce, Alexa Bliss, Shayna Baszler, Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott, Tamina Snuka and 18 more participants to be announced.
This Saturday night on FS1, in a special edition of WWE Backstage hosted by Booker T and Renee Paquette, Natalya will face off Tamina to determine who will be the 30th entrant.
This will be only the fourth edition of the Women’s Rumble match, with three different winners, Asuka, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. Charlotte Flair is chasing a 10th World Championship win, what a Rumble win could favour. Natalya is currently holding the record of the longest time spent in a Rumble match, at 56:01, Ember Moon, Charlotte Flair, and Bianca Belair are not too far behind and could break her record. When it comes to the record of the longest cumulative time spent in Rumble matches, once again Natalya is holding it, at 1:36:18, but once again Charlotte Flair is not that far behind. Who would bet that Liv Morgan is currently the wrestler who spent the less time in a Rumble match, with 8 seconds? Both Shayna Baszler and Bianca Belair are currently holding the record of eliminations in a Rumble match, with 8. Carmella, Dana Brooke, Liv Morgan, Mandy Rose, Natalya, and Tamina (maybe Naomi and Sonya Deville if they are a part of it) could proudly say they took part in all the Women’s Rumbles.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: If RAW: Alexa Bliss. With the powers at the disposal of this new Fiendish version of Alexa Bliss, she should be unstoppable. And she is long overdue a Women’s Championship reign.
If SmackDown: Bianca Belair – The sky is the limit for the EST.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: The small number of participants is letting think we can see some NXT talents coming (Raquel Gonzalez, Toni Storm, Mercedes Martinez would be welcomed), and maybe surprises. If I expect Taya to make her debut at the Rumble, I don’t see her win.
If RAW: I’m torn between Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss. The Red brand is missing legit female contenders.
If SmackDown: I would go for Bianca Belair or Bayley unless Becky Lynch was coming back from maternity leave.
But I would bet on a surprise, Rhea Ripley has been heavily rumoured to do her main roster debut soon and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her win.
30-Man Royal Rumble Match
Daniel Bryan, WWE United States Champion Bobby Lashley, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Otis, The Miz, Jey Uso, Cesaro, Jeff Hardy, Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn, SmackDown Tag Team Champion Dolph Ziggler, WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E, Sheamus, John Morrison, Edge, Mustafa Ali, and 13 more participants to be announced.
This Saturday night on FS1, in a special edition of WWE Backstage hosted by Booker T and Renee Paquette, the No. 1 and 2 entry in the Men’s Royal Rumble Match will be announced.
Could Randy Orton equal Stone Cold Steve Austin with a third win and pave his way to a 15th World Championship win? Edge has only won once in his career, winning a second Rumble could lead him to a 12th World Championship win. Daniel Bryan is holding the record of the longest time spent in a Rumble match, at 1:16:05, he still has to win his first Rumble. Depending on when he enters and how he resists, Rey Mysterio could, if he takes part in the match, defeat Chris Jericho who holds the record of the longest cumulative time spent in Rumble matches. If he is officially announced to be a part of it, Braun Strowman is currently holding the record of eliminations in a Rumble match, with 14. Dolph Ziggler will enter his 14th Rumble match when The Miz and Randy Orton will enter their 13th and Rey Mysterio possibly his 12th. We all know everything is possible with WWE…
Danny Cause’s Prediction: If RAW: “The Fiend.” – similarly to Alexa Bliss, WWE can utilise the mystical powers of “The Fiend” in the ThunderDome era. This may not be popular for WWE to ‘mess’ with the Rumble in that regard, but WWE does whatever they want to do.
If SmackDown: Seth Rollins – a bit of a sleeper pick. We haven’t seen or heard from the Messiah since Survivor Series. But the Rumble is often the perfect time for the surprise return. I could imagine Seth returning, as a face, and setting up a WrestleMania date with Roman Reigns.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: This one is not easy at all. Unlike women, the possibilities are way more opened. When it comes to surprises, I don’t see many possibilities as both rosters are stacked.
If RAW, Sheamus could be a good fit, with the idea of a Scottish vs Irish fight. Many think of an AliMania, which I am not a fan of. In fact, Edge seems to be the only legit winner at this time.
If SmackDown: Cesaro and Daniel Bryan are definitely on top of my list.
WWE Universal Championship Last Man Standing Match
Roman Reigns (c) vs Kevin Owens
Week after week, Reigns has engineered a steady stream of mayhem on Friday Night SmackDown, with Owens standing as one of the single toughest elements of resistance against The Head of the Table. The brutal rivalry included a vicious TLC Match and a savage Steel Cage showdown, both of which saw Jey Uso help his cousin to controversial victories. Then, on the January 1 edition of the blue brand, Reigns once again attacked Owens and threw him off a high ledge and through a table at the WWE ThunderDome. With Owens out of the way, Reigns turned his attention to WWE Official Adam Pearce. Angered that Pearce interfered in his issues with KO, The Big Dog and Paul Heyman engineered his placement in a Gauntlet Match that would determine who would challenge Reigns for his title at Royal Rumble. During the bout, Reigns and Uso interceded to make sure Pearce was the winner.
Moments after The Big Dog and the WWE Official signed the contract for their match, though, Pearce remarked that he had been waiting all night for Reigns to sign the contract. Then, as he walked up the ramp, he started to limp, as an “old knee injury” conveniently began to “creep up,” one that would prevent him from competing against The Head of the Table at the January 31 pay-per-view. However, since he was armed with the authority to choose a suitable replacement if one member of a main-event is injured and could not compete, Pearce announced that he was doing just that. As a result, the returning Owens will now challenge Reigns for the Universal Title at Royal Rumble in a Last Man Standing Match.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Roman Reigns – the Tribal Chief would appear to be unstoppable right now and I think this title Reign(s) will last a little longer yet.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Kevin Owens, with the help of Jimmy Uso. There are two more PPVs before Mania so Reigns can regain the belt in-between, and the twins start a fight.
WWE Championship Match
Drew McIntyre (c) vs Goldberg
Goldberg made a surprise return during the recent Legend’s Night episode of RAW, where he accused Drew McIntyre of being disrespectful to the legends of yesteryear, and challenged him for the WWE Championship. Are any WWE fans clamouring to see this match? Probably not. But, much like Kevin Owens, in 2017, and “The Fiend”, last year, Drew McIntyre ‘is next!’ Bill Goldberg is in pursuit of the only World Championship in WWE that has so far eluded him. If successful, he would become the oldest ever WWE Champion, breaking the record currently held by Vince McMahon. But let’s not pretend that Drew McIntyre is easily beaten. Plus, whoever wins this match, still has the threat of The Miz – Mr Money in the Bank – to deal with.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Goldberg – and it takes me zero joy to type these words. But looking at the trend of recent history; Goldberg shows up, wins a World Championship and then takes it to WrestleMania. I expect 2021 will be no different, in that regard.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Drew McIntyre – not Goldberg, please.
WWE Royal Rumble is streaming this Sunday at 7 PM EST (midnight GMT) on the WWE Network. The Kickoff Show begins at 6 PM EST (11 PM GMT) on WWE Network and WWE social platforms.
All pics and videos courtesy of WWE