KARACHI : Royal Rumble is one of WWE’s most exciting matches. Held annually in January, the 30-men battle royal guarantees the winner at the biggest wrestling show of the year, WrestleMania. This year, WWE decided to up the game with two Royal Rumble matches, one for men and one for the women, with a guaranteed title shot at ‘Mania for the winner.
The Express Tribune predicts the potential winners of each:
Men’s Royal Rumble
The buildup to this incredible match always hypes up and highlights potential winners. However, it is safe to say that this year, the buildup has been one of the worst in a while. Royal Rumble match winners have been disappointing most of this decade so far, with John Cena, Randy Orton and Batista picking up their second wins and not many new stars being created as a result (except Daniel Bryan, who has already retired due to injuries). Roman Reigns’ win was a major controversy, with the fan base refusing him as the top star a few years ago.
This year, we haven’t had any wrestlers who can make a legitimate claim of being WWE’s next main event star. Kevin Owens is among the few but as he (along with Sami Zayn) is fighting AJ Styles for the WWE title at the Royal Rumble show, he may not even participate in the match. That leaves us with Shinsuke Nakamura, Orton and Reigns.
With WWE already failing Nakamura during the Jinder Mahal experiment last year (after Mahal beat the Japanese superstar on multiple occasions), it still seems unlikely that he will win. If he does, it sets up Styles vs Nakamura, which will be a match of a lifetime. The two already collided in Japan in 2016 and delivered a five-star match. They have yet to cross paths in WWE.
If not Nakamura, it leaves with two options, Reigns and Orton, both of whom are previous Rumble winners, with the latter winning his second Rumble as recent as last year. Orton recently gained momentum on the go-home show of SmackDown Live, performing his finisher RKO on both Nakamura and Baron Corbin during their match. But his win, just like an RKO, would come out of nowhere. There don’t seem to be any plausible and predictable storylines for Orton heading into ‘Mania.
That leaves us Reigns, who has long been rumored to face Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal championship at ‘Mania. WWE’s plan to make ‘The Big Dog’ the face of the company seems to be in full motion, despite resistance from the fans. While the hate seems to be have subsided recently, fans may still not be ready for another Rumble win for Reigns. However, that has never stopped WWE before.
Women’s Royal Rumble
30 women will battle to win the chance to face either Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and SDLive Women’s Champion Charlotte at The Grandest Stage of Them All. Since the announcement of the match, every female star on the roster has made sure to make their intentions known.
The likes of Sasha Banks, Bayley, Becky Lynch and Natalya pose a legitimate threat and may lay claim as the first ever women’s Rumble winner, there are new players in the town that might just disrupt their plans. Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan and Ruby Riot may serve as their equalizers. That leaves two major players that have the highest chance of winning the match: Asuka and Nia Jax.
Nia Jax has been portrayed as the nearly-unstoppable monster force and the Raw women’s champ’s friend. Her win would begin the long-coming storyline of friend turning on the friend, reminiscent of Batista turning on Triple H after winning his first Rumble match in 2005.
Asuka’s chances appear even higher. Where Jax is nearly unstoppable, Asuka removes the ‘nearly’ from the clause. She has been undefeated (not been pinned or tapped out) since she joined the WWE more than two years ago. With all the momentum behind her, she is perhaps the most obvious and credible choice for the win. Asuka goes by the moniker ‘The Empress of Tomorrow’ and the champ Bliss ‘The Goddess of WWE’. If Asuka wins the match, The Empress vs The Goddess storyline writes itself.
With Royal Rumble pay-per-view to be held this Sunday on January 28, it remains to be seen who comes out the winner and goes on to make history at WrestleMania in April.
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