The Royal Rumble has all been one of the most exciting PPVs in WWE's lineup, so much so that it's practically a must-watch even when you know nothing. That's ultimately the joy of it. Every year there is a surprise entrant and every year, I will most likely jump out of my couch and celebrate the return of some wrestler (see: Edge last year).
But the Rumble is known as the PPV to get excited about the potential. It's like Christmas, where you can't wait to just open your presents. Also like Christmas, the Royal Rumble is a way for old or absent fans to return to wrestling for one night, a lot like going to church on Christmas. Does that make Wrestlemania Easter? Probably.
But there is obviously one elephant in the room, or actually, no elephant in the room because this year's Rumble will have no fans in attendance due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. How will the atmosphere of the Rumble change when you can't watch thousands of fans pop for The Bogeyman? Of course, we all have been watching no fan wrestling for *sigh* a year now, so we are semi-used to it by now, but the Royal Rumble format had eluded that fate. But now it's time has run out and we must all endure The Boogeyman eating worms in silence.
Asuka & Charlotte Flair vs. Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler for the Women's Tag Team Championship
With Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax get a rematch for their lost title (I thought we don't do that anymore?), you would think that they would be trying to take on Asuka and Flair more personally. Sure, they are having some interactions but it's actually Brooke & Rose who are having more issues with Jax & Baszler and Flair is having issues with Lacey Evans and Charlotte's own father. Personally, I believe this is going to lead to Rumble elimination instead of match interference here, but this match doesn't have a lot of sizzle to the steak.
Speaking of sizzle, we also have Asuka who, as the Raw Women's Champion, has been dealing with demon- child-girlfriend Alexa Bliss, who has also been dealing with a crispy snake. I feel like no one is talking about the potential Alexa Bliss/Wyatt Rumble wins, but that's for another time.
The Women's Tag Team Championship match shouldn't be anything too special. The 4 had a good match at TLC with no build so expect a slightly better match with no build here.
PREDICTION: Charlotte Flair & Asuka retain the Women's Tag Team Championship
Drew McIntyre vs. Goldberg for the WWE Championship
Drew McIntyre had quite the 2020. Despite the pandemic, McIntyre was able to pretty much carry the division on his back for the majority of the year. Critics are still debating whether or not he is actually suited for that role, but with all measuring sticks out the window, we must look at his performance, and to me, he ain't too bad here. The problem is that as I'm writing this, I'm realizing that I making this sound like a eulogy of sorts as if McIntyre's reign is ending here, and honestly, it might. He is facing Goldberg. The man that in modern WWE lore is above Brock Lesnar. And with no Brock in sight (Rumble?), Goldberg is an easy trigger to pull for WWE to "drive new fans". I say this because it never works, but with WWE's new sale of the WWE Network to NBC Universal's Peacock streaming platform, one would think WWE wants to drive fans of the Office to WWE, and what better way to that then having a 54-year-old as champion. Hey, remember him? Well, he's still here and he's our champion. Want to watch the Network now? This is all ironic since the build here is that Goldberg thinks that McIntyre doesn't respect the older guys because they are "washed up". So Goldberg has to win to prove that he isn't washed up, which inherently acknowledges that he's old. But maybe, I'm just pessimistic about McIntyre's chances here. He's pulled it out before, maybe he can do it again.
PREDICTION: Goldberg wins and becomes the new WWE Champion.
Sasha Banks vs. Carmella for the Smackdown Women's Championship
In a repeat from TLC, Carmella gets a rematch against the champion Sasha Banks, after Banks defeated Carmella's sommelier Reginald. This one of the builds where the focus was more about Banks having an intergender match rather than Carmella and Banks wanting to fight. What I mean to say is that this match really doesn't have much in terms of build. However, Carmella and Banks had an amazing match at TLC and if it's anything like that match, their match at the Royal Rumble should also be great. Sasha is out to prove she is the best in the company while Carmella continues to prove why she is criminally underrated. I expect this match to be good but other than that I don't know. Banks is obviously winning so where does Carmella go? She has this new character and maybe she can do Mixed Tag Matches with Reginold, but I don't know.
PREDICTION: Sasha Banks retains the Smackdown Women's Championship.
Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Universal Championship
Since returning mid-Covid, Roman Reigns's character work has been amazing. And while many people different on how his matches are, there is no denying that the heel turn has been a much-needed coat of paint. Saying that, he's still Roman Reigns. A man that is dominating the title picture with seemingly no end in sight. Whether you believe that's a good thing because he's a heel so it's better, or it's a bad thing cause it's the same Roman push as before, that appears to be the line in the sand. Conversely, you have Kevin Owens. A man that when given the tap on his shoulder will go out and absolutely kill it. Whereas Reigns will say that he is the table over and over again in his matches, Owens goes for a different approach, calling out Roman's family and more personally his children, inadvertently giving Reigns a new character aspect.
The story of these two continues this Sunday in a Last Man Standing Match. After Reigns's attempts at forcing Adam Pearce into this match, reason still unsure, Pearce was able to get a fast one on Reigns and sub in Kevin Owens. Reigns & Owens previous outing at TLC was really good and adding the more visceral action in a Last Standing Match could certainly make it even better. However, one if not both of these wrestlers will 100% be cutting promos on the other during the 10 count. Expect Jey Uso involvement, maybe even Apollo Crews involvement, or Adam Pearce getting some comeuppance. Neither the less, this match will be a match of plunder, mid-match promos, interference, and maybe even some hand-looking.
PREDICTION: Roman Reigns retains the WWE Championship.
The Men's Royal Rumble
I can't remember the last time a Royal Rumble has been so "Look guys, I really have no freaking clue who's winning". There really feels like there is no clear winner. And to be clear, that isn't a complaint. Sure, I wish there were a couple of people with momentum heading into the Rumble even as a red herring, but I can't think of who those people are right now. At the very least, I enjoy the fact that it literally could be anybody. So in that spirit, here are a bunch of random guesses, er, um, predictions.
Edge could be somebody that win's the Royal Rumble, seeing that he's a huge star and currently has nothing for him. But with a 2 night Wrestlemania approaching, maybe Edge should just be eliminated by someone like AJ Styles and then those 2 have a match. But I would love to see Edge win the Rumble and challenge McIntyre, but not Goldberg.
PREDICTION: The Fiend Bray Wyatt
He hasn't been announced for the Rumble yet, and despite being burned alive, he would make a great #30 entrant in the WWE Universe. Plus a win here, then a win over Orton at Elimination Chamber or Fastlane would also set him up properly for a WWE Title shot. Then again, his match against Goldberg was awful. And a Wrestlemania Orton cinematic match seems way more plausible.
PREDICTION: Daniel Bryan
The first person announced for the Royal Rumble could be the last person standing. Bryan has been great at creating his secret wrestling promotion inside the Intercontinental Title picture, giving away stand out matches with the likes of Sami Zayn and Cesaro. Bring that energy to a Roman Reigns Wrestlemania match and you could have a recipe for what could quite possibly be Bryan's last great moment in wrestling.
PREDICTION: Seth Rollins
Don't forget about the Savior of Smackdown. After the birth of his child (Congratulations!!), Rollins is more likely to return to the ring sooner than his counterpart. And because America doesn't have great paternity leave (or really any), the Rumble would be a perfect time to not only return, but win the whole dang thing. Sure, they are currently both heels, but you're telling me you wouldn't want Rollins vs. Reigns at Wrestlemania?
PREDICTION: Keith Lee
If you are a long time listener of Hit The Books, then you would know how much I love Keith Lee. He can easily be a star. And if I had the pen, then I would replicate my Hit The Books Summerslam main event idea and plug it into real-life Wrestlemania. That's right. A Triple Threat for the WWE Championship Lee vs. McIntyre vs. Goldberg. Plus the story is already right there. Goldberg is the old guard, McIntyre the current, and Lee the future. It started with Lee vs. McIntyre on Legends Night where Goldberg interrupted McIntyre's post-match "promo". The seeds are there. They just have to bloom at Wrestlemania.
The Women's Royal Rumble
Similar to the Men's Royal Rumble, I honestly have no clue who could this thing. No one seems to be on fire enough, albeit Bliss, to be a clear favorite. But there are a couple of wrestlers that are favorite picks and could win the whole dang thing.
PREDICTION: Alexa Bliss
Spoken about her before, Bliss could easily win the Rumble. First, she has spoken powers now, including fire, that she should use to literally take out the competition. Plus, I wouldn't be surprised to see Wyatt and her win both Rumbles. I wouldn't like it, but I can see it.
PREDICTION: Peyton Royce
If we broke up The IIconics, then we better be going somewhere with this. Winning the Royal Rumble would be a career maker for Roycce but at this point, it seems more likely Royce will be in a Triple Threat or a Fatal Four-Way for the Women's Tag Team Titles come Wrestlemania.
PREDICTION: Becky Lynch
After giving birth to her child (Congratulations!!), Lynch is at the very least a dark horse pick. I don't want her in the match because if I were her, I would want to spend as much time with my newborn as possible, but this is WWE and I'm sure Vince would be dying to have her back for just one night at #30. A quick 5-minute spot and go back on leave. Again, I don't want it to happen, this is all merely conjecture, and who knows what her motivations are. But honestly, if she did wrestle, she would be the biggest badass mother ever, to give birth then wrestle a match. A million props to her and motivation to me alone.
PREDICTION: Bianca Belair
The internet's favorite pick and we can all see why. They are building Bianca up as the next big babyface and she has the charisma to do it. Winning the Rumble would be a great accolade to add to her resume. Plus, a match against Sasha Banks would be a bonafide dream match.
Speaking of dream matches, remember how in the Summer of 2020, we all really wanted a Bayley vs. Sasha Banks Wrestlemania match, and then Hell in a Cell happened. Well, Bayley is still the top heel and if Banks is still the top face, then wrestling law dictates Bayley has a better chance than Bianca. But it's also said that we all moved on from this being a Wrestlemania match option after we were clamoring over it 6 months ago.
You can watch WWE's Royal Rumble PPV on Jan. 31, 2021 on the WWE Network at 7pm EST.