The road to WrestleMania kicks off with the Royal Rumble! Before the WWE’s massive night, we sports entertainment nerds crunch the numbers and predict who’s going to win.
It’s quite literally the biggest Royal Rumble in WWE’s history. With the addition of the first ever women’s Royal Rumble match, the Jan. 28 event might have more action than the Wells Fargo center in Philadelphia can handle. While “anything can happen in the WWE,” we here at HollywoodLife.com think we’re smart enough to pick the Superstars who’ll leave the Rumble with their arms raised in victory.
- The Usos (c) vs. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin (2-out-of-3-falls match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
Russ: The Usos deserve the titles but Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin need the titles. Having this be a 2-out-of-3-falls match gives it the opportunity to go the distance. And I think it will go the distance. At first I thought a clean sweep was going to happen but whoever wins the first fall will ultimately lose the match. Having said that, The Uso’s will win the first fall very handedly and go into the second fall with all the momentum on their side.
But all the momentum in the world WON’T STOP (Original Theme Song Reference) Shelton Benjamin from grabbing the pin fall victory after hitting Paydirt on Jey Uso. Which leads us to the third fall where we will see Chad Gable turn into a suplex machine and steal a pin fall victory on Jey Uso while his brother and Shelton are preoccupied beating each other up on the outside.
Jason: I’m picking Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin to win. They could have a decent short run with the titles before facing The Usos or The New Day at ‘Mania. I don’t see this feud ending here, so be “ready, willing and Gable” to celebrate the new SmackDown tag team champs.
- Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan (c) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus (Tag team match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
Russ: This match screams re-match on RAW, but the question that remains is ‘who will be the champions coming out of the Royal Rumble’? Cesaro and Sheamus, better known as The Bar, were great champions and they deserve to be champions again but they will not pull it off at the Royal Rumble. Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan will continue their slow build to a break up and almost lose on a handful of occasions throughout the match but somehow they will pull it off but still build the animosity between the two of them that will lead them to lose the titles at Elimination Chamber.
Jason: As a fellow Jason, it’s nice to see Jason Jordan find his groove. He’s morphed into an annoying, arrogant jerk (a la his “father” Kurt Angle). The growing dissension with Seth Rollins hints at a match at WrestleMania, I think that they begin their road to that match at the Rumble. I expect the team to explode here, with The Bar winning the titles. A failed attempt to reclaim the belts at Elimination Chamber will lead to a Jordan-Rollins ‘Mania match. Maybe with Kurt as the special ref?
- AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn (Handicap match for the WWE Championship)
Russ: The deck is stacked against AJ Styles in this match. And with the constant back and forth that has been happening on Smackdown Live! of late between Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon they most certainly will be involved in the match at some point. As awesome as it would be to have Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn as co-champions, would they actually pull it off? Well they should because the storylines that would come from it would be amazing.
So I am going to say that AJ Styles will lose the World Title from Daniel’s interference. Daniel will turn heel and join the Yep Movement! And just imagine the back and forth gloating and eventual bickering Owens and Zayn could have being co-owners of the World Title. It would lead into so many storyline opportunities. This one must happen. I will not accept a DQ victory for AJ on this one at all.
Jason: WrestleMania is on April 8, two months after the Royal Rumble. That’s plenty of time for AJ to win the championship back. Having Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn as co-champions seems ludicrous, but after seeing Jinder Mahal win the WWE World Championship, anything is possible. I’m picking the “Yep Movement” here.
— WWE (@WWE) January 26, 2018
- Brock Lesnar (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kane (Triple Threat match for the WWE Universal Championship)
Russ: Braun Strowman has left a trail of carnage for weeks and he should be the favorite going into this match but with Kane involved, the likelihood of Braun beating down Kane and then getting a out of nowhere F5 from Brock Lesnar (for Brock to pin a fallen Kane) seems to be the most likely scenario. This is going to be a big man battle that will go outside the ring, through tables and so much more. But, Brock will pull it off so he can walk into ‘Mania as Universal Champion. And this will give Kane and Braun the chance to enter the Elimination Chamber for another chance at getting a title shot at WrestleMania.
Jason: Brock. It’s just Brock. I mean, he survived a Fatal Four Way with Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe and Braun at SummerSlam. I don’t see the outcome any different here. I also see a SmackDown Superstar winning the men’s Royal Rumble. Now, Elimination Chamber is a Raw-brand event, so there’s the argument that Brock loses the title here, wins it back in the Elimination chamber and goes on to face the winner of the Rumble (if it happens to be Roman Reigns or another Raw Superstar.) I don’t think that’ll happen. It’s “The Beast” for me.
— WWE (@WWE) January 26, 2018
- 2018 Women’s Royal Rumble match (30-woman Royal Rumble match for a women’s championship match at WrestleMania 34)
Russ: This first historical Women’s Royal Rumble should have a winner that is a current WWE Superstar and not a rumored Ronda Rousey. Speaking of Ronda, she has said she will not be at the Royal Rumble, but I don’t believe her. I think what would be best is for a Smackdown Live! Superstar to win the Women’s Royal Rumble and have a stare down with Smackdown Live! Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair and then have Ronda either attack them both, or the winner of the Royal Rumble separately.
That instantly builds multiple storylines and match possibilities for WrestleMania. But, who should be the Smackdown Live! winner? I am going to go with a long shot and a surprise: I am going to go with Brie Bella returning after what we find out later is a new signing by her husband Daniel Bryan. She could return and the announcers can also make it a point on not knowing what WWE Brand she is on to add to the speculation. And to top it all off, I see her coming in at Number 30 and somehow eliminating Nia Jax, who we all know is Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss‘s best friend adding the intrigue of is Brie on Raw or Smackdown Live! Allowing us to tune in to both shows and seeing it all unfold.
Side Note: If Charlotte is laid out by Ronda Rousey, who will take advantage of that happening? Carmella will, by cashing in the Miss Money In The Bank.
Jason: With SmackDown winning the men’s Royal Rumble match, Raw needs a big feather in its cap. I think one of the women from the red brand will become the first ever women’s Royal Rumble winner. It’s obvious to pick the unbeaten Asuka, but I think the WWE will do something where they eliminate her but still say she’s “undefeated.” Expect Sasha Banks to be the last woman standing, leading to a showdown with Alexa Bliss at WrestleMania.
- 2018 Men’s Royal Rumble match (30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 34)
Russ: If Roman Reigns wins the Royal Rumble in Philadelphia then Philly will be livid. I will also not like it, but the chances are there for him to have quite an impressive showing. But Roman should get eliminated and or screwed out of the win and then win the Elimination Chamber to go on to face Brock for the Universal Title in the long rumored WrestleMania Main Event. That leaves another Smackdown Live! member winning a Royal Rumble match right? Would it be AJ Styles winning a re-match after losing earlier in the night? Not going to happen.
It will actually be a RAW Superstar to make us all think for the next few months that Roman will not get the match at WrestleMania. Temporarily having fans rejoice until they figure it all out to get Roman the match down the line. So who from RAW will win the Men’s Royal Rumble? John Cena, Elias and The Miz will be the final three left in the ring. And Elias will eliminate Cena and the Miz and The Miztourage will all help eliminate Elias allowing The Miz to win the Royal Rumble.
Jason: I’ve mentioned my pick to you before, Russ, so there’s a bit of an unfair advantage here. NONE THE LESS, I’m going with Shinsuke Nakamura as winning the 2018 Royal Rumble. Shinsuke has been languishing on SmackDown, and I think this would be a much-needed shot in the arm. He can battle last year’s Rumble winner Randy Orton for the next two months, building up his momentum to face AJ Styles at “the showcase of the immortals.”
Or, Roman Reigns could just win it again.
Jason: So, we get a point for every correct prediction and a bonus point for any correct pick for a “surprise” entrant to the Royal Rumbles. For my Bonus points, I see Trish Stratus, Beth Phoenix and (my personal hope) Sara Del Rey making an appearance. (I just want to see Sara Amato get some props.) For the men, I’m going to pick Bubba Ray Dudley, Ethan Carter 3/Derek Bateman and ‘Diamond’ Dallas Paige.
Russ: For the men’s Rumble match: Big Cass, Daniel Bryan, and Hulk Hogan. For the women’s match: Brie Bella, Ronda Rousey and Trish Stratus.
So, those are our picks, HollywoodLifers. What do you think? Do you think we’re wrong or right on the money? Leave your own picks below.