Welcome to WNW’s Royal Rumble 2017 Predictions! Royal Rumble will be emanating from the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, Texas. This time around, we have myself, Zack Krasney, Kendra Bunyon, Big M, Brendan Wahl, Zeppelin Mayers, and The Retro Goat providing predictions. Let’s get to it!
Singles Match (Kickoff)
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
I really didn't expect to see this match until Fastlane because of Sasha's storyline injury. Apparently it's not that "bad" since these ladies are prepping to go to war! This is on a short list of dream matches for me since it never happened in NXT. Booking this and looking towards WrestleMania is a little challenging. I'm a little worried The Boss could find herself without a spot on the card. At this stage in the feud, I would put Jax over to keep her win streak going, and then have Banks counter the loss at Fastlane or a future encounter.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Nia Jax
I actually really liked the build for Sasha and Nia to have this match. Not thrilled that Sasha isn't Women's Champion, but it is what it is, and she can't be in the fight for the Championship all the time. The back and forth between Sasha and Nia has worked really well, and I'm getting an Awesome Kong vs Gail Kim vibe from their size differences, and that was one of the best women's series/feuds of recent times. I'm hoping these two are able to work to the level of Kong and Kim, and would love to see Kia return to the WWE, because she would fit so beautifully with these women on Raw. All that being said, I see Nia winning this one, pushing Sasha to be the absolute underdog through the next couple months as they go back and forth, until Sasha wins at WrestleMania.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Nia Jax
Zack's Predicted Winner: Sasha Banks
Big M's Predicted Winner: Sasha Banks
Brendan's Predicted Winner: Nia Jax
Zeppelin's Predicted Winner: Nia Jax
The Retro Goat's Predicted Winner: Nia Jax
Six-Woman Tag Team Match (Kickoff)
Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella & Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss, Mickie James & Natalya
Considering the Raw brand has two women's matches on the card, it makes total sense to at least feature one. And what better way to do that than to throw three storylines in to one match? I'm all for it because earning a spot on a PPV card this time of year isn't an easy task. I'm excited to see what these ladies will do as it's Mickie James' first match since TakeOver. As much as I don't want to see Bliss take a loss since she's champion, the best route to go here is for the babyfaces to win. I would let Naomi pick up the pinfall since it appears she's slated to chase the Women's Title next. Could these six women be in an Elimination Chamber match come next month? That's something to think about...
CJ's Predicted Winners: Lynch, Bella & Naomi
While the storyline leading up to this match makes sense, it's so close to the PPV that I'm annoyed for the women involved. That being said, this could be a really solid match, if it's booked to be. Personally, I'd love to see a feud between Mickie and Becky come about from this so that Naomi can feud with Alexa going forward. For that to happen, the faces have to win, and Nikki cannot be the Diva to make the pinfall. Yes, I know Nikki is not the Diva she once was, and can go better than Mitch thinks she can, but I still have to be a bit cranky about her. This is the time for Naomi to get the pinfall on Alexa so they can move forward.
Kendra's Predicted Winners: Lynch, Bella & Naomi
Zack's Predicted Winners: Lynch, Bella & Naomi
Big M's Predicted Winners: Lynch, Bella & Naomi
Brendan's Predicted Winners: Bliss, James & Natalya
Zeppelin's Predicted Winners: Lynch, Bella & Naomi
The Retro Goat's Predicted Winners: Bliss, James & Natalya
Raw Tag Team Championship Match (Kickoff)
Sheamus & Cesaro (c) vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
This is a decent feud for Raw's Tag Team Title scene. It's definitely nice to see someone other than The New Day, that's for sure. The booking over the last month has been pretty basic with a handful of singles matches taking place, the teams trading wins. I was a fan of their title match that ended with a screwy finish, so I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what they pull off here. I'm going to stick with the champions retaining even though I feel like now would be the time to pull the trigger (finally) on poor Gallows and Anderson.
CJ's Predicted Winners: Sheamus & Cesaro
I'm so over Gallows and Anderson as they are. They're boring, and hold little interest for me. I think they'd be better in the Royal Rumble Match than fighting Cesaro and Sheamus for the Tag Team Championships. Further, Cesaro is better than being stuck in a team when he should be fighting for the WWE Championship on SmackDown. This match will be fun, in that it's Cesaro and Sheamus, but beyond that, I couldn't give even one fig for it. Since Gallows and Anderson have been so blah, I see no reason for them to win the straps at this point, except to clear Cesaro up to face KO. With who I pick to win the Royal Rumble Match, that does leave KO free heading into WrestleMania, so why not Cesaro? So, I'm going against my original thought, and I'm picking The Club to win this so that Cesaro can have his short feud with Sheamus and go on to fight, and win, the Universal Championship.
Kendra's Predicted Winners: Gallows & Anderson
Zack's Predicted Winners: Sheamus & Cesaro
Big M's Predicted Winners: Sheamus & Cesaro
Brendan's Predicted Winners: Sheamus & Cesaro
Zeppelin's Predicted Winners: Sheamus & Cesaro
The Retro Goat's Predicted Winners: Sheamus & Cesaro
Cruiserweight Championship Match
Rich Swann (c) vs. Neville
As I mentioned in this week's Raw is Blogged, this cruiserweight match, for me, is the most anticipated one since the Perkins/Kendrick feud. Neville's return has brought some life to the division. Swann is an incredible worker and has earned his spot as champion, but I can't help to think there isn't a better time to strap the heel king of the cruiserweights. Hopefully these guys get plenty of time to showcase their talents and steal the show.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Neville
As adorable as Swann is, as strong as his character is becoming, he really isn't any match for the King of the Cruiserweights. Neville was struggling as a face, and most of us thought he didn't have a prayer to be more than a great high flier without any personality or charisma, yet, here he is, ruling the Cruiserweight Division! I honestly didn't think it was possible that anyone in the Cruiserweight Division would be as over as Neville is, and I love me some The Brian Kendrick. It's time for Neville to win and run with the Cruiserweight Division, bringing them up to the level they need to be if Austin Aries is going to be reduced to working with them.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Neville
Zack's Predicted Winner: Neville
Big M's Predicted Winner: Rich Swann
Brendan's Predicted Winner: Neville
Zeppelin's Predicted Winner: Neville
The Retro Goat's Predicted Winner: Neville
Raw Women's Championship Match
Charlotte (c) vs. Bayley
It seems clear to everyone that Bayley will have to lose here. I don't see WWE taking the shock route; I see the typical slow burn build to her having a huge moment at WrestleMania. I'm sure we'll see a strong match out of these two like usual, but I have to admit that I'm not that excited. Expect the Queen to retain.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Charlotte
I don’t think Bayley is going to go over sadly. I think they’ll wait until WrestleMania to break Charlotte’s PPV streak. I would love if Bayley did win, but I don’t think it’s in the stars. To be fair, I don’t think it’ll be a clean loss, I expect we see the return of Dana Brooke or some other heel like tactic to ensure the victory. Honestly, I’m ready for Charlotte to stop being the top of the Women’s division. She’s incredible in the ring but her promos are so ridiculously bad that at this point I have to think it’s hurting the women’s division as a whole. Just when I thought she was making some slight progress they did the “poem” segment on Raw and it was absolutely awful. In fairness, Bayley has some room to grow as well, but I can’t stand Charlotte’s promos anymore. Stop yelling at me, Charlotte.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Charlotte
The bigger question behind who will win this is will the WWE continue to push Charlotte as the Queen of the PPVs. If they do, then Bayley won't win. Honestly, I'll be shocked if this isn't the match with the screwy finish, because there needs to be a reason for Charlotte and Bayley to continue this feud so that going into WrestleMania there so much built angst there that we are all chomping at the bit for Charlotte to lose at the grandest stage of them all. So I'm calling that Charlotte will retain, and possibly even win the match, but by DQ or Count Out, or something of the like. That way Charlotte can continue to crow (which she did without screaming, mostly, on Raw this week), but Bayley will have serious rights to face Charlotte again going forward, specifically at WrestleMania.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Charlotte (dirty)
Big M's Predicted Winner: Charlotte
Brendan's Predicted Winner: Charlotte
Zeppelin's Predicted Winner: Charlotte
The Retro Goat's Predicted Winner: Charlotte
Universal Championship Match
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns
The plan seems to be for Roman Reigns to walk into WrestleMania as Universal Champion, so when else are they going to strap him? It sucks for Owens to get bumped down going into Mania season, but it has to happen. His position should be fine though, as I believe he and Jericho will feud over the U.S. Title. Fans more than likely will not be happy with the outcome, but there's really nothing we can do other than accept it. The outcome will be pivotal in determining Raw's big title match at the show of shows.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Roman Reigns
I have to think that Chris Jericho being in the shark cage above the ring will play some part in the match. Other than trying to boost the sale of WWE Mattel action figures that is. The match is now a No DQ match which seems like it gives Reigns the advantage because he’s the big strong good guy. But in all honestly, I think it’ll tip the scales in Kevin Owens favor. Someone mentioned this idea to me and I thought it was brilliant so I’m repeating it here. Chris Jericho will wear his United States Championship to the ring, and in the cage. Toward the climax of the match Chris will take off his championship and drop it to Kevin Owens, so he can blast Roman with the championship when he isn’t expecting it, securing the victory for his BFF Kevin. Honestly, Roman still gets far too much heat for his own good. There are people who still say that he isn’t that bad and fans are overreacting. Roman doesn’t deserve the heat he gets, but that doesn’t change the fact that he still gets it. If he were to win the Universal Championship going into WrestleMania it’ll be a disaster. He’ll get massive heat going into whatever match he’s wrestling at Mania. Remember how quiet the crowd was during the Triple H vs. Roman Reigns match at last year’s WrestleMania? I know Vince is stubborn but he can’t be stupid about this.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Kevin Owens
It just hit me that I've been picking all heels to win at the Royal Rumble so far, and no matter who I pick in this match, there will be a heel winning, no matter what McMahon thinks of Reigns. That being said, this is the second match on the card that I don't want to see. Reigns needs to be doing something other than fighting for the Universal Championship, again! McMahon needs to get over Reigns and really look at the Raw roster, really see who is deserving a chance to go after KO, other than Reigns and Rollins. Rollins will be facing Trip at WrestleMania, so I think KO should be facing Cesaro at WrestleMania. To me that's a match that I'd pay to see! Or, how about Strowman? KO vs Strowman at WrestleMania would be epic! But it's Royal Rumble and we are stuck watching Reigns trying to get the Universal Championship, again. I'm over it, and that's why KO needs to retain (even if it's through DQ), even with the Sexy Pinata above the ring and not able to help him.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Kevin Owens
Big M's Predicted Winner: Roman Reigns
Brendan's Predicted Winner: Roman Reigns
Zeppelin's Predicted Winner: Kevin Owens
The Retro Goat's Predicted Winner: Kevin Owens
WWE Championship Match
AJ Styles (c) vs. John Cena
Aside from the Rumble, this is the match I'm anticipating the most. Obviously Cena and Styles will put on another match of the year candidate in the process of deciding who's walking into Mania with the biggest prize. The mark in me wants to see AJ go to the big show with the belt in tact, but I should be more realistic. Unfortunately it looks like he won't even be in the title picture by March. I originally had this plan for Styles to drop the title at Elimination Chamber and I'm going to stick with it honestly. To keep things interesting, I would have Undertaker win the WWE Title at Chamber, and then defend it against Cena at Mania. That is where Cena will pick up his big 16th title win. That's looking more and more unlikely, but hey, I can dream. I'm pulling for Styles!
CJ's Predicted Winner: AJ Styles
I want AJ Styles to win. I want AJ Styles to go on the face Undertaker for the Championship at Wrestlemania. However, there is a small part of me that wants Cena to win and tie Ric Flair’s record. I really wouldn’t want it to be over AJ Styles, especially since AJ has been rolling since he beat Cena and it’s certainly done a lot to put AJ over as a top guy without question. However, I don’t think I will be upset if Cena wins. Yes, I want AJ to win, but I’d be at peace with Cena winning. It would be interesting if Cena won, and Undertaker won the Royal Rumble and they battled at Mania. Who would come out on top in that one? If it’s Cena, it’s an easy opportunity to turn him heel. I’m excited to watch this one though, I think it’ll get plenty of time and Styles and Cena have put on some classics before, I assume they’ll do it again. As much as I want Styles to come out on top, I think Vince is going to go with Cena going into Mania.
Zack's Predicted Winner: John Cena
I'm watching AJ tweaking out about the Royal Rumble poster as I'm writing this, and he really is phenomenal! He's grown so much in the WWE, and I can only imagine what he could have done if he'd come to the WWE ten years ago. I know he was a TNA company man, but who he is now is obviously so much happier than the man he was as TNA fell apart. Anyway, there's been so much talk about Cena tying Flair's record, and then beating it, and I'm one who is all for it. Cena has more than proven that his career is worthy of beating Flair, but not in this match. I'm not sure when it should happen, but not until after WrestleMania, at least with the predictions I'm making. I think 'that guy from Atlanta' should absolutely retain the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble, and I think he should retain through the Elimination Chamber (just saying that because I'm the Captain of Team Raw, and I won't be predicting that PPV). Cena will get to sixteen times as The Champ, but not quite yet.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: AJ Styles
Big M's Predicted Winner: John Cena
Brendan's Predicted Winner: AJ Styles
Zeppelin's Predicted Winner: John Cena
The Retro Goat's Predicted Winner: AJ Styles
30-Man Royal Rumble Match
Each year, I pick three top candidates to win this annual thriller, and I haven't missed it since 2012. This year I'm going with Braun Strowman, The Undertaker, and Randy Orton. With Reigns winning the Universal Title, he's not going to have an easy task when he faces Strowman at Mania. I have confidence that those two could put on a compelling rivalry, however it's probably the hardcore fans that will reject it.
As for The Undertaker, I would rather see him face Cena over Reigns, but the new rumors seem to suggest otherwise. Considering his legendary career is winding down, I wouldn't be against one final title run. Winning another Rumble would allow that to happen. Unfortunately The Deadman is probably being included to add to the loaded field of names.
It's taken me a few weeks to figure out who my third pick would be. Strowman and Taker were instant picks once their participation was confirmed. Internet rumors have led me to pick Randy Orton for this slot. I would be all for the proposed scenario of Orton vs. Wyatt for the WWE Title at Mania. Never would've thought of it on my own honestly, but it's feasible and would make for a great story in the end. Anything could happen, possibly even Orton vs. Styles, which is a personal dream match of mine.
I'll end up changing my mind a dozen times, so I'm going to go out on a limb and picking The Undertaker to win it all. It seems like a sure thing that he'll be in a major title match at Mania.
CJ's Predicted Winner: The Undertaker
I am so freaking excited for this year’s Royal Rumble. There is no obvious winner, the match is stacked with big names, and there are only 20-25 names announced which leaves room for some fun surprise entrants. We have the potential for a GREAT Rumble, which hasn’t happened in a few years in my opinion. The last 3-4 years WWE dropped the ball on the Rumble, so I’m hoping WWE can get back on track this year. Some things I’d love to see in this Rumble: A Finn Balor return, a Finn Balor/Undertaker stare down, a returning Shelton Benjamin, a returning John Morrison, Kofi doing something crazy to keep from being eliminated, Braun Strowman WRECKING people, Seth Rollins attacking someone (Curtis Axel so WWE can make it a running gag) and stealing their spot, Samoa Joe debuting, Shinsuke Nakamura debuting, Tye Dillinger debuting AT NUMBER 10, Brock Lesnar and Goldberg eliminating each other. As for who is going to win, I think there are a handful of solid choices. Chris Jericho, Braun Strowman, Undertaker, Sami Zayn, The Miz, Seth Rollins, Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, and Finn Balor (who isn’t even announced!) are all very real possible winners. In the end my gut tells me that of that list of wrestlers the winner will be the man who masters the list! Chris Jericho! I really wanted to pick Finn Balor to win, and I hope he does return and win with all my heart, but my rule of thumb with predictions is never go with someone who isn’t promised in the Rumble.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Chris Jericho
There's about five or six empty spots left in this Royal Rumble Match, and I hope one of them goes to my beloved Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, A Double. There was talk that he'd be back early 2017, and where better to return than in the Royal Rumble Match? Further, he should not be stuck in the Cruiserweight Division, because he really is the Greatest Man Who Ever Lived. And then there's Finn Balor, who my daughter Ellie is really hoping will win so that he can get his Universal Championship back from KO. I understand where Ellie is coming from, and why she has the hots for Balor, but I don't know how close to ready to return he really is.
My white board has been sitting out with a number of names on it, but I've barely used it this year, and the two possible names I think could win it aren't even on the white board. Okay, early on, I thought Jericho had a chance to win the Royal Rumble Match, and so his name is on the board, and I still think it could be fantastic to see Jericho win and have to face his bestie at WrestleMania, but with him as US Champion, that idea has gone by the wayside. I also have Cena, Joe and Ambrose on the list, but I don't think any of them will win it.
From the first moment Taker returned to the WWE, he's been my pick to win this Royal Rumble Match. He stated that he doesn't belong to either show, and that leaves the WWE with a HUGE storyline. This will be bigger than when Benoit jumped ship to go after Trip at WrestleMania. Taker can hold his decision close to his chest, not stating whether he'll go after KO or AJ. We've heard many ideas about who the WWE wants Taker to face at WrestleMania. AJ and Cena have both been high on that list, and there's nothing more I'd like to see at this WrestleMania is Taker against AJ. And the WWE can shake things up with questions going into the Elimination Chamber Match, making us wonder who will be going to WrestleMania, but it really needs to be AJ (another prediction as I am Captain of Team Raw). I'm good for going out on a limb with my Royal Rumble Match prediction, but I don't think this is much of a stretch, because it will bring the nostalgia, but also because AJ could absolutely help Taker through a WrestleMania match, and one we never thought we'd see, and to me that makes it so much sweeter.
Now, I'm not pulling back on Taker, I truly think he should win this Royal Rumble Match, and it's probably his last chance to do it, but I want to throw out one more name, just in case the WWE wants to do what the Royal Rumble Match really should be about – elevating a young Superstar into something so much bigger. That's why I love the MITBLM, and why I wish they'd bring back KoTR and really use it for what it's for, not for trying to make people like glass jaw Wade Barrett relevant when he really never was, but I digress. If they decide to go with a younger wrestler who they think can take the ball and run with it, I'd love to see that person being Strowman. He might be a heel, and would be facing KO who is also a heel, at WrestleMania, but these two heels are so over with the fans, and get a lot of love, even though they're heels, that I think they could carry a WrestleMania match. I'm not picking two Superstars to win this Royal Rumble Match, I'm still going with Taker, but I'd be all good if Strowman won and got the push he's been reaching for, because I'd be thrilled to see him face KO at WrestleMania. That's a heel vs heel match that could help carry the biggest PPV of the year, unlike more KO vs Reigns.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: The Undertaker
The Retro Goat:
This is my first Royal Rumble predicts for WNW. Naturally, it's the most chaotic and unpredictable one in years. But not being able to see the winner coming from a mile away is not a problem I have. Even the old rumor mill seems completely stumped, with names like Goldberg, Undertaker, Randy Orton, Braun Strowman, and more all being the predicted winner. I don't see a surprise entrant winning the whole thing, which takes out guys like Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle, and I don't think a part-timer will win it, because the Goldberg VS Lesnar Wrestlemania match really doesn't need it and who knows what Undertaker's doing. I don't necessarily agree with pushing him so hard so fast, but I think Braun Strowman's winning this. Again, not that I think he should, but predicting that he will. He's been the big monster for some time now, and he's doing great. He could really use a good feud to show he isn't afraid of twenty minute bouts, but this is one of very few times someone's been booked well consistently. But frankly, there are around ten guys who have legitimate chance of winning it all, and I'm so excited for it. I'm also excited that this is looking like it won't be yet another Roman Rumble, but that's another story.
The Retro Goat's Predicted Winner: Braun Strowman
Big M's Predicted Winner: Finn Balor
Brendan's Predicted Winner: Braun Strowman
Zeppelin's Predicted Winner: Finn Balor
Thanks everyone for reading our predictions this round! Feel free to post yours in the comments below, and don’t forget to join us tonight at 5 PM EST for our live coverage and Open Thread Party for Royal Rumble!