Welcome to WNW’s Royal Rumble 2016 Predictions! The Royal Rumble will be emanating from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. This time around, we have CJ Blaze, Zack Krasney, Kendra Bunyon, and WNW reader Big M providing full predicts, while myself, Kendra's daughter youngest Sam and oldest daughter's boyfriend Tyler are doing quick picks. Let's get to it!
Preshow Kickoff Fatal 4-WayTag Match for entrance into the Royal Rumble match:
Darren Young and Damien Sandow vs. Mark Henry and Jack Swagger vs. The Ascension vs. The Dudley Boyz
I would to like commend WWE for actually being creative with this one. It's sad to see that The Dudley Boyz are practically on the same level as The Ascension. And then we have two other random teams involved. Jack Swagger and Mark Henry have been teaming together on Main Event and Superstars, while both Darren Young and Damien Sandow have rarely been seen on TV. In my eyes, only one team should and will win this bout, and that's The Dudley Boyz. They are the most "deserving" to be in the Rumble.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Dudley Boyz
Ah, which way should I go with this one? I could either go with my heart, Damien Sandow and Darren Young, or I could go with my head which says The Dudley Boyz or Mark Henry and Jack Swagger. I would love to see Damien Sandow get back in the eyes of the WWE Universe. I still don’t understand why he isn’t part of Social Outcasts. I think fans would be more receptive to him than they would be for, say, Bo Dallas. Either way, this is an interesting opening match for the Rumble. I actually like it, though. This kind of match is something we would usually see on a Raw or Smackdown. It actually makes me curious why we didn’t see more qualifying matches. I think the “art” of building the Royal Rumble has been lost the last few years, and every year it makes me sadder. I think I’ll go with my head and say that the most popular team will win.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Dudley Boyz
Um, what? This is strange, even for the WWE. Honestly, I shouldn't be complaining, but I will be out of town before the Royal Rumble, and will most likely miss this match until it's replayed. I feel like crap about this because I've been screaming for Sandow to be in a match, any match just get the man on WWE TV! Because I've been screaming so much I have to go with Sandow to win, even though it will probably be the Dudley Boyz. I'm going with my heart, not my gut on this one, because Sandow deserves better than he's been getting!
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Young and Sandow
I know I'm supposed to write a full paragraph at least about every match here on WNW Predicts but honestly, I couldn't care any less about this match (Same way I feel about most pre-show matches really.) Whoever wins has zero chance of winning The Rumble match later that night. The Dudley Boys will most likely come out ahead since they've been losing quite a bit lately.
Big M's Predicted Winner: Dudley Boyz
Jesse's Predicted Winner: Dudley Boyz
Tyler's Predicted Winner: Dudley Boyz
Sam's Predicted Winner: Young and Sandow
Last Man Standing Match for the Intercontinental Title:
Dean Ambrose © vs. Kevin Owens
Without a shadow of a doubt, this match will be the best match on the card. The Last Man Standing stipulation and the two men competing have added much-needed importance to the Intercontinental Championship. I have two ideas for where the title will go after Royal Rumble. The first scenario would see Kevin Owens capture the title here and defend it against Sami Zayn at WrestleMania. The other scenario sees Dean Ambrose retain and defend the title against a heel Chris Jericho in the coming months. While both would be epic, I think Ambrose should continue his reign as champion and Owens will have some sort of marquee match at Mania.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Dean Ambrose
Boy are we in for a treat with this match! I am so pumped, two of the best workers in the business wrestling in one of the best types of matches in terms of potential. I think this very much as the potential to be the match of the night (excluding the Rumble) and really make people remember. There are always those matches, when people think back, that people recall first in their minds. I think this match has that potential, especially if given the time and attention it deserves. Expect to see some crazy stuff in this match, and some moves that make you say, “Wow!” As far as the outcome goes, I think Dean Ambrose is going to retain, and Kevin Owens will move on to bigger and better things. (Like maybe winning the Royal Rumble?) As much as I’d love to see Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose battle until we’re all gray and wrinkled, but I think they’ll both be better moving on to bigger things.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Dean Ambrose
This is the match that could steal this Rumble. Ambrose and Owens should be fighting for the WWE WHC in this match, not the IC Championship. Nothing against Reigns and the amazing growth he's had over the past year, but Owens and Ambrose have been showing heart, passion, fire, mic skills, ring skills, personality, charisma, and so many other great attributes for so many years that I cannot say enough about either of them, both of them. These are the type of wrestlers, screw that, these are the wrestlers that make me change from watching 1999 WWF on the WWE Network to watching Raw each week. If it wasn't for Ambrose, Owens, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and a few others, I would not be much of a current WWE fan. These two will tear the house down until one of them can't move, hopefully, if they're actually booked that way. Even if they aren't, these two will give us all the have in them, and possibly more. This could be a MOTY candidate. No, this will be a MOTY candidate! Does it matter who wins? Not so much as the journey is what is most important to me. If I have to pick a winner, and I know I do, I think this will be our 'screwy' ending. I think something will happen and neither of them will be able to beat the ten. Not because of a forklift (Foley over Rocky), or duct tape (Cena over Batista), but because they're both just completely whipped and cannot move!
Kendra's Predicted Winner: NOPE!
Obviously, this is the Match on the Card fans probably want to see the most. (Myself included.) I can't sing these two men praises high enough. Both can work an incredible match. Both can cut a great promo. Both can get "HARDCORE" with the best of them. Both have gimmicks WWE creative could do anything with…If anyone in WWE was creative anymore…Just a Joke. (Only Just.) No disrespect to Neville but KO was without a doubt the breakout star of 2015 and, in my opinion, the best heel in the business today. Also, I've said on many occasions since 2013 that Dean Ambrose is a main event player. In my mind, he was ALWAYS the standout of The Shield. All this combines to one possible conclusion…I CAN'T PICK A WINNER. Why, do you ask? Simple, it's because I think this feud SHOULD and most likely WILL continue beyond Royal Rumble. So I'm predicting a draw.
Big M's Predicted Winner: Draw
Jesse's Predicted Winner: Dean Ambrose
Tyler's Predicted Winner: Dean Ambrose
Sam's Predicted Winner: Dean Ambrose
Tag Team Championship Match:
The New Day © vs. The Usos
Maybe I'm being too picky, but it already feels like The Usos and The New Day have had too many matches together. Or maybe I'm actually starting to get tired of seeing The Usos challenging for the Tag Team Championship. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - Jimmy & Jey are becoming the John Cena of the tag division. I don't see a need to take the titles off of The New Day, so a title change here won't be necessary.
CJ's Predicted Winner: New Day
I feel like I’m always torn between, I don’t want New Day to lose ever and I think they’d be great championship “chasers.” I’m going to say that the Usos need to go over here because the WWE is running out of viable challengers for the New Day. They’ve pretty much worked their way through the tag team division. If New Day goes over, who do they face next? How many times can we do The Usos vs The New Day without anything changing and it stays believable? In order to keep things moving on in this division, I think The Usos should go over, leading to New Day chasing the title to WrestleMania, where they finally can win them back. I will miss Xavier Woods saying “W-W-E TAAG TEAAAM CHAAAAMPIOONS” as they all dance, though. Almost as much as I’ll miss the trombone. God, I hope they bring the Trombone back.
Zack's Predicted Winner: The Usos
I want something new and interesting. Why not Sandow and Swagger for the Tag Team Championships? Or, how about Young and Henry for the Tag Team Championships? (Sorry, those pairings make much more sense than how they're tagging pre-show.) But, of course, we are getting the same match yet again. There are enough Superstars on the roster to build a couple more fantastic teams to work against these two, and they need to do it before we revolt. There're some things that are working really well in the WWE, but right now it's not the Tag Division. That being said, I'll be shocked if New Day doesn't retain here. There's no reason for them to drop the straps until the Tag Division is interesting again, and that's wouldn't take a whole lot if they put their minds to it. They created Social Outcasts – who could be tagging for the straps – so why not another team of two? They pulled together teams for the pre-show, but not for the actual Tag Division? Ugh!
Kendra's Predicted Winner: New Day
Ok, the people who read my comments here on WNW know I'm not a big fan of The New Day and their antics (I realise I am in a VERY small minority there). Having three great talents given such a childish gimmick infuriates me to no end. BUT I give credit where credit is due…They got over with such a terrible gimmick (I can just hear the comment thread blowing up right now), and they have absolutely brought legitimacy to The Tag Team Division. But all that aside, The Uso's are undoubtedly exciting to watch and Jimmy and Jay winning The Tag Titles could possibly lead to them being brought into the Roman Reigns vs The Authority storyline along with Dean Ambrose in some capacity further down the line. So I see Jimmy and Jay following their "Uce" in holding Championship Gold (or Bronze…Copper…Whatever Metal the Tag belts are made out of).
Big M's Predicted Winner: The Usos
Jesse's Predicted Winner: New Day
Tyler's Predicted Winner: New Day
Sam's Predicted Winner: New Day
United States Championship Match:
Alberto Del Rio © vs. Kalisto
The only reason I'm looking forward to another match between these two is because I want to see Kalisto beat Del Rio to take the title once and for all. I can understand why the two title changes took place on TV as a way to make SmackDown seem more important, but that doesn't change the fact that it was a dumb booking move in my eyes. Del Rio is booked strong almost all the time, so there's no reason to keep a title on him. Let Kalisto actually get a run with the belt as WrestleMania season begins.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Kalisto
Fun story! I was doing the Raw Results last week and I noticed Kalisto didn’t come out with the belt, so I was like “hmm that’s weird.” It didn’t even occur to me that Del Rio would have won it back on Smackdown. I thought when someone won a championship on Raw, then had the “rematch clause” match on Smackdown, it was a SURE THING that it was a blow off match and the title wouldn’t exchange hands. Color me surprised when Del Rio came out on Raw as defending United States Champion. There’s a word that sums up how I feel about the title going back to Del Rio on Smackdown, what is it again...oh yeah, stupid. It’s so dumb to have them give it back to Del Rio! Either Kalisto doesn’t win Sunday and his championship reign was a blip on the radar, or he does win it back and it brings the question to why they gave it back to Alberto on Smackdown in the first place! Sometimes I truly question the booking decisions in WWE. Maybe they were just doing it to be unpredictable? Either way, Kalisto is the guy you want to go with. Del Rio is just not that great, in my opinion. He’s rather boring, and while he has been better this go around in the WWE, he’s still not great. Kalisto, on the other hand, is a head turner and a show stealer. Many people call him a young Rey Mysterio, which is a tremendous compliment. If you’re trying to bring in the Mexican audience, give the belt to a guy who is a true blue Luchador.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Kalisto
Okay, it's time to strap Kalisto and move on. He might be little, he might not be as well known in the WWE, but the fans love him, his mic work is solid, and his ring skills rival Rey's in his prime. It's time the WWE did something right with this demographic and strap Kalisto. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy ADR right out the door!
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Kalisto
Only after releasing Alberto Del Rio (under controversial circumstances) did WWE's higher-ups realize how short on talent (especially upper card level talent) that would appeal to the Latino fan base they really were. So they offered ADR a reportedly obscene amount of money to screw over The Triple A promotion in Mexico to go back on his word and re-sign with WWE, winning the U.S. Title from John Cena in the process (Much to the chagrin of Kendra Bunyon).
Things seemed very dismal in the U.S. Title Picture...Until Kalisto performed one of the most insane highspots I have ever seen at TLC.
After winning a Slammy for said spot and beating ADR in a non-title match on Smackdown…and then beating ADR for said Title a week later, on Smackdown's debut on the USA Network, it finally appeared WWE had found its next big Latino star capable of filling the gaping hole Rey Mysterio left. Then Kalisto dropped the Title back to ADR the following Monday ("Sigh"). So honestly, my pick is just a guess, as I really don't care either way as long as Kalisto looks good.
Big M's Predicted Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Jesse's Predicted Winner: Kalisto
Tyler's Predicted Winner: Kalisto
Sam's Predicted Winner: Kalisto
Diva's Title Match:
Charlotte © vs. Becky Lynch
It is my hope that Charlotte and Becky Lynch prove to us that this Divas Revolution can still survive and thrive with this match. We've seen some good action both in the ring and on the mic on Raw over the last few weeks, so I'm confident they will turn it up a notch. Looking ahead towards WrestleMania, I foresee WWE booking either Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks or a triple threat with Charlotte, Lynch, and Banks. As epic as it would to see Lynch capture her first Divas Championship on Sunday, I'm thinking Charlotte will retain here.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Charlotte
We can all pretty much agree at this point that Charlotte’s babyface to a tweener, then a tweener to full blown heel transition has been a failure. It feel pointless and rushed and not all that well delivered. I said it during Raw Live Streaming Results a few weeks ago in the comments, it seems utterly ridiculous to me that Charlotte worked so hard in NXT to distance her legacy from her father’s, only to come to the main roster and have her whole identity be tied to Ric again. It’s like they’re working backward with her character. I don’t know if it’s Vince’s style vs. Hunter’s style or if it’s Hunter’s love of Ric and wanting to get him back on television, but it really sucks. Charlotte didn’t drop the ball, although she hasn’t done a great job with her character either, but the ball was ripped from her hands and thrown to the ground. Becky Lynch, on the other hand, has done a tremendous job of breaking out on her own. She was kind of the forgotten one of Team PCB. Always the best friend in the background; the person who had to take the pin for her team. Now that she’s taken on a singles role, she’s really running with it. I would love to see Becky win it Sunday, and have her and Charlotte battle at Fast Lane, then do a triple threat match between Becky, Charlotte, and Sasha at Wrestlemania. Based on character development alone Becky deserves it. Plus I’m a little in love with Becky, which does affect my judgment. I’m going with the Lasskicker!
Zack's Predicted Winner: Becky Lynch
I've never been a Flair fan and have never made any apologies to those who are. I understand that everyone has their own taste in performers and I'm just not a fan of Flair. All that being said, I wanted to be a fan of Charlotte, and I am a fan of Charlotte as a face when she isn't talking. I know Flair is the dirtiest player in the game, and she's doing exactly as he would, but she doesn't have the charisma he has to make it work. I might not like the guy, but I can appreciate his strengths. While Charlotte has athletic abilities that her father never had, she doesn't have the charisma or mic work that made him one of the biggest in the industry. The problem is that when Charlotte tries to be her father, she's a sad facsimile that turns her into almost a caricature of her father, which is funny because these days he's looking like a withering drunken caricature of himself.
Charlotte is one of the strongest Divas who came up the pipe, but there're others who are more rounded in their overall work, such as Sasha and Becky. We've really not seen nearly enough Sasha, but Becky has been showing us why she's the Lass Kicker, and why I need to invest in her merch. Becky has been strong in the ring all along, but her mic skills have really taken over these past couple weeks since Charlotte turned on her, and I'm blown away! I want her slam on Flair from this past Raw on a shirt! Further, it should be a WWE Divas Championship shirt as she needs to be Champ after this match!
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Becky Lynch
Ah, Becky Lynch. My Irish Rose. My Queen of Puns. The Lass Kicker. The most beautiful and most talented woman in pro wrest…Sorry, what was the match I was supposed to give a prediction on again?
As you've probably guessed, I'm a HUGE fan of Becky Lynch, and up until recently she had been in the shadow of other members of NXT's Four Horsewomen, but Charlotte's heel turn has provided her with the chance to FINALLY steal the show, which she did on this week's Raw, cutting the Promo of the Night on two-time Hall of Famer Ric Flair. Her "Your wheelin dealin, Title match stealin, catchphrase spewin, obnoxiously wooin father helped you win” line made it the best Diva promo in years for my money.
However that being said, I can't see Charlotte dropping the Title anytime soon, especially with her Father Ric Flair being at ringside for her matches for the foreseeable future. So it looks like I may have to wait a little longer for my Irish Rose to get her payoff ("Sigh").
Big M's Predicted Winner: Charlotte
Jesse's Predicted Winner: Charlotte
Tyler's Predicted Winner: Charlotte
Sam's Predicted Winner: Becky Lynch
The Royal Rumble:
Winner will be WWE World Heavyweight Champion
I can't wait to see what booking decision WWE has made for this huge Royal Rumble match. I know many fans aren't happy with the decision to have the WWE Championship to be defended, but really, it gives us so many options. While the winner may seem to predictable, anyone can walk out with the title. From Lesnar to Triple H to maybe even Bray Wyatt. No need to punch your ticket for WrestleMania - you can win the title here! I feel like this match will have some sort of screwiness to it involving Roman Reigns, Lesnar, and/or Triple H. Ultimately I believe we will see Reigns vs. Hunter for the title at Mania, so I'm sticking with Reigns to win his second Royal Rumble match.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Roman Reigns
Man, I am excited about this match! No matter how predictable, or how obvious the potential winner might be, I always get excited for the Royal Rumble match. It is by far my favorite match of the year, and my favorite PPV as a result. I’m sad that WWE has been dropping the ball in recent years. I really hope the same thing doesn’t happen this year. I laid out in my article earlier the possible outcomes and some long shot outcomes on Sunday. I think the best outcome, of many, would be to have Reigns last until the very end and it comes down to him and either Lesnar or Triple H. They battle it out, only to have a simultaneous double elimination, where both men hit the floor at the same time. It leaves Reigns as WWE Champion, but it sets up a #1 contender at the same time. It basically does what the Royal Rumble should, in giving us a #1 contender, but it also allows Reigns to stay strong, having survived the Royal Rumble and walked out as champion. To me, that’s a win/win in a situation that is very hard to have a win/win outcome.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Roman Reigns and Triple H/Brock Lesnar
Most everyone thinks that Reigns is going to win this Royal Rumble Match and are already complaining about it. While I think Reigns could pull this off the win, and make it work, I have to go out on a limb on this, because that's what I do. I have it narrowed down to two different Superstars who could win this year, but I'm not sure how far out on that limb I'm willing to go. To be honest with you, after all of my diagrams on my favorite Royal Rumble white board, I have ten names, other than Reigns, who I could make a solid case to win the Royal Rumble Match. Some of these names might shock you, but they should. I know a couple of the names are pipe dreams – Trip, Brock, Ryback, Kane, Bryan, Ambrose, Owens, Joe, Bray, AJ – but I could make a valid point for any of them winning this Royal Rumble Match. Most think Reigns will win, or Trip will come in to cost him the WWE WHC and set up for WrestleMania. There's always Brock, but I'm truly hoping the WWE has learned from strapping him! Ryback could come out of nowhere and become what McMahon wanted from him upon his debut, but he's been so far from the radar that I don't see that happening. Kane could finally win it, do it for The Authority, and shake things up, but he's been out of that loop recently, so sadly I don't see Kane winning the Rumble. I know Bryan is a pipe dream, as he's not been cleared by the WWE doctor to work, and there's no way they'd return Bryan in this way as their golden boy Reigns would be back where he started. I could see either Ambrose or Owens winning this, even after killing themselves and each other in the ring earlier in the night. They would each be perfect in different ways, and could carry the strap as well, if not better than anyone else on the roster. Hopefully, they will both be going after the WWE WHC strap soon! Yes, I put Joe's name in there, and I do think it would be a shocking swerve of a win, but I don't think this year is Joe's time. Just a gut feeling.
That leaves me with Bray Wyatt or AJ Styles. I'm going with Bray first, as he's someone who has been built up wonderfully, organically, over the past couple months, especially over the past couple weeks, in a way that makes him quite a viable winner. He's used the same phrase he started when feuding with Reigns, and made it much more meaningful this time around. With Harper, Rowan and Strowman, if their numbers work out well and they can be in the ring together, they have a HUGE chance of helping Bray win the WWE WHC. Of any faction I've seen, They Wyatt Family is one of the few who I believe would absolutely eliminate themselves so Bray could win – after they eliminated everyone else. This is the one possibility that's been nagging at me, especially if they're planning on doing Bray vs Brock at WrestleMania, strapping Bray could be a very smart and interesting idea. Bray has picked up steam lately, and maybe it is the time to strap him, but he's not at the top of my list.
Since that Monday night that it was rumored that AJ might be leaving NJPW for the WWE, I've said (to no one else but those I live with) that I could see AJ winning the Royal Rumble Match. It took me only a couple hours after McMahon's announcement that the WWE WHC would be decided in the Royal Rumble Match that I decided that the stip didn't bother me, AJ would still be the one to win the Royal Rumble. I think AJ is the only person who could possibly come into the WWE and win both the Royal Rumble Match and the WWE WHC on his debut. Looking back at who won a strap on their debut, I was really unimpressed with the list. First off, Big Show beat Hogan for the WCW WHC on his debut, but it was contested and a total mess – like all of WCW! There was Santino who beat Umaga, with help from Bobby Lashley, to win the IC Championship, after McMahon pulled him out of the audience in Italy. Gail Kim won the Women's Championship in a battle royal on her debut. Christian won the highly regarded and much loved Light heavyweight Championship from Taka Michinoku. Jerry Lynn also won the same prestigious award, against Crash Holly, on his debut in the WWE. Carlito defeated Cena for the US Title on his much-anticipated debut. Lastly, Ted DiBiase Jr. won gold in his debut match for the Tag Team Championship, even though he went into the match alone. Cody Rhodes turned on his partner, Hardcore Holly to win the straps with DiBiase. Most recently Paige beat AJ Lee in her debut the Raw after WrestleMania to win the Divas Championship. So, they haven't all been a great thing, in fact, only Big Show and Paige are still regularly working the ring in the WWE, but that's how the cookie crumbles. I really think AJ has the ability to do what needs to be done, and is someone who could throw a wrench into things, but in a good way. Rocky and Austin were top faces at the same time, showing that there can be more than one. I truly believe that if AJ has been cleared, we could see something this absurd and exciting happen at the Royal Rumble this year.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: AJ Styles!!!
I have tried so so so very hard to keep an open mind about this year's Rumble Match since we learned of the new stipulation a few weeks ago on Raw. But honestly, I see few ways this ends well for anyone…Especially for Roman Reigns.
WWE's higher-ups have booked themselves into a corner this year with the Royal Rumble and I don't see how they can get out of it. I expect Roman to win the match in what Zack likes to refer to as "Superman" type fashion (Or as I like to call it "SuperCena" type Fashion), which risks fans turning on poor Roman yet again. But who knows, maybe I'm being pessimistic about the Rumble this year since the last two have been such utter disappointments. And maybe WWE's higher-ups will pull a rabbit out of their hats and come up with a finish that makes sense. But for now, I'm not getting my hopes up.
Big M's Predicted Winner: Roman Reigns
The Royal Rumble... The one match a year that I feel could be an "anything can happen" match, even if we have a general idea of the winner months in advance. Especially with the fact that you can almost be assured of returns, surprise entrants, and even debuts, all within one match. And while most years, the match is the launching place for WrestleMania, VKM decided to throw a curveball at us and make this year's event for the WWE Title. Now, that honestly threw almost all of my previous ideas and whiteboard predictions out of the window. But it was the one I said right after TLC that I have stood by the strongest. "If WWE keeps HHH off of TV until the Royal Rumble, I promise you he will win it." And with the Authority being mad with power, this honestly makes complete and total sense. HHH can't control his champions the way he wants to after a while, so why not just be the champion? And it screws over Roman and keeps the rest of the roster down, because in order to get a title shot, you have to fall in line with The Authority. But that is my armchair booking and hopes. But a man can dream, right?
Jesse's Predicted Winner: Triple H
Tyler's Predicted Winner: Whatever number I get in the office pool
Sam's Predicted Winner: Fandango!
Thanks everyone for reading our predictions this round! Feel free to post yours in the comments below, and don't forget to join us tomorrow at 7:00 PM EST for our live coverage and Open Thread Party for Royal Rumble!