Welcome to WNW’s Royal Rumble 2014 Predictions! The Royal Rumble will be emanating from the Consol Energy Center in the hometown of The Living Legend Bruno Sammartino, Pittsburgh, PA. This month, we have a great lineup of writers giving their predictions! Kendra Bunyon, Ed Smith, Xavier, and I will be giving full predictions while CJ Blaze, Chris Surrancy, and Justin Mayo are doing quick picks. But before we get into the predictions themselves, let’s hear what the writers thought of the build to this new PPV.
Jesse: For what is essentially WWE's #2 PPV, I have to say I am sorely disappointed in the build to the Royal Rumble. Normally, I can look at the match and be encouraged by the matches on the card, as we can see at least a bit of the Road to WrestleMania laying at our feet. But it feels like WWE has lost their focus all of the way around this year. We have only one match with any real focus on it, which is a rematch from TLC between Orton and Cena. Otherwise, the titular match has little steam in it, we're getting a Lesnar match just for the sake of it, Bryan and Bray are blowing off their feud that really shouldn't have taken the road it did, although it did pump Bryan's fans full of adrenaline, and a tag title match where 3 of the 4 participants are old enough to have grandchildren my oldest son's age! Hopefully WWE will get something straight here, as even my patience is wearing thin with them.
Ed: I'll just start by saying how lackluster the build has been for this. I'm not really interested in what happens here because WWE did almost nothing to get me interested. None of the matches have been built sensibly. I kinda of care about the Rumble itself but I care less this year than any other Royal Rumble ever. That said, I'll do my best to be as "into this" as I can. Shall we?
Preshow Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship:
“The Brotherhood” Cody Rhodes and Goldust (c) vs. The New Age Outlaws
I know and understand why this ended up on the Preshow, as all of the other matches on the main card have more prestige, need the time, or have bigger names in them, but for a match that will surely be of the highest quality to be on the Preshow feels like a slap in the face of all of the fans and of the men working in it. But at the very least, we know that unless the crowd is a bunch of zombies, they will get hot for the rest of the show thanks to this match. And while Goldust came out on Twitter about the fact that there was no way The Brotherhood would be breaking up anytime soon and he has “no interest in fighting his brother”, I have always held out for the possibility of a Rhodes family feud. And when you add in that they are facing one of the most infamous tag teams of the Attitude Era who can still go at a high level, then I can see this finally being where the fractures and possibly break-up occurs. Plus, I want to see NAO with one last run as Tag Team Champions, if only to put over a young team such as The Primetime Players at WrestleMania.
Jesse's Predicted Winners and NEW Champions: The New Age Outlaws
I'm bummed that this isn't actually on the PPV, but if it was, then maybe Cody and Goldust wouldn't be in the Royal Rumble Match, a place that I know they will be a lot of fun. Will one brother eliminate the other? Anyway, I don't see that as mattering here. As much as I love the New Age Outlaws, I don't see them being WWE TTCs at this point. Not saying it will never happen again, just not right now. That being said, I have to stick with The Brotherhood right now.
Ken's Predicted Winner – The Brotherhood
Ashlyn – Cody & Goldust
Stacy – New Age Outlaws
It's really cool to see the NAO back on TV. Road Dogg has more charisma in his hair than most WWE workers have in their entire bodies and they both look like they're stuck in a time warp (mercifully, Road Doggy Dogg removed the ridiculous extensions years ago.) Speaking of time warps, dig Goldust! He's having the run of his life now! He works better now than at any time in his entire career! Cody is no slouch either so this will be a very well-worked match - this is certain. What doesn't work for me here is the build. Beyond the obviously good work we'll get, why should I care? Hopefully, the work itself will be enough to keep my attention. As for who wins, I don't think they'll strap the NAO - even though I love them muchly.
P.S.: Notice I said nothing about Billy Gunn's "dangerously-close-to-Shawn-Michaels-balding-issues-so-he-uses-bleach-to-distract-everyone" hairstyle!
Ed nvisions: The Brova-hood…ya feel me?
This is a pre-show match that is sure to generate a ton of buzz. Has there ever been a tag team in the WWE that was ever more over then The New Age Outlaws? This one is intriguing for a few reasons. This could possibly be the beginning of the end for The Rhodes Dynasty if they drop the titles here (Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes at Mania anybody?) and secondly, there’s a strong possibly that the Outlaws will emerge victorious with the titles here and could very well turn heel revealing that they are indeed a part of “The Authority”. A lot of possibilities here but on this night I think The Rhodes Dynasty retain the titles but I think it’s inevitable that the Rhodes brothers lose to the titles to the Outlaws at some point in the near future driving a wedge between the two of them. But regardless of whatever happens this is another tag match which will surely be entertaining.
Xavier's Predicted Winner: The Rhodes Dynasty
CJ's Predicted Winner: The Brotherhood
Chris' Predicted Winner: New Age Outlaws
Justin's Predicted Winner: New Age Outlaws
Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt
I really want to be invested in this match, truly I do. But after the hotshot booking of Bryan into the Wyatt Family just to have Bryan's chant go mainstream and put egg on WWE's face, I find it very difficult. I love the work both men put out. Bryan has more than proved, even with a much more limited move set than he used to use in the Indies, that he is easily the single best WRESTLER that WWE has right now. And Bray has taken his character immersion to a whole new level, one that we haven't seen since the glory days of Kafabe and ECW's “The Sandman is blind.” storyline. Both men are on another level than just about the entire roster, but that simple fact has left me feeling that if this had been given to Elimination Chamber to cultivate and blossom, that the nuclear pop we saw two weeks ago to end Raw would have been riotous in levels. However, for the match itself, I can't see WWE giving it more than 15 minutes, thanks to the Rumble needing around 70-80, the WWEWHC match needing at least 20-30, and Lesnar/Big Show needing at least 15. We are almost assured that Rowan and Harper will interfere at some point, but not even they will be able to stop the only outcome I can see coming.
Jesse's Predicted Winner: Daniel Bryan
I hold very little interest in this match, because to me it was finished off on RAW when Bryan destroyed Bray and took down Harper and Rowan. To me that could have been the end of it, and I'd have been all set. I haven't been thrilled with this storyline from the start, as I thought Bryan was better than being brought down by The Wyatt Family, but that's just me. I think Bryan deserves to be in the Royal Rumble Match, and if he isn't in it, they really better have something big planned for Bryan at WrestleMania. Because Bryan isn't in the Royal Rumble Match, and needs something big going to WrestleMania, he has to beat Bray in this match. Honestly, it's the only thing that really makes sense going forward.
Ken's Predicted Winner – Bryan
Ashlyn – Bryan
Stacy – Bryan
I want to take this opportunity to say how silly the fan base has been when it comes to this angle involving the two of them. No one ever gave it a chance to work. They ate it alive from the moment it started and I just don't get it. I seem to have been the lone voice who thought this could have been a lot of fun. Taking Bryan out of his "Yes! Yes! Yes!" thing and aligning him with Bray wasn't an awful thing for me and it could have been really interesting. During the promos, Bryan fit in with them just fine. In the ring, he displayed a nastiness we haven't seen from him since his brief fling with the Nexus. It all could have worked nicely if it was given time. It also could have benefited Wyatt and Bryan both. The "pop" Bryan got when he took off his Wyatt uniform was amazing so the fans weren't going to fall out of love with him. I know it's harder to imagine a bigger "pop" but, had the angle played out sufficiently, who knows how much bigger that "pop" could have been. Sadly, WWE decided to rush it (for reasons explained elsewhere on the site) and it was blown off in record time with a lousy quickie explanation by Bryan. Of course, now Wyatt's out for blood or whatever and that's how we get this match.
The question then becomes who benefits more from this? Sadly, neither does. As with the other matches here, something's really going to have to happen here for me to care about the outcome. Bray's money is on the mic but he can be bizarre in the ring and that'll be cool to see. Of course, Bryan is the best worker around so the two of them will have a great match. I'm going Bray on this one simply because someone has to benefit from this and Bryan can take a loss. Will Luke & Erick get involved? Almost certainly.
Ed nvisions: Bray Wyatt
First and foremost I would like to say that I’m glad that WWE creative pulled the plug on this angle when they did instead of dragging this thing out to Mania because that would have been a colossal mistake on WWE creative part. This one will be interesting though. I kind of feel like the Wyatts' haven’t really gained much from this all this, if anything this whole thing only further proved just how over Daniel Bryan is and just how much fans want to see him at the top of the mountain so to speak. I had a hard time picking a winner here but I’ll go out on a limb and say that Bray Wyatt picks up the victory with outside interference from Luke Harper& Erick Rowan. I wouldn’t be surprised to see WWE play up Bryan’s recent concussion and work that into this match with Bryan having to be carted off afterwards which I will get into more later.
Xavier's Predicted Winner: Bray Wyatt
CJ's Predicted Winner: Daniel Bryan
Chris' Predicted Winner: Daniel Bryan
Justin's Predicted Winner: Daniel Bryan
Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar
I have to say, I didn't think that we would have got this feud when it was announced that Lesnar was going to be back in time for the Rumble. I loved the feud we had over a decade ago between these two men. And while the build has been pathetic at best, at least they did subtly address the fact they have encountered each other in the past. And thanks to those previous encounters, we know that this one won't disappoint. It will be a Lesnar hallmark match, a match of brute power and strength, with a lot of nasty looking spots where you will hope neither man has gotten hurt. But with WrestleMania fast approaching, there is only one person I can see winning here, the one who needs to look like a powerful beast.
Jesse's Predicted Winner: Brock Lesnar
This is another match that is glaringly obvious – at least to me. Big Show has been easily going over Brock these past couple weeks, but Brock needs to go over as he's the 'self proclaimed #1 contender'. Brock hasn't had a great win/loss record since returning to the WWE. Brock has won three matches (Trip, Trip & Punk) and has lost two (Cena & Trip) – which for someone who is supposed to be unstoppable, isn't wonderful. I went back and looked at the win/loss numbers between Big Show and Brock back in the day. Big Show won two singles matches, and three tag matches. Brock won two singles matches and two tag matches. They did have one that ended in No Contest after they broke the ring. After that Brock and Big Show became friends and ran together quite a bit before Brock decided he wanted to play NFL and gave his notice to McMahon the Friday before WrestleMania. Bitter? Me? You betcha! Anyway, as great as Big Show looked these past couple weeks, Brock has to win this one to go forward, and he has to do it mostly clean to look at all believable. Not sure what Heyman will do, and he will do something, but Big Show will have to go under here.
Ken's Predicted Winner – Brock
Ashlyn – Big Show
Stacy – Big Show
So all we've really got is the Show attacking Brock in the ring and throwing him around some and Brock badly retaliating once by being petulant and throwing things around. No back story on why they should hate each other, no major talking back and forth, nothing; Again, I'm not invested. Sorry, WWE. A few insignificant encounters aren't enough to get me interested. They didn't give this nearly enough time. There was no match interference in Show's matches or anything like that. So who wins? Hmm. Brock has been getting thrown around like a rag doll as of late. At one point, I figured Show for taking this. I kinda think everyone else is right now, though, and I think Lesnar will get his comeuppance.
Ed nvisions: Big Show
This one will be a lot of fun. I can’t help but think about Heyman turning on Lesnar at Survivor Series 2002 and the epic ring collapse on Smackdown in 2003 when Lesnar suplex Big Show off of the top rope whenever I think about Lesnar/Big Show. This like Cena/Orton is a match involving two guys who have great chemistry inside the ring together. This one however is obvious. Big Show is being used as Lesnar food to reestablish Lesnar as a monster headed into next month. I fully expect that Lesnar will be one of the six men selected to compete inside the Chamber at Elimination Chamber and I also fully expect Lesnar walks out of the Chamber with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Xavier's Predicted Winner: Brock Lesnar (Clean via F-5)
CJ's Predicted Winner: Brock Lesnar
Chris' Predicted Winner: Brock Lesnar
Justin's Predicted Winner: Brock Lesnar
One Fall to the Finish (No DQ or CO) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship:
Randy Orton (c) vs. John Cena
Ah, the Title Rematch... It sure seems like they are trying to set something up with this match needing to be “One Fall to a Finish”. It honestly almost makes me worry that we will end up seeing with the Authority some sort of shenanigans like we have seen over the last 3 weeks from TNA, where it takes 10 people to beat Cena. However, I hope WWE isn't that stupid. With everything else seeming to be booked on the fly, this is the one match I would hope they had a real hardline plan in place for. With the “Fall” stipulation in place, we know there will be a definite winner come out of this. And despite what I may want, or what it looked like thanks to Steph getting quite visibly irate with Orton on Raw this past week (She's not THAT good of an actress), I have to give this match to Orton. WWE can pull a lot more in the storylines, hopefully with the downfall of the Authority, with Orton holding the belts. And while some will think the direction The Authority and Orton might get a little skewed with the match at EC being heel vs. heel, I don't think that is where WWE is taking this. Lesnar has never officially been named the next #1 contender. Heyman and Lesnar just declared him it. I can see Raw on Monday having Batista, ADR, Punk, Bryan, or any other main event level star come out and claim the same exact thing as Lesnar did, that they should be the #1 contender to the WWEWHC. To me, Lesnar's declaration seemed more like a way to set up the Elimination Chamber match, and I am more than happy to see some carnage in it this year.
Jesse's Predicted Winner: Randy Orton
This has been a hard one for me. I would love to see Cena win it because I really am that disgusted with Orton, but if Brock is going to be winning the WWE WHC next PPV, as I do expect him to win there. I expect it to look as though Cena's going to win this one. He's going to be all over Orton for his attack on Cena Sr., but in the end Orton is going to do something dirty to retain the Championship. I'm not going to say who wins this match, other than Orton will retain, and it will be dirty.
Ken's Predicted Winner – Orton retains
Ashlyn – Cena
Stacy – Orton
Where to begin? This one has *kinda* been built…a little maybe sort of. They had that "he-just-went-after-his-daddy!!!!!!!" moment and there've been a few mic exchanges between them. Beyond that, not much. I guess they expect this to get by on the fact that this is a rematch. They have faced each other more times than I care to count so there just isn't much to be excited about here. Both have been champion numerous times so that doesn't get me either. I think it's also rather telling that it's in the middle of the PPV and not at the end. Who wins? Who cares! It feels like Orton has had the belts long enough so I'm thinking it'll be Cena's turn…for all it matters.
Ed Envisions: John Cena as NEW WWE World Heavyweight Champion!! (Zzzzzzzz)
I’ve been struggling with this one all week long. With the Chamber match coming up next month along with Lesnar being named the next #1 contender supposedly there’s just so much in the air at the moment. If Lesnar is next in line for a title shot then what exactly is the point of the Chamber match next month? After thinking & thinking about this one I predict that we will see a screwy finish involving some sort double pinfall finish similar to what we got at Night Of Champions in 2012 when Cena & Punk pinned each other at the same time. This time however resulting in the title being vacated and later contested inside the Elimination Chamber with the winner going on to WrestleMania XXX to face the winner of the Rumble match which I will get to later which. This will no doubt be another really good match between these two, Cena & Orton have always had great chemistry together and I expect this to deliver as well.
Xavier's Predicted Winner: Draw
CJ's Predicted Winner: Randy Orton
Chris' Predicted Winner: Randy Orton
Justin's Predicted Winner: Randy Orton
The Royal Rumble:
For a list of announced participants, click HERE.
Well, with the 20 men (22 if you count Zeb's WWE Inbox declaration that Swagger and Cesaro had equal chance as Batista) on the list of announced superstars and a significant list of unannounced guests and possible surprises, I have wheedled through it all and narrowed my list down to a few likely suspects. But before I bore you with some analysis and why I can see certain people being the winner, I want to run through a few people who can't make the cut but I can see being in the match. First is a quite obvious one, and that is Kane. I can see him coming out and eliminating CM Punk, and hopefully a couple of others so he can get the all time elimination record. Other main roster stars I can see making an appearance are Christian, Ryback, and Sheamus. That leaves us with 4 other spots. One of them will almost assuredly be RVD. I could see Brock Lesnar possibly in the match, ending up face to face with Batista. And the big elephant in the room, Daniel Bryan, will surely be in there. That leaves just one big surprise slot. And I think it will be someone that we never would have thought you be there... Coming in after Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger to show them what a Real American is all about... HULK HOGAN! He'll pull out all of the old Hulkisms, eliminate the Real Americans, then get gracefully eliminated himself. But as for a winner for the match, it comes down to only 5 men who could possibly win it. At the bottom of this list is Roman Reigns. He has the WWE jetpack strapped to his back right now, but I can't see him winning this big of a match this early in his career, despite the precedence for it (Brock Lesnar). Speaking of the perennial part time talent, Brock is #4 on my list. He seems to be heck bent on getting a title run, and the Royal Rumble could be a great way to catapult him into the title picture. And while Cena's win last year did devalue the match some, a win by Lesnar would throw the match's relevance into the toilet. CM Punk would have to be #3, because while he is already invested into the Authority, he doesn't need the belt to play the story out. That leaves just Batista and Daniel Bryan as possible winners. And they both have many great merits as to why they should get this shot, but it boils down to the probability factor. With the fact that Batista has been announced, is being touted in WWE's advertisements for Raw, and has just returned. This could easily catapult his struggling pops back to the levels of his heyday. Bryan, on the other hand, has yet to be announced, is being shoehorned into ending this feud with Bray Wyatt, and has been out of the title picture for a few months. With the factors weighing heavily in his favor, I have to go with Batista. It may be the obvious choice, but they really haven't built anyone else into a position to where they can take it.
Jesse's Predicted Winner: Batista
I've been pounding on my white board for the better part of the past two weeks, but there's so much information coming out of the WWE (Premium on WNW) and the short build to the Royal Rumble Match. I'm used to a bigger build than we've had. I'm used to Eddie stealing #30 out of Flair's pocket, the Divas showing off as they pick numbers out out of the bingo spinner, Benoit being forced into the #1 slot for not kissing up to Heyman. There's been so many great little moments leading up to the Royal Rumble Match, yet this year the biggest shocker was Bryan challenging Bray to a match at Royal Rumble, meaning the he will not, most likely, be in the Royal Rumble Match, and that ruins who I wanted to pick to win my favorite match of the year.
Of the 20 people named for the Royal Rumble Match so far, a good chunk of them are out of the running – ADR, Miz, R-Truth, Woods, Kofi, Rey, Fandango, Ambrose, Rollins, Harper, Rowan, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Cody and Goldust. There's a variety of reasons why I don't think these guys will win the Royal Rumble, but I doubt anyone will greatly disagree with me. There's Sandow who has a better chance, but I don't see it happening for him this year. Punk would be a great choice for a winner, and someone I'm seriously considering, but mostly because he's a big name that again needs to be elevated to the main event picture. Honestly, I don't care how obvious of a choice Batista is, I cannot pick him to win it. I go against the grain every year with my prediction, it's what I do! One year I went with Drew McIntyre, and he didn't even end up in the Royal Rumble Match! So, other than the ten names who have not been announced, there's two names that have been at the top of my white board for days – Big E Langston and Roman Reigns. I have been saying over and over that these two men are going to be huge, and that I see them involved in main events for the WWE WHC within five years.
To me the Royal Rumble Match is one of the best places to elevate someone new and unexpected, so why not Bryan, Big E or Reigns. Bryan has been so beaten down, it would be perfect for him to win now, but I don't see that happening. Big E might be IC Champ, but there's so much more to that man, so much more I cannot wait to see. Reigns might be part of one of the best factions we've seen in years, but we've seen the cracks forming, and that Reigns seems to be the one coming out on top. So I'm bouncing between the two, but then I got thinking about the direction of the WWE WHC going into WrestleMania, and if things go the way I expect they will, the Royal Rumble winner will be facing Brock. I love Big E, but I see Reigns being the man to go into WrestleMania and really put on a great show with Brock, and elevate his name to a whole new level.
Ken's Predicted Winner – Roman Reigns
Ashlyn – Punk
Stacy – Big E
This thing wasn't even fully together until this past Monday night. The prize is, of course, a shot at the WWE WHC so it absolutely matters. What doesn't matter much are the majority of the participants. I'm going to dispense with the order-related things as they don't matter. I'll just go with who I think wins. There are two people who I think really have a shot at winning this thing. One is, obviously, Batista. They just brought him back; the chances of him not making an impact there are pretty low. It appears, though, that they are pointing to a program with Alberto Del…Del…Del…(alright, this once) Rio (I actually had to hit the "backspace" as I started to type the other words I use anyway…LOL!). That leaves my other pick: Roman Reigns. They appear to be readying the jet packs for him. This would be a great opportunity to break up the Shield and turn him face-tacious…so that's where I'm going.
Ed Envisions: Roman Reigns
This one will go one of three ways. 1.) CM Punk becomes only the third wrestler to enter the Rumble at #1 and go wire to wire and win 2.) Batista picks up his second career rumble victory or 3.) Daniel Bryan enters the rumble as a surprise entrance and goes on to win the rumble. I’m going to follow my heart on this one and pick door number 3. I’ve been saying for months now that if anyone but Daniel Bryan wins the Royal Rumble it’ll be a huge crime in my book and I’m sticking to my guns on this one. I just don’t see how Vince can justify anyone not named Bryan going over in this match; Imagine if someone else besides Austin would of gone over in the 98 Rumble, well that’s exactly how I would feel this Sunday if Bryan didn’t walk away victorious in this match. Bryan is clearly more over then anyone on the roster right now and it’s time to do the right the thing and pull the trigger. As I stated earlier I think the WWE plays up Bryan’s recent concussion in his match with Bray Wyatt and we see some sort of angle played out where Bryan is carted off in an ambulance at some point only to return as the #30 entrance. Imagine the pop that would receive. Meanwhile Lesnar defeats Big Show and goes on to win the title inside Elimination Chamber next month setting up a Lesnar/Bryan for the title at Mania.
Xavier's Predicted Winner: Daniel Bryan
CJ's Predicted Winner: Batista
Chris' Predicted Winner: Batista
Justin's Predicted Winner: Daniel Bryan
We had quite a bit of interesting analysis this time! I expected more people to go the safe route on the Rumble itself, but we had quite a few picks that I had eliminated early off of my board. The rest of the card seemed to be quite similar, however, and that should speak to how transparent WWE's booking has been of late. Don't forget to join us in the Live Blog tomorrow night to see our live analysis as the show progresses, read the live results if you can't watch the PPV yourself, and feel free to post your predictions and analysis below!