Tonight, we celebrate the annual extravaganza that is Roman Reigns winning the Royal Rumble. But not only that – as the WWE will rightly remind you, tonight they make history by hosting the first ever women’s iteration of the legendary bout. Fasten those seatbelts and throw your mate over the top rope – it’s preview time.
United States Championship – Bobby Roode v TBD
You can’t really preview this bout without knowing the opponent, so we may as well assess the possibilities in lieu of that.
It’s likely an NXT call-up, a superstar they need to push with little or no build – or a new signing. The list of candidates should look like this: ECIII, Dolph Ziggler, Velveteen Dream or Mike Kanellis.
While a match-up between Velveteen and Roode would certainly set pulses racing, the former may be better served by competing in the Rumble itself. The likely opponent is Ziggler – which would be a complete waste for the pre-show, but it wouldn’t be like Vince to throw out some bizarre creative decisions now, would it?
Either way, they’ll all end up in XFL in two years’ time.
Gallows and Anderson v The Revival
Given the way they were completely and pointlessly humiliated by DX on RAW25, there’s no reason to believe the Balor Club won’t be getting a push, so they’ll almost certainly win. Just a reminder, the now-geriatric D-Generation X consists of: the soon-to-be-chief of WWE who shouldn’t be wrestling; a man who still dubs himself the heartbreak kid at the age of fifty-two; a watered-down duo whose entire gimmick was arses and uncompromising intimate positioning, and a failed pornstar.
Someone please think of the booking. Someone. Anyone.
Gallows and Anderson to win this in record time.
Cruiserweight six-man tag
This bout will last about three minutes and act as nothing other than a snack-break for the pre-show hosts. The fact it’s even on this show in the first place is startling.
I suppose the English lad with the umbrella – his team will win. Let’s go with that.
Smackdown Tag Team Championships – The Usos v Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin
The Usos are probably the best tag team the company has bled in the last decade. Considering they were once babyfaced cousins of Roman Reigns in storylines, their switch to heel-natured carefree athletic freaks has worked wonders for them.
Benjamin is unlikely to stick around in WWE for too much longer, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take the pinfall. Gable has a lot of potential and they can’t underbook him in this context if he’s to go on and rescue Jason Jordan from his ill-fated, nonsensical father-son relationship with Kurt Angle
The Usos win this by two falls-to-one.
RAW Tag Team Championships – Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan v The Bar
I like Seth Rollins. You probably like Seth Rollins. But he went from being the biggest if most over-bad guy on the roster to partnering someone who fans may hate as much as Roman Reigns. Considering half of Seamus and Cesaro are from the greatest county on this planet, you’d have to pull for them. Sadly, this isn’t always the way things work out – and we’re all going to have to sit through many more weeks of these two being champions before Jordan eventually turns on Rollins to set up a Wrestlemania programme.
Rollins and Jordan to get the win.
WWE Championship – AJ Styles v Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens
Your heart should be torn on this. On one hand, AJ Styles is the best thing since Stone Cold Steve Austin and you could bloody well make a case for him being the greatest in-ring performer of all-time.
However, can you imagine the laughs you’ll have to see the two lads share the belt?
Comedy gold. Still, the gimmick nature of this match means it’s almost certainly a setup to a wider storyline and will have a dodgy finish. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan’s vague interactions with this matchup mean they’re building towards a clash at Wrestlemania and this is just another step on the road to that. AJ will retain and headline the ‘Grandaddy of Them All’ in April.
WWE Universal Title – Kane v Braun Strowman v Brock Lesnar
Death, taxes and Brock Lesnar winning this match. Honestly, Kane is over the hill, Strowman is too much of a draw elsewhere on the card and Brock has one of those magic contracts that means he can only lose to Roman Reigns, so that’s that.
We’re not even sure why Kane is in this match. Presumably to be the one who’s pinned after Strowman attacks every member of the Philadelphia audience?
Women’s Royal Rumble
Sorry, folks. Ronda Rousey is not in this match. There’s more chance of Jim Ross dressing up in drag and entering at number thirty. The problem is that it could very well happen, knowing that team of writers. Asuka doesn’t need to win here as it technically wouldn’t count as a defeat for her. She could be eliminated by a huge number of participants and it saves face for her.
Becky Lynch is getting the push here. Luck of the Irish.
Men’s Royal Rumble
Anyone but Roman Reigns. Please. Philadelphia is a hot crowd and they won’t tolerate it whatsoever. Nakamura looks a good choice to plug into a main event with AJ Styles as it would be an incredible transition from indies to Japan to WWE on the biggest stage of them all. Unfortunately for all of us – we know Roman Reigns is going to win this bloody thing, don’t we? It is his yard after all.
Another strong option would be Baron Corbin, who’s been booked so up and down that nobody knows where he stands. A loss for Ziggler in the US Title match would be a good path into this clash – and he’d be a winner people would get behind. But, yano – Roman Reigns.