It’s that time of year again. The chill in the winter air…the impact of bodies against each other…the quest for a championship. And it’s not the NFL Playoffs! The “Road to WrestleMania” is underway & the first stop is the WWE Royal Rumble, featuring a FORTY combatant over the top rope contest with the winner earning a guaranteed title match at WrestleMania 27. Let’s run down the card & look at what should be a fun start to the 2011 WWE pay per view schedule.
WWE Divas Title Match: Natalya (C) vs. Lay-Cool (2 on 1 Handicap Match)
Perhaps the most solid women’s wrestler in WWE, the daughter of Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart puts the title on the line against the most entertaining women’s heel act going in the industry right now. Given the history between the three, I’m sure the story will come full circle. I have a feeling we will see latest WWE acquisition, former TNA Knockouts Champion Awesome Kong, make her debut in some form.
Who Should Win: Natalya (Seeing Kong as the bodyguard for Lay-Cool would be fun, but a program between Natalya & Kong for the Divas Title eventually would be better.)
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Edge (C) vs. Dolph Ziggler w/Vickie Guerrero
If Edge uses the Spear, he will be disqualified & the title will change hands.
Ziggler has really come into his own after leaving the Spirit Squad & has gone on to have a series of great matches on SmackDown! as a singles competitor (most notably against Raw’s Daniel Bryan). With rumors circulating that Edge might be retiring when his contract is up next year, WWE has to be looking for a new top guy for the SmackDown! brand. While the match should tell a solid story, I don’t think you’re going to see the title change hands just quite yet.
Predicted Winner & Still Champion: Edge
Who Should Win: Edge
WWE Championship Match: The Miz (C) w/Alex Riley vs. Randy Orton
WWE shocked us all by putting the company’s top prize on the Miz last year. Yet it was needed. It’s new and fresh & shows they have faith in stars other than “the usual suspects” who hold the title. This should also be a storytelling match, as it was the Miz who defeated a Randy Orton who was less than 100% to win the title. Miz should be out to prove it wasn’t a fluke while Orton should be trying to prove the opposite.
Predicted Winner & Still Champion: The Miz
Who Should Win: The Miz (Keep The Miz going strong into WrestleMania where he will undoubtedly take on his biggest challenge & threat to his reign as champion.)
I say participant only because we’ve been shocked with women in the past. Looking at who is officially announced for the bout, most are fresh faces & do not have any prior experience in the Rumble. Some are seasoned Rumble veterans looking to capture yet another, or their first win. I think the big story going into this match is the feud between CM Punk’s Nexus, The Corre, & John Cena. Look for all of them to beat the tar out of each other. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Triple H return only to eliminate Sheamus & himself to set up for a match at WrestleMania. This is a VERY tough match to call, as I have different ways I would proceed with different winners.
Predicted Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Who Should Win: John Morrison (Personally, I’d have Morrison win & go on to challenge Edge at WrestleMania for the World Heavyweight Title. I don’t think he’s ready to be the poster boy for WWE, but I think he could easily go on to be the top face or heel on the SmackDown! brand upon capturing a World Championship at WrestleMania.)
40 men…one top prize. We’ll find out on Sunday who takes it all.