Now that we know John Cena will face AJ Styles for the WWE World Title at the Royal Rumble and Roman Reigns will once again set his sights on Kevin Owens’ Universal Heavyweight Title in San Antonio, whoever wins the Rumble match is anyone’s guess. I may not agree with the way WWE is booking both Raw and Smackdown Live of late, but I appreciate the fact next month’s first pay-per-view of the year could be one of the better shows in a long time.
Both Monday and Tuesday night left enough questions unanswered to give many of us pause – to wonder what direction the company is moving. From Owens remaining Universal Champion to Styles and Cena shaking hands in the center of the ring to end SmackDown Live’s final show of the year, if WWE fails to capitalize on potentially the best Rumble match in years would be a huge letdown.
If all things are equal, figure Brock Lesnar and Goldberg somehow eliminate each other from the match. Do not expect Undertaker to be a part of the main event. We already know the other main event matches. So who wins the right to go to WrestleMania 33? Here’s a look at a few candidates.
Bray Wyatt – I find it peculiar that the run with Randy Orton and the SmackDown Live tag team titles was short lived. I know American Alpha is a rising team, but should these veterans have done the honors so soon? Maybe this is the onus to make Wyatt a real contender for a world title. Maybe the Eater of Worlds finally gets a chance to main event and claim a singles’ belt.
Samoa Joe – I have a theory that at some point, Paul Heyman will file for divorce from his relationship with Brock Lesnar and saddle up with another champion. Samoa Joe is mean, dangerous and is just as much in need of an advisor as Lesnar does. Joe winning the Rumble is just as bold as Finn Balor winning the Universal Heavyweight Title.
Braun Strowman – He will probably be considered the odds on favorite to win the match. Big, strong and fast. He is the company’s biggest “potential” to come along in years. I would have loved to have seen Strowman and Vader 20 years ago. I suspect if Strowman wins the Rumble match, it is part of a main event that consists of Reigns winning the Universal Title match, which also makes all the sense in the world.
Nakamura – There will come a time when the NXT champion will move on to the main roster. Again, it’s a bold move to take NXT talent and immediately put them in contention for WWE gold. AJ Styles proved he could jump from the independents to the main roster and win. Nakamura versus Styles is just what this company needs. New, refreshing and never a dull moment. The move also proves the company is moving away from the older roster.
Baron Corbin – I may be one of the few who really like Corbin’s character. I also think the push he is going to receive in 2017 will be huge. The best opportunity for Corbin in 2017 is to win the Rumble match and hope Cena beats Styles for the WWE World Title. There have been rumors of a Corbin-Cena feud. Will Cena put the villain over?
Chris Jericho – Oh, the tangled web WWE weaves. This is a perfect scenario if there ever was one. I don’t like the way the conflict between he and Kevin Owens was resolved. Now, by virtue of winning the Rumble match, he faces Owens and Wrestlemania 33. He in effect makes Owens a babyface and the brilliance of the six-time world champion is once again realized. Everyone, drink it in.