One of the most fun parts of the WWE Royal Rumble are the surprise entrants. Some years have been better than others, but generally WWE fans are treated to a legend or two making a grand return. The 2012 Rumble should be no different.
Last year’s Rumble surprise entrants were two of the most exciting in awhile. Kevin Nash and Booker T returned to the WWE as surprise Rumblers, fresh off of their TNA Wrestling contracts. The crowd reactions to both were two of my favorite Royal Rumble 2011 memories.
I wanted to take a quick look at some surprise entrants for the 2012 Rumble. I tried to keep my choices limited to guys that could actually return to the Rumble. So someone who is under a contract elsewhere or medically unable to perform won’t make the list. So with that said, let’s make some predictions and try and narrow down the list of possible surprise WWE Rumble participants.
Roddy Piper – The rowdy WWE Hall of Fame wrestler is a veteran of the Royal Rumble, yet has never won one. Piper didn’t participate in many during his heyday so his participation has only been limited to a gimmick or special attraction. I would be surprised if Piper didn’t enter the match. The WWE are gearing up for a Legends House reality show and with Piper as a guest in the house, the Rumble makes perfect sense for some cross promotion.
The Honkytonk Man – See above when it comes to the WWE Legends House. The greatest WWE Interconitental champion is also booked up for the Legends House reality show. The cross promotion with Piper and Honky possibly eliminating each other is a real likelyhood. Honky has been here before as a surprise and the fans still love the slicked back southerner. I think we get another dose of Shake, Rattle, and Roll at the 2012 Royal Rumble.
John Morrison – John Morrison has dropped off the radar since leaving the WWE a few months ago after the two failed to come to terms on a new deal. It appears there is no ill will between both sides as Morrison has stayed quiet when it comes to bashing the company. If you remember, it was last year in the Rumble when Morrison put on a one-man stunt show that brought the house down. This is his niche and I think for one night, the WWE brings him back and lets the Rock Star go wild.
Hardcore Holly – It has been awhile since WWE fans have seen old Bob Holly. The former WWE superstar has stayed low lately on the independents and never crossed over to the “dark side” of TNA Wrestling. I haven’t seen him in awhile, but at last look he still looked to be in great shape. Bob was always a fan favorite and I think the WWE Universe would love to see the stocky former racecar driver back in action for one night.
Cowboy Bob Orton, Jr – The Royal Rumble is in St. Louis which is the home of the Ortons. I think that the WWE plays to the hometown and throws them a bone here with one of their legends. Bob isn’t going to come into the match and make any big waves, but I think a quick appearance and some fun with the cast are in order on Sunday night.
Matt Hardy – Say what? Yep, that Matt Hardy. Do I think that the chances are good that Matt Hardy winds up in the Rumble on Suunday night? No, but I think there is a very slim possibility. Matt appears to be getting the help he needs lately and appears to be back to his old normal self in his videos and social media appearances. Matt is retired from full-time wrestling but it sounded like he was open to some occasional appearances. The Hardys are still favorites with WWE fans and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the WWE mend fences and bring him back for one night.
Kevin Nash – Calling Nash a surprise at this point is a bit of a stretch, but I will stretch it and put him on the list. I don’t think he winds up advertised for the match so hey, that is enough justification for me to put him on the list. I think he makes another brief cameo similar to last year, Diesel gear and all. Unfortunately for old Big Sexy, I don’t think he gets the same pop…especially after watching his nauseating promos a few months ago.
Shaquille O’Neal – If you have been reading the Camel Clutch Blog you will have read that Shaq is on his way to WrestleMania 28 to wrestle The Big Show. What better way to kick the angle off than by having Shaq in the Rumble, going over the top rope with the Big Show? Now there are some huge risks exposing Shaq in a match before WrestleMania but he seemed to handle himself pretty good the last time out. I doubt it happens but like Hunter, it would not surprise me to see Shaq Fu in the Royal Rumble.