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WWE Royal Rumble 2012 Predictions & Preview

We are just days away from what many call the “number two” WWE pay per view of the year, the Royal Rumble 2012. This year’s Rumble will officially kick off WrestleMania 28 season with the winner getting a shot at the champion of their choice in Miami on April 1.

The road to WrestleMania will officially kick off on Sunday as one man will begin his quest to challenge for WWE gold at the big show in Miami. The 30-man Royal Rumble match will be accompanied by a handful of matches, one particularly that has an excellent chance at stealing the show.

CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE championship with Special Guest referee John Laurinaitis

These two guys have slowly produced one of the most fun series of matches since the Christian vs. Randy Orton rivalry last summer. I have never been a big Dolph fan but he has really turned me around in recent weeks. He is red hot right now and the prospect of he and Punk getting more time than their RAW matches is something that appeals greatly to me.

The big story here is that the WWE EVP of Talent Relations, John Laurinaitis is expected to screw Punk. He already told Punk flat out that this was his plan, while Punk on the other hand has threatened to beat him up if that goes down. I would expect some kind of chicanery here or at least a few blatant attempts to screw the champion.

I’d love to see Dolph win the title here. I wasn’t on board with Ziggler’s previous reign as WWE world champion. I didn’t think he was ready and I wasn’t convinced. I think he is more than ready and I am more convinced than ever that this guy is a future money player in the company. While I don’t see it happening, I think at another time of the year we may have gotten ourselves a new champion. It is just a case of bad timing for Ziggler.

I like Punk in this one as an obvious choice. Punk has booked much stronger to go into WrestleMania 28 as the WWE champion than Ziggler. I like him, but the reality is that Ziggler would need a few months of strong championship matches to reach that level and the time isn’t there. I think these guys go out there and tear the house down, ending with Punk getting his hand raised by a different referee.

Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry vs. The Big Show for the WWE world heavyweight championship in a Steel Cage Match

I know there are some people upset that Daniel Bryan is getting saddled with working guys like Big Show and Mark Henry in such a big spot. I get it. However, after watching Bryan wrestle both of those guys over the last few weeks on SmackDown, I am real excited to see what these guys can put together with a little more time.

The rumor appears to be that the WWE are gearing up for a Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry SmackDown main-event for WrestleMania 28. I don’t buy it. I’m still sticking with my Bryan vs. Orton WrestleMania match. It’s new, has great possibilities, and could wind up stealing the show as opposed to something as simple as Orton vs. Henry. My hunch tells me Vince McMahon learned his lesson last year with that horrnedous Miz vs. Cena main-event.

I think this match winds up being a ton of fun. Bryan has been downright fantastic in his new heelish role. He and Show have tremendous chemistry and Henry fits right into the mix with his current character. I expect Bryan to receive the brunt of the punishment here but somehow he winds up squeaking out a winner, continuing his subtle heel turn which goes into full effect come WrestleMania 28.

John Cena vs. Kane

I am not going to spend a whole lot of time on this one because quite honestly, this one is a throwaway. The WWE is trying to shove something down the fan’s throats here that they have zero interest in seeing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kane go over in this one, leading to Cena getting his revenge in the near future. I am going with Kane in a match that is probably better than expected, yet marred with this awful storyline.

30-Man WWE Royal Rumble Match

The WWE has reduced the number of rumblers back to the traditional thirty this year after bumping the number up to 40 last year. One of these thirty individuals will win the opportunity to wrestle the champion of their choice on the biggest stage of all, WrestleMania 28. I like the idea of 30 much better as it gives some guys more time to hang around as opposed to a 40-person cattle call.

In my opinion, last year’s Royal Rumble match was one of the best of all time. It featured high drama, surprise entrants, and was action from start to finish. While all Rumble matches are jammed with action, the chemistry last year was just that much better than recent Rumble matches which seemed more predictable than fun.

This year’s Rumble is probably one of the least predictable Royal Rumble matches in recent years. Generally there is a feeling that one guy (usually John Cena) is the runaway favorite and the finish just comes off as anti-climactic. While Alberto Del Rio was certainly a favorite to win last year, he was not a lock. Additionally, the extra drama of Santino reappearing turned the finish into one of the most exciting Rumble finishes of all-time.

I wrote a 2012 WWE Royal Rumble predictions blog a few weeks ago with Vegas style odds. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending upon who you are rooting for), a lot has changed since that blog was published. Randy Orton (my favorite to win) is hurt and may not even be in the Rumble while Chris Jericho is back and looks to be the early favorite by most Royal Rumble prognosticators.

Surprises are expected as well at the Royal Rumble. If I was to guess I’d go with Kevin Nash coming back for a brief cameo, with a heck of a lot less of a reaction. I’d guess that Christian makes his return here as well, although to be fair that is a hot rumor so more of a report than a guess. As for anyone else, I’ll throw a random name out here and go with The Honkytonk Man in conjunction with Legend’s House promotion.

One of the big talking points this year is the idea that anyone can enter the Rumble. What that means is that all of the champions could compete in the Rumble, which differs from previous years. Now it is not uncommon for guys to compete in the title matches earlier, lose, and enter the Rumble just as Dolph Ziggler did last year. But seeing a champion enter the Rumble is definitely a twist. If a champion wins, does this lead to a championship unification match at WrestleMania 28?

That said, I’ll stick with Randy Orton as my winner. I have seen the reports saying that Orton may not be ready to go for the Rumble. At the same time, he was just on Twitter two weeks ago bragging that he was pain-free. I think the reports are swerve, I think the Jericho rumors are strong yet a swerve as well. I think Orton wins and we see an Orton vs. Daniel Bryan match at WrestleMania 28 (as predicted by me back last April!)

Full WWE 2012 Royal Rumble Card & Matches…
30-Man Royal Rumble Match
CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE championship
John Cena vs. Kane
Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry vs. The Big Show for the WWE world heavyweight championship in a Steel Cage Match

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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Welcome to the Camel Clutch Blog. The CCB was born in 2007 and features blogs from over 50 different writers. Articles from the Camel Clutch Blog have been featured by some of the world's most respected websites including; CNNSI.com, Foxsports.com, Yahoo News, Business Insider, MSNBC, NBCsports.com, and more.

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