The WWE Royal Rumble is my favorite event of the year. There is nothing more exciting and in some years more unpredictable than the Rumble match. The 2015 event should be no different with an unpredictable Rumble and main-event.
The Rumble has been hot and cold in recent years. Last year’s Rumble was a lot more fun than people give it credit for. Unfortunately it was marred by the fan reaction to Batista being the odds on favorite to win at the height of the Yes Movement. Even Stone Cold Steve Austin jokingly said on his podcast that he would have gladly made an appearance to help diffuse some of the heat. That is what make this year’s Rumble so damned fascinating.
The 2015 Royal Rumble is essentially a two-match show. The WWE championship match and the Rumble match are it. The 30-man Rumble winner will go on to WrestleMania 31 and challenge the WWE champion for the title. Who either man will be is a complete toss-up at this point. Since I would venture to guess the majority of you reading this blog are only interested in those two matches, I will keep this preview to the main-event matches only.
This is arguably the most unpredictable WWE championship match in years. Not at any point in recent memory do I recall a WWE world title headliner with three guys where the result could wind up in any direction. It is very rare for the title to change hands at the Rumble, yet there has never been a title match at a Rumble with these circumstances.
Brock Lesnar is a lame duck champion. Lesnar’s contract has been reported to expire shortly after WrestleMania. That is not anything new for Lesnar, who has always had his contracts come due right after Mania. However, in previous years it was expected that Lesnar would re-sign and stick around for another 1-2 years. This year is much different.
Lesnar is rumored to be returning to the UFC after his contract expires. Regardless of whether he stays with the WWE or goes back to UFC, one thing is clear. Lesnar will be letting his contract expire in order to negotiate the best deal after Mania. With Bellator MMA now in the mix, Lesnar has the opportunity to make a lot of money. Unfortunately for the WWE, the economics are such that is really doesn’t make much sense for them to outbid UFC and Bellator. Thus unless Lesnar is simply bluffing and can’t fight again due to health issues, the WWE is the least likely suitor to sign Brock.
With most wrestling fans knowing that Brock is leaving, the WWE wants to avoid a situation like WrestleMania 20. While I don’t think it’s a problem if Lesnar comes to Mania as a lame duck champion, it is highly unlikely WWE takes that chance. Thus I see Lesnar as the least favorite of these three guys to walk out of Philadelphia as WWE champion.
The match is set up for Cena to get his win back. Cena is down 0-2 to Lesnar in the current WWE title series. The mentality of the guys in the WWE is to not let Lesnar beat Cena again if he is leaving. I think Cena gets his win back here in what will be an ugly situation in Philadelphia. As someone who has attended Philadelphia WWE shows going back to 1982, guys like John Cena aren’t very popular in this town.
Enter Seth Rollins. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Rollins was booked in the match late. I think there is a reason for it and the reason isn’t for Rollins to leave Philly belt-less. I think that WWE Creative realized Lesnar was leaving, realized that Cena had to beat him, and realized they didn’t want either Cena or Lesnar coming to Mania as the champion. It was time to pull the trigger on Rollins.
I think Cena wins the match and is destroyed by Lesnar after the match. I think Rollins takes advantage of a downed Cena, cashes in his Money in the Bank, and beats Cena for the title. The Philadelphia audience would eat it up, which isn’t necessarily a good thing since Rollins is a heel. Regardless, I think Rollins cashes in and leaves Philadelphia with the title on January 25.
The 30 Man Royal Rumble
I published a blog last week with my predictions so I won’t deviate too much from it. I went with Daniel Bryan as the favorite to win in my blog, with Roman Reigns being my second choice. That said, this year’s Rumble is probably the most unpredictable in ages and that is a very good thing. Nobody likes a predictable Rumble, just ask the fans in Pittsburgh about it.
The working plan for the last year has been to give Reigns the Rumble win and have him beat Lesnar for the WWE world title at WrestleMania 31, taking his place as the next face of the company. Unfortunately for Reigns and fortunately for fans like us who don’t like predictable Rumbles, a lot has changed. Bryan is back sooner than people thought, Reigns has not gotten over nearly as much as the company thought he would by this point (he was far more over last year at this time), and Lesnar is a lame duck champion. It was time to call an audible.
This really could go either way in regards to Reigns or Bryan. I know a lot of fans are saying that Bryan has to win or the fans will revolt. Well, I am not entirely sure about that because guys like Reigns play pretty well in Philadelphia. I don’t sense the Yes Movement being as strong as it was before Bryan left, but that would certainly change with a win in Philadelphia. I also think Bryan vs. Rollins would deliver a lot more than Reigns vs. Rollins in a Mania headliner.
Yet I think it ends with Bryan winning and a hell of a main-event in San Jose.
Full 2015 Royal Rumble Card and Matches…
30-Man Royal Rumble match
Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins in a Triple threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) vs. The Miz and Damien Mizdow for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Paige and Natalya vs. The Bella Twins (Brie and Nikki Bella)
The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) vs. Tyson Kidd, Cesaro and Adam Rose in a Six-man tag team elimination match
The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) vs. The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor)