World Wrestling Entertainment presents my 2nd favorite pay-per-view (PPV), the Royal Rumble, Sunday night at 7 EST. 4 title matches and 2 Rumble matches highlight this year’s card. Predictions on match happenings and results below.

(card subject to change)

Pre-Show Matches:

U.S. Title Open Challenge: Bobby Roode (Champion) vs. ???

I like the Open Challenge format that the U.S. Championship has had, off and on, since John Cena won the title a couple of years ago. Bobby Roode is the current Champion; he needs an opponent. Enter:

Predictions:

  1. Opponent: Hideo Itami
  2. Result: Roode by pinfall (“Glorious DDT”).

It would not surprise me one bit if former U.S. Champion Dolph Ziggler interferes with this match or attacks Roode, post-match. Ziggler’s been off of TV for about a month, after he “quit”. Maybe he just needed time off? Regardless, this could be the rekindling of a Roode-Ziggler feud that ultimately ends at Wrestlemania.


Gallows and Anderson vs. The Revival

The members of The Revival are finally healthy. The Balor Club has unofficially officially formed and has received a little bit of a push lately. This should be an entertaining match. I think The Revival squeaks this one out.

Prediction: The Revival, via pinfall (“Shatter Machine” to Anderson)


Kalisto, Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik vs. TJP, Jack Gallagher & Drew Gulak:

On paper, this match has the potential to steal the show. However, will Creative give them enough time to tell a decent story in the ring? With Enzo Amore’s dismissal being the latest black eye on a struggling Cruiserweight division, I don’t think it will be the case.

Prediction: Gran Metalik’s team, via pinfall

Main Card

Smackdown (SD) Tag Team Championships: The Usos (Champions) vs. Benjamin and Gable (2 out of 3 Falls)

**Match of the Night Candidate**

The Usos have been knocking it out of the park with their PPV matches, especially with The New Day. Now you add 2 of the best technical wrestlers in WWE – Shelton “Thank You for Not Being Blonde” Benjamin and Chad “Are YOU Actually Kurt Angle’s Son?” Gable – and you should have an amazing matchup. The ultimate winners might be the fans.

Predictions: Usos win Fall 1, B&G Fall 2, B&G, Fall 3. The Usos are in a position where they can play both sides of the fence – heels or faces – until the Tag Division geta a little more clarity. Don’t be surprised to see them as Champions again by the end of Wrestlemania.


Raw Tag Team Championships: Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan (Champions) vs. The Bar

Poor Jason Jordan! All he wants is to prove himself! After all, he’s taken Roman Reigns and John Cena to the limit, and he won the Tag Titles with Seth Rollins! Ignore the fact that he’s being booed relentlessly. None of that is a negative, however: I like this characterization of Jordan. I like that he’s driving Rollins and Reigns nuts with mistakes, mscues, and a hint of arrogance. That will come back to bite Rollins.

Predictions: The Bar wins the Titles; Jordan turns on Rollins. It could be wishful thinking with me but having Jordan go heel, at this point, is a good move. It gives him time to not only to refine his “arrogant, cocky youngster” character, it gives him time to possibly deepen a rivalry with Seth Rollins.


WWE World Title Match: A.J. Styles (Champion) vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn (2-on-1 Handicap Match)

Bear with me with this one.

The underlying theme of this match the simmering cold war between Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon. Most people think that that conflict will influence the outcome of this match. I agree. However, I differ with who does what and what the effects will be. This should be an excellent match.

Predictions:

  1. Daniel Bryan gets *physically* involved
  2. Sami Zayn pins A.J. Styles to become the new WWE Champion

I think the tensions finally explode: Bryan will try to hit Shane and either: miss and hit Styles, or connect, leading to some kind of blindside on Styles.

There have been rumors for a few weeks, in varying degrees, that Daniel Bryan wants to return to the ring and is in the process of doing so. You think a Bryan-Styles match isn’t intriguing enough to pull the trigger on a Wrestlemania match?


WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (Champion) vs. Kane vs. Brawn Strowman (Triple Threat Match)

This match will be brutal. This match will be violent. I’m not sure if this match will be “good”. Strowman has been on an entertainingly path of destruction for nearly a year, with Lesnar and Kane being the victims for the last few months. I don’t have a good feel for how this match will go, other than what was already mentioned. Oh, and someone will go through an announce table. If I had to make a pick….

Prediction: Lesnar pins Kane

I don’t know what you do with Kane if he doesn’t win. Does he retire? With Strowman, it’s been teased that Triple H and Strowman may have some ‘disagreements’ but is that H’s next Wrestlemania feud? What worries me is that Lesnar wins… and you don’t see him again until Wrestlemania.


Women’s Royal Rumble

It’s finally happening: the women finally get their own Rumble match! Same rules as the Men: over the top rope eliminations, the winner gets their choice of a title shot at Wrestlemania.

Predictions

Entrant #1: Liv Morgan

Entrant #2: Becky Lynch

Entrant #30: Carmella

Legends Appearances? Lita and Michelle McCool are the 2 that I can see showing up. Trish Stratus, possibly.

Final Four: Asuka, Carmella, and Becky Lynch are 3 that feel like they will be there. A potential 4th: Nikki Cross. If Cross doesn’t show up, Sasha Banks might be the 4th.

Winner: not Asuka. I think she faces the Raw Champion – probably Alexa Bliss – at Wrestlemania. Instead, I think Carmella wins the first Rumble. That gives her a unique story line: a guaranteed Title Shot at Wrestlemania and the Money In The Bank briefcase.


Men’s Royal Rumble

Predictions

Entrant #1: Bray Wyatt

Entrant #2: Titus O’Neil

Entrant #30: this is a hard one. I’m going for the shock value: Ricochet.

Final Four: Roman Reigns, Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, and The Miz

Winner: Roman Reigns. The more I think about it, the more I think that Finn Balor winning isn’t that far-fetched.


I’m looking forward to the Royal Rumble. I hope that tables aren’t overturned by the end of the night.