Pop Break’s 2018 Royal Rumble Group Predictions
The Glorious Invitational: Bobby Roode will defend the United States Championship against a mystery opponent. This is either a grudge match against Rawley, Corbin, or maybe Ziggler. In this case, Roode retains. Or, if we get a surprise return, we could see a title change, which prompts a heel turn by Roode. Let’s see how this one plays out.
Gallows & Anderson vs. The Revival: As typical with WWE booking, NXT call ups are trending down. Not sure why, but the latest class of recent call-ups are seeing less-than-stellar results on live TV. I want Revival to win. They are good. But because of the injuries plaguing Dash and Dawson, they look more like enhancement talent. Balor Club has begun in WWE, it wouldn’t make sense for Gallows and Anderson to start a losing streak again. They need to look stronger paired with Finn. Balor Club it is.
Yet another pre-show match, a six-man Cruiserweight Tag Team match. I hate to say it, but we’ve been there done that already. With Enzo fired and the championship vacant, there should have been a title bout. Instead we’ll get a spot-fest of sorts, culminating with some finisher spots. The faces have been winning a lot, let’s give one to the heels.
SmackDown Tag Team Championships: Gable & Benjamin vs. The Usos: I’m interested in this match. I am. We could see a title change, a heel turn by either Gable or Benjamin, or an insane match where we’ll have appreciation for both teams and not focus on who wins. I predict a fun match to watch. I’ll pick The Usos for tonight.
RAW Tag Team Championships: Rollins & Jordan vs. The Bar: We are expecting Jordan to snap and lose his mind. He’s been egging the crowd to spill the hate, WWE could have a gold mine on their hands with this gimmick. Jordan turning on Rollins sets up a grudge feud which WWE loves to book for consecutive PPVs. Or, they retain, and once Ambrose comes back, Jordan will realize he is on the outs. Ooh. Such drama. Let’s call for Rollins and Jordan retaining.
WWE Championship: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. AJ Styles: Anyone else expecting some sort of insanity here. Shane will get involved somehow, and WWE loves putzing around with the SmackDown roster. Could you imagine Owens and Zayn winning? It would be comedy. Anyone remember the ridiculous decision to have Jericho and Chyna as co-Intercontinental Champion? They do that with the WWE Championship, and it will have less value than the European Title. AJ Styles is my pick to win, and if he doesn’t, just kill the title already and rename it the XFL Championship.
Universal Championship Match: Braun Strowman vs. Kane vs. Brock Lesnar: Kane is there for one reason. To take the pinfall. Because of a later prediction I make, I have to say Brock Lesnar will retain. If this was one-on-one Lesnar vs. Strowman, I’d pull for Strowman all the way. Strowman can’t look weak by taking the pin, and Lesnar can’t be pinned for the title. Hence, Kane. If Kane somehow won, the internet would break. I WANT it to be Strowman, but my gut tells me it will be Brock.
WOMEN’S RUMBLE PREDICTIONS
Who wins the Women’s Rumble and why?
Michael Dworkis: Nia Jax. Everyone and their mother is expecting Asuka to win. If she wins, goes to Mania, and wins a Women’s Championship, said title ought to be retired. They are building her up, in an effort to mimic her rise in NXT, but this was a natural progression, whereas in WWE, they want to replicate the formula. I don’t know if this will work the same, or if the novelty will work like it did in NXT. I say, throw the curve, give it to someone else, and wait for Asuka later on.
MJ Rawls: Stephanie McMahon. There are a couple that comes to mind when I think about the first women’s rumble. There’s the obvious pick in Asuka. Why not continue to make her the dominant, unbeatable one in the division? There’s Nia Jax. There’s also the possibility of Ronda Rousey. When Stephanie McMahon was announced on commentary, the light bulb immediately went off. She’s going to win. Book it. She’ll be number 30 in Triple H-like fashion.
Anthony Toto: Nothing in the Royal Rumble is ever written in stone. Asuka has maximized every waking moment of her main roster debut and she will most likely dominate in a fashion only seen by the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels. However, I will preface this next statement by saying Becky Lynch is my all-time favorite women’s competitor and something about last week’s Smackdown, in terms of establishing her dominance by tossing her friends and enemies over the ropes, told me that she’s coming for Charlotte’s Smackdown Women’s Title. She was the inaugural Smackdown Women’s Champion and adding the accolade of “First Women’s Royal Rumble Winner” just sounds “too sweet” in the most epic NWO fashion possible. My prediction: Becky Lynch and Asuka will be the last two competitors remaining in the ring and will proceed to put forth a Slammy worthy clinic of technical wrestling wizardry. Becky and Asuka will both fall over the top ropes in a style reminiscent of Bret Hart and Lex Luger, therefore resulting in both of them earning title shots against their respective champion.
Kenny Pete: 30 women will enter the 1st ever Women’s Royal Rumble match but there can only be one winner, that will be the one person in this match who has yet to be defeated in competition – Auska. Since she has debuted in the company, she has run through every single opponent she has faced including two full turnovers of the NXT roster as well as everyone on RAW since her 1st appearance three months ago. This is the match that makes her & builds toward a title match vs Charlotte Flair at Wrestlemania.
DJ Chapman: Who wins the rumble? I’m starting 2018 with how I ended 2017, it’s going to be The Empress of Tomorrow, ASSSSUUUUUKKKAAAAAAA!!!! I said that Asuka was my wrestler of 2017, and I think she continues her reign leading up to Wrestlemania. Asuka’s stock is so high right now, I think the best move is to put a rocket on her so she can main event Wrestlemania.
Bill Bodkin: It’s almost too obvious that Asuka will win it, but sometimes the obvious answer is the correct one. I’ve read Bayley would be a great choice because of her lackluster programming. But I think this one goes to the Empress of Tomorrow.
Who are going to be the surprise entrant(s)?
MD: Alundra Blaze. Yep. She’ll be there. An original women’s champion back in the 90’s, she had a solid popular fanbase, which saw growth in WCW. First women’s Rumble needs something big, and this is it.
MJR: Kharma, Trish Stratus, Lita, Michelle McCool, Kelly Kelly, Beth Phoenix
AT: Nearly every single women’s champion who appeared on Raw 25 will appear in the Royal Rumble, which includes Trish Stratus, Torrie Wilson, Nikkie Bella, Jacqueline, and Kelly Kelly.
KP: Looking at the NXT roster, I’d bet on the appearances of Nikki Cross, Kairi Sane, Shayna Baszler, and The Iconic Duo – Billie Kay & Peyton Royce to be in the match. There are about open 10 mystery spots at the time of this writing, I’d love to see more NXT talent in this such as Taynara Conti, Dakota Kai, Bianca BelAir and Abbey Laith, make a splash on the show along with some past legends like Trish Stratus and Victoria to make appearances as well.
DJC: Nikki Bella. It’s impossible for me to see the first Women’s Royal Rumble without one of the two Bellas involved, so I’m going to go with Nikki.
BB: I feel like Nikki Bella would be a lock. I also feel Michelle McCool is a lock. My ultimate hope is Trish Stratus blows the roof off the joint.
What NXT superstar(s) gets added?
MD: Ember Moon. I would wager she would eliminate Asuka too.
MJR: Kari Sane
AT: I truly hope to see Ember Moon, Kairi Sane, and Nikki Cross. If I could only pick one NXT contestant, I have to go with Ember Moon as she has been the face of the NXT Women’s Division and deserves the opportunity to be cheered loudly and showcase her work in front of a sold-out Philadelphia crowd.
DJC: I feel pretty confident about Ember Moon getting a call up (Seeing her and Asuka square off again would be fun. It would also be fun to see Kairi get a call up considering she won the Mae Young Classic, but I’m less confident in that one.
BB: Nikki Cross would be great. Ember Moon should be in it because she’s the NXT champ, but she might be out due to Shayna Baszler’s beatdown last night. Don’t rule out the Iconic Duo either.
Who is going to be the eye-roll/comedy entrant (think: James Ellsworth, Santina Marella)?
MD: Alicia Fox loses her mind at some point and tries to re-enter the rumble with disguises.
MJR: James Ellsworth – eliminated in three seconds
AT: Stephanie McMahon could potentially spoil all of the fun, which wouldn’t be shocking whatsoever. Her supposed excitement and passionate delivery while announcing the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble match could be the ideal opportunity for her to steal the spotlight away from the roster and potentially face Ronda Rousey down the line.
BB: I really am nervous that Stephanie McMahon is coming in.
Does Ronda Rousey show up?
MD: She’ll be in the crowd. Or watching from home.
MJR: Yes, but she will be backstage or in the crowd
AT: I feel like the WWE should save Ronda Rousey for WrestleMania as it’s one of the few opportunities to create a pop reminiscent of The Hardy Boyz last year. However, very few WWE crowds are as loyal and rambunctious as Philadelphia. The potential roar of this crowd would be one for the ages. In terms of capturing the attention of the pop culture and sports media landscape, on a night that also includes the Grammys, there would be such a massive wave of media coverage that would put such a significant spotlight on WrestleMania, the likes which hasn’t been seen since the first Rock vs. Cena match at WrestleMania 28.
KP: Everyone is buzzing about Ronda Rousey who has been linked to the company & training at the performance center in Orlando, but unfortunately “will be filming a movie in Columbia until February” apparently thus dashing hopes of millions from seeing the biggest female star in MMA history make the transition to Sports Entertainer, for now at least.
DJC: Yeaaaaaa, sometimes rumors are just that, rumors, but everyone seems so sure of this, that at this point it’s weird if she doesn’t show up. Side note: Oddshark has her at +137 win, so I think she shows up.
BB: She’s “filming” right now. Oh and we didn’t think Jericho would show up in Japan either. Or The Hardyz at Mania.
MEN’S RUMBLE PREDICTIONS
Who wins the Men’s Rumble and why?
MD: Oh lord. If I go by the frenzy Dave Meltzer sent the internet into, I should just sigh and say Roman Reigns. Because everywhere you read, it’s Reigns, Reigns, Reigns. But maybe, just maybe, we are surprised. The Rumble is supposed to be about surprises. Reigns can face Lesnar at WrestleMania, but he doesn’t have to win the Rumble to do it. With the advertising shown, one would believe the Rumble winner will challenge for the Universal Championship. A SmackDown guy can win, face AJ at Mania, which wouldn’t be the main event anyway. As long as Lesnar has a strap, he’s main eventing. I go crazy and say CM Punk will show up, or Daniel Bryan could surprise win it. I’m pulling the hail mary. Braun Strowman. He won’t win the title bout, get pissed, probably make squishy out of a random mid-carder, and take the spot in the Rumble. There. I went against the internet.
MJR: Finn Balor. Hear me out. I’m sure we are all gearing up for the inevitable Roman vs. Brock match. That is going to happen in some way. It’s been set in stone since last year. However, Balor and the Balor Club has been gaining steam. What would be bigger than a Nakamura vs Styles match? Yes. I think that Finn Balor wins the Rumble and then goes to challenge AJ Styles on Smackdown. Maybe I’m just in an isolated cube of self-denial mixed with hope.
AT: Man, it’s hard to pick against Roman Reigns but I’m not here to support logical booking, I’m here to defy the conventional and make some bold predictions. Finn Balor just received the ultimate vote of confidence from D-Generation X and most importantly, Triple H and Shawn Michaels at Raw 25. Balor was never given a rematch for the WWE Universal Title and the time has now arrived for the ultimate David vs. Goliath main event at WrestleMania 34. WWE will capitalize on both the Demon persona and Balor Club resurrection, merchandise sales will shoot through the roof and Finn Balor will eventually defeat “The Beast” at WrestleMania!
KP: As for the men’s Royal Rumble, is gonna be Roman Reigns standing tall in Philadelphia for the 3rd time in his career. Why? Because who else is gonna beat Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania for the WWE Championship? According to the people making decisions is this company, no one. It’s Roman’s World & we’re all just livin in it. I’ve learned to just accept it & enjoy the ride.
DJC: Roman Reigns. Having Roman win in front of a hostile Philadelphia crowd who is already overconfident from the Eagles Super Bowl birth seems like a very WWE thing to do. Also after having him losing the IC title to The Miz at RAW 25, I think they want to have Roman main event Wrestlemania.
BB: Nakamura. I’m not convinced he will. I could easily see another W for Roman or Randy, but he needs the win (which means he won’t win it). He needs to pushed to a bigger spot, and I think Philly would go banana if he won.
What legend is going to show up?
MD: I’m pulling for a DX member. After their “Too Sweet” moment with Balor Club, it would make sense on some level.
KP: This match has a few open spots as well, be on the lookout for Mark Henry, The GodFather, MVP, Carlito, and The Spirit Squad who are all in town for appearances and / or shows run by run by Philadelphia wrestling legend Tommy Dreamer (another big favorite for a surprise / legend appearance in the Rumble) on Saturday for House of Hardcore at the 2300 Arena just a few blocks away from the Wells Fargo Center. I’d also love to see “The Alpha” Chris Jericho show up in his too sweet Hot Topic shirt & tussle with Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Syles or Gallows and Anderson so they can trade punches & NJPW stories at the same time. Enjoy the Show!
MJR: I’ll go with Hacksaw Jim Duggan
BB: Not going to happen, but it’d be cool if The Undertaker came out. He’s been confirmed in Philly, sooooo why not?
AT: I’m going to say Ken Shamrock will shock WWE’s audiences worldwide and cause the Philadelphia crowd to go ballistic. For the record, he most certainly has one of the best intro songs of the Attitude Era. He made statements earlier this year alluding to an interest in returning. Will we finally see Shamrock vs. Lesnar? Even crazier, Shamrock vs. Angle?
DJC: I’d like to see WWE make up for RAW 25’s weird Undertaker spot with having Undertaker appear in the rumble, so I’ll go with my heart over my gut and say Undertaker.
What NXT superstar gets added?
MD: Velveteen Dream. At first I thought to go with Adam Cole or Roderick Strong, but they need someone flashy, and this is the guy for it.
MJR: Aleister Black
AT: Coming off a night where he received multiple awards for his work in NXT, Aleister Black will enter the Royal Rumble and be given a few minutes to showcase his craft. Audiences will clamor to his unreal athleticism, martial arts pedigree, and brooding persona.
DJC: ADAM COLE BAY BAY!!!! I think Adam Cole would be a real fun addition to the rumble and could get some great pop from the crowd.
BB: After his reaction last night how could Velveteen Dream NOT be in? I could easily see someone from Sanity in there since they didn’t do much last night. Won’t rule out Roddy either. I don’t see Cole, Black, Gargano or Almas after their wars last night. Although Cole and Black would get crazy big reactions.
What random roster guys will be added to the Rumble?
MD: Pete Dunne, maybe some other UK guys, Jason Jordan will find his way in.
MJR: he Miztourage, Braun Strowman, Bobby Roode, The New Day, Roman Reigns, Tye Dillinger, Mojo Rawley, Seth Rollins. [Editor’s Note: Predictions from MJ came in on Thursday – New Day, Reigns, and Dillinger had not been announced.]
AT: We will see various Smackdown tag-teams competitors such as Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, Fandango, Shelton Benjamin, and Chad Gable enter the Rumble. Maybe even the Uso’s.
DJC: Goldust has been seeing a lot of visibility lately between him helping out with 205 live and his addition to the Mixed Match Challenge, so I’ll go with Goldust.
BB: Pete Dunne is there, so I can say he’s a lock. Tyler Bate would be a great addition, but two UK guys? Not sure about that. Shelton Benjamin, Breezango, Harper, Dolph Ziggler.
Who is going to be the eye roll/comedy entrant (think: James Ellsworth, Santino Marella)
MD: Curt Hawkins. He does something funny. No one laughs.
MJR: The Boogeyman.
AT: I wouldn’t be surprised to see Shane McMahon enter the Royal Rumble whatsoever.
DJC: Samir and/or Sunil Singh. One or both of them are going to wind up out there and get thrown out very quickly, which will lead to a nice crowd pop.
BB: Hawkins to set the quickest elimination record.
Does Chris Jericho show up?
MD: Yes Please. Please. Yes.
MJR: Nope. I think the Raw 25 appearance was a one-off. With as big as he is with the New Japan thing, I don’t think you bring him back to just get eliminated. To capitalize on it, it has to be a legit championship program.
AT: I wish! Coming off a five-star classic, Chris Jericho would garner one of the most insane crowd reactions of all-time. However, Fozzy is playing a show with Steel Panther in Paris tonight. Jericho makes the impossible happen but I just saw a video of him potentially being advertised for a NJPW event in California. I’m thinking his WWE run is finished for the time being but the Alpha Club has only just begun.
DJC: I really want him to I’ll go with my heart instead of my head and say YES! He will show up!
BB: Sadly, he has a show in France. I want it to happen, but…you know what until we don’t see him there, we can’t even predict it!