“But who ever said the easiest path is the one you should choose?” – Royal Rumble 2017 Predictions

2017 Royal Rumble

As WWE prepares for it’s first PPV of the new year, The Dark Match prepares for another year of horrible predictions, so let’s see how wrong we get this one.

The 2017 Royal Rumble Match

Entrants announced as of this post:  Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, Big E, Braun Strowman, Chris Jericho, Baron Corbin, Dean Ambrose, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, Luke Harper, Cesaro, Sheamus, Big Cass, Rusev, Mojo Rawley.

Matt:  The story here has been pretty heavily focused on the monsters at the front of your masthead image.  Taker, Lesnar, Goldberg and Strowman.  Not with quite the same promotion, Baron Corbin.  I want to go a different direction, one in which we get to a Samoa Joe vs Finn Balor main event at Wrestlemania.  Without Joe on the card for NXT TakeOver, I’m assuming that he’s on his way up.  I think entry number 30 will be the return of Finn Balor, at which point Samoa Joe will still be in the match.  Finn Balor will win the Royal Rumble and reclaim his title at Wrestlemania, from Samoa Joe who will take the prize at Fastlane.  The Demon King shall reign.  Other things to watch for….Sami Zayn will eliminate Lesnar.  Randy Orton and Luke Harper will eliminate Bray Wyatt.  Corbin and Ambrose will spend some time one on one in this one to set up a Corbin IC run.

Jeremy:  The great thing about this year’s Rumble is that anyone can win.  It’s the least predictably Rumble and probably the single match that I’m most excited for.  There’s lots of possibilities that can shape up.  There’s buzz this weekend that Dean could be the dark horse candidate.  Or perhaps it’s a returning Bálor.  Maybe it’s Undertaker and his match is for the Championship?  There’s a lot of great options this year.  So who do I want to win?  Samoa Joe.  Actually, I’ll just be cool with him showing up and dominating.

Aghhh!!!!  I can’t decide.  I’ll go for a completely ridiculous option:

C.M. Punk returns, somehow reaching an agreement with VKM, and wins the rumble to main event Wrestlemania.

Roman Reigns vs Kevin Owens – WWE Universal Championship

Matt:  This match will likely be just before the Royal Rumble, unless they do this one just before AJ-Cena since Cena could very well be on his way to #16.  I see Kevin Owens winning, and once the cage lowers here, Samoa Joe coming down and laying waste to Team Kevin and Chris.  Samoa Joe will win the title at Fastlane, and we will get another amazing Joe-Balor match at Mania.  Kevin Owens retains.

Jeremy:  I kind of think Roman is winning this one.  I have no real thoughts on how or why this is going to happen.  I’m just going with my gut.  I do think Jericho is going to try to help, but it’s not going to work.  Or it’s going to backfire.  Roman wins via pinfall.

John Cena vs AJ Styles – WWE Heavyweight Championship

Matt:  John Cena goes for #16 to tie the legend, Ric Flair.  For years there was probably some ill will amongst people in the back for all the push that John Cena got over the years, but there can’t possibly be anyone that doesn’t respect the man at this point.  In that first episode of Bring it to the Table, even JBL and Heyman spoke the praises for the man who works harder than anyone else in the business.  Post Summerslam 2015, Ric Flair even said that if someone was going to tie or beat him, he’d want it to be someone he respected, like John Cena.  I think there are a lot of things lined up for Royal Rumble, and I think the John Cena celebration is one of them.  Cena can’t drop another one to AJ and still be in the conversation for a title match for a while, even if he is just going to drop it back to him at Elimination Chamber in two weeks.  John Cena gets #16.  #17 to come in Orlando.  

Jeremy:  I actually think they’re going to hold out on #16.  I think AJ retains but loses the Championship at Elimination Chamber. I do think they’ll be some sort of dusty finish on this one.  Possibly because, despite the beating he’ll receive, Cena will “Never Give Up!”  The Guy from Atlanta retains, although possibly by losing the match via DQ.

Bayley vs Charlotte – WWE Raw Women’s Championship

Matt:  Bayley is going to win this title, but not at Royal Rumble.  The story of Charlotte’s reign on PPV matches will be their primary driver headed into Wrestlemania, when I would imagine another multi-person match for the Raw Women’s Championship.  Actually, given as much faith as they’re putting into the Women with these cage matches, I wouldn’t put it past them to get to a Triple Threat Ladder Match for this belt at Wrestlemania, where Bayley will get her first.  Sasha and Charlotte have had their run with it, and getting to Sasha vs Bayley at Summerslam is probably already inked in.  Charlotte retains.

Jeremy:  I think this PPV winning streak gets broken at either Mania or Summerslam.  It’s not a forgone conclusion, just look at Lesnar Vs. Goldberg II for that.  Bayley is the underdog here and Mania is in Orlando.  Coincidentally, that’s where NXT is located and she’s one of the ones that made it famous.  It’s the better story for her to win there.  Charlotte retains.

Neville vs Rich Swann – WWE Cruiserweight Championship

Matt:  The build to this one has been pretty good.  I think for the sake of continuing it, Rich Swann needs to retain so that Neville gets just close enough and fails again, sending him deeper into this new found rage.  Or this could be the point where Austin Aries makes his presence known, most likely with a thumb in the eye, to set himself up for a title run.  Either way, Neville doesn’t leave unscathed, but given the propensity for Aries to play the villain, I think Swann retains.  Rich Swann keeps the belt, is mauled when he tries to dance.

Jeremy:  I’m a big Swann mark but I think Neville is taking his crown here.  205 ratings aren’t what they want them to be and I think Neville having the championship might be what they need at the moment.  Red Arrow and pin for your new King of the Cruiserweights.

The Kickoff Show

Naomi, Nikki Bella and Becky Lynch vs Alexa Bliss, Natalya and Mickie James

Matt:  I’d much rather there be a title defense in this slot on the card, but I guess you’ve got to get as many people on the show as you can.  The good guys will win this one to set up a Women’s Title Match for Elimination Chamber.  Becky, Bella and Naomi.

Jeremy:  Ooo.  Yes.  This basically needs to be a Elimination Chamber match for the championship.  Hopefully we get that in two weeks.  For now, though, I’m going with the Faces, Becky, Bella, and Naomi.

Cesaro and Sheamus vs Gallows and Anderson – Raw Tag Championship

Matt:  I think this is finally going to be the win for Gallows and Anderson that isn’t a DQ or some other shenanigans.  They’ve sort of been stuck in limbo as the WWE was committed to getting New Day to the record, but I imagine that this is the time for them to finally claim the belts.  I think it’s going to be a big night for the Bullet Club on the whole, with my prediction for Balor to win the Rumble and the assumed appearance of Omega.  Gallows and Anderson are your new Raw Tag Champions.

Jeremy: I think the WWE is going to continue to be shitty to The Club. Cesaro and Sheamus retain.

Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax

Matt:  Finally, a non-squash for Nia Jax.  As they’re trying to build her as this unstoppable force, I’m going to assume that Nia gets the win here.  I think they’re going to work on getting to a Fatal Four Way at Mania with the pair here and Charlotte and Bayley all after the title.  I’m ok with it, as long as they get there, plus they can work on getting Sasha back to heel alignment, because she’s going to need it to stay relevant as Bayley assumes Super Face status, plus her character doesn’t work as the good guy.  Nia Jax

Jeremy:  Sasha will put on a valiant effort, but she’s going to get squashed by Nia.  Nia Jax.