Ready to Rumble….Twice – WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Predictions and Speculation

WWE is still in the City of Brotherly Love (unless you watched the footage of the idiots getting arrested for starting a brawl with cops before the Eagles took on the Vikings last Sunday, in which case it is the City of Brotherly Drunkenness) was the Road to Wrestlemania kicks off with the 2018 Royal Rumble.  Not even counting the two, yes I said TWO, Royal Rumble matches, there is one hell of a card here.  So let’s get to picking.

The Royal Rumble Kickoff Show

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

Matt:  Unless they’re actually going to push Drew Gulak (and I can dream, right?), I see this one going just like the six-man tag match from earlier this week, with the Lucha trio picking up another win over a TJP led team.  The match will be fine, just short.  The TJP tantrum afterwards, however, will probably be just as long as the match, and twice as entertaining.  Lucha, Lucha, Lucha!

Jeremy:  I know Matt is probably right, but I can’t support a team that Kalisto is on.  I love Dorado and Metallick but Kalisto is an imposter in a lucha mask.  After Gallagher’s savage CM Punk burn on Twitter the other day, I want the team of Gulak, Gallagher, and TJP.  TJP gets the pin on Kalisto.

The Club (Gallows & Anderson) vs The Revival

Matt:  This one is a continuation of Raw 25.  I believe that the whole point of getting The Club back together (putting them with Balor again) was to get these two into a face position to challenge The Bar soon for the belts.  Yes, I’m picking The Bar later in the show, and I’m picking The Club to pick up the win here.  Got a problem with it, Nerd?  I do hope they get their shit together and set a road map to the top for The Revival soon.  They are Top Guys.  Get them there in a meaningful way though.

Jeremy:  I expect this match to be actual competition this time, unlike the travesty at Raw 25.  I think there’s a chance that Revival picks up the win here to help Gallows and Anderson transition a bit more to the baby faces they need to support Bálor.  I think The Revival will do what they do best, and use some of their tricks to generate heat and get the win.

Bobby Roode’s United States Open Challenge Begins

Matt:  I don’t know what to predict as far as an opponent, though Ziggler feels like a logical choice.  I’m going to make this prediction easiest on myself and say that unless it is indeed Dolph Ziggler (or the Real American himself because, again, I can dream right?), Bobby Roode is going to successfully defend this title.

Jeremy: I honestly don’t know who it could be besides Ziggler.  He’s been off of TV long enough that people have forgotten about him.  I’m hoping he gets a pop but I’m concerned it’ll be crickets.  We’ll see, I guess.  Either way, Bobby Roode is walking out with the championship.

WWE Royal Rumble 2018

Let’s change the format a little bit and establish our overall expectations for the evening.  We’ll still lay out some ridiculous predictions at the end, so if nothing else, scroll to the bottom and see what lunacy we’ve come up with like, I don’t know, EC3 showing up to win the Royal Rumble match.

Matt:  I’ve got decent hopes for this one, but we’re going to go ahead and lock it in as cautious optimism.  I have frequently griped that PPV events, particularly Big 4 Events, should feature every belt being defended.  Neither Women’s Championships and Intercontinental Championship are not on the line, and for all we know someone lost the Cruiserweight Championship at an airport or a Denny’s or something.  Then we’ve got Brock Lesnar undoubtedly walking away with his belt…..Thanks Kane.  In any event, we do get to see what the Women can do in a spot like this.  They’ve yet to disappoint in any opportunity they’ve been given so far (save for James Ellsworth winning the first Women’s Money in the Bank match), and by my count there are 12 spots for veterans and NXT superstars to throw their names in the hat, so it could get pretty exciting.  I want to be surprised by the outcome of the men’s Rumble.  The rest of this show can go entirely as anticipated, but I desperately want it to be something just completely surprising in this one.  So again, cautiously optimistic.

Jeremy: I just hope this Rumble is as fun as last year’s.  I wasn’t a huge fan of Orton winning but the whole ride was a lot of fun.  Even Undertaker painfully moving around the ring didn’t distract from it.  I really do think the women are going to put on a hell of a show.  And I’m excited to see which legends and NXT women make an appearance.  I think the Rumble is always my favorite show overall.  Thanks to Pat Patterson for creating this match back in the day.  And that’s really something he did, unlike how he won the IC Championship in a tournament in Brazil.

2-out-of-3 Falls for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Usos (C) vs American Alpha 2.0

Matt:  Yes, I am the one that sets up these posts, so I can be as petty as I want with the match headers.  That being said, I do expect that Gable and Benjamin will get the win in this one, unless something awesome happens, like the Authors of Pain showing up to absolutely demolish all four of these guys.  My vote will always be for absolute carnage.

Jeremy:  Now Matt has me wanting Authors of Pain to show up in this match!  I actually think The Usos will hold this one down.  It could be a show stealer.  It’s going to be 2-1 Usos.

Raw Tag Team Championship: Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan (C) vs The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro)

Matt:  Dear Lord, I know we don’t talk often, but please take this belt away from Jason Jordan.  I won’t talk about it any further.  Sheamus and Cesaro are The Bar.

Jeremy:  I hate to just blindly agree with everything Matt is saying but Jason Jordan holding that red strap is makes my stomach hurt.  A curb stomp from Seth Rollins can’t come soon enough.  Please god let The Bar win this one.

Handicapped Match for the WWE Championship: AJ Styles (C) vs Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens

Matt:  You don’t ever hear me pick against The Phenomenal One, and I’m not starting now.  I don’t know how the hell it will happen, but AJ Styles retains.

Jeremy:  I’m just going to troll Matt on this one and say that Zayn & Owens become the first co-WWE champions in history.  Then AJ will enter the Rumble at position #2 and win to challenge for the title at Mania.

Triple Threat Match for the Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (C) vs Braun Strowman vs Kane

Matt:  I’m going to go ahead and expect that Brock is going through the announce table early and not going to be around for a lengthy portion of this one while Strowman and Kane do the heavy lifting.  He’ll, yet again, make a triumphant return to the ring to land the F5 on Kane and retain the belt just so Strowman doesn’t have to take the pin and because Strowman’s not finished with you….or Roman…..see where I’m going with this?  Lesnar

Jeremy:  What Matt said is the logical choice.  I’m just going to say that Braun Strowman is going to feed “these hands” to Brock and Kane, ending up the new Universal Champion.  He resumes his feud with Roman Reigns because we all know that Braun isn’t finished with Roman.

The Women’s Royal Rumble Match

Matt:  I could probably write a novel about what I want to happen here, but I see either Asuka or Becky taking this one.  Since I have to pick one, I’ll go with Becky Lynch.  I do hope that the lack of Nikki Cross at TakeOver is indicative that she’ll make an appearance and have a strong showing.  She’s awesome.  Stephanie McMahon will put herself in this match at Number 30 and get stuck in the ring with whomever the eventual winner will be.

Jeremy:  If Nicki Cross is in the rumble, I expect her to just cause a problem for everyone.  I feel like she leaves the Rumble by eliminating herself.  I’m going to play it safe and go with Asuka on this one.  I think we will have a fair share of NXT women, including the newest signing Candice LeRae.  She had a big pop last night and I expect her to ride that wave a bit longer.  If it wasn’t for Johnny, I would have actually expected her to go to the main roster.

The Men’s Royal Rumble Match

Matt:  Safe bets are always with the story that can be told, meaning that your favorites are most likely either Reigns (so the Big Dog and the Beast meet at Mania) or John Cena (because it would be #17, damn it).  Lots of sports books have Daniel Bryan as a heavy favorite, but as far as any indications go he’s still not medically cleared, and how would that get him to a match with Shane at Mania either way?  I’m not picking any of the smart money, because I Walk With Elias.  Elias to main event Wrestlemania.

Jeremy:  I’m thinking that the DX/Cliq endorsement of Finn Bálor means a lot.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Finn is going to win.  Sure, Finn is on Raw but there is president of the Royal Rumble winner challenging for the championship on the other brand (Batista).  An AJ Vs. Finn match for the WWE Championship would be money..  Beyond that, I’m not really sure.

Final Thoughts and Ridiculousness:

Matt:  Pretty sure I landed the ridiculousness pick with my Rumble prediction, but let’s go bigger.  After Monday, I’m just going to avoid making Undertaker predictions, because in spite of all reports, I think he’s done and that was a (poorly delivered) retirement speech.  I think there are about 10 spots that haven’t been officially claimed, so there’s still space for something crazy, so let’s go that route.  Dolph Ziggler will win the Royal Rumble, then as the fireworks over the Wrestlemania logo begin, he’ll wave it off and walk out just like he did after Clash of Champions.  I think we’ll also get Bobby Lashley in this Royal Rumble match.

Jeremy:  Ronda Rousey shows up despite numerous social media posts talking about how she’s having so much fun in Columbia.  She’s a life-long wrestling fan.  She knows how to play the game.  Crazy upon crazy prediction, Fandango wins the Rumble.  Ellsworth wins the women’s rumble to cause the Philly fans to burn the entire city down.