WrestleMania might be the biggest event of the year, but the Royal Rumble is one of the greatest shows the wrestling puts on during the year and my personal favourite. Those few superstars filling spots which have not announced drive us wild with anticipation. Who will be a possible surprise return or new debuts? Inquiring minds want to know! The stage is set; the battle under way! Then, the clock counts down from ten, ending with the music fans hoped to hear playing loud and clear. At that point it doesn't matter who wins or loses, only who was included. Of course, no one expects a legend to win and odds are they never will. Even so we all have a favourite we'd like to see standing at the end.
That isn't all we tune in for. Fan favourites are expected to showcase brand new moves. Kofi Kingston is a legend in his own right, finding new creative ways not to be eliminated in the 30 man over-the-top-rope match. It doesn't end there, though. There are records to be broken and statistics to analyze for die hard fans hoping to find a connection.
Personally I like to make my own predictions. They aren't based on story lines or hard facts. They are simply what I'd like to see happen. So, without further adieu, here they are:
Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Finn Balor
I personally don't have a huge preference between these two superstars. Having said that, I am of the opinion that If A.J. Styles can't beat Brock, Finn Balor shouldn't be able to either.
The main question here is does man or demon show up. If it is the latter, it leaves me questioning Finn's strength. Is a mere mortal destined to fail?
My pick: Brock Lesnar wins
WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles
I expect this to be the best match up for the men of the night. These two stars certainly have the potential to steal the show. AJ is my favourite of the two, however, I don't think the title will be pried away from Bryan quite so soon. I expect him to carry it to WrestleMania.
My pick: Daniel Bryan
Raw Women's Championship: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Sasha Banks
There is no secret in my house that I am NOT a fan of Rhonda Rousey. There are so many stars in both locker rooms who deserved to hold a title before her and a lot of her mic work makes me cringe. Of course I am also not a huge fan of Sasha Banks. She seems like an odd choice to dethrone an MMA star. I call shenanigans for this match leading to Rousey retaining, for now.
My pick: I don't want to (sigh)
SmackDown Women's Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Becky Lynch
I love both of these women and I wish they both had a title (that could happen down the road). The problem here is neither one can afford to take a loss at the moment. Asuka is finally finding her stride again and Becky is on fire. That leaves count out or disqualification. Either way Asuka retains.
My pick: Asuka
SmackDown Tag Team Championship: The Bar (c) vs. The Miz & Shane McMahon
I have a real dilemma here. The Miz is one of my all-time favourites! I want to see gold around his waist again. Shane, however, not so much. The Bar on the other hand works well together. Of course, one should never bet against a McMahon!
My pick: Miz & Shane win
United States Championship: Rusev (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Why was this match bumped to the kickoff? These two are fan favourites and should be on the main card! My main comments are more cosmetic complaints - return Nakamura's theme song to pre-heel-turn and axe Lana; she isn't helping Rusev at this point.
My pick: Rusev retains
Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Kalisto vs. Akira Towaza vs. Hideo Itami
I admit it - I don't follow 205. With the short card for NXT this match would have been a great addition last night.
Women's Royal Rumble
Surprises aren't really hidden on this one – I expect to see Lita and Trish, The Bella Twins, and a few other Hall-of-Famers. I am hoping for a surprise ending on this one and would love to see the Goddess standing tall. That would be an amazing come back.
My pick: Becky Lynch.
Men's Royal Rumble
There would be no bigger surprise than to see The Man, Becky Lynch enter the Men's RR. I doubt that will happen, at least not yet.
Big Return: Batista - oh yeah. With End Game due out this April, what bigger hype could the WWE ask for? Drax is a well-loved character everyone wants to see win. Just imagine if he did... Drax the destroyer vs Lesnar the beast - great draw for WrestleMania. (Wink-wink; nudge-nudge)
More likely, though... Braun Strowman wins.
That's it for my predictions for 2019. I'd love to hear yours!