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The Wrestling Classic.com 2017 Royal Rumble Preview & Predictions

The Wrestling Classic.com 2017 Royal Rumble Preview & Predictions

By: Justin D. (www.thewrestlingclassic.com)

It’s the time of the year again where the “Road to Wrestlemania” kicks into gear with my favourite event of all time “The Royal Rumble.” I love the Royal Rumble mainly for the Rumble match itself and how the match is filled with surprises and unpredictability. Although some of the Rumble matches in recent history have been disappointing due to the final outcome, they were still filled with surprises and great moments. This years Royal Rumble also has a great undercard as well with 5 titles up for grabs. As per all my prediction posts, it’s usually based off preferences and where I would like to see the storylines go but this Royal Rumble event was really hard to make predictions for because the “Road to Wrestlemania” leaves a lot to the imagination. Only one match seems to be a lock as of right now which is Seth Rollins vs. Triple H and everything else is kind of up in the air, including Goldberg vs. Lesnar 3. The Royal Rumble match itself is stacked with top tier talent that there is actually no obvious choice of who could walk out the 2017 Royal Rumble winner. Now with all that in mind lets move forward to my predictions.

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TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
CESARO & SHEAMUS (C) VS. THE CLUB
The Club once again are the number one contenders for the WWE Raw tag team titles. This time however The New Day aren’t that tag team champions and there is no record the WWE writers want to break. Personally I think Anderson and Gallows should have been tag team champions months ago. Instead, The New Day had a record to break as longest reigning tag team champions and the Raw creative team had to do something with Sheamus and Cesaro, who were two guys they had nothing creative for besides throwing together as a tag team. As much as I would love for The Club to walk out as the tag team champions at Royal Rumble like they rightfully deserve to, I don’t see it happening. I think Sheamus and Cesaro are going to retain for the same reason that they’re champions in the first place, the Raw writers have nothing better for Sheamus and Cesaro to do if they aren’t the tag team champions. Well, at least for now on the “Road to Wrestlemania” I don’t think they have anything else planned for them and because of that The Club will once again fail to capture the tag team titles. Hopefully…I’m wrong.

Winning Prediction: Cesaro & Sheamus

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SASHA BANKS VS. NIA JAX
I was expecting this match to happen and thought it would be announced a lot earlier than it was. Instead it was announced last minute on the final Raw before the Rumble and announced for the kickoff show. Personally, it bothered me that Sasha Banks, who in the past year has been main eventing Raws, PPVs, and becoming a three time Women’s Champion making history ended up on the kickoff show. This is also Nia Jax’s first real rivalry and the first match in the rivalry ends up on the kick off show. I feel pretty bad for both of them but there is only so much time on this show and considering the Rumble can be an hour or longer itself, it makes sense. I’ve been looking forward to this match because I love the David vs. Goliath style. I compared this match frequently to the Michaels/Vader feud because I think Sasha has the ability to come up with creative ways to overcome Nia Jax because I believe she’s that talented. This being the first match in a rivalry that I think will continue the next month, I think this match either ends in a No Contest or Sasha getting the victory by DQ. Although, if someone was to walk out the clear cut winner I would have to go with Nia Jax, with Sasha having to overcome her in the rematch at FastLane. They need to build layers to this storyline between them for it take off from just Nia Jax not liking Sasha Banks.

Winning Prediction: Nia Jax

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BECKY LYNCH, NAOMI & NIKKI BELLA VS. ALEXA BLISS, MICKIE JAMES & NATALYA
This match was another one of those matches that felt like it got thrown together last minute as it was just announced this past Tuesday after Smackdown Live. I do appreciate it though because it gets the entire Smackdown Women’s roster (with exception to Carmella who is tied to Ellsworth) on the card. Smackdown did a really good job of featuring all the women on the last episode which made the booking of this match not seem so random. They continued the Nikki and Natalya rivalry with more backstage attacks. The Mickie James and Becky Lynch rivalry kicked off with Alexa Bliss still apart of the mix. Also they brought Naomi back on the show who was then confronted by Alexa Bliss which planted the seeds for a new rivalry to blossom between those two. I don’t think the winners of this match effects anything but I’m going to go with the babyface’s picking up the win with Naomi going over on Bliss to further develop that new rivalry.

Winning Prediction: Naomi, Nikki Bella & Becky Lynch

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CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP 
RICH SWANN (C) VS. NEVILLE 
The Cruiserweight Title since its inception last year has already changed hands twice but it only feels right that returning and reinvented “King of the Cruiserweights” Neville walks out as the new champion. A part of me just wants Neville to dominate the division while he has this new attitude to the point that the person who dethrones him would be getting a major rub. In my mind Neville is the most established cruiserweight with the most depth in character since he’s been around the longest these past few years. People are intrigued by Neville ever since his return and that is enough reason to ride that momentum and put the belt on him. Swann was a decent champion, but the division hasn’t felt any more special since he won the title. I feel Neville can validate and escalate both the division and the title with the right booking and writing.

Winning Prediction: Neville

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WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
 CHARLOTTE (C) VS. BAYLEY 
When Bayley was in NXT, we got to see her grow in to the Bayley she is today. The fans got to understand the Bayley character, fall in love with her and get behind her. The fans got to see her grow from a superman to a bonafide wrestler who failed to capture the championship time and time again until she actually did. The fans got to see how great of a wrestler she was in the ring and how she became the face of the NXT Women’s Division. Whereas, on the main roster unless you’re a hardcore fan like myself who watches NXT, you’re just supposed just believe in the hype even though she hasn’t done much on the main roster. If you were to ask a casual fan who doesn’t watch NXT who Bayley is and what her character is, I’m very curious on how they would answer the question. “Bayley is a nice person who likes to give hugs and acts like a kid.” Seriously, there was no proper introduction or development to her character on the main roster. There is no “real legit” reason for the casual fans to get behind her besides the fact that she’s a babyface who beat Charlotte twice in non-title matches and people don’t like Charlotte. Therefore, I don’t want to see her be the one to end Charlotte’s PPV winning streak and become the women’s title. Let this be the beginning of introducing Bayley to the casual fans. Let’s have her fail and fail so we have to get behind her and actually want her to win the title for more reasons than we just don’t like the heel. Plus, Charlotte has played hot potato with Sasha Banks over the title for the past 8-9 months that it would be nice to see her defend it and retain it. I do think by the end of 2017 we will see Bayley as the Women’s Champion, but it’s not happening at the Royal Rumble. If it does I will be seriously disappointed. I just can’t buy into it yet. The Queen of PPV walks out as champion.

Winning Prediction: Charlotte

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CHRIS JERICHO IN A SHARK CAGE
UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP
KEVIN OWENS (C) VS. ROMAN REIGNS 
Chris Jericho being locked in a shark cage during this match brings another level of unpredictability and entertainment for this match. I can just imagine Jericho acting scared and yelling ridiculous things at his best friend from the shark cage hung above the ring. I would imagine they would still find a way to gain the upper hand during this match even with Jericho in the shark cage. For example, Jericho having brass knuckles with him and throwing them down to Owens at the most opportune moment or something. Regardless of what they try I feel like we’re going to see the end of Owen’s Universal Title reign. Owens’ title reign hasn’t felt super important as his relationship with Chris Jericho has always been more in the spotlight than him actually being champion. Recently, I have been thinking and figured the best way to book Owens for Wrestlemania is to bring an end to what has been the best part of Raw for months now which has been his friendship with Jericho. They’ve teased a break up for months now and its time to finally pull the trigger. Don’t get me wrong, I want them to be BFF’s forever but even the best of friends disagree sometimes. The fun thing about wrestling is that it means we could get a high calibre match out of it. However, this would mean Roman Reigns would be walking out of the Royal Rumble as champion and going into Wrestlemania with the Universal Title. I know this could upset a ton of people but if Roman was to face my Royal Rumble winner prediction, I would imagine he would be booked as a heel. Isn’t that something we all want to see? I predict whatever Jericho and Owens have in plan for this match backfires and Roman Reigns becomes the new Universal Champion. Don’t get me wrong, I do see Owens as champion again by the end of 2017.

Winning Prediction: Roman Reigns

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WWE CHAMPIONSHIP 
AJ STYLES (C) VS. JOHN CENA
I’ll never be disappointed hearing that AJ Styles and John Cena are facing each other. There MITB match was decent but there Summerslam match basically saved the entire show. AJ Styles is one of the biggest stars worldwide for his work he’s done all around the world and John Cena is one of the biggest superstars worldwide for spending over a decade as the face of the WWE. John Cena claims that he was made for the WWE, I would like to argue that WWE made John Cena. AJ Styles made AJ Styles and AJ Styles was made for the WWE. If you disagree that Styles was made for the WWE, just look how much he has achieved since his WWE debut last year at Wrestlemania. The build up to this match really had me feeling like Cena was the heel and Styles was the babyface. It’s felt like that ever since Cena recently returned. He’s had this new attitude and vibe to him. Styles is fighting for all of those who worked years to make it to the WWE on the independents and around the globe. Cena is fighting to prove that he is still who he thinks he is in his own mind, which is the franchise. Styles is fighting to prove he belongs there and earn the respect of the people. Cena is fighting to prove to everyones he’s still the face that runs the place and that everyone should respect him. Cena is the heel but doesnt know it. Styles is the babyface but doesn’t know it. I expect a tremendous match here that will have us on the edge of our seats. Will Styles beat Cena for the third consecutive time? Will John Cena become the 16 time World Champion tying Ric Flair’s record? I think Styles going over would shock the world and it wouldn’t hurt Cena a bit. I think Styles walks out of the Royal Rumble as champion and Cena will achieve his goal to become 16 time World Champion but in the Elimination Chamber next month. Therefore, as for the Rumble Styles retains in a incredible match.

Winning Prediction: AJ Styles

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2017 THE ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH
This has to be one of the most unpredictable Royal Rumble matches in years. I mean there are already 22 confirmed entrants which means there are 8 spots for surprise entrants. There are big names such as Undertaker, Goldberg, Brock Lesnar,Chris Jericho, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt all already in the match. There are great ideas out there such as Samoa Joe making his main roster debut or Ty Dillinger being a surprise entrant for number 10. Kenny Omega entering the Royal Rumble has been the hottest rumour since the hype he has gained after his MOTY candidate against Okada at WrestleKingdom 11. The way AJ Styles made his debut last year really has people thinking Omega could be doing the same and he’s done nothing but play with the emotions of people by addressing the rumours. Also, we expect to see storylines further develop during this Rumble too. How will Rollins find his way back into the Rumble or will Triple H be an entrant? Will we finally see Goldberg and Lesnar go at it for the first time since Survivor Series? Will they plant the seeds for a match at Wrestlemania? What will happen with the Wyatt Family and their recent drama? What will be the fate of The Undertaker and will we find out who his opponent for Wrestlemania may be? The biggest thing I’ve been hoping for and speculating is the return of Finn Balor. I’m not 100% sure if he’s cleared yet but I want to believe he is. Balor looked in great spirits and in great shapes at recent appearances at the UK Tournament and at Progress Wrestling. He is expected to return by Wrestlemania time. If Balor came in late and did barley any high risk stuff but won the Rumble it would be huge. It’ll also be an awesome redemption story for Balor who was forced to relinquish the title due to injury back in August. I know I’m going out on a limb here but imagine Balor, Undertaker, Zayn and Strowman as the final four? I expect Balor to walk out as the winner of the 2017 Royal Rumble. Thats a risky prediction since he hasn’t even been announced for the match or anything but I’m sticking with it. 2017 is going to be the year of “The Demon” Finn Balor.

Winning Prediction: Finn Balor

*Photos courtesy of WWE.com

What do you think about my predictions for the Royal Rumble? What are your predictions? Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts and ideas of what might happen on the show? Leave your comments and opinions below.

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