So far, half of the 30 Royal Rumble entrants have been announced. Five of those names include former world champions and three previous winners. With the PPV this Sunday, that leaves plenty of room for surprise entrants. While some of the spots will be filled by the current roster, don’t be shocked to see some familiar faces.
It’s those surprise entrants that always make the Rumble match that much more special. In the past, Curt Hennig surprised everyone when he returned for the 2002 Rumble. He last over 15 minutes, the fourth longest stay for that year, and made it to the final three. In 2011, the annual event saw Booker T and Diesel back in a WWE ring and they got one of the loudest pops of the night. It’s the unpredictability that makes this match so special.
So, let’s look at the five names that could make an appearance in the 26th annual Royal Rumble.
When Carlito burst onto the scene, he seemed like a future champion. He had the long poofy hair, an attitude and could handle the microphone. After years in the middle of the division, with time spent in the main event picture, he fell out of the good grace of the WWE before being released. The crowd loves him and I wouldn’t mind seeing him with that apple he made famous, ready to spit it in the face of someone. With Primo and Epico on the roster, his involvement is possible.
MVP and Shelton Benjamin
The internet has been abuzz that Shelton Benjamin and MVP are WWE bound. They were two great talents that were released for reasons that still amaze me.
MVP was always over with the crowd. Whether he was a face or heel, he got a reaction. Towards the end of his WWE run, he became almost a jobber- a far cry from where he belonged on the roster.
Benjamin was one of the best wrestlers the company had when it came to in ring skills. He wasn’t a great talker, but that doesn’t always matter. He could be used as someone to help the young talent improve in the ring and usually brings a highlight moment to his matches.
As WrestleMania approaches, so does the name Chris Jericho. He’s one of the best the WWE has ever seen and has a real shot of winning. The WWE likes to hype his return through mysterious videos, but everyone knows it’s him. Maybe that’s part of the WWE’s plan as a way to increase ratings. If Jericho was to come in and win, which is possible since he’s never won and is clearly main event level, he instantly changes the landscape of how many thought WrestleMania would pan out.
For the last pick, I’m going very old-school with soon to be hall of famer Bob Backlund. Many are probably thinking why I wouldn’t pick Mick Foley, since he’s getting inducted too. Foley has been in many Rumbles already, including last year. His better years are clearly behind him.
Now Backlund is 63-years-old, but his appearance at RAW 1,000 showed he hasn’t lost much of a step in his old age. Let’s not forget that in the 1993 Rumble, Backlund lasted for over 61 minutes. Only two names have spent longer in the match, Chris Benoit in 2004 and Rey Mysterio in 2006. It would be an honor to see Backlund wrestle once more for the WWE.
Those are five names that could make the Rumble more exciting. There are countless others that could appear and that’s why the Rumble is so interesting. Every 90 seconds, a new wrestler enters the match and nobody knows who is behind that curtain as the crowd counts down with the clock. With 15 slots open, anything can and will happen. The randomness of this match is what makes it the second greatest PPV of the year. Let the countdown begin.