WWE will present the twenty-sixth annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view this Sunday from the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The first pay-per-view of 2013 will set the stage for the biggest show of the year — WrestleMania 29.
Welcome to WNZ’s second pay-per-view predictions feature with Marc Middleton and Colin Hunter. Here’s how we think the pay-per-view will unfold, and why. Let us know what you think and post your own predictions below.
United States Title Match: The Miz vs. Antonio Cesaro (Pre-show)
Colin Hunter: Although the Miz has been thrust back into the spotlight lately, and has been anointed as the Ric Flair protégé, don’t expect him to claim a victory over Cesaro. His appalling attempt at a figure-four leglock proved he’s not quite destined to be the next Nature Boy. Although WWE does have some compelling reasons to give Miz the win here (to promote The Marine 3: Homefront, it would make sense for its star to defeat the anti-American heel), it still makes more sense to continue Cesaro’s upward momentum en route to even bigger things.
Marc Middleton: I could actually see WWE putting the title on The Miz here because his babyface turn so far has been painful to watch. But they seem to be very big on Antonio Cesaro so I expect him to retain the title on the pre-show and then go on to have a strong Rumble performance.
WWE Tag Team Title Match: Team Hell No vs. Rhodes Scholars
Colin Hunter: Although both these teams are becoming better known for their talking than their wrestling, they’re also fully capable of a hugely entertaining match. While the Dr. Shelby skits are good for a chuckle, Team Hell No’s “odd couple” schtick is getting a bit tired. Rhodes and Sandow, on the other hand, are really hitting their stride and deserve a strong run as champs. Damien Sandow is the most entertaining heel in wrestling today, and Cody Rhodes (moustache and all) is not far behind. If the Rhodes Scholars don’t prevail here, the WWE booking strategy is run by ignoramuses.
Marc Middleton: A week ago I would have said it was time to put the titles on Rhodes and Sandow, and break Kane and Bryan up so they can officially end the Team Hell No program at WrestleMania 29. However, the segment with Kane, Bryan and Dr. Shelby on RAW seemed too safe. While WWE should give the titles to Rhodes and Sanodw, I predict Kane and Bryan retaining.
Last Man Standing Match for the World Title: Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio
Colin Hunter: Del Rio’s run as a good-guy champion has barely gotten under way, so it seems premature to have him lose the title at the Rumble. The real question is how he’ll pull it off. We’ve already seen him bury the Big Show under a table, so there’s no sense in repeating that. Expect the Big Show to pinned down, tied up or otherwise constrained in an entertaining manner — perhaps somehow “trapped” under one of Del Rio’s luxury vehicles.
Marc Middleton: There’s no way they take the title off Del Rio already. I wish they would have picked a different stipulation but it will be interesting to see how they end it this time.
WWE Title Match: The Rock vs. CM Punk
Colin Hunter: Several months ago, I wrote an article predicting CM Punk’s title reign would last exactly 434 days, culminating with a loss to The Rock at the Royal Rumble. I stand by that prediction, because it’s probably the right path to take as WWE embarks down the Road to WrestleMania. All title reigns must end eventually, even one as epic as Punk’s. Even the best efforts and Heyman and The Shield won’t forestall the inevitable. Do I want to see The Rock as champion? Not at all. I find him juvenile, selfish, disingenuous and, worst of all, boring. For those reasons, I look forward to seeing him lose the world title at WrestleMania (hopefully to Punk, not Cena, since “Once in a Lifetime” was enough). After that, I’d be fine if the Rock never appeared in WWE again.
Marc Middleton: It’s time for CM Punk’s WWE Title reign to come to an end and I’m glad. Punk’s run has been some of the best stuff in WWE over the past year but that’s not saying much. I became bored with it several months back when the feud with Ryback was beginning. I just hope The Rock will be a good champion. The match itself should be awesome. It will be interesting to see how the two styles come together in the ring. Will we see The Shield interfere? Maybe another Paul Heyman associate, such as Brock Lesnar?
The 30-Man Royal Rumble Match:
Colin Hunter: Despite the fact that roughly 95 percent of the Rumble participants stand a snowball’s chance in hell of winning (sorry Slater!), this is still a tough match to call. Conventional thinking makes Cena a natural choice, because it paves the way to a WrestleMania rematch with The Rock. But it’s almost too easy. To keep things interesting, let’s go out on a limb: Brock Lesnar is a surprise entrant, wins it. He then declares that he doesn’t give a crap about titles, and only has one thing left to do in his career: break the Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania. Will it happen? Probably not. But long-shots are always fun to imagine.
Marc Middleton: Tough match to call indeed. After last year’s disappointing Rumble, I expect WWE to step it up a bit this year. Throw in a few surprise entrants with former stars returning, a dominating performance by Ryback, antics from The Shield and whatever else. If my top 5 candidates were John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton, Ryback and let’s say Brock Lesnar, I’d have to go with Cena as the winner. I hope I’m wrong and I’d like to see Ziggler win it but we’ll see.
• Miz vs. Cesaro
• Team Hell No vs. Rhodes Scholars
Colin: Rhodes Scholars
Marc: Team Hell No
• Show vs. Del Rio
Colin: Del Rio
Marc: Del Rio
• Rock vs. Punk
Remember to join us on January 27th for live coverage of Royal Rumble. Post your predictions and thoughts on the card below!