The Royal Rumble is less than a month away. Now’s as good a time as any to predict each and every one of the thirty participants. Some of these have already been announced, but the majority of the spots have yet to be claimed. So, here’s one view as to how the list could fill up. Some of these names are more likely than others, to be sure.
Here’s a prediction of all thirty entrants, though I won’t dare (yet) harbor a guess for who enters at which spot.
Elias: Has already announced himself. He’s been much more impressive on the main roster than I ever expected him to be. I think he could get a good long look in the Rumble.
Randy Orton: A previous winner, he has also already announced his participation.
Shinsuke Nakamura: He piggybacked on Orton’s announcement. Many consider the King of Strong Style to be an early favorite. A win here, presuming Styles remains champion, sets up a drool worthy match for WrestleMania.
John Cena: The so-called free agent declared his intent as a way to ring in the New Year.
Finn Balor: Balor followed suit, declaring himself in on the January 1 RAW.
Kevin Owens: While not announced (as of 11AM Tuesday January 2nd), Owens being in the Rumble seems too obvious. He could be one of a handful still going at the end of the match.
Sami Zayn: Where Owens goes, Sami Zayn won’t be far behind.
The Miz: Barring an injury, there’s no way you keep someone like The Miz out.
Seth Rollins: Currently one half of the RAW tag team champions, he has been a singles guy for a while. He’s also a former champion, so keeping him in the mix makes sense.
Roman Reigns: I presume Reigns will be in, but if the numbers get tight and WWE gives him a big title match with Samoa Joe, it’s possible that neither man actually enters the Rumble.
Rusev: With Rusev Day gaining traction, I see no way the Brute is kept out of this.
Mojo Rawley: The Rumble needs jobbers too.
Wade Barrett: The first “surprise”, Barrett recently went on social media and hinted at a possible Rumble appearance. WWE could do a lot worse, right?
Chris Jericho: It’s the Rumble, they like having a couple big surprises. A Jericho return could qualify, even if it’s almost too predictable, right?
CM Punk: OK, fine, so I am on dream street for this one. I’d much rather a CM Punk return/appearance, as opposed to say, Aiden English just so someone gets eliminated in 6 seconds.
Kofi Kingston: I suppose the entirety of New Day would make it in (but I don’t have any of the rest in at the moment). Kofi and his acrobatic survival skills have become a January tradition.
Killian Dain: My first of two NXT entrants. I expect Sanity to lose a match against Undisputed Era the night before, and the Rumble will introduce them to the main roster.
Eric Young: Kind of goes hand in hand with Killian.
Tye Dillinger: A year after debuting in the Rumble, the Perfect 10 returns. Though if he “randomly” draws 10 yet again, someone is going to have some explaining to do.
Bobby Roode: Let’s make the Rumble glorious, shall we?
Jinder Mahal: The Modern Day Maharaja wants a shot at the SmackDown title. Winning the Rumble would get him that chance.
Jason Jordan: You just know he’s going to call in a favor. I mean…he knows the RAW GM…
Aiden English: Here’s my hope. English gets announced as like, third man in. But, on the heels of losing the Universal title match earlier, Braun Strowman charges down, destroys English and takes his spot, aiming to set some elimination records this year.
Fandango: Once again, even the Rumble needs jobbers.
Samoa Joe: I could, as I mentioned above, imagine a Rumble where Roman and Joe don’t participate. If, say, WWE gives them a no holds barred match (or, falls count anywhere, or even a cage match), it is completely plausible that neither man are in this. But unless that is announced, I see no way Joe isn’t in.
Rowan: If things get crowded, I could see Rowan getting snubbed. In this match, he’s only a jobber anyways.
Harper: Same as with Rowan. This spot is fluid.
The Undertaker: Perhaps the longest of long shots, but if WWE managed to keep him a secret until the gong hit for his entry (at say, number 30), the arena roof would come clean off. He doesn’t have to win (even though a re-match of Undertaker/Lesnar, in the city where The Streak died is at least sort of intriguing, until you remember how ‘Taker has looked), but if he’s going to have another match in New Orleans, perhaps they use the Rumble to set it up.
Bill Goldberg: As rumors swirl that he’s the headliner in the 2018 Hall of Fame class, why can’t he come in, eliminate a jobber or two and have some fun? Probably a long shot entrant, but this one is not as crazy as say, my previous one.
Curtis Axel: I could totally live without him in…but somehow, it seems as though we could be due for a revival of his “longest time in the Rumble ever” schtick. It’s at least some comic relief.
I totally admit that a handful of these are wishful thinking. Not all of these guys will make the Rumble. Like, seeing someone like Big E or Dolph Ziggler is probably more likely than Jericho or especially CM Punk. Someone like a Harper or Rowan might lose out to ensure Baron Corbin is involved. If I had my way, I’d actually push to have no tag team members in the match. Guys like Jordan and Rollins would be an exception, except that they hold the tag titles. That’s not to be a mean person, that’s the realization that, at 30 names, there’s a lot of potential names for not nearly as many spots. I could easily see only one NXT name, not two. And guys like Barrett, Jericho and Punk are either long shots or dreams, and without those three, you could be making room for three mid-card guys and it wouldn’t make much difference. It’s not like we expect those guys to win, same as the mid-carders wouldn’t be. But I will say this…as I made up my predicted list of 30…I could easily find an excuse to seriously consider making this match 40 men. I know it happened once in history, but perhaps with the expanded rosters, and the depth with ancillary shows like NXT and the UK and cruiserweight talents, adding ten more spots would be worth it. On the flip side, while guys declaring they are in is to be expected, it would be really smart to start seeing matches to qualify for certain spots.
Folks, what do you think? Who would you want in, who would you expect to be left out?