Every year, one of the Royal Rumble's greatest pleasures is surprise entrants. Normally, it's just Hacksaw Jim Duggan or Kevin Nash or one of the other "legends" who get trotted out for every Raw Reunion or Old School Raw and it's just a spot being taken away from someone like Justin Gabriel, who can only get a PPV payday at the Rumble. It's worth clarifying before we begin, this is a list of possible surprises, not main roster wrestlers returning, so you won't see Randy Orton, Sheamus, Bo Dallas or Chris Jericho here, even though they are all likely going to appear. Also watch out for Rob Van Dam, as this particular columnist expects to see him.
One or both Dudley Boyz
WWE have apparently been in talks with Bubba Ray and D-Von for a while now with a view to have them work as trainers, so if the deal is signed then it's very likely they'll send them out for a quick bit of nostaligia, especially with the Rumble being held in Philadelphia, home of ECW, where the Dudleyz first made their name. Since Bubba Ray was TNA Champion around a year ago, he can clearly still go in the ring so if only one of them is in, the smart money would be on him.
As mentioned in Vavel's last two NXT reports, Tyler Breeze is being wasted in NXT now. It's time for him to make some waves on the main roster, and a great Rumble showing is a perfect chance to do so. With the new generation being the focus of NXT nowadays, Breeze is an afterthought. The only issue would be that moves up to the main roster haven't been kind to NXT stars so far, and Tyler Breeze's gimmick especially may not translate well.
One NXT star who shouldn't have trouble getting over with the WWE Universe is "The Man Who Gravity Forgot" Adrian Neville. Last year when Neville debuted on Raw, the Red Arrow trended worldwide. With the ability to pull out something amazing at the slightest opportunity, a big stage like the Rumble would be perfect for Adrian Neville to be introduced to those fans who aren't NXT viewers.
Diamond Dallas Page
DDP has helped a number of wrestlers with DDP Yoga, so it'd be great for him to get a brief opportunity in this year's Rumble. There have been heavy rumors that the former WCW Champion will appear, however they could just be conjecture.
The Less Likely
Jake "The Snake" Roberts
Jake The Snake is one of the wrestlers who have been helped by DDP Yoga, and since cleaning up his life he has been inducted into the Hall of Fame. With an appearance on Raw last year and a Legends contract under his belt, it's possible that he could appear in the Rumble, however whether he's in ring shape is questionable.
While this particular columnist would really hate to see X-Pac in the Rumble, he has made several Raw appearances since the Raw 1000 DX Reunion. These appearances have generally been as a background character however, and has had no in-ring presence.
Shelton X Benjamin
Known as Shelton Benjamin in WWE, most fans would agree that Benjamin wasn't used right by WWE. Rumors swirl around every January about Benjamin making a return in the Royal Rumble, however since he still works in NJPW, this is very unlikely.
There have been a lot of reports recently that independant wrestling standout Uhaa Nation is in the process of signing a deal with WWE, most recently that he was undergoing medical and had been pulled from a Pro Wrestling Guerilla show. If the deal is signed and WWE want to push Uhaa quickly, giving him a spotlight in the Rumble would be a great way to do it. Again, it's very unlikely however, because since names like KENTA and Prince Devitt who are much more established than Uhaa had to go through NXT, then Uhaa probably would have to do the same.
While the last two suggestions have been unlikely, this one is about 99% impossible. A list of ten possibilities is better than nine though, so this is included as a more personal note. UK wrestling fans and viewers of British Bootcamp will be familiar with Kris Travis, who is probably the best wrestler in Britain right now. Or at least he was until he contracted stomach cancer. So instead of a tenth possible but very unlikely Rumble entrant, this columnist would just like to urge all readers to go and check out some of Trav's work (if they can be found, both of his matches against Prince Devitt were great), and just spread the word about such an awesome wrestler who all of us here at Vavel wish the very best and a speedy recovery. When he beats cancer and comes back to wrestling, make sure you go to your local promotion and ask them to book Kris Travis, and help him make up for the time he missed. Go watch his matches, and tweet him @RealKrisTravis to tell him he's awesome and help him out in his fight against cancer.