Pre-Show: The Dudley Boyz vs. The Ascension vs. Jack Swagger and Mark Henry vs. Darren Young and Damien Sandow- Winner's receive Royal Rumble Spots
The WWE recently announced the match for the Royal Rumble pre-show, a fatal four way tag team match, where the winning duo will receive spots in the Rumble match later, of course as most pre-show matches are, it's a throwaway match, but at least it has an impact on the show later on.
There are no future Rumble winners in this match, so whichever team wins will have very little impact on the shows main event itself, but the fans will at least have a reason to get invested as each 'team' hopes to win a shot in the coveted match.
Using the term tag-team is something that should be done loosely for this match, as only half of the teams are actual regular tag teams, with the other half simply being guys that are thrown together, seemingly for the sake of it.
Mark Henry and Jack Swagger have been put together, likely to play the 'proud American's' team, and there it's very tough to even find a reason to explain why Damien Sandow and Darren Young are all of a sudden a team, but I guess this means that the Prime Time Players no longer exist.
In terms of the match itself, it should be good as there are plenty of good workers involved here, but it could also be a hot mess with so many people being involved, i'd expect a melee of finishers and people being thrown to the outside to lead up to the finish.
WWE likes to have a face win during the pre-show to get the fan's 'excited' heading into the main card itself, and with rumors that this is Henry's final ever Rumble, and the fact that WWE commentary love to play up every big guy that enters a Rumble as a serious threat, makes them the obvious choice, but the Dudley Boyz would also make sense too, as they are arguably the biggest names in this match.
Prediction: Mark Henry & Jack Swagger
United States Championship match- Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Kalisto
Alberto Del Rio will be defending his United States Championship against the former champion (for three whole days) Kalisto, as the Luch Dragon's member evokes his re-match clause at the first stop on the road to Wrestlemania.
The pair began feuding because the original plans of having John Cena battle to take back his title fell through, due to Cena's injury, and with Sin Cara also out of action through injury (just add him to the growing list) it made sense for Kalisto to make the step up.
Kalisto picked up the title on an episode of Monday Night Raw, after a fantastic match and shocked the WWE Universe, becoming a single's champion for the first time in his career, only to lose the belt back to Del Rio later that week on Smackdown.
It quickly became clear that the WWE were simply trying to gain ratings for the blue brand by having a title change take place, but whether that means WWE officials don't have the belief in Kalisto to carry the title will remain to be seen.
The pair have put on several very entertaining matches on the way to this final grubber match, and with this third, and likely final battle being put on a special, both superstars will be looking to pull out all the stops to make this the best of the series, and the in-ring quality will likely be fast paced with plenty of hard kicks and high flying action, so the match will be good.
There is potential for members from the League of Nations to get involved, as Wade Barrett played a crucial role in Del Rio regaining the belt, so it could easily take place again, and as long as Chris Jericho isn't the referee, they might get away with it.
Prediction: Alberto Del Rio
Tag Team Championship match- New Day (c) vs. The Uso's
The New Day have defended their tag team gold (or bronze in this case) against pretty much every team available to them, they have dominated the roster so much that they are now making their rounds a second time, as the Uso's challenge again for the belts.
Last years Slammy award winning, tag team of the year will be hoping that they can capture the belts once again, but New Day, now without Francesco (the trombone) will be out for vengeance.
It seems like the loss of the trombone, broken by Y2J is going to be play an impact in this match, following the 'funeral' of Francesca on RAW, New Day showed a much more violent and aggressive side against their challengers.
With the champions defending their belts for the first time without the trombone, the outcome can only go one of two ways, either the loss will push them on to victory, in a physical and convincing manner, or they will fall apart without it and drop the belts, which some fans have begun to call for to stop the team from becoming stale.
Either way, Xavier Woods just won't be the same without Francesca... RIP.
Prediction: New Day
Diva's Championship match- Charlotte (c) with. Ric Flair vs. Becky Lynch
Charlotte's slow turn from baby face to heel is now in full swing, with her betrayal of best friend and former NXT diva, Becky Lynch and her father Ric Flair helping her to cheat to victories, it's been a change for the better.
Fans are finally starting to care about the talented diva as champion, and the way the WWE has built to this match has seen some good storytelling, with Lynch wanting to now unload on Charlotte after so much frustration.
Charlotte has spent the past several weeks belittling her former friend, but when it came to Lynch challenging her, it would be the Nature Boy who answered the call, accepting the match on his daughters behalf.
Because of his influence in causing this match to take place, it's likely that Flair will attempt to get involved here, as the dirtiest player in the game always has a trick or two up his sleeve, and many fans expect Charlotte to retain until Wrestlemania.
But Lynch had come a long way since the ending of PCB (which has benefited everyone) and would certainly be a popular choice as champion, but perhaps not quite yet, as she still has some improvements to be made.
Intercontinental Championship Last Man Standing match- Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Kevin Owens
The feud between two of WWE's best superstars has been executed very well, and has been the strongest parts of WWE T.V. over the past few months, both men are heading into the match looking strong, and the stipulation suits each of them equally.
Adding the stipulation of Last Man Standing is one that makes perfect sense, as this is feud comes to it's end, the pair absolutely hate each other, so putting them in a situation where they must inflict such damage is a fantastic booking idea.
Having spent the past few weeks brawling, putting each other through tables and generally causing chaos, the stipulation should provide a lot of fun, even in a PG restricted world, and they certainly have the opportunity to steal the show.
Which man wins? That is a very tough question to answer, both are worthy of holding the title, and certainly raise the value of the belt, but whoever comes up short here will not look weak as they have both been booked strong, and will likely give each other a viscous beating.
But if the reports are too be believed, and Kevin Owens is being seen as a candidate to face The Undertaker, then WWE may have booked themselves into a corner, with only one real solution.
Owens can't afford to lose this close to the grandest stage of them all, if he really is going to be the one to take on the legendary Phenom, but having the title would be a waste, as The Undertaker wouldn't be feuding over anything other than the top prize, the answer to the problem ....
30 Man Royal Rumble match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Even though the WWE have put together a reasonably strong card for this years special, it's the main event, the Royal Rumble itself that people are tuning in for, and this year, there's a twist.
For the first time in history, the WWE Championship will be defended inside the 30 man over the top rope Rumble, and Roman Reigns must win the entire match should he hope to walk out as champion.
With the Authority doing everything in their power to bring an end to Reigns and his time as champion, Vince McMahon has stacked the odds against him, not only making him defend the title in the Rumble itself, but placing him as entrant number one, meaning he must literally go through all 29 other guys.
WWE has booked this match with only two clear favorites, despite half hearted attempts to make others seem relevant, and those men are Reigns and Brock Lesnar, who enters the Rumble for the first time since returning to the company.
The two former winners have exchanged spears and F5's over the past two weeks, and will likely eliminate a large bulk of the contenders, and the WWE has placed all their attention on them.
Of course there are several superstars with an outside chance of winning, most notably Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho, but it's highly unlikely that either man is the last one standing at the night's end.
However, with the Rumble brings the potential for surprise entrants, and whilst most are normally former superstars coming in for one final moment in the spotlight, this year there are two rumors who could both have a strong chance of winning the entire match.
AJ Styles, is all but confirmed to be heading WWE's way, he is expected to debut with the company in the coming week, and right now it's appears he will either be in the Rumble, or pop up on RAW the next night, and if Mr.McMahon is feeling like creating the biggest shock in Rumble history, Styles could have an outside shot of winning.
Another contender is the company's COO, Triple H, who hasn't been seen since TLC after Reigns gave him a humongous beat down after capturing the World title, an Reigns has since been warned that The Game wants revenge, what better way than to enter at number 30, and win the title one more time, after all he is certainly going to be competing at Wrestlemania, and this could be the start of his road to the show of immortals.
Prediction: Triple H
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