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January 25, 2014
by Bryne Yancey

Tonight, one of the biggest events in professional wrestling (or “sports entertainment,” if you’re a 69 year-old egomaniacal businessman running on three decades and counting of straight-up denial) takes place at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia: WWE’s Royal Rumble.

In the evening’s main event, 30 men (“WWE Superstars”) will compete in an over-the-top-rope battle royale—this basically means that performers are eliminated when they’re thrown over the top rope of the ring and both of their feet hit the ground. It’s a very simple, often chaotic, always fun match that unlike a lot of contemporary pro wrestling, still leaves a lot to the imagination. Anything can happen, and that’s why it’s one of the most hotly anticipated events on the WWE calendar. It also begins what’s been branded as the Road To Wrestlemania, with the Rumble match winner receiving an opportunity to main event Wrestlemania, the industry’s largest event every year.

In recent years, punk rock and pro wrestling have seen more crossover than ever before. The biggest catalyst for that was the now-departed CM Punk, who, despite being relatively scrawny-looking compared to other WWE Superstars, and despite once appearing in an H2O video, rose to prominence and held the WWE championship for a record 434 consecutive days between 2011 and 2013. He also, in an earlier incarnation of his character, played a bad guy (or “heel”) by being militantly straight edge. It’s just like punk rock in real life!

Punk’s work brought a lot of us back into the product after years away from it. He felt like one of us, and brought something relatable to an otherwise unrelatable product. I’ve met, and subsequently nerded out with, many people in this scene over pro wrestling in recent years and brought a few of them together via the magic of the reply-all email thread to try and predict what will happen at tonight’s Royal Rumble.

THE PANELISTS
Bryne Yancey
Nick Diener, vocals/guitar, The Swellers
Jonathan Diener, drums/vocals, The Swellers
Jeff Berman, guitar/vocals, Divided Heaven
Billy Bollinger, guitar/vocals, Podacter

Mike Davis, guitar/vocals, City Limits

Bryne Yancey: Thanks for being into this. I think it’s gonna be fun.

So let’s start by looking at the entire card which is here.

I’d like to do this roundtable-style, match-by-match, so put your predictions in an email and make sure to hit reply all when you send back. We’ll keep discussing until we get through the entire card. We’ll try to stick to a “what should happen”/“what will happen” format but play it by ear. I’ll go first:

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The New Day vs. Cesaro, Kidd and Rose

Bryne Yancey
What should happen: Cesaro swings all three members of The New Day straight out of the ring and they lose via countout. Tyson Kidd facetimes his cats mid-match. Rose…does something interesting for once.

What will happen: The New Day will jump around a lot and probably pin Cesaro for the victory after hitting him with a shovel first.

Mike Davis
What should happen: Cesaro should airplane spin all of them. At the same time. Rose included. Kidd too. Then swing them all up into the air and give each one the European uppercut of the century before looking into the camera and doing the Beyonce “put a (brass) ring on it” dance. And then the New Day should stop being a stupid gospel choir racist gimmick.

What will happen: Cesaro and Tyson Kidd will get some offense in but something wacky involving a guy in a bunny suit is going to result in one of them losing cleanly. The result is going to be tons of smart marks shaking their heads and trying to explain to their non-wrestling friends what they just witnessed before settling on, “…I don’t know. It’s uh art or whatever.”

Billy Bollinger: I want to like The New Day so bad. Kofi and Xavier are great talents and Big E is a good big man and hilarious when he actually shows a little personality. Dudes are held waaaay down by the ol’ WWE “You black? You must love to dance!” gimmick. Kidd and Cesaro, there’s not much more you can say about these two: total workhorses never given the shot to really connect with the audience. Xavier mentioned something on Monday Night Raw this past week about aggression. FORESHADOWING?! Naaaaah. Not enough “credible” face tag teams in the division. I predict Kidd and Cesaro sneaking a win due to interference from Rose. Kofi surfs with the Rosebuds and they shuck n’ jive their way to a five-minute Raw match on Monday.

Just realized I broke format. I’m a mark for myself.

Nick Diener
What should happen: Tyson and Cesaro dominate, finally come up with their official awesome tag team move (they’ve been testing a few out, I prefer the big swing/drop kick combo), and New Day starts to change their appearance/attitude. It’s early on, but they HAVE to know it’s not working and is silly. Would prefer a “Nation” type vibe!

What will happen: Something involving Adam Rose. I’m not very interested in him in this match, so I’m sure for some reason the match will revolve around him.

Jonathan Diener
What should happen: Tyson and Cesaro take control for most of the match establishing themselves as the true heel/talent tag team. Cheap shots from Adam Rose as expected. New Day bring out some new exciting moves, but based on terrible fan reaction begin to get angrier and like Nick said, get a tougher gimmick. You can only have so many Cenas and Usos with bright colors. The Attitude Era was successful because of the anti-hero aesthetic. Ultimately Tyson and Kidd lose because of Bunny interference, team up with Bunny to beat Rose’s ass and the Bunny reveals himself (mask, not taking off his pants). New heel tag champs in the running against Usos at next PPV.

What will happen: Back and forth between teams. Bunny comes out and distracts Rose for lame ending. New Day stays happy and silly while Kidd/Cesaro don’t get the push they deserve. Continue lame feud instead of getting a shot at the tag belts. Ascension feud with Usos for months.

MD: I love Cesaro, but am just not as sold on Kidd. His heel NXT gimmick is good but like most NXT things it doesn’t translate on the main roster, for me at least.

I hate the idea, at least in this era, of sacrificing great singles talents in the name of “uh, well you could be the Next Great Team.” Mainly because it never works – I think Daniel Bryan in Team Hell No is the last time a guy got over in a tag team, and he’s not exactly a dime a dozen (not including the Shield, obviously. Way different circumstances).

BY: I agree. The tag division is usually a death knell for singles wrestlers. It’s like, “Okay, you’re good in the ring. Now try getting over while sharing the spotlight with this other guy who we have no idea what to do with.” Cesaro’s being wasted there. He was organically over by Wrestlemania last year and they pulled the carpet out from under it for reasons I still can’t explain. Kidd and Cesaro are both so good in the ring that if there were any other interesting tag teams around right now, it’d be exciting. But there aren’t.

MD: I guess I’d take the two of them in a tag match instead of Kidd solely on house shows and Cesaro getting squashed on Smackdown. Instead, we get both of them squashed on Raw.

Jeff Berman: I choose The New Day going over Kidd/Cesaro/Rose. And I’m okay with that…

Cesaro’s time will come. Something tells me he needs to hit the bottom before he ascends for good.

BB: Cesaro post-Mania last year was silly over based solely on the fact that he kicks ass in the ring and swings people around. He does leave a lot to be desired on the mic but that Heyman angle completely ruined the natural reaction. The entire tag division in general leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to actually investing in the characters though. Cesaro and Kidd could be the most evil, technically sound heel team ever but who cares when the only thing you know about your babyfaces is that they are just dudes that “LIKE TO FLY, MAGGLE!”?

Mikey, interesting thought about singles talent getting over in a tag team. I guess the argument could be made for Sandow right now because the crowd absolutely loves him. It remains to be seen if it translates after the split or if they just love seeing him fall on his bum.

MD: Good point with Sandow – but I think a lot of the love for him is the fact that (and I’ve argued this before) the Miz has had the most X-Pac heat since X-Pac himself. Literally everybody in the crowd groans when he’s out there, which is why the Mizdow gimmick is over as much as it is. He owns it, but it ain’t all him.

BY: HEY SPEAKING OF SANDOW

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The Usos vs. The Miz and Damien Mizdow for the WWE tag team championship

What should happen: This is where the seeds for the Miz/Mizdow split/feud will begin to be planted in earnest. There have been hints here and there in recent weeks but pay-per-views (Or Network Events, whatever) are where these stories advance now. I think Miz/Mizdow will be close to regaining the tag titles, and something screwy will happen to give the Usos the win. (It’s too soon to take the belts off them anyway, even though they’re boring). Miz gets pissed, blames and attacks Mizdow.

What will happen: U SO CRAZY, MAGGLE!

JB: I think Miz and Mizdow will go over the Usos and win the straps back. The story and potential split of Miz and Mizdow is hot but should get hotter. I see this story being integral on the next PPV and will eventually lead to Miz vs. Mizdow at WM31.

And for the record, I love The Miz. I loved his WWE Championship run. I thought it was great. He is such a good heel. I love the Hollywood gimmick. Fucking great. And he’s held more gold in his WWE career than most. Credit where credit is due and I enjoy seeing him succeed.

MD: …says the dude from L.A.

BY: I also think Miz is kind of weirdly underrated. Other than like, 2008 Chris Jericho and Straight Edge Society CM Punk, I can’t think of anyone in recent years who’s been as good as getting nuclear heat as him.

BB: I’m gonna do the job and go back to format!

What should happen: Fun, comedic match, plenty of crowd participation (yay/boo chants) with some USO-CRAZY for good measure. Jimmy Uso explodes into a cloud of dust and is inhaled by Jey. An Uso with the strength of two full grown Samoans schoolboys a distracted Miz for the win. Dissension!

What will happen: Exactly this.

You know, I’ve also grown to like the Miz’s heel work. He did have X-Pac heat with me for a long time but it had to be because he’s just that good at having a punchable face being a smug jerk-off. And figure four aside, I don’t think he’s that bad in the ring. He won’t set the world on fire but he can wrestle a solid WWE-style match.

MD: What will happen: The Usos win on account of Miz/dow costing themselves the match. These guys have had a series of decent matches, some of which were very, very good. On a major PPV in front of a hot crowd, I think they will deliver. I don’t think we will get a full breakup of Miz/dow here but it’s the beginning of the end.

What should happen: That. I want the Miz vs. Mizdow match at Wrestlemania, but there’s a PPV in between. I don’t know if Royal Rumble is the show to pull the trigger, but it should be the show they’re loading the gun – especially given that they’re both in the Rumble match. What should not happen under any circumstances is the continuation of a Miz/dow vs. Usos feud. It has run its course. Time to shake up the tag scene.

Re: Miz, I think there’s a difference between the heat he gets versus Jericho or SES Punk (“What was so heel about the Straight Edge Society anyway?” asks the guy who bought a Good Clean Fun 7-inch yesterday). With those guys, I looked forward to them getting their comeuppance. The same is true, in 2015, with Seth Rollins. With Miz, I feel like the heat he generates is pure “get off my TV heat,” regardless of the work he’s doing – which at least we can all agree anything is better than babyface Miz.

And a point on Sandow: I hope this doesn’t go the route of Rhodes Scholars. Both of those guys were over like wildfire (I was at Money In The Bank 2013 live and there were massive pops after each Crossrhodes and a massive boo when Sandow betrayed him) and had one match before they gave up and both guys were buried.

BB: Miz vs. Mizdow would be an awesome opening match for Mania. I see some Rumble match shenanigans to further sew the seeds. If I can armchair book for a second, I’d have Mizdow make a big elimination and have Miz dump him out directly after and take credit for both.

ND: I am strangely a big fan of the Miz, and of course I hate him. I’m just glad it’s not bad heat where I’m tired of him and just want him to go home. He has that awesome kind of heat as such a believable asshole/bad guy. I think Mizdow/Miz will have the straps, but as some of you have been saying, the feud will begin between the two and I’d love to see them face off at WM.

And yes, I think this will happen, not just something I want to see!

(At this point in the email thread, the Diener brothers begin brawling all the way back to the locker room area.)

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Natalya & Paige vs. The Bella Twins

BY: Okay, let’s move to the Divas tag. I have no idea what the storyline is between the Bellas, Paige and Natalya. Maybe someone can fill me in on that.

What should happen: Brie and Natalya brawl to the back, and a singles match between Nikki Bella and Paige happens because they’re probably the best two in-ring performers the Divas division has right now, especially with AJ Lee out. The two of them actually had a really entertaining, long match on a recent episode of (I think) Main Event.

What will happen: Some kind of distraction and rollup finish. I’m guessing Paige and Natalya go over because they’re the faces this week.

BB: What should happen: I’m gonna be honest, i have no clue what’s going on in this angle. something about Paige making Natty think she ate a pot brownie? I think I’m just gonna eat a pot brownie.

What will happen: Hopefully something that leads to putting the strap back on Paige so that her and Natty can enter into a feud and tear the house down.

MD: What should happen: Brie gets kicked in the head and suddenly wakes up from her weird amnesia-like state and remembers that she hates her sister again. Natalya puts them both in the sharpshooter, Paige picks all three of them up and puts them all in the PTO and we all bow down at the throne of our new queen.

What will happen: Bellas dominate, Jerry Lawler makes some sort of creepy googly-eyed comment.

Holy shit, I think you’re right. I’m pretty sure this angle involves a pot brownie of some sort.

JB: What should happen: Paige and Natty should go over, clean. Keeps them looking strong and doesn’t hinder the title around Nikki’s waist. I’d like to see some dissension in the Bella camp that would lead to a Bella vs. Bella match for the title. I like NIkki with the title, she’s a good heel, decent worker and–if done correctly–could have great feuds with AJ, Paige, Natty and Brie. The cliqueiness of the divas division waters down their product.

What will happen: Paige and Natty go over, but without explanation or follow through. Just another divas match lacking meaning and execution, unfortunately.

MD: Nikki really has done exceptional work over the last year or so and the “rack attack” is absolutely badass, despite the silly name. I think I read somewhere that she was trying to model herself after Beth Phoenix and she’s certainly made strides in that effort.

BY: I agree. She’s really good in the ring. Maybe the most improved worker in the company.

BB: Yeah, she’s improved greatly in the ring since last summer. It’s too bad that the “Brie as Nikki’s assistant” angle didn’t die in the womb, though.

BY: I just don’t think WWE knows how to book women’s matches or storylines anymore. Everything has to be a distraction rollup, hair pulling, or whatever, (or the angle is “this woman is a crazy bitch, LOL!”) and it’s a shame because there’s a lot of women in the company who can work and put on good matches if they ever got a real opportunity to do it.

BB: Exactly, the talent is there! The creative end just isn’t. With some of the incredible women on the main roster and the likes of Charlotte and Sasha Banks in NXT, there’s really no excuse for a lack of compelling female-driven stories.

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The New Age Outlaws vs. The Ascension

BY: OK, let’s move on to the Ascension / New Age Outlaws match. I don’t know how I feel about the angle as a whole; but I’m glad that at least JBL consistently burying them on commentary actually led somewhere as opposed to a dead end.

What should happen: The Ascension need to go over here. They looked bad on Raw this week getting beat up by old legends and need their heat back. They also haven’t had a real match on the main roster yet—maybe a veteran team like NOA will be able to hide their flaws and make them look strong.

What will happen: Everyone will suddenly remember that NOA were weird heels/Authority lackeys like, six months ago. The Ascension joins the Authority after the match (a win) and begin chasing the tag titles.

BB: What should happen: The Ascension Pearl Harbor NOA during their entrance. Match never begins. They cut an in-ring promo about how they’re better than any Attitude Era te-BEWWWWWWWWWWW DUDLEY BOYZ.

What will happen: There’s no shovel emoji.

All joking aside, I predict (assuming the damage of constant burial on commentary and weeks of squashing enhancement talent isn’t irreversible) a strong win against The Outlaws declaring The Ascension as a threat in the tag division. From what I’ve seen of them on NXT and in their main roster matches, they’re not that great in-ring, but it is nice to see another old school style team that’s not just two dudes with nothing better to do.

JB: What should happen: The Ascension should become legend killers. They beat the Outlaws and then attack JBL at ringside. Make a statement.

What will happen: The Ascension will go over the Outlaws. It won’t be a squash but it will stern.

Demolition scared the shit outta me as a kid. If you’ve attended a WWE live event recently then you’ll agree…the audience now consists of many young kids. These young fuckers are ripe for the picking. If you can capture their imagination and scare the living shit outta them now they will be WWE followers for life. I hate snakes, scared to death of them. I blame Jake Roberts, seriously. But looking back now I understand that as a wee lad I was drawn to and enamored by the fear Roberts’ character instilled in me and that feeling is one of the best feelings I can get as a fan. Let’s make the Ascension a scary fucking destructive tag team. Let’s make kids cry.

MD: What will happen: Squash in the vein of Shield vs. Outlaws at Wrestlemania 30, though maybe a bit more offense as this may be a bit of a comedown match. Maybe some kind of surprise appearance afterward (see below).

What should happen: The Ascension should just absolutely squash the Outlaws. I’m going to be there live and really want to see the whole “ladies and gentlemen” entrance, so I’m sort of hoping the squash happens after the bell. But I’m OK if not. I love the idea of the Ascension becoming “legend killers,” though I’m still not sold on them. In-ring they’re fine, and they’ve had some good tag matches on NXT (albeit, often being carried by other guys). The whole gimmick is a bit too farfetched for me though: They look like Vince or HHH just started playing Elder Scrolls in 2015. If one of them calls forth a dragon during their match, I will shit a brick.

Billy completely stole my thunder because dear lord the Dudley Boyz are free agents and both are better wrestlers than they were when they were in WWE. The last time I physically “AHHHHHH!!!!!"d at a wrestling return was when WWE announced Rob Van Dam’s return. I thought they Dudleys were going to be TNA lifers but come on, the opportunity is right there in the home of ECW.

BB: Beautifully said, Jeff. I can remember being a little dude having my grandfather show me old tapes of NWA rasslin’ and thinking Muta spitting the green mist at the Stinger was visually striking. That shit’s poison! In recent years, there really hasn’t been any full blown terrifying, convincing bad ass heels and it’d be interesting to see how kids that seem to get desensitized younger and younger take to some real dastardly bastards.

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Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (Triple Threat Match) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

BY: Okay, on to perhaps the most dastardly dude in the company, Seth Rollins, and his match on the undercard.

What should happen: This is really exciting for me as a fan. Now that Rollins is in the match I really have no idea what’s going to happen. I could see any of the three winning and, if the story is told well, it making sense for any of them. Rollins has been so on fire lately that the time seems right to put the strap on him and see what he can do, whether it’s through a clean finish (unlikely) or a loss, followed by a cash-in (more likely). This feels like it should be the end of the Cena/Lesnar story and maybe the Cena/Rollins story too. Those two have had a bunch of great matches in recent months but I think they both could use fresh opponents.

What will happen: A nearly-dead Cena overcomes the odds, knocks Brock out of the ring and pins Rollins due to a distraction of some kind (from Sting, maybe?). Cena celebrates, Rollins comes to his senses thanks to J&J security, Kane and/or HHH, cashes in on Cena, wins the gold. The two have one more title match at Fast Lane with a feud-ending stipulation that if Cena loses, he can no longer challenge for the title as long as Rollins holds it. Rollins goes over. Lesnar returns on an upcoming RAW as a tweener/face and targets Rollins, who’s now a few weeks into his heel champion reign. Cena moves on (to Rusev, maybe?).

BB: What should happen: I’m really torn between seeing a Brock/Daniel Bryan main event at Mania and wanting Seth to walk out with the strap for his work CARRYING Raw on his back for the last few months. There’s an air of uncertainty about this match and I like that. I predict a very physical match between pork sword and Cena while Seth lays back and lets the big brutes wear each other out. Brock getting his hands on Rollins is going to get a Three Mile Island-sized pop and Seth will take some crazy bump. Bork squeezes out a victory over Cena after both of them are taken to the limit and with some Authority nonsense thrown in. Seth will make his move to cash in and Dean Ambrose will ruin the party. Overbooked but will serve its purpose and send everyone full throttle into Mania.

What will happen: BRRRRRR-APPLE DOUGH ✋👋✋👋✋

MD: I was about to respond to Billy, who rightfully called out WWE on its inability to make good dastardly heels. Because Seth Rollins is just absolutely incredible in that role.

What will happen: Lesnar is going to win, but it’s not going to be clean – obviously. Every time I start believing WWE is going to be creative with its Wrestlemania plans, I remember that they had John Cena win the Royal Rumble and The Rock end CM Punk’s 434-day streak as champion so they could have a match (twice in a lifetime). They make a plan and stick to it, barring an absolutely unforeseen and unreal crowd response (like last year re: Daniel Bryan). I think we are going to see a real barnburner of a match, a main event match with the rare ability to steal the show from the freaking Royal Rumble itself. I think Rollins is going to try for a cash-in afterwards but be stopped in his tracks by Cena, Heyman or someone.

What should happen: I am 100% on board with Seth Rollins taking the title here. It’s time. The dude is the best heel in the company since Chris "I knocked out HBK’s wife and caused his lazy eye” Jericho in 2008, and it’s not even close. He is the only dude who could make me overlook the fact that he likes Hit the Lights (can we have a #heelbands roundup?). And from a creative side, there are more than a few awesome stories you can tell with Rollins as champ: Does he win clean and keep the briefcase? Do we see a Shield three-way feud for the belt? How sick would a Rollins/Bryan feud be?

I really don’t think you need to have the title on Lesnar to turn him into an attraction, but I get the idea of “good conquering evil” at Wrestlemania signified by someone conquering the 1 in 21-1.

BB: I could see where you’d think I wasn’t including Rollins in a list of truly dastardly bastards, but he really has excelled. Seth is the heel champion we’ve deserved the last few months. He’s really taken the ball and is running like a madman with it. Putting Dean through cinder blocks and threatening to make Edge never hold his kid again is some real diabolical stuff. He’s a cocky entitled jerk and backs it up in the ring but they always seem to have to remind you that he’s the chickenshit golden boy with The Authority in his back pocket so he’s like a mix of both. Goddamn I love Seth Rollins.

re: #heelbands would pretty much be Seth’s entire iPod.

JB: I second Billy. Seth Rollins is the most enjoyable and entertaining pro wrestler today. At first, his inclusion into this match seemed flat, perhaps I felt he was unworthy. But not now. He belongs, he’s proven he belongs and he should win the strap sooner than later.

What will happen: Lesnar goes over both men and he wins by pinning Rollins. Cena stays looking strong, Rollins hangs with the big names just fine. Lesnar goes on to WM.

What should happen: Lesnar should go over, clean, on Cena. Why?

I keep having to remind myself of Lesnar’s significance in wrestling history; he beat the Streak. The Streak…with a capital fucking S.

Paul Heyman (who we can all agree is a genius) said something very poignant last summer in regards to Lesnar. I’m paraphrasing, but he stated there have been 44 WWE Champions and there have been 44 Presidents of the United States. Saying you want to become WWE Champion is like saying you’re running for the Presidency. There is only one Streak. Saying you’re going to beat the Streak and then actually doing it is like saying you’re going to become god and actually doing it. (I believe this was an interview with Ariel Helwani, worth YouTube-ing). Lesnar became god.

I can’t sit comfortably in a Streak-broken world if the destroyer of said Streak is dethroned by pin, screwjob or cash-in. Not yet, it’s just too soon.

I think Lesnar will eventually and inevitably put over the Rumble winner and I hope it’s done tactfully regardless of whether it’s Reigns, Cena, Bryan or anyone else.

(Nick Diener returns from the back, sweaty, bloodied up, shirt strangely missing.)

ND: Sorry I didn’t weigh in on the Divas:

What will happen: They all look so so so so pretty.

What should happen: Period/menstruating should come into the storyline, because of Paige’s recent comment to TMZ about how her period makes her more aggressive. Gross. But I wouldn’t put it past WWE creative.

JB: Thanks, Nick, for helping this discussion FLOW along. Heyyyyyyyy oooo.

BY: Dudes making period jokes. I think it’s time for us to move on to the Royal Rumble match.

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What should happen: Daniel Bryan should win, as predictable as it may seem. It continues the story of his road back from injury to the top of the card, and though Roman Reigns is getting better every week, Bryan is roughly 10,000 times more talented and more over with the fans at this point.

What will happen: I have a feeling the final four will be Bryan, Reigns, Ziggler and Ambrose. Kofi Kingston will do some sort of crazy spot. The commentators will marvel at Big Show’s size and wonder aloud how anyone can eliminate him right before someone easily eliminates him. The WWE will have Reigns win, the fans will revolt at the choice, and they’ll turn him heel the same way they turned Batista last year, which could actually be the best thing for him.

BB: What should happen: They can’t flub this two years in a row, right? Daniel Bryan draws number one and DEFIES THE ODDS. Brock and D-Bry literally writes itself. The ultimate underdog and the man who never really lost his championship vs. the indestructible, part-time monster brought in for BUSINESS, the 1 in 21-1, the beaaaaast. Dean and Seth do a double elimination spot, and brawl to the back solidifying their spot at the grandaddy of ‘em all! Dolph and Wade Barrett will probably start a program together. Remember that Kofi spot I joked about earlier where he surfs on the Rosebuds? It happens here. Orton makes a return before #10. Sheamus around #27. One of those two will most likely get attached to Bray Wyatt. It will be underwhelming and sad. The Bunny is your gimmick entrant. nostalgia pop for RVD….fuck it, we’re in Philly…RVD with Bill Alfonso!! Who am I kidding? None of this makes Roman look strong.

Completely silly predictions that I’d mark out for but will definitely not happen: SANDMAN; Rusev eliminates Cena and they have a good ol’ fashioned hogan/slaughter ‘Merica match for the Vladimir Putin championship belt at Mania; Triple H enters himself at 29, Harper at 30, they’ll get that Bryan kid yet!; Haitch comes out, spits everywhere. 30 hits, camera cuts to the back and Harper is laid out. Sting takes his spot. Jesus Christ.

What will happen: D-Bry enters at #1, has a great showing and gets pulled out by Kane. They brawl to the back, up Broad St. and into the abyss. Kevin Nash is your nostalgia pop and all you can think about is his banana hammock from Magic Mike. Roman Reigns enters around the mid 20s and SOMEHOW eliminates BEEG SHOW because, you know, that’s never happened before. Roman looks STRONG and goes to Mania to get the rub from Cena. Smark rage consumes the city of Philadelphia as Vince rubs his hands together like a cartoon villain. You’re still gonna watch on Monday.

JB: Sorry Bryne, I couldn’t resist.

What should happen: I agree that Daniel Bryan is the right choice. He’s over with the fans and the closest thing to a ‘face’ the company has next to Cena. During his absence from the ring he increased his celebrity profile (celebrity couples lists, SF Giants World Series stuff, Make A Wish, etc.) and represents the company very well. He is the people’s champion. I hope they give the people what they want. I’m rooting for him!

What will happen: Call it blind faith, call it stupidity, call it naivete or simply hope…but I think Bryan will win it and go on to WM and face Lesnar. This is Bryan’s era and he should punctuate this chapter with a RR win. Also, I find it hard to believe that WWE will push Reigns to the top spot before he’s ready. Batista could handle the top spot but nobody wanted him there. Reigns isn’t wanted there and he’s not ready, although I feel he will be eventually.

For shits and giggles I am adding my own extra prediction. We’ll call it a longshot….

Undertaker surprise entrant in the Rumble, wins and rematches Lesnar at WM.

Thanks guys! It’s been fun and hope to see you all on the road this year.

(Jonathan Diener suddenly reappears from the back, his ribs taped and his face swollen.)

JD: Just mention me saying really cool shit in between. Sorry I couldn’t keep up.

Also I know Reigns will win the Rumble. Lesnar will win the main event. Drag everything out until Wrestlemania where Reigns wins the belt and becomes snorecore champion. Then hopefully one day Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, Bray and more exciting people get a shot against a champion who actually shows up.

MD: What will happen: It’s clear they are trying to make this the dawn of the Roman Reigns era. I don’t think he’s really earned that spot until his in-ring performance gets a bit more complete and Vince stops giving him Looney Tunes promos. However, I’d rather have them swing and miss with Reigns than revert back to the same old shit. If they want to push Reigns to the moon, I’m OK with it – provided they help get him over as a real character, not a cartoon character. I think you’re going to see Reigns/Lesnar at Mania and hopefully they can sell it to the high heavens cause Lord knows Reigns is going to get booed out of every arena if he’s the one to knock Bryan over the top rope. For my final four, I’ll say Reigns / Bryan / Barrett / Wyatt.

What should happen: One of two scenarios – Scenario one: Daniel Bryan gets the Rumble win he should have had last year and goes on to have a match of the century at Wrestlemania, likely against Lesnar. From there, you can have fun because Rollins will still (theoretically) have the briefcase.

Scenario two: Rollins wins the title at Rumble, Reigns wins the Rumble involving some screwy finish with Ambrose. We pray to the spirits of Owen, Eddie and Andre and we get a triple threat match between Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 31 – a Shield three-way for the belt. I cry tears of joy.

Good times, folks. This was so nerdy and awesome. I hope we don’t scare the Runout squares too much.

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