While there is a big game coming up in a few weeks that people like to wager on, another event is taking place this Sunday which will have plenty of highs and lows itself, especially for those with a rooting interest.
That is the WWE Royal Rumble featuring the annual 30 person over-the-top-rope extravaganza, entering at timed intervals with the last one standing getting a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the showcase of the immortals, WrestleMania XXX.
Yeah, it’s a big deal.
It’s also a big deal and a real fun one for those watching at home. And there are plenty of people – myself included – that take part in a Royal Rumble pool with a couple of Monopoly bucks on the line. Everyone picks their number before the match and then waits in anticipation to see if you get a real contender or The Brooklyn Brawler.
The look on someone’s face when they are hoping for John Cena but instead get Gillberg with one of their numbers is priceless.
With the Rumble just days away, here are my standing odds for this year’s participants. Note: I am taking a few liberties because the entire 30-superstar field has not been announced and I am taking some liberties with who else I think will be included.
THE SANTINO MARELLA AWARD (WITH A NOD TO THE WARLORD)
This goes to the person who will be in the Rumble the shortest time with Santino holding the record of one whole second before being dumped over the top rope, breaking The Warlord’s seemingly unbreakable record of two seconds before elimination. While he is not officially one of the participants right now (and mysteriously disappeared from the WWE list earlier in the week) Barrett is the perfect guy for this spot. I’ve got some bad news for him: he’s not going to be getting a title shot at WrestleMania XXX.
Odds: 1000 – 1
THE “AT LEAST WE ARE IN THE ROYAL RUMBLE AND GET A PAYDAY OUT OF IT” GROUP
It’s an honor just to be one of thirty people to be in the Royal Rumble right? Well, for some it is. Let’s be honest, for most people in the match they really have no chance at winning it. But that doesn’t mean they can’t put on a good show while you’re out there. So here are the longest of shots
Sorry rookie, not your time.
Odds: 500 – 1
Maybe he can sell some of his CD’s to fans at the show.
Odds: 400 – 1
Not awesome – for him at least.
Odds: 400 – 1
THE “WE HAVE A LITTLE BETTER CHANCE BUT NOT REALLY” GROUP
Yep, he’s still with the WWE although he haven’t seen him outside of NXT in two years. So it’s time for the big return!
Odds: 300 – 1
I just hope that Zeb Colter doesn’t break out Shoo Baby to punish him for not winning.
Odds: 300 – 1
Dance on in and dance on out. Remember, you still have Summer Rae.
Odds: 300 – 1
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan
They’ve definitely a good tag-team they have a higher purpose and that’s protecting the figurehead of the Wyatt Family. At least they’ll be home in time to catch up on Duck Dynasty or Swamp People.
Odds: 300 – 1
Jimmy and Jey Uso
A fantastic tag-team and could easily be in the line for the titles in the near future.
Odds: 300 – 1
Kofi has stamped his mark several times in the Royal Rumble using his athleticism to escape elimination.
I’m sure he’ll come up with something again this year but that will be his legacy here.
Odds: 300 – 1
THE FEEL GOOD STORY
Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Jake has been wanting this for a long time. He was absolutely giddy about his return to Raw a few weeks ago and this would be a dream come true for him after so many years of fighting addiction. I say give him his moment, let him DDT someone in the middle of the ring. Fans will eat it up and Jake will appreciate it.
Odds: 250 – 1
THE “IT WOULDN’T BE TOTALLY CRAZY BUT STILL NOT HAPPENING” GROUP
Another big return! Unfortunately he was sidelined for a while following a concussion and has been cleared to the ring. We haven’t seen him though as WWE tried to come up with something creatively for him. I’m not saying that Christian should be a world title contender but he is a great talent and should have a good mid-card role.
Odds: 150 – 1
Goldust and Cody Rhodes
The brothers will be busy this night, first defending the tag-team titles against the New Age Outlaws and then trying to land a championship match by winning the Rumble. With rumors that they could square off against one another at WrestleMania, I could see a scenario where the lose the tag belts and then one of them costs the other in the Rumble to set up a match. My personal preference would be to keep them together as tag champs and continue to anchor the division for months to come.
Odds: 150 – 1
Here’s a guy that seems to get close to taking the next step (having great matches with John Cena) and then having to put over The Great Khali. He’s getting there but it’s baby steps for now.
Odds: 100 – 1
Another guy who is not officially in the match but it would make sense that he be in there to fill the quota. Originally, I thought about including several surprise returns like Rob Van Dam and Chris Jericho which could happen but chose not to. Cesaro is definitely a guy that deserves a shot to stand out on his own and come out of the Rumble looking great. Get him out of the Real Americans team and push him. And who doesn’t want to see him Giant Swing someone. Here’s a suggestion: Jake “The Snake”. Or not.
Odds: 100 – 1
THE “WE’RE GETTING TO THE GUYS WHO HAVE A REAL CHANCE” GROUP
A former Royal Rumble winner back in 2006 and still holds the record for the longest time in a single Rumble clocking in at 1:02:12. That seems like a long time ago now but he still has to be considered a dark horse.
Odds: 50 – 1
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose
It almost seems like they are the other two guys of The Shield with Roman Reigns getting so much attention these days. I think both of them will be the workhorses of this match and try to keep it together. Even though they have already said that no matter what happens at the Rumble they will still be a tight group afterwards, we know that is wrestling talk for “prepared for the split to begin”. But I can see either of them as singles stars in the coming years.
Odds: 30 – 1
Big E. Langston
The current Intercontinental Champion has been impressive, especially over the last few months. It looks like things will continue to get better for him in 2014 and then him becoming a world champion in 2015. He’s close.
Odds: 20 – 1
THE “WE HAVE A REAL CHANCE IF SOMEONE SLIPS OUT OF THE RING” GROUP
Alberto Del Rio
Yes, I am putting Del Rio in this group. Say what you will about him but WWE still plans on keeping him at least near the top of the card. And he definitely has a feud both in and out of the ring brewing with Batista who is a made man in the company. I could see a scenario where he wins the Rumble only to lose his title shot before WrestleMania. Unlikely but possible. What might be more possible is he and Batista shooting on one another in the ring in the near future. Book it!
Odds: 15 – 1
Yet another big return! This really wolud be a big return with Sheamus out since last August following surgery for a torn labrum in his shoulder following a brutal bump at last year’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view. He has also revealed that his other shoulder was banged up too although it didn’t require surgery.
Sheamus won’t come back until he is 100% and doesn’t want to risk further injury. The timetable works and he could be healthy enough for a return here. If that’s the case, he’ll get a good run in the match and will be back in the main event picture soon enough. Hopefully a heel turn as well – funny Sheamus doesn’t work for me.
Odds: 10 – 1
It makes sense that he would be in this match with Harper and Rowan there to watch his back. I have no idea what the plan is for WrestleMania with Wyatt but one of the rumors has been a match with John Cena. If that were to happen, he would need a strong showing in the Rumble. I don’t see that match happening but WWE has something in the Wyatt Family and people look at him as a credible threat here.
Odds: 7 – 1
Punk has a long night ahead of him as the number one entrant in the match. The most likely scenario for him is that he gets screwed in this match with either The Shield ganging up on him or maybe Kane observing at ringside and pulling down the ropes with Punk helplessly flying over and to the floor. Punk has never won the Royal Rumble and I don’t see it happening here. I do see him in a big match against Triple H at WrestleMania XXX though.
THE FINAL FOUR
While everyone always tries to guess the winner, the true I-really-think-I know-what-is-going-on person guesses the final four of the Royal Rumble. Here’s my best stab at it.
You can tell that the WWE has big plans for Reigns when the time comes that he splits from The Shield. It just depends on when exactly that happens. He already has a devastating spear that is putting away opponents left and right. And now he has added an incredible Superman punch to his arsenal like the one he did to Cody Rhodes on Raw this past Monday which almost put him on dream street sitting next to the “American Dream” baby.
Still, it’s not his time for the win here. My guess is he breaks Kane’s record of 11 eliminations in the Rumble and it one of the big talking points of the match.
Odds: 5 – 1
Yes, the Beast Incarnate is not listed for the match but I can easily see him pulling double duty especially since Paul Heyman has expressed that his client has his sights on the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Lesnar being included in the match would add some major juice to it and another true threat to being the last man standing.
Odds: 4 – 1
Yep, another guy who is not included in the match as it stands right now. But everyone wants to see him in it. YES! And just about everyone wants to see him win it. YES!
WWE has already given the people want they want (shout out to Jalen Rose) and switched course with Bryan, taking him out of the Wyatt Family after the monster response he continued to get from the live audience at their shows. Or even from people attending non-WWE events like what happened at the recent Michigan State – Ohio State game. YES!
It seems like a no-brainer that Bryan should at least be in the match and even make it to the end. While I could easily make a case that he should win, YES! and then go on to beat either Randy Orton or John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX YES!, I’ll say he comes close but isn’t able to stand alone. NO!
Odds: 3 – 1
Yes, the Animal is the odds-on-favorite to win the Royal Rumble. That’s no surprise and it really shouldn’t be either. It sure looks like the plan has been for him to return in time to win the Rumble and then square off against former Evolution member Orton at Mania. While Daniel Bryan – and especially his legion of fans – have tried to throw a monkey wrench into those plans, my guess is that Batista still comes out a winner. And then sporting skinny jeans on Raw bragging about his win.
Odds: 2 – 1