This Sunday, it’s the 2014 WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view headlined by Randy Orton against John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and the annual Royal Rumble match with the winner earning a title shot at WrestleMania XXX. Here are the match predictions from the Between The Ropes staff.
WWE Tag Titles: Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. New Age Outlaws
Brian Fritz: It’s funny that Goldust and Cody Rhodes are the anchor of what has become a pretty good tat-team division in the WWE but you can easily see them splitting up which would lead to a long-rumored match against one another at WrestleMania. If they do split, I can even see the Outlaws winning the titles but only holding them for a short time before passing them on to another team like the Usos. I’ll go against all of that though and say the brothers stay together a while longer and get the win.
Michael Wiseman: Good to see that the New Age Outlaws can earn a title shot by only competing in three matches (one of which they blatantly walked out of). My issue here is not that Road Dogg and Billy Gunn are competing at this level – I think they’ve both shown by now that “they’ve still got it” – but more that they’re essentially serving in curtain-jerk duty. WWE should feed off the nostalgia a little more and put them in an actual FEUD for the WWE Championship. And perhaps that’s where we’re headed. But for now, Rhodes Brothers to retain.
Steve Muehlhausen: This is a match I didn’t think we would ever see especially considering we are in 2014. Still don’t see how the Outlaws are getting a title opportunity considering they only beat the champs in one non-title match, but so have other teams. Anyways, this match will be better than people think especially with the Rhodes brothers in it. Speculation has been rampant that the brothers will break up and that is a bad idea. Don’t think WWE decides not to do that. Rhodes brothers retain.
Daniel Bryan vs Bray Wyatt
Brian: Everyone believes that this match will be at least good because it includes Bryan which is true. This is an opportunity for Wyatt to step up and show what he has in a big singles match. If Bryan wins, that could mean the end of this feud but I’ll go with Wyatt to get the victory in a slight surprise which would open the door to Bryan not only being in the Rumble match but possibly being the last man standing.
Michael: This match has the potential to be surprise of the night – it all depends on whether or not Bray Wyatt can shake off his green edges and show some decent mat skills. I’m glad to see that Bryan is still involved in something noteworthy after his main event fallout. So I’m going to pick him for the victory here. Daniel Bryan needs a big win to keep his momentum going, and Bray Wyatt has yet to suffer a devastating loss since his debut last Summer. If Bryan does win, however, it probably spells doom for his Rumble chances later in the night.
Steve: This match is happening a month earlier than I thought it would. Bryan joined the Wyatt’s in an ill-fated heel turn on the final Raw of 2013 and was smartly turned back to a face about two weeks ago. This match should be good because Bryan is in it and Wyatt is a very underrated worker. This is a huge match for Wyatt because if you have a bad match with Bryan, then you won’t make it. I’m going with Wyatt here as he desperately needs a win here and I see bigger things for Bryan later in the show.
Brock Lesnar vs. The Big Show
Brian: While Big Show got to toss around Lesnar on Raw, this match is about the Beast Incarnate getting a decisive win against the giant. No fluke wins, no interference, no getting tossed around for ten minutes and then connecting on an F5 out of nowhere for the pin. This needs to be Lesnar showing that anyone standing in his way will get taken out and that’s what we will get here. He has an agenda and that is the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. But in reality, it looks to be a match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX as he looks to end the Dead Man’s streak.
Michael: Listen up, 2003, you finally got what you always wanted: a Big Show/Brock Lesnar feud. This whole thing just reeks of last minute place keeping. I guess I’m supposed to feel threatened by Big Show’s size, but when we’ve seen Brock Lesnar dominate similar opponents, including Mark Henry (which, for the record, is a feud I would feel much more vested in), then the stick walls built around this storyline start to crumble. There’s no way Brock Lesnar loses here – and I have my doubts it going to be a match worth remembering. Oh well.
Steve: This match is going to be better than people think here. The buildup has been really solid and the match will be no different. Lesnar needs the win here as he has big things laying ahead of him going forward. Going with Lesnar by devastation.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton vs John Cena
Brian: It would make total sense for Cena to win here and would make a lot of people happy. Not because people are clamoring for another Cena title run. It’s because that could signal a match against Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania. We’ve already seen the plan change when it comes to Bryan, pulling him out of the Wyatt Family after just two weeks. Could we see another change? I’m hoping for it but I don’t think it will happen. Instead, they will still with the original gameplan with Orton getting the win. And yes, that will be two straight months where Cena has lost in the main event of a pay-per-view. Hopefully he can recover.
Michael: Sorry, Cenation… John Cena is NOT going to be your next WWE World Heavyweight Championship. It simply isn’t going to happen. I think if Vince McMahon (and therefore creative) wanted John Cena as their leading champion, then he would have “conquered the odds” and overcame the obstacles at TLC. As it stands, this whole thing is just a ruse to make the WWE Universe hate Orton just a little bit more. Will he cheat to win? Probably. Am I starting to dig his character again? For sure. But Cena has other plans for ‘Mania.
Steve: Still trying to figure out how Cena gets a rematch here, as I would have went with another guy here if you want to make Orton look strong. The buildup has been blah except for the attack on Cena’s father almost two weeks ago. No one is interested in the match due to the fact of who the champion is. Rumors have stated that Orton will be the champion heading to WrestleMania, but I don’t know how they can considering he isn’t a draw in any sense. The match should be ok and I’m going with Cena to get the win and become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
The Royal Rumble
Brian: In my “Odds for the 2014 WWE Royal Rumble” column, I listed Batista as the favorite at 2 – 1. There is a reason he was brought back now: to win the Rumble and challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX. Following the big ratings that Raw did on Monday night for his return, who can say that’s the wrong choice. Personally, I’d like to see Daniel Bryan get the win which would make for a better story and let Batista chance the title a little longer, possibly turning heel along the way. But the plan has been for ‘The Animal’ to win here so I’ll stick with that.
Michael: Wow, my chances of being right here just went down to approximately 1 in 30 (less if you consider that I don’t know all the surprise entrants yet). But that’s okay, because I feel pretty confident in my pick: Dave Batista. It’s obvious WWE wants to capitalize on his recent, and future, film success. So this is essentially Vince McMahon’s substitute Dwayne Johnson for Wrestlemania 29. They brought him back as a face to feud with the obvious Randy Orton, and set up the big “Evolution vs Evolution” payoff at ‘Mania where Triple H (and possibly Ric Flair?) has a direct stake in who wins. I’m not really excited about the prospect. Batista SHOULD be a heel – it’s where his best promo work lies. Unfortunately, Vinnie Mac loves his genetic wonders, and Dave falls directly under that “more size = more ratings” equation that everybody seems to think works so well. I wish this were Bryan (who, btw, would be my #2 pick). The rest of my top five: (#3) Brock Lesnar, (#4) Roman Reigns (#5) uh.. The Undertaker?
Steve: I know the popular pick here is Batista to win the match. Yes the rating was good for Raw especially in the opening hour, but let’s remember here that it was only one week and that was expected considering the hype of his return. Batista stated to Randy Orton on last week’s Raw that he came back to be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. If that was a program your going with for Mania, you don’t do that segment right out of the shoot.
I’m going with Daniel Bryan. When your getting national and worldwide attention for what you are doing, you have something there. Is Bryan a star? Yes! Has he been miscast? Yes! Will he win The Royal Rumble? Yes!