Hey y’all! It’s that time of the year again — we’re on the road to the road to Wrestlemania! Being that the Royal Rumble match is one of my favorite things about pro wrestling, I like to think that I have an entry level understanding on to how to book one. Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be exploring different scenarios and outcomes for the 30th Rumble match. Noticeably absent from this mock up is the Boogeyman, and for that I apologize. Nevertheless, hope you enjoy!
Entrant #1 – Seth Rollins
Out first, because the Authority are a bunch of crooks, is gonna be their old golden boy Seth Rollins. If he wants Triple H, he’s gonna need to win the rumble, beat Kevin Owens at WrestleMania, AND then you know he’ll get Triple H after that because Triple H won’t be at WrestleMania because he’s a coward!
In all seriousness though, if you look back over the years, there’s a certain formula for what goes into making a Royal Rumble match. The numbers 1 and 2 are usually reserved for guys who are a big name, capable of setting/maintaining a pace for the match, and they usually will last a while.
Entrant #2 – Dean Ambrose
One of the things you’ll notice if you look back at Rumbles of yesteryear is that the #1 and #2 are also reserved for a neat matchup between two competitors. In 2007, we saw legends Ric Flair and Finlay start us off. 2008 opened up with the two finalists from the year before in Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. Other years saw indy darlings CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, former teacher and student Miz and Alex Riley, and even more indy darlings CM Punk and Seth Rollins kick things off.
Bearing that in mind, this mini Shield reunion is a great way to kick things off. Plus, this way, we get a little SmackDown vs. Raw out of this as well. In this case, regardless of whatever weird booking decisions made earlier in the night, these two gentlemen will be more than capable of getting the crowd hot for the next hour.
Entrant #3 – James Ellsworth
It’s no secret, or maybe it is, that the 3rd spot usually has the shortest stay in the Rumble. AJ switched things up last year, as did CM Punk in 2010, and Ric Flair in ’92 when he won.
In this case, Ellsworth is a perfect fit to fill that #3 role. Despite our semi-Shield reunion that’s already in the ring, Ellsworth is the type of character that’ll try to work with his old pal Dean and get him to turn on Seth. I’m sure we’ll get a fun moment out of Dean and Seth reuniting for a second to end this Chinderella story well before midnight.
Elimination – James Ellsworth by Dean/Seth
Entrant #4 – Rusev
In 2015, Rusev lasted 35 minutes, so trust that he can hold is own. Unlike Ellsworth, he’ll actually be able to take it to the former Shield members.
Entrant #5 – Jack Gallagher
WWE often calls the Rumble it’s All-Star Game. By that logic, the 2017 edition of the match, should feature at least one all-star cruiserweight! My previous drafts of this match had Cedric as the Cruiserweight who would be featured in this match, but Gallagher seems to be the most over wrestler under 205 pounds. Expect him to do some assorted, World of Sport shenanigans with Rusev. Any interactions that Gallagher has with Ambrose or Rollins will be a hoot and a half.
Entrant #6 – Goldberg
Similar to AJ last year, WWE should have Goldberg out sooner rather than later because; A) Goldberg chants will persist until he’s out there // B) He and Brock can have their hoss fight happen early in the match so as to not hijack the rest of the match.
His entrance will probably take up most of the 90 seconds in between he and the next entrant. When Bill finally does get the ring, expect him to spear everyone and their mother out of their shoes. Rusev’s taken a jackhammer before, so why not again?! Unfortunately, this will spell the end of the Extraordinary Gentleman. So after tallying up one elimination, it’s time for Goldberg to go out of the ring and celebrate with his shirtless son again, right?
Elimination – Jack Gallagher by Goldberg
Entrant #7 – Heath Slater
Heath Slater’s a throwaway here, or is he? Imagine a scenario in which Slater tries to forge an alliance with Goldberg because, Bill’s got a kid, and hell Heath has kids! Think of it as a neat parallel to the Brock + Heath interaction where Brock didn’t give a shit about Heath’s kids. It would be really neat if that alliance panned out, but expect Slater to be NEXT on Goldberg’s list of eliminations.
Elimination – Heath Slater by Goldberg
Entrant #8 – Kofi Kingston
Kofi Kingston is a logical fit here because he can do his near-elimination early with Goldberg and steer clear from the ring until Goldberg and Brock tear each other limb from limb.
Rusev will try to get one over on Bill with a cheap shot. He’ll land one of those superkicks and make an attempt to dump Goldberg out of the match, but no such luck! It’ll take more than just one super kick to eliminate The Myth. Rusev’s in trouble, Goldberg is just about to eliminate him until —
Entrant #9 – Brock Lesnar
YUP! Let’s get this out of the way fast! Goldberg’s been in this match for just over four minutes which is twice as long as his last match. Imagine the visual though, Goldberg is focused on tossing out Rusev, and the intro to Brock’s music sees Goldberg throw Rusev aside, Rusev weasel out of the ring and for Goldberg to get set for this third showdown with the Beast Incarnate.
Brock gets in the ring, Goldberg is ready to fight, Rusev hops up on the apron to distract him, now Brock takes advantage of the distraction throws Goldberg from the ring. That’s right, 0 physical contact between the two because we’re saving all that for WrestleMania!
Goldberg is all upset, his son’s upset, Goldberg’ll spear Rusev through the barricade.
Goldberg is a face, so we can’t have him go back in and throw Brock out of the ring, but Seth + Dean who have both had a number of problems with Brock can team up and toss him out of the ring so Brock and Bill can brawl on the outside. Security is gonna try to break them up, but NICE TRY!
Eliminations: Goldberg by Brock Lesnar + Brock Lesnar by Dean + Seth
Entrant #10 – Tye Dillinger
Our second surprise (Gallagher counts as the first) of the evening. If there’s ever a crowd to have Tye Dillinger debut in front of, it’s going to be at a big four show and in a match that has a lot of numbers! The Perfect 10’s out at 10.
While he’s doing his thing in the ring, expect Lesnar and Goldberg to finish whatever it is that they’re doing to set up their Mania match.
We’re a third of the way through, so let’s recap as to who is still in the match: Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Rusev, Kofi Kingston, and Tye Dillinger
Entrant #11 – Luke Harper
The match is pretty face-heavy, so Luke Harper provides a some figurative and literal heel action because someone’s gonna get big-booted to hell.
Entrant #12 – Kalisto
Kalisto joins the match at #12 to keep things exciting. Rusev’s return to the ring can serve as the cutoff to Kalisto’s offense. I’m very much into the idea of Luke Harper and Rusev alliance at this point in the match.
Entrant #13 – Xavier Woods
Xavier Woods coming in at #13 makes things pretty exciting because now we’ve got two members of the New Day AND two members of the Shield in the ring, so it’s lit. Shield and New Day brawling should be the focus of the next ninety seconds. Good thing I made mention of Harper and Rusev forging that alliance, because they’ll serve as the folks to try and stick it to both of these big teams.
Entrant #14 – Dolph Ziggler
@HEELZiggler is most certainly a heel. Expect him to go straight after Kalisto and be all aggressive, cause that’s what he’s doing now. Ziggler will dump Kalisto from the ring and be all show off-y about it.
Elimination: Kalisto by Dolph Ziggler
Entrant #15 – Sami Zayn
We’re halfway into this Royal Rumble match and it’s time for things to get a little generic! Last year, he returned/debuted to the main roster in this match. Pretty excited at the prospect of a Zayn-Dillinger sequence.
Being that we’re halfway, let’s recap once more: Rollins, Ambrose, Rusev, Kingston, Dillinger, Harper, Woods, Ziggler, and Zayn.
Entrant #16 – Jinder Mahal
For this first draft I wanted to leave this spot to the Golden Truth for some shenanigans, but I realized I only had a handful of heels in the match so I had to throw Jinder in the mix. Mr. Mahal can go aid his pal Rusev and they can heel things up for a bit.
Entrant #17 – Baron Corbin
The Lone Wolf is the 17th entrant in this match, and expect him to stick around until the end. He’s been built up very well the last few months, and a lengthy stay in the Rumble will keep that momentum rolling. At this point, we should see Corbin toss Dillinger from the ring to get him some heat.
Elimination: Tye Dillinger by Baron Corbin
Entrant #18 – Big E
The third member of the New Day joins the fray. Expect the longest reigning tag team champions in history to start start dominating this match, and they’ll do so by getting rid of Jinder Mahal and Rusev.
Eliminations: Jinder Mahal and Rusev by The New Day
Entrant #19 – The Miz
Let me take a second right here to acknowledge that I feel the Miz would win this match if it weren’t for all these heel champions already because this dude is on fire. Expect him to go straight after the man who beat him for the Intercontinental Championship, Dean Ambrose. Seth will likely provide a helping hand and an elimination tease for The Miz, but he’s The Miz so he’ll slip right out of the ring and do Miz things.
Entrant #20 – Apollo Crews
Two-thirds of the way through this match, Apollo Crews is smiling at the thought of headlining WrestleMania! Apollo is gonna do what he does and be all impressive. He’ll even tease an elimination on Dolph, but not yet!
Since we’re at another multiple of five, let’s recap: Rollins, Ambrose, Kingston, Harper, Woods, Ziggler, Zayn, Corbin, E, The Miz, and Crews.
Entrant #21 – Bray Wyatt
Bray’s here. Harper and Wyatt are about to go on a tear. Sami Zayn had a fun little stay, but he can’t stand up to those damn Wyatt’s. At this time, Bray and Luke will throw Kofi over the ropes, and we’ll tease one more near-elimination that’ll require Big E and Xavier to help, but it’ll go horribly wrong due to a miscommunication and Kofi’s gone! Editor’s note: WHERE IS THE BOOKED KOFI SPOT?!
Big E and Xavier will fight to avenge their fallen friend. Wyatt’s should have the upper hand because Bray is four minutes fresher than the former Mr. Langston. OH and let’s not waste this opportunity to do a New Day vs. Shield vs. Wyatt’s sequence. HOOT.
Eliminations: Sami Zayn and Kofi Kingston by Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper
Entrant #22 – Chris Jericho
I’d like nothing more than Chris Jericho to descend from the shark cage into the ring, but it’s pretty unlikely. Jericho’s in good position coming out at #22, he just might win it!
He’ll try to eliminate Rollins, but Dean’s there, and Dean owes him like a million dollars so they’ll address that with a fun sequence. Dean will have Jericho on the ropes, but Miz will come back to the ring and pull Dean over to aid Jericho. Miz and Jericho teaming up through the later stages of this rumble = SIGN ME UP!
Elimination: Dean Ambrose by The Miz
Entrant #23 – Kane
Would it be a Royal Rumble without Kane? Chokeslams for everyone, fam. He’ll go after Harper and Wyatt and try to eliminate one of them for a bit.
Entrant #24 – Randy Orton
Orton will come all thundering in to save his fam. Once he knocks Kane off, he’ll drop him with an RKO. And then some more people with RKOs. Wyatt fam in full force so RIP Apollo Crews. You know what, while they’re at it, RIP Xavier Woods. Can anyone stop these guys or naw?
Eliminations: Apollo Crews and Xavier Woods by The Wyatt Fam
Entrant #25 – Finn Balor
WOAAAAAAAHHH! The demon’s in the house. He might’ve told ESPN he won’t be back, but he is! Balor never lost his championship and he’s probably owed a rematch, but what a better way to make him look strong than to have him tear up this Royal Rumble. ZIGGLER – GONE!
Wyatt Fam’s gonna take it to Finn, probably work that damn shoulder and make him second guess coming back early for the sake of being a surprise. Balor is fresh and the Wyatt’s aren’t all that close guys! Expect Harper to try for a big boot but Finn to duck it and Randy to eat it. Randy’s IED is going to flare up and then Finn will have enough time to take advantage of this and lay out Orton and toss Harper from the ring.
Eliminations: Dolph Ziggler and Luke Harper by Finn Balor
Also we’re just five entrants away from the end so it’s time to recap: Rollins (over 35 minutes), Corbin, E, Miz, Wyatt, Jericho, Kane, Orton, Balor.
Entrant #26 – Kurt Angle
IT’S LIT. Crowd is still hot from Balor, so let’s turn up the heat and bring out a guy who won a gold medal with a broken, freakin’ neck! I’m not sure if I believe this is even possible, but Shelton tweeted he’s not going to be healthy enough to do anything at the Rumble, so why not?!
This is what the Royal Rumble is all about though. We’ll get some neat stuff out of this, too. An Orton-Angle stare down and subsequent fight. Kurt is going to Angle slam or ankle lock literally everyone. Also worth noting we’re presented with the prospects of Corbin-Angle, Jericho-Angle, Miz-Angle sequences/spots.
Entrant #27 – Samoa Joe
There’s something about the last two entrants being surprises that make you think, “surely there cannot be another surprise!” LOL but there is! Samoa Joe, making his WWE debut, in the Rumble, with the luckiest number. Arguably the most fun part about all of this is that he’s got a ton of history with the two guys who entered before him, so yeah let’s do this!
I’m not even sure if WWE will address Angle’s and Joe’s history, but the crowd’s gonna be hot for it. For any casual fans who don’t know who Joe, having him eliminate Kurt Angle would be massive. He’s a star in seconds. Next, we should probably address the history between Balor and Joe. They’ll fight one another while everyone in the match does whatever it is they were doing before.
Elimination: Kurt Angle by Samoa Joe
Entrant #28 – Big Cass
I’ve spent a great deal of time deliberating over whether Cass, like Corbin, should get a lengthy stay in this match to establish him as a future star or if he should come in late and stay late. I chose for him to come out at #28 because he’s still pretty green. With all these veterans in the ring, he should have no problem masking his weaknesses and looking strong while pairing off with them. Similarly to Samoa Joe, Cass could benefit from a huge elimination to raise his stock a bit. RIP RKO! Orton has nothing to gain by sticking around late in this match, he’s done it so many times. Instead, let’s have Randy put over a future star. Imagine how hyped Enzo will be on the outside.
Elimination: Randy Orton by Big Cass
Entrant #29 – The Undertaker
Undertaker’s been #30 before, so in an effort to keep things to at least look like they’re random, he’ll come out at #29. RIP Miz. We’ll get some neat exchanges here between Taker-Wyatt, Taker-Corbin, Taker-Jericho, Taker-Kane, Taker-Joe, OH YEAH AND DEMON VS PHENOM!!!
The Phenom could probably eliminate a few more people, but I’m keeping as many bodies in the ring for Strowman as possible.
Elimination: The Miz by The Undertaker
Entrant #30 – Braun Strowman
All the action in the ring is going to stop for Strowman. I’d love nothing more than a moment where Bray tries to reason with Braun, only for Braun to lay him out. This could go one of two ways: 1) Strowman eliminates everyone to get us down to our final four or 2) he eliminates one or two guys, but the entire match teams up on him and he breaks Viscera’s record for most wrestlers involved in an elimination with 9 men eliminating Strowman. For this week’s mock up, we’ll go option #2.
Before Strowman goes down, he can toss out Big E. Now, everyone’s gonna gang up on Strowman because he’s been such a jerk on TV for the last month.
He’ll lay out everyone in his wake until he gets to Kane. Kane’s gonna fight back and even lock in a chokeslam but Strowman will power out. Kane’s in trouble — but The Undertaker’s got his back. They start giving it to Strowman, he’s teetering! Jericho will start things off with a code breaker. Rollins off the ropes with a knee to the head. Balor will hit that running drop kick to the corner, but Strowman won’t stay there long. Big boot from Big Cass. Joe and Corbin get in a big move on Strowman too. Finally, Undertaker and Kane hit a double chokeslam on Strowman, and he’s gone!
Eliminations: Big E by Braun Strowman // Braun Strowman by Rollins, Corbin, Wyatt, Jericho, Kane, Balor, Joe, Cass, Undertaker
We’re gonna remind everyone that Baron Corbin is an asshole and have him break up what is likely one of the final moments between The Brothers of Destruction by eliminating the Big Red Machine!
Elimination: Kane by Baron Corbin
Corbin and Undertaker will go and brawl for a bit.
Next elimination will come for Big Cass at the hands of Samoa Joe.
Elimination: Big Cass by Samoa Joe
Seth Rollins is going to take out Bray Wyatt.
Elimination: Bray Wyatt by Finn Balor
Rollins is fired up. Ain’t no stopping him. Kevin Owens hops up on the apron. KO doesn’t want to face Rollins at Mania so he’ll do everything he can to prevent that. Jericho takes advantage of this distraction and tosses out Rollins.
Elimination: Seth Rollins by Chris Jericho
Rollins will go and chase KO towards the ramp, HHH’s music is gonna hit, it’s gonna be all theatrical cause that’s what Triple H does. Triple H will have the edge in this confrontation because Rollins wrestled in the match for 45 minutes.
At this point Corbin has been involved in the match for over 20 minutes, so let’s get him out of here. Undertaker is going to eliminate Corbin.
Elimination: Baron Corbin by The Undertaker
We’re down to four! An odd final four for sure. We’ve got Chris Jericho (22), Balor (25), Joe (27), and Undertaker (29).
As much as it’d be neat to see Y2J and the Deadman as our final two, this is the new era so they’re both gone! Jericho should go first so it’s Raw vs. Smackdown vs. Joe.
Elimination: Chris Jericho by Finn Balor
Samoa Joe will look like an absolute monster if he can get rid of The Undertaker — so RIP TAKER.
Elimination: Undertaker by Samoa Joe
WE’RE DOWN TO TWO! One of these gentlemen is going to headline Wrestlemania and because he never lost his championship — Finn Balor is going to eliminate Samoa Joe and win the Royal Rumble match!
Winner: Finn Balor (#25)
Most Eliminations: Balor (6)
Ironman: Seth Rollins (45+ minutes)
Shortest Time: James Ellsworth (> a minute)
Finn Balor returning at the Rumble, winning the match, and earning an opportunity to fight for the title he never lost has been a pretty prevalent prediction throughout the net. Next week, I’ll probably explore the darkest timeline — aka the one in which Strowman wins and goes onto face Reigns for the Universal championship in the main event of Wrestlemania Sun. Ok, I’m just kidding. I can promise you that I’ll find a way to fit Boogeyman in version 2.0! Hope you didn’t totally hate this!
P.S. Tweet me scenarios you’d like me to explore and I just might do that!