The Road to WrestleMania 32 in Dallas is well on it’s way to beginning! The annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view will soon be upon us, and the WrestleMania main event will be that much clearer. We couldn’t be more excited here at Wrestling With Words, and it’s time once again for us to gather an all-star panel of writers and get our previews and predictions out there before the Rumble invades Orlando! Our Royal Rumble 2016 Preview panel consists of the following gentlemen:
- Brady (@_SalidaDelSol) – Wrestling With Words’ Lucha Underground reviewer (which returns next week!) and ultimate Kalisto fan.
- Dan (@ReignInDan) – The site’s RAW and Joshi reviewer, who has more hope for this pay-per-view than he does most episodes of Monday Night Raw.
- Ian (@skrongstyle) – Ian is an enigma, not much else is known about him.
- Izzac (@Izzacwrestles) – Obsessed with everything puro, Izzac is the co-host of the Puro in the Rough podcast.
Dan: What a weird match. A fatal-4-way tag match, the winners get to be in the Royal Rumble. There’s two ways this can go, it could either be a really fun opener to get the crowd fired up, or an absolute disaster. I’m kinda banking on the latter. Young & Sandow are one odd team, but it’ll be nice to see them on the show at all, especially Sandow who has seemingly been in purgatory. Mark Henry & Swagger might as well be the rebooted Real Americans. There’s a very clear winning team in this one, and unless they pull a swerve I think it’s a pretty safe bet, especially considering their infinite feud with the Wyatts, who are all in the Rumble match.
Prediction: Dudley Boyz win.
Brady: The winners of this match get two spots in the Royal Rumble match. I don’t know what to think of this match honestly. We haven’t seen Ascension in a while, Jack Swagger & Mark Henry only team up on Main Event, and Young teaming with Sandow is such a weird pairing. Why they wouldn’t just have Titus tag with Young is beyond me, but, I can’t see them winning either way. The only team I see getting the victory is the Dudley Boys. Not much else to say, I assume it’ll be a fun little match. But, I don’t expect too much out of it.
Ian: I have no idea who may win this match mainly because of how random this is. I mean, it IS the preshow but god damn this is the epitome of a match that was just thrown together. The only highlight I see in this match is that Darren Young’s back! That means something, right? In all seriousness, I figure Swagger and Henry win this one and go on to the rumble to inevitably get thrown out by Reigns (or Triple H).
Prediction: Mark Henry & Jack Swagger
Izzac: This is quite the odd match. I suppose it’s just so everyone can get on the card because the roster is quite large and unlike most years, you can’t put everyone in the Rumble. I am disappointed that Sandow is in this match, I feel as though when he returned to TV it should be made into a big deal. Henry and Swagger are a fun under card tag team and The Ascension are a terrible gimmick but both are solid workers. I feel as though the outcome is obvious but It doesn’t matter who wins this match at all.
Prediction: The Dudley Boyz
Dan: In a feud that has been built-up with mostly underwhelming matches, we get the hopeful end of it at the PPV. This stipulation should drive these guys to simply beat the hell out of each other, and hopefully give them the much-needed aggression to add to their movesets. Let’s be honest, Ambrose’s in-ring work has gotten stale a long time ago, and Big Kev is great but his TV matches since his feud with Cena have left a lot to be desired. We should be getting nothing but a lengthy bout of absolute destruction here. I have a hard time believing that Ambrose will be able to keep Owens down for a ten count, and Owens’ evil ways will come into play and I think that’s what will win him the title back.
Prediction: Kevin Owens wins the championship via apron powerbomb.
Brady: I’m just going to come right out and say it; when these guys wrestle each other, it sucks. Let’s face it, they’ve had way to many matches together, and they were all bad. But, luckily for this match, it’s a little different. These guys are so bad in singles matches. Ambrose is boring, and Owens TV wrestling hasn’t been good in a while. But, add in the stipulation of a Last Man Standing match, and that changes EVERYTHING. I know how Owens and Ambrose can be in stipulation matches, and it’s beautiful. But, together; it’ll be magical. Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose are going to rip each other apart, as well as the whole arena. But in the end, after a brutal match; I predict Kevin Owens will destroy Ambrose so bad, he won’t be able to answer the ten count.
Prediction: Kevin Owens.
Ian: Between Ambrose’s character that I’ve just become cold to, Owens being stuck in this groove of ‘banter → headlock → banter’, and the quasi-feud Owens has been having with Neville, this rivalry has felt segmented and has (with the exception of their singles matches) just turned me off from this feud for the most part. Granted, overly high expectations probably played a factor here, but that’s all I really think they might’ve played; a factor. That’s why, even though I’m not a huge fan of last man standing matches, I’m really interested in seeing what these two can do together in this setting. If this is booked sufficiently and both guys go all out (which I think they will), this may actually be their best match. When it comes to who might win, I’m expecting Ambrose to win and I’m not really against that decision. Owens has to be one of the most protected wrestlers on WWE’s roster so one more loss isn’t going to hurt him that much, especially if they book it in a way to make it look as though it took a lot to take him down. Plus, him not having the Intercontential title coupled with how protected he is just heightens the possibility of him getting a bigger and better title down the line. You never know.
Prediction: Dean Ambrose
Izzac: Trust me brothers this is going to be insane, Some people believe these two men don’t have good chemistry and while I agree their matches together haven’t been the greatest these guys are going to steal the show on Sunday. It’s well known Kevin Owen’s loves the Royal Rumble event and even attended the 2014 Rumble with Adam Cole, So big Kev is going to give it his all and put one an incredible performance. Ambrose is his best in the no rules style of match and Owens does really well in the hardcore environment as well. If these two men get the time and freedom to perform this could be incredible, I can’t see Owens winning. I say he loses and then enters the rumble and gets eliminated by Sami Zayn and that sets up a singles bout at Mania.
Prediction: Dean Ambrose
Dan: Only a week ago we were celebrating Kalisto’s title win only to have it destroyed in less than 24 hours. Del Rio won back the title, and now we get the rubber match at the PPV. Their matches have been great, especially their rematch on Smackdown. On a grander stage, I think they up the ante, hopefully getting a good chunk of time to put on a damn good match. Everyone seems to be banking on Kalisto winning it back, and I sure as hell hope he does, but I don’t have that much faith in the fed for that to happen. I hope they prove me wrong, but I think this match ends in a grand ol’ DQ.
Prediction: Del Rio retains via League of Nations shenanigans.
Brady: For the past two weeks or so, we’ve seen these guys wrestle one another in both non-title, and title matches. Kalisto earned a title match after he defeated Alberto in a non-title match. Then, Kalisto won the United States title, then; a few days later, Del Rio won the title back. I really, really don’t understand what WWE is doing here. I don’t want to start a rant on how bad I think this booking is, but it’s bad. As for the match at the Royal Rumble, my bet is on Kalisto. Hopefully they let him win it, and keep it for a while, proving that his first win wasn’t a fluke. These guys have had bad, good, and great TV matches, and I’m excited to see if they tear the house down on a PPV.
Ian: After Kalisto title win on last week’s RAW & subsequent loss on Smackdown, to say I was irked was an understatement. Many people had the same kneejerk reaction I had (some worse than others), but after a few days passed and I had a watch of the Smackdown match, I’m alright with the turn this feud took. Sure, I would’ve liked it tons more if Kalisto held the title up until the Royal Rumble and then picked up a decisive victory over Del Rio, but this will do just fine. They’re trying to book Kalisto as a serious underdog and this booking will only help him in the long run. Usually I’d be worried about how Del Rio will wrestle in this match or how much he may care but he’s done so well in his the two matches he had with Kalisto that my worry may be a little unwarranted. I see Kalisto winning the US title back from Berto after a relatively lengthy match and getting much more of a pop than he did a couple weeks ago. That’s at least the ideal.
Izzac: Even though the matches these two have been having are really good, the build and structure of the program has been the dirt worst. I’m pretty certain everyone reading this has frustrations of Kalisto holding the US title for one day, why not have Kalisto win the belt at the Rumble and have it mean something. Kalisto is becoming one of my favorite wrestlers and will be a superstar in the near future but this program isn’t doing him any luck, When he won the belt on RAW I thought it was executed immensely well but then on smackdown the writers and creative ruined it like normal. This should be an excellent match.
Prediction: Alberto Del Rio via DQ
Dan: Very rarely do we such a women’s storyline feud on the main roster that has good build-up, but I’ll be damned, here we are. Becky has been fighting tooth and nail for this title opportunity, and after taking a shot at Ric Flair on Raw, she finally got it. Becky has been claming that she’s gonna take the title as well as Charlotte’s arm, so I expect a very physical match between the two. Becky has been on fire lately, and I know she can pull a good match out of Charlotte. Becky is gonna destroy her arm and hopefully make her tap out. Unfortunately, Ric Flair is the wildcard in this match, and we know those Flair antics are gonna come into play. Becky may not win the title here, but this feud surely won’t end at the Rumble.
Prediction: Charlotte retains via Ric Flair.
Brady: I’m actually looking forward to this match. Instead of getting Charlotte against Paige or one of the Bella’s, we get to see Charlotte square up with the Lass Kicker, Becky Lynch. I have no doubt in my mind that they’ll put on a great match. But, as for the outcome, I’m a little conflicted. I can see a case for both of these divas to win. But, how will it play out? I’m not sure. I could see them having Becky win and become the new champion, but I just don’t think WWE will pull the trigger on her. Sadly, I see Ric flair getting involved and costing Becky the match.
Ian: I haven’t kept up much with this feud but I’ve heard two very different things about it. Some are telling me it’s probably the worst feud going right now and others are telling me the complete opposite, that it’s the best storytelling in the company right now. The things I do know though, is that Charlotte (at least to me) is steadily improving and that Becky Lynch is totally one of the best babyfaces in the company at the moment, and that gives me enough faith that this match will actually be pretty good if booked right. As for who wins, I definitely see Charlotte keeping the belt, but not after one hell of a fight with Becky that cements her as one of the top babyfaces in the Divas division.
Izzac: This should be one hell of a women’s match, these two never disappoint whenever they go against one another. This is their first PPV match opposing each other and If they get atleast 10 minutes I could see this being in the **** range. Becky has really being the star of this feud, Her promo ability is very high and she even had a fun match with Tamina on RAW followed by a great promo. With all that said Charlotte has recently transitioned into a heel persona so I can’t see her dropping the strap already, If Sasha is healthy I fully expect her to challenge Charlotte for the Diva’s belt at Wrestlemania Texas.
Dan: This match seems to be a product of WWE’s lack of tag teams. Lucha Dragons are out due to Sin Cara’s injury, Dudleys are stuck in infinite loops of matches with the Wyatt Family, and there doesn’t seem to be any build for the guys stuck in the lower card, i.e. Ascension, Prime Time Players (are they even a thing anymore?). So we get this feud once more. New Day always bring up the entertainment of any match they’re involved with, but The Usos have certainly run their course, at least for me. I imagine this will be your average, spot-filled tag team match of the night. Not a bad match by any standards, but I doubt it brings anything new to the table. I hope that New Day retain, but my gut is going a different way on this one.
Prediction: The Usos win the championships yet again.
Brady: Am I the only one who’s sick of seeing this match? I love New Day, I like the Usos, but I can’t stand seeing them wrestle each other any more. If I’m being honest, I do not care about this at all. These guys can probably pull a nice little match out of each other, but it just doesn’t interest me. As for the winners, the New Day is on fire right now, and I don’t see that fire burning out.
Prediction: New Day
Ian: This is actually one of the matches on the card I’m not too sure about. WWE’s Tag Team division is really abysmal and the only thing keeping it together or making it even kind of interesting is New Day, which has arguably been one of the best acts in the company for about a year. They’ve also held the Tag Team straps since SummerSlam. On the other hand though, you have the Usos who 1) haven’t had a title reign in a while and 2) came back just a couple months ago as a team. No matter how I cut it in my head, I’m just not sure who’s going over here.
Izzac: People were upset about this match because its the same shit, but in all actuality it’s a fresh match only happening twice ( I believe) on television. This should be a very good fast-paced action, The rumble usually attracts a lot of smart fans, so expect the New Day to be over like rover. Francesca the trombone is now gone unfortunately, so we will not be getting any trombone shenanigans.
Prediction: The Usos
Dan: The annual Rumble match, with a twist, it’s for Reigns’ title. A lot of factors are gonna come into play this year but the big build-up has been around Lesnar, Reigns, and the Wyatt Family. Reigns is the #1 entrant in the Rumble and will literally have to go through 29 others to retain his championship. He’s public enemy no. 1 and everyone will be gunning for him but it’s really no question that Reigns goes the distance to the final four. Lesnar will destroy a lot of the competition, I wouldn’t be surprised if he breaks the eliminations record. The Wyatts will come into play and carve their own path of destruction. Surely we will get some surprise entrants from the past and the big question on everyone’s mind is, could we possibly see AJ Styles make an appearance? It seems like a longshot and it’d be one of those things where’d you have to rub your eyes and do a double take, cause Styles in a WWE ring seems surreal to even think about. I wouldn’t bank on it but it’s something that will certainly keep me on the edge of my seat when the countdowns reach zero. As for the final moments of the Rumble, I think it’ll come down to Reigns, Lesnar and Bray all awaiting #30, wondering who the hell it could be, and the familiar riff of The Game will play as the clock hits zero. Triple H has been kept off TV since TLC, and you gotta think it was for a reason. The Authority wants to ensure Reigns’ destruction, and who better to oversee it than the COO himself? Bray and Lesnar will go at it, as the end of Raw this week certainly hinted at a ‘Mania feud between the two, and H and Reigns will square off. When the dust clears, I think the last man standing is Triple H himself, standing tall with title in hand, probably with some help from the League of Nations, or some other Authority henchmen. For some, that sounds like the worst thing possible, but I’d love every damn second of that.
Prediction: Triple H wins the Royal Rumble, and the title.
Brady: All that we know going into this is that Roman Reigns is #1. But, we do know some of the participants in the match. The Wyatt’s, The League Of Nations, Chris Jericho, and even Brock Lesnar. Also, it’s Royal Rumble tradition to have a surprise entrant or two during the match, so look forward to that. As for the winner, for the sake of time, I’m going to skip to who i believe the final four will be. Coming in number one, I think Roman will outlast everyone and come down to the final four with Brock Lesnar, surprise entrant Triple H, and number 30 who will surprisingly be AJ Styles. Rumors are swirling all around as I’m sure you know, and this would be one of the biggest surprise entrants in Royal Rumble history. So with a big final four line up, I see Triple H going first, then Brock, leaving us with a final two of AJ Styles and Roman Reigns. But to the fans surprise, I predict Triple H will screw Roman, giving Styles the victory, and us a New WWE Champion.
Prediction: AJ Styles.
Ian: Ooooh damn, this match is gonna be something. For the first time ever, the WWE championship is up for grabs in the Royal Rumble as Reigns is the first guy in and has to win the whole thing if he wants to walk out as champion. It’s one hell of a way to get Reigns over and this is an idea that while I wasn’t warm to at first, ended up growing to like. I’ll just like this more if Reigns isn’t screwed over in the end, which is how I see it going. Ever since last year’s Wrestlemania, the guy has gotten fucked over out of the championship and opportunities for the championship countless times. From Rollins, to Wyatt, to Sheamus, and now potentially Triple H. I can understand wanting to stack the odds against the babyface so it just means a great deal more when they overcome them, but after a year of being beaten down and FINALLY winning the World title just to lose after a month of holding the belt seems really backwards. I see Triple H winning the rumble and getting a 14th World title reign but I won’t be too happy about it.
Prediction: Triple H
Izzac: With all the confirmed entrants so far, the match doesn’t look all that great. I’d expect to see 2 surprise entrants that are for nostalgia. HHH, AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, Titus O’neil, R-truth, Kofi Kingston Or Xaiver, Kevin Owens, none of which are confirmed but are possibilities. Roman is entering at #1 so expect to see a long tenure for Mr Reigns. I always enjoy rumbles and unless someone like Strowman wins I will be alright with the result. Strowman will also be made to look strong in this bout, I expect the last 3 men in this match to be Strowman, Lesnar and Roman. This match always has me on the edge of my seat and with the possibility of seeing AJ in the match gets me fired up. I see the mainevent of Wrestlemania being Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar with that said I fully predict Brock Lesnar to win this match. I am nearly 100% certain HHH will make an appearance in some form and screw Roman out of winning or even eliminate him setting up a #1 contenders match at Fastlane. Sorry for the fantasy booking, I love wrestling.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar
The panel has spoken, and now we wait to see the results! Tune into the Royal Rumble on the WWE Network this Sunday, and if you haven’t yet, enter our Royal Rumble Pick ‘Em contest for your shot at winning a Wrestling With Words T-Shirt!