Triple Z gives his predictions and analysis for the 2019 Royal Rumble.
Rusev vs Shinsuke Nakamura (Kickoff Match)
Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura are names you don't typically see in the Kickoff lineup. Usually that honor is for The New Day or The Uso's. Can we just talk about main roster shelf life for a second. Nakamura won the Royal Rumble last year in dramatic fashion, and now he is fighting for one of WWE's worst titles in the kickoff match against a champion who hasn't had a good run either.
Nakamura is going to lose. It is the scenario that makes the most sense. WWE's roster is ultra-stacked, and it is sad we have gotten to a point where someone like Shinsuke Nakamura has become old news. Truly shows WWE's booking has its challenges.
Buddy Murphy vs Hideo Itami vs Akira Tozawa vs Kalisto
It is unclear when this match will take place within the card. It has the potential to be an epic contest. WWE is slowly fixing 2o5 Live. Yet, as fans, it is becoming increasingly noticeable no one knows where 205 Live fits within the WWE main roster or universe. Recently, we have seen Mustafa Ali move to SmackDown. So is 205 Live now just another step before RAW or SmackDown?
For example, Hideo Itami was stuck in NXT forever. Due to his injuries and the influx of new talent the NXT universe no longer cared about Hideo Itami. Then WWE moved him to 205 Live. He's now in the title picture. Although someone with the rèsumè like Itami should've been a main roster bet. If 205 Live is being used as a new way to groom Cruiserweights for full time main roster that could be something. Even though we can argue a lot of the Cruiserweight's have been ready.
Now back to this match. I would have to assume Buddy Murphy retains his title. Cruiserweight title hot potato doesn't always work. 205 Live saved Buddy Murphy's career so that is a testament to the brand.
Winner: Buddy Murphy
The Bar vs Shane McMahon and The Miz
Time for some bullet points:
The Miz entering and winning the Royal Rumble is unlikely now . Although we all thought it was a possibility, months ago before the Daniel Bryan heel turn. Now it seems WWE is set on Rollins. Still it's hard to rule out The Miz. SmackDown may have an easier path to WrestleMania for The Miz.
Winner: The Miz
Asuka vs Becky Lynch
Is Becky Lynch getting too cocky? That's the biggest question heading into the Royal Rumble. Becky Lynch has been playing up the anti-hero role. Some are heralding her to Stone Cold. I think "The Man" is fine but Ronda Rousey is the more compelling Stone Cold. Becky may be the perfect foil as The Rock like character. Which makes Charlotte Flair the Triple H character if we are going by Attitude Era comparisons.
A lot is at stake in this match. I think WWE is giving Asuka the run she deserves. Becky Lynch can wait for the Women's Royal Rumble.
Ronda Rousey vs Sasha Banks
Banks and Bayley can book their tickets for the Women's Tag Team Championship match at Elimination Chamber. Currently, Sasha Banks has to face Ronda Rousey. I'm expecting this to be a solid, long contest. The match should make Sasha and Ronda look equal.
Rousey should get the victory though. A Sasha Banks curveball would be fascinating though. This match should further escalate the Four Horsewomen of MMA vs the Four Horsewomen of WWE rivalry. Which will be a big money match down the line. Especially now that sources have confirmed that Ronda Rousey is indeed under contract until 2021 with WWE.
Winner: Ronda Rousey
Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles
Daniel Bryan has embraced his inner heel. We are bound for a fun match. Although the result is most likely going to be Daniel Bryan retaining. A smart move on WWE's behalf. Instead of having Daniel Bryan enter the Royal Rumble and lose. It's still surreal that Daniel Bryan is even wrestling. It's crazy he's fighting AJ Styles. The fans once again win.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Brock Lesnar vs Finn Balor
Brock Lesnar has finally made his point clear. He no longer wants to work matches with big superstars. So that means no more matches with Roman Reigns. No more snore fests with Braun Strowman. It shows that Lesnar works better with smaller opponents. He was able to work well with AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan. Now Finn Balor is the next man up.
I don't see a scenario where Finn actually wins but I expect this to be a fun match. I also think Finn Balor's Demon alter-ego will be saved for a WrestleMania match. Lesnar will most likely win. Setting up a championship match at WrestleMania.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Women's Royal Rumble
May the odds ever be in your favor...
Let's analyze the favorites:
Of course she is the favorite. Charlotte has won almost every big "Women's Evolution" match. Adding Royal Rumble to her list is probably a goal for WWE.
She's the most over women in the division. Fans have been clamoring for Lynch/Rousey since Survivor Series. The Royal Rumble could be the route.
A Becky/Charlotte DRAW
WWE wants to pull a Bret Hart and Lex Luger type deal. "Keep Charlotte strong!" This would be a goofy ending especially for the Women's second ever Royal Rumble match.
Sidenote: This whole Rousey/Becky/Charlotte situation reminds me on the WrestleMania XXX situation involving Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, and Batista. Sometimes it is better to just go with the hot hand (Becky). Don't over complicate things for the sake of including another star (Charlotte)
After being cleared for competition. Alexa Bliss will compete in the Royal Rumble in her first official match back. The oddsmakers have her near the favorites. There is good reason for Bliss being near the top. She's held both the RAW and SmackDown Women's Championships and she has also won Money in the Bank. Bliss may just win the Royal Rumble. Who would she challenge? Probably Asuka if it came down to it.
The Dark Horses
The NXT standout is bound to get a break soon. Ember Moon winning the Royal Rumble could also free up the Becky Lynch/Ronda Rousey storyline. If Ember Moon does win she could end up challenging her NXT nemesis Asuka.
Baszler is ranked high. I don't think she is leaving NXT yet. If she enters it could be a surprised one-off. She may be a dark horse if she drops her NXT Women's championship at NXT TakeOver: Phoenix.
One of the most fascinating sub-storylines of 2018 was how Nikki Bella has positioned herself as the more dominant Bella Twin. Nikki Bella got the spotlight fighting Ronda Rousey at Evolution. She is a dark horse to win the Royal Rumble. Last year she was the runner up to Asuka. We know Nikki Bella wants a title run. It's not a matter of if, it's more like when.
The "Not A Chance But Still Possible" Winners
She's a Hall of Famer, and she still has it. There is a possibility she could be a surprise entrant. Winning on the other hand is less likely.
Another NXT standout who will probably be in the match but her chances of actually winning will be slim to none. Still possible that Kairi Sane wins but it would be from out of left field.
Well it would be fun?
She doesn't have leverage like her sister does.
My ultimate choice for the Women's Royal Rumble match based on the notion WWE will continue the storylines they have already built is Becky Lynch (The Favorite).
Winner: Becky Lynch
Men's Royal Rumble
May the odds ever be in your favor...
Let's analyze the favorites:
It makes sense Rollins is the favorite. He is rumored to be facing Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. Which would go in line with the new way Lesnar wants to work. Rollins has done a lot in WWE, and I'm sure they are waiting to cross Royal Rumble off his list.
Talk about a fall from grace. Braun Strowman was one of WWE's hottest acts. They made him a heel, and then they made him a face again. Braun had the momentum and WWE decided to waste it. I don't see Strowman winning the Royal Rumble despite him being a favorite.
He just doesn't do it for me. McIntyre had a weak NXT run. I don't think he has the in-ring skills compared to some of the other main roster talents. He's another "favorite" I can't see winning the Royal Rumble.
The Dark Horses
You may be thinking to yourself. "Why would Kenny Omega be a dark horse?" Well the thing is we don't know his situation. It is very likely he signs a deal with AEW. Although Kenny Omega being a dark horse to win the Royal Rumble is still very possible according to oddsmakers. Maybe it is a AJ Styles situation. Where we all thought he was going to sign with TNA again, and then he made the jump to WWE. Omega is in a different situation than Styles. AJ Styles' decision was basically should I go on the biggest boat or should I jump on this float that is barely above water? Now Omega's decision is should I join this well-oiled machine or should I jump onto this rocket ship and see where it takes me. The rocket ship being AEW of course. Kenny Omega would be a fun dark horse.
Could the road to a historic 17th championship win happen through the Royal Rumble? Brock Lesnar or Daniel Bryan are worthy opponents for John Cena.
This would be an excellent winner. Just have him face whoever wins the WWE Championship for SmackDown at WrestleMania. He's a dark horse but it could make for a nice swerve.
The underdog who is now a member of SmackDown. Mustafa Ali winning the Royal Rumble could elevate him into WWE's next underdog story. His in-ring style is unique, and he has the potential to be a top star.
If The Rock ever returns to WWE. You know he will be getting a major push out of the gate. If The Rock is planning on returning to action in 2019. The Rock winning the Royal Rumble would be the perfect start. Also, it would help him with his ring rust. Have a bunch of other guys in there and he would be able to hit his key spots. The Rock's schedule is always busy but a match between him and Brock Lesnar could reach some serious mainstream appeal.
The NXT call up winning the big one. Dream has it all to be the next main event superstar. It's a longshot but I wouldn't rule it out.
Shawn Michaels came out of retirement for WWE's controversial Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia. It was rumored he would continue to work with WWE in a part-time capacity. HBK has shot down all the rumors. Saying that the Saudi Arabia match was a special one-off. Hmmm.... still very fishy? Is this the last we have seen of bald Shawn Michaels?
Final Pick: When it comes down to the nitty gritty of picking who's going to win the Royal Rumble I have to go with Seth Rollins. He's been in highlighted to win forever. I wouldn't be shocked if I end up being wrong. Especially if a dark horse or a long shot comes in to play.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Thanks for reading my 2019 Royal Rumble predictions.
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I created ZWrestleTalk. On this page I give my PPV predictions for Wrestling Events (Usually just WWE)