You want to know how much I love The Royal Rumble? Every year when my wife buys her calendar for the new year, which she keeps all our plans in, I immediately have her add the Rumble. It’s too important. I can’t have her mistakenly making plans I’m emotionally obligated to attend. So, yeah, I’m pretty Seth Freakin’ Rollins excited about Saturday, partly because the Rumble is always exciting and partly because there are a lot of possible paths WWE could take in both the men’s and women’s editions.
Last year, I predicted we’d see Cody Rhodes win the men’s Rumble and Rhea Ripley win the women’s Rumble. Ordinarily I’d brag a little harder about calling both winners, but to be honest, those end results were pretty obvious. Cody was the conquering babyface returning from his injury and the obvious choice to face Roman Reigns at WrestleMania, and everyone who watched the product even occasionally knew Rhea Ripley was a massive star about to break out.
This year, however, there are a lot more question marks in the Rumbles, and even at the time of typing this sentence, I’m not one hundred percent sure who I’m choosing in either. That’s really exciting, at least for the wrestling fan portion of my identity. The predictor portion of my identity is terrified, but thankfully, we have a few matches with seemingly more obvious results to help my batting average. But first, let’s look at how I did in the Big 4 PPVs last year, as well as an overall total for every premium live event since WrestleMania 38…
I’m not sure I’m going to be able to improve those lofty stats here, but I am so excited to try. And the if I end up missing and get surprised, well, that’ll only make The Royal Rumble itself even more exciting. So, without further ado, here are my predictions…
Kevin Owens Vs Logan Paul (Champion) For The United States Championship
This match isn’t about Kevin Owens. He’s great and should always be in contention for holding championships. This match is about whether WWE wants Logan Paul to go into WrestleMania as champion. The upshot of that is obvious. He’s a social media megastar with a huge podcast that is going to encourage his fans to tune into The Showcase Of The Immortals. In addition, he’s a reviled heel who many hardcore fans would like to see lose. So, him holding the belt at WrestleMania gives WWE the chance to give someone (LA Knight) a huge moment by taking it off him at the biggest event of the year.
Now, there’s a case for Kevin Owens here too. He’s a future WWE Hall Of Famer who main evented the last two WrestleManias. He needs something compelling to do in April, and defending the United States Championship would allow him to do that. Unlike Paul, he’s also a weekly performer and assumedly, will be around more often to defend the belt moving forward, which is probably especially appealing given Roman Reigns is a part-time champion and Seth Rollins just blew out his knee.
I’m gonna go with Logan Paul. I think putting him in a big spot at WrestleMania is just too appealing, though I think it’s possible whatever that big spot is may end up involving Kevin Owens too in some kind of triple threat or multi-man title match.
Predicted Winner: Logan Paul
Roman Reigns (Champion) Vs LA Knight Vs Randy Orton Vs AJ Styles For The WWE Universal Championship
We all know Roman Reigns isn’t getting pinned here; so, I appreciate WWE trying to add some intrigue by including so many people in the match. That opens up the remote possibility Roman loses because two of these other dudes pin each other, but let’s be serious for a second. Roman has been the champion for more than three years. In what world would Triple H, Bruce Prichard and company take the title off Roman Reigns a few months before the main event of WrestleMania 40? Outside of an injury or some kind of backstage disagreement, it’s hard to even make a case for why that would make sense.
To me, the real question is whether Roman can win a match here without interference from Solo Sikoa. I’ve watched enough wrestling to know heels winning in a heelish way is part of the game, but sometimes it’s okay to just make the heel look as strong as possible. Roman is the top guy in the company, and none of these dudes are likely to work with him again, given he’ll be paired with Cody Rhodes, The Rock or both at WrestleMania; so, one of them can eat a clean pinfall without doing too much damage to their character. I’m gonna guess that person will be AJ Styles, given he’s not quite as hot right now as the other two, but we’ll see.
Predicted Winner: Roman Reigns
The Women's Royal Rumble
There are so many good options here. Let’s run them down, starting with Bayley. She makes the most sense from a storyline perspective. WWE has been teasing problems within Damage CTRL for awhile, particularly problems between Bayley and the rest of Damage CTRL. It seems likely at some point she is going to be booted out and Dakota Kai is going to become the new mouthpiece. If Bayley were to win The Rumble, she could shift gears and instead of challenging Rhea Ripley, challenge her current stablemate Iyo Sky. There’s a really good, easy to tell story there and an obvious WrestleMania match that I think will happen, regardless of who wins The Rumble.
Then there’s Becky Lynch. WWE gave us a confrontation between her and Rhea Ripley earlier this month, and that’s clearly a match WWE fans want to see. Becky has also been extremely selfless over the last year, spending time in NXT to help grow that program and putting on matches with a lot of female talent who haven’t been given a chance. She also put Nia Jax over on Raw, which really helped elevate her. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see her paid back.
Bianca Belair is also always a threat. She was recently announced as the coverwoman of 2K24 alongside Rhea Ripley. She seemed on a collision course to wrestle Charlotte Flair, but that’s off the table now after The Queen got injured. She needs something to do and is one of the most reliable main eventers the women’s roster has. She’s also won before and would love to be the first woman to win a second time.
There’s also Nia Jax, who has been pushed really hard in recent weeks. There’s a potentially returning Liv Morgan and a potentially returning Naomi. I don’t think any of those three are quite on a win The Royal Rumble level, but they would be fun surprises. You know who is on that level though? Sasha Banks. Rumors have been saying she’s likely headed to AEW, but with Triple H in charge of WWE now, it’s definitely possible that animosity is gone and she could return. Just ask yourself. If you were in charge and she was returning, would you book her to win The Rumble? Probably.
And then there’s Jade Cargill. WWE’s most exciting recent signing not named CM Punk was pushed heavily on television after she first arrived, but she’s been gone for awhile and has been quietly training. WWE could set her up as an immediate main event player if she won here.
The Internet seems to be rallying around Bayley. She would be a great choice and probably the most logical one, but I keep coming back to Becky Lynch. I think her match with Rhea is going to happen at WrestleMania, and I think WWE is going to pay off her selfless work this year with a second Rumble win.
Predicted Winner: Becky Lynch
The Men’s Royal Rumble
Part of the reason why I didn’t publish these predictions yesterday is because I was waiting to see what Seth Rollins was going to do after his recent injury. If he vacated his title, whether or not it was put up at The Rumble, it would have created all kinds of chaos, and it would have dramatically increased the possible winners.
Think about it this way. There are two world champions in WWE. The winner of The Royal Rumble is going to wrestle one of those two at WrestleMania. If we know the champions are going to be Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, then you’re essentially saying the winner of The Rumble is going to be one of their opponents. If Rollins was off the table, the possibilities would be endless. You’d have to start throwing in guys like Gunther, Drew McIntyre, Damian Priest, Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley, Sami Zayn and Randy Orton, but if Rollins is locked in, that means, by my estimation, there are only three options to win The Rumble and an unlikely wild card fourth option I'll get to later.
Roman Reigns is going to fight either Cody Rhodes, The Rock or both at WrestleMania. Seth Rollins is almost certainly going to fight CM Punk. That means the winner of The Rumble is going to be Cody, The Rock or CM Punk (probably). I think, of those three, The Rock is the least likely. The Tampa Bay crowd would be stoked to see him show up and enter The Rumble for sure, but I’m not sure people would really want to see him win. That honor should probably go to a more modern guy. So, it’s either Cody winning two years in a row or CM Punk.
I’m gonna go with CM Punk. I think he’s the most logical choice. His probable match against Seth Rollins is likely his best chance ever to main event a WrestleMania, and I think the crowd would be happy to see him have that level of success. It would also provide another reminder to everyone in AEW that if you want to come over to WWE, there are potential huge opportunities.
If I was forced to come up with a fourth option, I would go with Gunther. He's ready to be in the world title picture. Maybe there's a world in which, if The Rock is going to wrestle Roman Reigns, WWE decides to have Cody Rhodes wrestle CM Punk, which leaves Gunther to deal with Seth Rollins. I think that's unlikely, but I'll throw it out into the universe just in case.
Predicted Winner: CM Punk
If you're in The United States, you can stream The Royal Rumble this Saturday night for free with a Peacock subscription.