We’re just two days away from what is, arguably, the greatest pro-wrestling night of the year. Sure, you can have your Wrestlemania or your NJPW Wrestle Kingdom (BTW, go watch Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada from WK11, now. I’ll wait…). But, the excitement that comes from the Royal Rumble match itself, makes Royal Rumble PPV like wrestling Christmas for someone like me. The past six months or so of WWE have seen a big shakeup, especially with the Raw/Smackdown brand splits (Team Blue all day), and have led to a modicum unpredictability of what the Wrestlemania card might look like in a month’s time.
As always, we thought at Funkhouser that we would predict the outcomes of the matches happening at the four (yes) four hour Royal Rumble event. Josh and I, along with debuting pro-wrestling prognosticator Jay Winkler, try our hands at figuring out what the hell is going on. Who will make more correct guesses on a scripted sporting event? Only time will tell.
Before our predictions, be sure to sign up for the 4th Annual Funkhouser Royal Rumble pool contest!. It’s free to enter and you could win some fun prizes. It’s a great way to watch the Royal Rumble which gives you added interest in wrestlers you might not have cheered for before.
Now, for the predictions!
Cesaro & Sheamus (c) -vs- The Club (Gallows & Anderson) – Two Referees – Pre-Show
Richmond: I, as well as anyone who has been watching WWE for the past 12 months, feel sorry for The Club. They left NJPW for WWE at the height of their popularity, having been in The Bullet Club with Finn Balor, AJ Styles & Kenny Omega. Now they’ve been a ‘dominate’ tag team in the WWE who really has nothing to show for it. They really deserve more accolades in the WWE for what they’ve gone through, but I don’t think they’ll get it here. With a two referee stipulation here, I see one ref having the champs win, the other having The Club win, and we’ll settle it in the post Rumble Raw on Monday night. I’m calling a Draw, but it is weird that Sheamus and Cesaro are announced for the Rumble, but the Club isn’t.
Jay: Look, The Club is fantastic, and they deserve better than to win the belts on the pre-show. So I’m predicting Sheamus and Cesaro beat them on the pre-show. Yippee.
Josh: Sheamus and Cesaro
Sasha Banks -vs- Nia Jax – Pre-show
Richmond: Sasha Banks had a hell of a 2016, concluding with her WWE Women’s Championship win over Charlotte in a Falls Count Anywhere match on Monday Night Raw in November. Of course though, Charlotte won the title back on the December PPV, because, records… So, Sasha has stepped aside for Bayley to take on Charlotte, but needs a new feud. How about relative of The Rock (not Roman Reigns) Nia Jax. Jax was a bulldozer in NXT, but couldn’t win the big ones, so she came to Raw and started taking out the smaller women. Can Jax defeat The Boss? I’m going to say no, mainly because the pre-show needs a crowd pleasing win to cheer up the crowd before the actual PPV. Sasha Banks wins via something Eddie Guerrero would have done…
Jay: Pretty sure Nia has yet to lose on the main roster without any kind of interference. Since I don’t picture anyone coming to Sasha’s aid, I’ll take Nia Jax.
Josh: Sasha Banks
Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella & Naomi -vs- Alexa Bliss, Natalya and Mickie James – Pre-Show
Richmond: I honestly don’t have much to say about this one. I think given the time, we should have had Bliss vs Lynch on the main show to rival Charlotte vs Bayley, but alas, we don’t. Naomi called out Alexa Bliss on Smackdown, Mickie James cost Becky the Smackdown Women’s title, then Nikki/Natalya cancel each other out. So, because this is non-title, I see Naomi pinning Alexa Bliss to win for her team. Side bet, these six will be in a women’s Elimination Chamber match next month at the Smackdown Exclusive PPV.
Jay: Mickie James didn’t exactly get a hero’s welcome upon her revealing as La Luchadora, but I still expect Bliss/Natalya/James to pick up the win here. Plus, Alexa Bliss is the GOAT.
Josh: Alexa Bliss, Natalya & Mickie James
Rich Swann -vs- Neville – WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Richmond: If you have been snoozing during the Cruiserweight matches on Raw, you’ve been missing out. Also, you should really be watching 205 Live on the WWE network, which has had some pretty good wrestling on it, and ALICIA FAWWWWWXXXXXXX. But the best thing that could have happened for 205 Live and the Cruiserweight division is the return of Neville. Neville is miffed because he wasn’t included in the Cruiserweight division debut, and has deemed himself ‘King of the Cruiserweights’. Angry Neville is the best Neville, and has turned 205 and the division up 10 notches. Neville wins this one, which might be contender for match of the night if given the time. BRING HIM HIS CROWN!
Jay: I love Angry Neville. I popped HARD when he came back at Roadblock, and I think it would be best for everybody involved, minus Rich Swann, for him to take the Cruiserweight Championship in dominant fashion. And I think he will. Neville wins.
Charlotte (c) vs Bayley – WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Richmond: Betting money says Charlotte wins this one, mainly because she has never been defeated in a championship match on PPV. That hat streak holds up here, only to be broken by Bayley at Wrestlemania. We’re going to get a pretty good match here, hopefully without any Dana Brooke run-ins, but that’s not guaranteed. The only other acceptable option is if the match is a no-contest when Bayley gets tangled up by two of her wacky-waving-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube men during her entrance.
Jay: Charlotte’s PPV streak is probably destined to end at WrestleMania. By that logic, Charlotte retains at the Rumble. All I want at WrestleMania is Sasha vs. Bayley 3, but alas, WWE loves a good streak, so don’t count on the underdog victory here.
Kevin Owens (c) -vs- Roman Reigns – WWE Universal Title – No DQ/Jericho in a Shark Cage
Richmond: That damn Shark Cage (TM). Look, I get that we want to sell the shark cage playset, but we did that at the last NXT Takeover with TM-61 vs Authors of Pain. It had a nice throwback to Paul Ellering’s past shark cage appearance, and TM-61 is cool enough to do flippy stuff off the scaffolding. Here, it just seems forced and that never makes for a good wrestling stipulation. A reasonable person would look at this and go, Roman Reigns wins, because… Roman Reigns. But, because this is now no-DQ, the advantage swings to Kevin Owens, who could walk away the victor. This is a tough one to call, I’ll say Kevin Owens, but he doesn’t make it to ‘Mania with the title.
Jay: I’m inclined to believe that somehow, someway, despite being suspended in a shark cage above the ring, Chris Jericho will find a way to help his best friend, KO. Throw in the No DQ stipulation, and that’s a recipe for a Kevin Owens win. Keep hope alive.
Josh: Roman Reigns
AJ Styles (c) -vs- John Cena – WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Richmond: This has been one of the best built matches I can remember in quite some time. AJ Styles defeated John Cena at Summerslam last year, leading Cena to disappear for a bit and Styles to become “The Face That Runs The Place/The Champ That Runs The Camp”. John Cena returns to put everyone on notice that he wants to tie Ric Flair’s 16 Time World Championship record, which is a road that runs through AJ Styles. You don’t really know which way this one is going to go, as you have Cena who should headline Wrestlemania because it’s good for business. He’ll be on the Today Show to promote Wrestlemania, he’s much better at promotional appearances than anyone else. But AJ Styles has been carrying pro-wrestling on his back for quite some time now, and he’s earned the right to walk into Wrestlemania as the champ. Cena wins this one, but I’m not happy about it.
Jay: t’s time for Big Match John to get his win back. AJ Styles has been the MVP of WWE pretty much ever since his debut at last year’s Royal Rumble, but there comes a time in every champion’s life when they must give the belt back to John Cena. The time is now.
Josh: John Cena
The 30-Man Royal Rumble Match
Richmond: Whew, where to begin with this one. 22 men have been announced so-far with Mojo Rawley earning the most recent spot on Smackdown. With eight unannounced, you have to think those could be Samoa Joe, Tye Dillinger (#10), Tyler Bate (WWE’s UK Champion) & Pete Dunne, maybe Finn Balor, the losers of the two Championship matches earlier in the night and one legend? Lesnar and Goldberg take each other out of the equation. I’d like to see a showdown between The Undertaker and Baron Corbin after Corbin’s “The Undertaker said he’s dug 29 holes for 29 souls? That’s good, the world needs ditch diggers” line on Talking Smack. This has been called one of the most unpredictable Rumbles in history, and I have to agree. My final four in the ring will be Braun Strowman, Sami Zayn, Bray Wyatt and… Samoa Joe. Strowman eliminates Wyatt, Joe and Strowman get into a hoss-fight by the ropes, when Zayn tosses them both over and wins the 2017 Royal Rumble. Sami Zayn wins… but probably Randy Orton.
Jay: Goldberg and Lesnar will cancel each other out. HHH will take care of Seth Rollins. I don’t think a legend like Undertaker wins. So who’s left? I’ll tell you who: Samoa Joe. What better way for the Samoan Submission Machine to burst onto the scene than to win the Royal Rumble? I certainly can’t think of one.
Josh: So many angles to choose from in the Rumble, taker Lesnar and Goldberg all seem like having different storylines going into ‘Mania so I’ll say Big Show, but lean toward a surprise win from HHH, The Rock, or Kurt angle. Maybe even Finn Balor makes a return. All seem just as likely…
That’s it! Those are our predictions. Do you agree/disagree? Let us know in the comments below or at @KSRWrassleTalk on Twitter. Be sure to sign up for the Royal Rumble pool if you haven’t done so already. It’s free, so there’s nothing to lose! Happy Rumbling everyone!