The 31st annual Royal Rumble event takes place this weekend live from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadephia, Pennsylvania. The Royal Rumble this year will be making history as it presents the first ever 30-woman over the top rope battle royale where the winner goes on to fight for the Women’s Championship on her respective brand at WrestleMania.
The kick-off show will present three matches whilst the main card has six which include main championship matches for each brand as well as the Tag Team Championship match for both Raw and SmackDown. The only male Championship that will not be defended at the Rumble is the Intercontinental Championship since The Miz has already declared his place in The Royal Rumble match.
As ever The Brass Ring team is here to pick all of the bones out of the show ahead of the event, this month’s panel includes Victoria Hopwood, Chris Rossington, Andy Arthurs, Conair Bibby, Callum Hopkin, Emellio Savvas, Jake Waring, Andrew Parker and Phillipa Hopwood.
Kick off show matches
Phillipa, Vickie, Callum – Bobby Roode
Chris – Finn Balor
Andrew – Dolph Ziggler
Thoughts by Emellio – Is this the way you would start your US title career? Because I wouldn’t. Amongst the plethora of talent backstage, there’s also disadvantages you won’t even know about until your opponents music starts. At what point would you then run and change your underwear? Because let’s face it, it’s not exactly going to be Hornswoggle coming to the ring. Best case scenario for Bobby is that Curt Hawkins comes down he becomes another person that has pinned Curt. Other than the amount of stupidity required to ask for this you’ve got to admire his will to prove himself again.
Kalisto, Lince Dorado, and Gran Metalik vs. TJP, Jack Gallagher, and Drew Gulak
Chris, Andrew – Team Kalisto
Thoughts by Phillipa – The Cruiserweight Division hasn’t had the best press coverage this week and given the fact that the past three Champions have all either been suspended, released or walked away from the company, it seems that this new General Manager has his work cut out. The Cruiserweight Division was left off Monday Night Raw and it seems that this was because of the issues surrounding Enzo Amore’s WWE’s suspension, so instead, we now have this match on the pre-show of The Royal Rumble. None of these men are expected to be in the main match and this match isn’t going to play that much of a role in the future of the brand, flip a coin. It doesn’t really matter who wins but I’ll go Gulak.
Phillipa, Vickie – Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
Chris, Andrew – The Revival
Thoughts by Conair – There’s not a whole lot to say about this match. It’s a rematch from RAW 25, when in the longest match the fans in the Manhattan Center got that night, The Balor Club defeated The Revival with ease, only for the latter to receive a token legends beat down from DX and Scott Hall. I can see The Revival winning this, as it simply feels like a consolation prize as these four men aren’t announced for the Royal Rumble match.
Seth Rollins And Jason Jordan Vs. Cesaro And Sheamus – Raw Tag Team Championships
Andy, Chris – Cesaro And Sheamus
Thoughts by Phillipa – Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan won the Tag Team Championships on Christmas Day and have since been showing signs that there are cracks in their partnership. Remember, Jordan and Rollins are a makeshift team that the company put together when it was revealed that Dean Ambrose would be out until August. The Bar don’t deserve to become four-time Champions, they have only been together for a year and they haven’t been that dominant. It would be a much better storyline if WWE allowed Jordan to eliminate Seth from the Rumble to get revenge for the knee to the head earlier this week on Raw and then they would have to remain as Champions whilst they’re not actually friends. It’s a much better dynamic and it would work better than them losing their titles at the first real challenge.
Phillipa, Vickie, Conair, Jake – Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin
Andy, Chris, Andrew, Callum – The Usos
Thoughts by Vickie – Finally, The Usos are feuding with someone who isn’t The New Day! This has been great over the past few months as American Alpha 2 have come quite close to the Tag Team Championships even winning them on one occasion before the match was restarted. It seems that this could be the perfect place for them to claim the titles as a team for the first time, after all The Usos have reigned their division for a while now and SmackDown needs some new blood at the top of the Tag Team Division.
AJ Styles Vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn – Handicap Match For The WWE Championship
Chris – Kevin Owens
Vickie, Conair, Andy, Jake, Andrew, Callum – AJ Styles
Thoughts by Conair – Kami. What a god awful name. The rise of Sami Zayn since October has been incredible to watch, and it’s culminating here with his mentally manipulative best friend, Kevin Owens. Daniel Bryan made this match to spite AJ and Shane, because what’s a main event title feed without some good old-fashioned political drama!! Owens and Zayn have defeated AJ in separate singles matches over the past few weeks – they even had two separate matches together on the most recent edition of Smackdown. Albeit with a very strange ending involving Kevin Owens’ ankle. As much as I’m intrigued by the idea of Owens and Zayn going full LayCool with the titles, I’m going with AJ here, but I don’t want none.
Phillipa, Conair, Andy, Jake, Andrew, Callum – Brock Lesnar
Chris – Braun Strowman
Vickie – Kane
Thoughts by Andy – Battle of the big lads. A Monster Mash. Braun versus Brock versus Kane is going to be a royally (pun intended) good brawl. Ignoring the fact that we are still probably going to get Roman versus Brock II, This match still gets people a bit tingly. Braun could actually pull off a shock. Brock doesn’t have to be pinned. Is that why Kane is there? Why is Kane in a title match in 2018? Could Kane actually win? The answer to all. Is probably no. Bork Laser (Thank you YouTube) will go on a rampage… until he’s stopped in New Orleans by the Big Dog. Believe that.
30-Woman Over The Top Rope Royal Rumble Match
Conair, Chris, Andrew – Asuka
Vickie – Natalya
Andy – Nia Jax
Thoughts by Jake – As the self-appointed patriarchal representative of women’s wrestling here’s my two pennies’ worth on the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match. Let’s start with Asuka. The Empress of Tomorrow is on the streak, though being thrown over the top rope would not end the streak per se, she has to be the hot favourite coming into this. However, one factor that causes me doubt is that that would potentially set up Asuka v Bliss at mania, and I would have thought that they would prefer a main event with Charlotte in there. If it were a Smackdown superstar I like the idea of Becky Lynch, though this would have been more likely when it was Queen Charlotte, the heel. Then there is the Ronda Rousey factor. There have been many conflicting reports as to whether she is in this match, and ultimately we don’t know. In fact, ultimately I don’t know who is going to win this, so I’ve given you three: Asuka, Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey. Then again, we could still have HHH win the men’s and Stephanie win this with them both do a lip-sync duet to celebrate at the end. Oh damn, I’ve just remembered Carmella’s briefcase! Oh just enjoy it.
Phillipa – Nakamura, Balor, Rollins, Reigns
Andy – Nakamura, Ziggler, Reigns, Balor
Conair – Reigns, Nakamura, Ziggler, Cena
Emellio – Ziggler, Reigns, Jax and Strowman
Chris – Nakamura, Orton, Cena, The Miz
Vickie – Orton, Reigns, Nakamura, Corbin
Andrew – Reigns, Nakamura, Rollins, Orton
Callum, Conair, Vickie – Nakamura
Andy – Dolph Ziggler
Jake, Andrew – Roman Reigns
Chris – Randy Orton
Phillipa – Seth Rollins
Thoughts by Andrew – Ah, the rumble. Rumbly rumbly rumble. The yearly exercise in the most exciting disappointment known to man. We all buy into the promise that anything can happen (me included) and anyone can turn up. We spend months analysing contract deadlines, tweets from the best indie talent, and create all manner of fantastical fan bookings. And yet…in recent years, we have all been left a little underwhelmed. Quite apart from “anything can happen”, the eventual winner has been the most likely candidate. This year, with the high possibility of Roman Reigns versus Brock Lesnar 2 at Wrestlemania, it seems that we will be treated, again, to a big Roman push. However, it can also be argued that there is a good enough story around those two that Reigns doesn’t need the Rumble to set that up. So who else is in the picture? Rollins and Balor are good shouts, but with Reigns versus Lesnar seemingly a shoe-in, then we can rule out anyone else from Raw. Moving to Smackdown, with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn already in action, the most likely candidates would be Shinsuke Nakamura or Randy Orton. Considering Orton’s victory last year, Nakamura would be the more popular choice. And the choice that I would go with if I was in charge. However…with all we know about WWE’s booking, I can’t get the idea of a Reigns victory out of my head. It’s nightmarish but very likely.