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Who do you think should/will win the Royal Rumble this year?

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Oh, I think the world title match will be 3rd from the top at best. The show will be sold on HHH-Rock and Undertaker-Brock.

Undertaker-Brock signed for October PPV, so who knows now.

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When was the last time the Rumble was used to create a star? I honestly think WWE should build toward Cesaro/Brock for the WWE title as the main event of WM32. That match can easily blow the roof off Cowboys Stadium. Ceasaro has a growing following and WWE can play into the whole 'not grabbing the brass ring' speec Vince did about a year ago. There is so much WWE can do with those two going into the fight and Cesaro winning the strap would be a 'new era' feeling.

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At this point I think Brock is winning it.

 

Oh, I think the world title match will be 3rd from the top at best. The show will be sold on HHH-Rock and Undertaker-Brock.

 

Not anymore :)

 

 

I hope.

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The only guys who’ve felt like surprises in the last fifteen years or so were Vince in ’99 (which I think a lot of people actually predicted at the time), Benoit in ’04, and Del Rio in ’11. By that five year standard, they’re due for a fun one, and it’s really time to elevate someone. Moreso than even the last couple years, they now need someone new in the main event. It’s a weird situation in that it seems like they’re building to giving it to Reigns again. On one hand: he's less over than he was a year ago, winning it two years in a row at his age/status feels like overkill, and his push has been badly mismanaged. Yet they’re in a weird bind where he looks like a failure who they've given up on if he doesn’t win it again. If it's not him, then he needs a Rock/HHH/Brock-level opponent to put him over at WM32.

If it’s someone new, Cesaro is the best choice. Ambrose could be fun, but unless he does some great heel turn or becomes the Stone Cold people want him to be, he feels like a mismatch main eventing Mania. Kind of in the same way that I can’t picture Jake or Bossman or post-85 Piper main eventing Mania. You don’t put your resident eccentric in that spot.

I also think fans too closely associate Ambrose and Reigns. Doing some goofy “their feet touched simultaneously!” junk results in both of them getting half a push. Let one of them win it now and the other win it later. Just pick someone and go with them full tilt.

Also worth noting that Del Rio had only been in the company for five months when he won it. The idea of Owens winning it sounds crazy to me right now, but maybe he gets really hot with the IC title and they just say, “Screw it”? If this was 1995 I’d bet the farm on Braun Strowman.

It all depends on who the champ is going into Mania. Reigns is the safe bet, but I so want to believe that their October-January booking will have higher stakes than it has in recent years. I actually even like Rollins as champion: we’re now at a point where I really want to see the heel lose. The money is in a face systematically destroying the Authority to get to a title win, and as of now they’re not giving that level of push to anyone but Reigns.

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If Benoit was a surprise (he wasn't, due to the storyline, he pretty much had to win it) then Rey Mysterio had to be a bigger surprise too. Of course the Eddie stuff happened but not everyone had faith that Vince would set aside his prejudices about size to make money off the exploitative storyline.

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When was the last time the Rumble was used to create a star? I honestly think WWE should build toward Cesaro/Brock for the WWE title as the main event of WM32. That match can easily blow the roof off Cowboys Stadium. Ceasaro has a growing following and WWE can play into the whole 'not grabbing the brass ring' speec Vince did about a year ago. There is so much WWE can do with those two going into the fight and Cesaro winning the strap would be a 'new era' feeling.

 

If they don't go with the Shield triple threat, I think this would be the second best option, tied with Daniel Bryan vs. Brock Lesnar. Also, as a side note, I read on some sheetz a while back the plan to build Reigns up is now to go with the Shield triple threat this year, and then Reigns-Cena next year. Obviously to be taken with a grain of salt, but that's at least sort of logical.

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The talk now, by the way, is that Undertaker is not going to retire at WM32 because he still feels like can continue to wrestle. So I have no idea what they are going to do with him at this point, especially if Sting's neck makes him unlikely.

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What should happen: Rusev gets the push he deserves, wins the Rumble, and goes on to face Lesnar at Mania. Or New Day are the final 3 and they jump out at the same time to face Lesnar in a 4 way.

 

What will happen: Reigns reboot push

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If it’s someone new, Cesaro is the best choice. Ambrose could be fun, but unless he does some great heel turn or becomes the Stone Cold people want him to be, he feels like a mismatch main eventing Mania. Kind of in the same way that I can’t picture Jake or Bossman or post-85 Piper main eventing Mania. You don’t put your resident eccentric in that spot.

 

Piper could have headlined Wrestlemania 8 (in terms of fan perception). The fans LOVED him in the winter / spring of 1992, a hyped match with Flair would have been gold on that stage.

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What should happen: Rusev gets the push he deserves, wins the Rumble, and goes on to face Lesnar at Mania. Or New Day are the final 3 and they jump out at the same time to face Lesnar in a 4 way.

 

What will happen: Reigns reboot push

I would be interested in a 3 on 1 handicap match between New Day and Lesnar with the idea they would Freebird their title defenses. Not gonna happen and shouldn't happen but I want to see it.

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The only guys who’ve felt like surprises in the last fifteen years or so were Vince in ’99 (which I think a lot of people actually predicted at the time), Benoit in ’04, and Del Rio in ’11.

 

Not sure how either Benoit or Del Rio were surprises. They were the blatantly obvious choices to me. The Rumble has almost always been super predictable, and '04 and '11 were no exception to that.

 

To answer the questions in this thread:

 

Who should win the Rumble this year? Dean Ambrose (or Bryan if he's ready)

 

Who will win? Probably someone predictable like Brock or Reigns...yawn.

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Surprises to me in that it wasn't the top face/heel of the moment. I still maintain that Del Rio was a novel choice given that he was a Smackdown guy who had only been in the company for five months in a year where you had Cena, Orton, Sheamus, Barrett and the like there at the end. Surprises in that they made someone new or in the case of Vince went for a very crash TV idea. But yes, it speaks volumes that they only go with an interesting choice once every five years or so, and even they aren't surprises to some. The end of the brand extension has made it even less compelling, as the winner has to be one of the guys who could believably main event a Mania, which is all of about five dudes on the roster right now.

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Surprises to me in that it wasn't the top face/heel of the moment. I still maintain that Del Rio was a novel choice given that he was a Smackdown guy who had only been in the company for five months in a year where you had Cena, Orton, Sheamus, Barrett and the like there at the end. Surprises in that they made someone new or in the case of Vince went for a very crash TV idea. But yes, it speaks volumes that they only go with an interesting choice once every five years or so, and even they aren't surprises to some. The end of the brand extension has made it even less compelling, as the winner has to be one of the guys who could believably main event a mania, which is all of about five dudes on the roster right now.

Not the top face? Wasn't Benoit feuding with GM Paul Heyman and his champion Brock Lesnar? The only surprise with him was him switching over to the Raw match after all that buildup for Brock/Benoit. The other top face was Shawn Michaels and since he was already wrestling the pay per view main events it was never going to be him. The top heels were already champions. So how was Benoit a surprise?

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So how was Benoit a surprise?

Hardly anyone believed that Vince would actually pull the trigger on his world title push. Especially on Raw in early '04, which had seen two years of HHH's superdominance of the entire roster; I certainly didn't think that they'd have Hunter lose to Benoit.

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It was probably a surprise to those of us who had seen the carpet pulled out from under Benoit and his peers so many times in the early 2000s, but Benoit's Rumble victory and title win was a rare case of WWE planning something months in advance and then sticking to it. Dave mentioned being told about the whole plan as early as October and thinking it was good, but would be much better with Eddy in the Benoit role jumping to RAW and feuding with HHH and Shawn while Benoit stayed on Smackdown and beat Brock.

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I remember being surprised that Sheamus won the Royal Rumble in 2012. Jericho had just returned and seemed to be the likely winner. Based on the build, I had trouble determining who a second choice would even be. The win by Sheamus surprised me more than the Benoit or Del Rio victories.

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I wonder if the 2006-2012 run of Rumble winners hurt the overall credibility of the gimmick. Except for Orton in '09, absolutely NONE of them actually had the main event match at that year's Wrestlemania. They were mostly way in the undercard instead; hell, twice they were jerking the curtain.

 

And hey, each time it happened during the brand-split era, it was the Rumble-winner from Smackdown who didn't go on last at Mania! How bout that, what a coincidence. Doing the numbers, a Smackdown guy actually won 6 out of the 9 split-era Rumbles, but only one (Brock in '03) got the main event spot at Mania. That only ever happened to a Raw guy once, when Cena won the Rumble in '08, but they decided to put the Taker/Edge streak-vs-streak match on last at Mania (and even that one was confused with the whole "Cena cashes in his Mania title shot at No Way Out instead" nonsense).

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Sheamus might actually be the oddest winner of all-time since they started placing importance on the match. Usually a winner falls into three categories:

 

He's a can't-miss future star of the company (Austin in 1998, Batista in 2005, Reigns)

He's an underdog going against all odds (Shawn in 1996, Rey, Benoit)

He's returning from injury/layoff (HHH, Batista 2014, Edge, Cena 2008)

 

Sheamus didn't fit into any of those categories. He had just turned face in the Summer and lost his feud with Henry. While Henry, Big Show & Bryan were the focus of the title picture, Sheamus was in meaningless TV feuds with Jinder Mahal and Wade Barrett. That one still confuses me.

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Well, I think the plan was to strap the rocket to Sheamus, and he did end up beating Bryan in 18 seconds of course, but somewhere along the line it was derailed. Totally can't remember why without Googling though

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Like Loss said Reigns should win the Rumble in 2016 but honestly he should be on the hunt to the title and feuding with Rollins. I still feel he will win it but you can throw the odd ball pick in having Kevin Owens winning it. That would elevate him back in into the upper mid card and you don't have to give him the shot at Mania. He could be like Austin in 97 when he won through cheating so he can feud with Reigns or Cena again.

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