Here’s the Flickering Myth Preview for WWE Royal Rumble…
The Road to WrestleMania officially begins in Orlando tonight with WWE’s second biggest event of the year (or third if you think Summerslam is bigger), and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns is defending his title in the Royal Rumble itself. Will AJ Styles debut? Will we see some more NXT call ups? Will Lesnar walk out champ again? Here’s what’s going down at tonight’s 2016 Royal Rumble.
2016 Royal Rumble for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
When it was first announced, Roman Reigns defending his title in the Rumble felt like just another ‘Roman overcomes the odds’ scenario, but it’s actually lead to a very interesting match. This is partially down to the fact Brock Lesnar is going into the Rumble because, let’s be honest, he’s the only person in the match outside of Reigns who stands a chance of winning. That is unless we get a surprise appearance from AJ Styles – or Finn Balor as I fantasy booked. The League of Nations don’t stand a chance of winning, and Jericho winning the Rumble in 2016 seems like a serious step backwards – considering his new gimmick appears to be a parody of himself in 1999. This week’s Raw – and indeed Smackdown! – has seen Bray Wyatt stand tall, but its unlikely that he’ll be given the title here. The more likely scenario is they’re building to Lesnar vs. Wyatt at WrestleMania so expect to see them square off in the match. Also announced for the Rumble match is Stardust, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, Big Show and Curtis Axel. Remember when Big Show seemed like he was getting a push for this match? That still leaves around a dozen or so entries ready for surprises. Daniel Bryan – if he could get cleared – could make his return here, but that is asking for the boos the match got last year if he’s eliminated. After the last couple of disappointing outings, this should be a fun Rumble match.
Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Of all the matches on the card, this is likely to be the standout and Match of the Night. The two have had some fun matches on previous PPVs (Survivor Series and TLC), and this should really be the final chapter. Owens needs to move on to bigger and better things, so Dean should take the win here. If this is given 15-20 minutes, it could be a real barn-burner. Will the loss hurt Owens as he ascends up the ranks to possibly face Undertaker at WrestleMania? Not really, so long as Ambrose literally has to kill him in order to win.
The New Day vs. The Usos for the WWE Tag Team Championships
I feel like I’ve written previews for this match a half-dozen times, but amazingly it’s actually not that many (I went back and checked). It just feels like we’ve seen this match so many times now in various different scenarios that there really isn’t anything new left to say. Why do we have The Usos fighting for the titles again when we could have pushed some new teams or created some new challenges for The New Day? With that said, because the rest of the division is treated like a joke (just look at the Pre-Show match), there are no other legit contenders for the titles. This will probably be a fun match, but The New Day have been so over-exposed that they’ve lost a lot of their charm. It’s even at a point where it doesn’t matter who wins. With The New Day seemingly feuding with Chris Jericho, it doesn’t make sense to keep the Tag Titles on them so give them to The Usos so they can have a pointless multi-man match at WrestleMania.
Albero Del Rio vs. Kalisto for the WWE United States Championship
This should have been Del Rio aiming to get his title back, but alas its Kalisto going to the US Championship for a second time. They cut him off at the knees, and now it feels like he has little momentum going into this match. If Del Rio wins, it’s another loss and failure for the Lucha Dragon, but if Kalisto wins then the title is just ping-ponging back and forth. Sources say that the plan was for Del Rio to win the title back at the Rumble before he won it at Smackdown, so we should probably expect to see Del Rio win again here. Such a shame. Vince has been desperate for a Hispanic star and a new Rey Mysterio – and he has that in Kalisto. Why not use him?
Charlotte (w/Ric Flair) vs. Becky Lynch for the WWE Divas Championship
If this match is given some time, it could be fantastic. But with such a stacked card, The Divas Revolution will probably be given 10-minutes at the very most. It might even only get 8. These two are good enough to carry it, but they won’t have enough time to fully build a story and pull out an NXT-style classic. Flair will probably get involved a lot, but the better ending to the match is Lynch cheating to win. It won’t be a heel move because that’s the story going in. Or she wins the title clean and proves the Flairs wrong. With that said, it’s too soon for Charlotte to drop the title, so she should win here. Hopefully Sasha Banks can be back soon.
Pre-Show: The Dudley Boyz vs. Darren Young & Damien Sandow vs. The Ascension vs. Mark Henry & Jack Swagger for a spot in the Royal Rumble
Look at this bunch of jobber geeks right here. Amazing to see The Social Outcasts aren’t a part of this motley crew of dorks. Why not throw in Zack Ryder and Stardust while we’re at it? Blimey, I feel like Tough Enough Josh burying these poor guys. They all deserve so much better. Well, maybe not Mark Henry. No idea who will get the win, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. None of the men involved stand a chance of winning, so it’s just bodies on the card. This isn’t like when Brock Lesnar beat Big Show in 2003 and went on to win the Rumble. Put the Dudleyz over, I suppose, because at least they can get crowd reactions. And with the rumours that WWE Creative have entertained the idea of Bubba becoming his Bully Ray persona, it would be good to have them in the Rumble and kickstart that change.
Thanks to the main event, Royal Rumble is always worth watching as the build to WrestleMania officially begins. This is quite a wild ‘Mania this year due to the injuries of Cena and Rollins and the question marks over people like Daniel Bryan and Sting. And with that in mind, this will be one of the more interesting Royal Rumbles in quite some time as we’ll get a better picture of their new and revised plans.
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and a contributor for Flickering Myth TV. You can follow him on Twitter @ThisisLukeOwen.