January is always an exciting time for wrestling fans. It’s Royal Rumble month – an event that offers limitless opportunities for the year ahead. Well, 30 opportunities actually. Apart from the one year where they did 40. But limitless in the non-literal sense of the word.
Ex-WWE stars can make their surprise returns. Critically acclaimed wrestlers from other promotions can make their debuts. And NXT stars can finally be called up to the main roster.
Which is why it’s a bit disheartening the main focus of this year’s Royal Rumble poster is four pretty much part-timers John Cena, The Undertaker, Goldberg and Brock Lesnar. With a healthy dose of Roman Reigns right in the centre.
You can see WWE’s thinking here: they’ve got a heck load of seats to fill in the Alamodome in Texas, and announcing their biggest stars in advance is a tried and tested way to sell them.
Marketing genius Becky Lynch, though, has shared a much better poster on her Instagram.
The same Lynch who effectively called Alexa Bliss a c-word on Talking Smack, when she closed the segment by saying ‘see you next Tuesday’ ahead of their steel cage match for the Women’s Title next week. ‘See you next Tuesday’, while factually accurate, is also a well known way of dropping a subtle C-bomb. Daniel Bryan wasn’t on this week’s Talking Smack, so someone had to give zero f**** in his place.
Ever since Samoa Joe lost the NXT Championship to Shinsuke Nakamura after just a 14 day reign, there’s been a lot of speculation that he was getting called up to the main roster soon – most probably for a Royal Rumble debut. He’s got little else to accomplish in NXT, and isn’t currently involved in a storyline feud. He’s been advertised for NXT dates after the 29th January’s Royal Rumble show, but it’s not uncommon for wrestlers to straddle both brands for a few months – see Sami Zayn last year.
Now the Wrestling Observer Newsletter is reporting that “there is an idea on the table where Joe will debut with a major push” and be in one of the top few matches at Wrestlemania 33. And there’s no better time to start a “major push” than eliminating a whole bunch of guys at the Rumble.
Braun Strowman and The Undertaker apparently isn’t as concrete as this week’s Raw made it look. To me, Undertaker putting over Joe at Wrestlemania would be a much better match than with the limited Braun.
Someone who definitely is in the Royal Rumble match is Brock Lesnar, who was recently officially suspended by both the Nevada Athletic State Commission and USADA for the two drugs tests he failed leading up to his UFC 200 fight against Mark Hunt. Brock was fined $250,000, is suspended up until July this year, and had his victory decision overturned – but for Hunt, that isn’t enough. Especially considering that fine was only one tenth of the then record-setting $2.5 million payout Lesnar received for the fight.
Hunt has filed a civil lawsuit against Brock Lesnar, UFC and its President Dana White, accusing them of racketeering, fraud, and that they “affirmatively circumvented and obstructed fair competition for their own benefit.” He is seeking damages “in the millions.”
And that isn’t the only bad karma Lesnar has picked up. The Beast Incarnate visited the locker room during a Winnipeg Jets game, where he accidentally stepped on the team logo – a mark of huge disrespect.
It’s OK, though. It was just an accident. It’s not like Lesnar had a recent backstage confrontation with anyone who is a big supporter of the Winnipeg Jets-wait a second. CHRIS JERICHO IS A WINNIPEG JETS FAN!
How would you book Samoa Joe on the road to Wrestlemania? Tell me how it’s about time we brought back the Funkosaurus gimmick in the comments below.