With the Royal Rumble just over a week away, it’s time to take the rampant speculation and fantasy booking to the next level. Personally, my heart wants Samoa Joe to debut and win the Rumble. But my cynical, often disappointed brain knows it’s most likely going to be The Undertaker to set up a Wrestlemania match with the new WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns.
Because that’s a great way to get Roman over. Nobody’ll boo him against The Undertaker.
WWE themselves have gotten in on the fun, posting a short video asking various main roster stars who they want to see as surprise Rumble entrants.
Shawn Michaels picked Bob Backlund. The Miz went for Ryan Gosling. And Renee Young settled on Santino Marella.
Most interesting, though, was who Seth Rollins picked:
“A lot of buzz right now, maybe Kenny Omega, huh? Said his future’s up in the air at New Japan, so you never know. Could we see The Cleaner in the Rumble? I don’t know.”
Kenny Omega, arguably the most in-demand free agent wrestler in world right now following his 6 star WrestleKingdom 11 match against Okada. And one that John Cena has posted several teases for on his Instagram in the last few weeks. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows continued the New Japan selections:
Anderson – “Tama Tonga, a friend of ours from Bullet Club fame.”
Gallows – “Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga. Be my two picks.”
So WWE are teasing Omega yet again. What’s new? This has been going on for weeks…
What’s new, is that WWE took down that video shortly after it went live, and uploaded an edited one in its place with the Rollins, Anderson and Gallows parts removed. And in a change in WWE’s creative strategy, they weren’t replaced with that guy being sad when Roman Reigns lost the United States title.
I’m not entirely sure what this means. Cena, Triple H and Omega himself have all been relatively public about The Cleaner possibly turning up in WWE soon. But this is the first incident since WrestleKingdom 11 where WWE have actually gone out of their way to cover up an Omega tease.
Maybe betting odds will give us a better idea as to what’s going down at the Rumble.
In the last few days, NXT star Samoa Joe’s odds have gone from 33/1 to being amongst the match’s favourites at 4/1, the week after Dave Meltzer reported he’s set for a big push heading into Wrestlemania for one of the card’s top matches.
But since the big announcement on this week’s episode of Raw that Kurt Angle will be going into the WWE Hall of Fame this year, he’s the real ‘big Rumble surprise’ that we’re all expecting – which Dave Meltzer has written about in the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter:
“There were rumors he would be in the Royal Rumble but those close to him said during this past week that he had not gotten any word that would be the case at that point. Usually the surprises in the Rumble aren’t told until the last week…”
Meltzer goes onto say that everything really depends on if Kurt can pass a WWE physical with all the neck and knee damage he’s sustained over his career.
Who do you want to see turn up as a surprise Royal Rumble entrant this year? Tell me how it doesn’t matter as WWE will remove your New Japan picks in the comments below.
You can still buy tickets for the aforementioned 5 Star Wrestling Show next Saturday on the 28th January, and you can watch it broadcast live at the same time with Rey Mysterio, Johnny Mundo, Drew Galloway and more in action on Spike TV in the UK, which can be found on channel 31 on Freeview, 160 on Sky and 154 on Virgin.