The summer months are well underway but for the WWE, there is always a bigger picture. What happens today and tomorrow within those ropes is always geared towards painting a bigger picture. The Royal Rumble is a big part of that picture that the WWE gears up for. The 2018 Royal Rumble will be the third time that a rumble has taken place in Philadelphia, but this one is a little more special than the ones preceding it. This upcoming rumble will be the 30th in the companies history.
From Hacksaw Jim Duggan to Randy Orton, Royal Rumble victories will forever be a feather in the cap of a superstar who wins it all. The only question now is, which WWE superstar on today’s roster is in WWE’s big picture. Who will be the one to stand up on that top rope, point to that brand new WrestleMania sign, and punch their ticket to New Orleans in April. Here is a list of five superstars that Wrestling News Pro believes can win it all in January.
Once in a while, a superstar comes along that electrifies the WWE universe. Like the Beatles coming to America, some talents have a way of effortlessly captivating an audience. Shinsuke is that man and has been that man since he touched down in NXT.
Nakamura literally ride waves but figuratively, the man in red has been riding the wave of excitement quite well since his post-WrestleMania call up. Sometimes, Vince McMahon will immediately cash in on an electrifying superstar like Nakamura bur between Randy Orton and John Cena, Jinder Mahal could have his hands full throughout the summer and fall. This allows time for McMahon to let Nakamura’s ascension to the main event to really be a slow burn. What better way culminate that slow burn than a Royal Rumble victory.
The rumor mill has been buzzing about an eventual Nakamura and Styles matchup. Despite recent rumors, I do not think that we will see them square off at SummerSlam but I do think WrestleMania is in the cards. I also think that would be a very fitting scene to showcase that match. Between the two superstars, I could envision Styles coming into Mania as the champ and Nakamura as the challenger. Regardless, the WWE will leave Philadelphia happy if this man wins it all.
The widespread hope at last years Royal Rumble was that Balor would make his triumphant return. That of course never happened as the Demon King was held back until the RAW after WrestleMania. Everything about Balor’s return has been frustratingly slow. His PPV showings since returning have been slim to none and he doesn’t get a ton of time on RAW. While other big names are ramping up for SummerSlam feuds, Balor is battling with RAW newcomer Elias Samson.
The phenomenal one is coming off of a dramatic house win in the historic Madison Square Garden but there may be more reasons to celebrate come January. AJ Styles stands among one of those most athletically gifted rosters that the WWE has seen as one of the best workers. Despite his skill set and popularity, Styles hasn’t really been a relevant part of the WWE championship since losing it at last years rumble.
With the exception of Elimination Chamber and a six pack challenge, Styles has swiftly flown under the radar. This could be a part of a slow roll towards the WWE championship and WrestleMania. The rumor mill has stated that WWE has big plans for Styles and Nakamura. If their brief thrown down at Money in the Bank taught us anything, it was that the WWE universe is more than willing to buy into that match. Last years WrestleMania was about showcasing that Styles will hit any match out of the park. This year, it could be about giving his infinite talents the exact spot that it deserves.
For Reigns, this is returning to the scene of the crime. 2015 would be the year that Reigns won and the internet darling Daniel Bryan did not. This set off one of the longest running temper tantrums in wrestling history as Reigns is still vilified today. I mean, the chorus of boos that night was so unrelenting that not even the Rock could save the day.
Every now and again, you get the sense that McMahon books his superstar without acknowledging the potential outcry from the WWE universe. Giving Reigns the win here is undoubtedly going to get the biggest outcry from the universe. Reigns will always be circling the main match at Mania so the Royal Rumble is just another way of getting to that ultimate destination.
Every now and again, one superstar really puts on a show at the rumble. In the past, it was Diesel and most recently was Roman Reigns from his Shield days. Whomever that superstar is, they come into the rumble and toss out seven or so competitors with ease and look dominant. Big Cass will be that guy in the 2018 Royal Rumble and could even be in a position to shock the world. After defeating Enzo Amore at GBOF, Cass would spend his spots on RAW talk and the opening to RAW this past Monday, proclaiming that he had his sights set on the Universal title.
While the Big Show came out to shut up Cass, Show will be nothing more than a stepping stone for Cass. McMahon loves his big men. He tried endlessly with Ryback, has been doing great things with Strowman, and now he has Cass. This is my dark horse to win it all and he will eliminate a lot of men in the process, but even if he doesn’t win, big things are in store for Big Cass.
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Writing credit goes to Michael Hauff