Posted January 25th, 2020 by Bill Apter


By Don “The Predictor” Murphy (Twitter: @DonThePredictor)

We’re very early into 2020, but we’ve come to one of my favorite events of the year. The Royal Rumble is upon us and after Sunday’s event, emanating from Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, we’ll officially be on the “Road to WrestleMania.” As I started to think about tomorrow night’s event, a couple of things have occurred to me. First, I like that for the first time in several years, particularly in the men’s Rumble match, there are several stories to follow. More on that to follow. Second, for both the men’s and women’s matches, it’s been a bit more difficult to get a good sense of where they’re going for Mania, thus making the picks more difficult. In any case, it’s shaped up to be a solid show. Let’s run down the card!

The Men’s Royal Rumble Match

Topline Thoughts: As I said in the opening, I like how this match has been built and that there are several stories that we’ll see play out. They may not all appeal to everyone, but there’s been a more concerted effort than in years’ past. First, we have Brock Lesnar entering the match at #1. Then, there’s the story involving Seth Rollins’ new faction and their feud with Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe. There are sub-programs with Randy Orton, Drew McIntyre, and the OC. And we can’t forget Roman Reigns vs. Baron Corbin and friends, and the Rusev, Lana, Bobby Lashley love triangle. So, there’s a lot to unpack here and I struggled to come up with a pick. The logical choice would be Roman Reigns who would then go on to challenge Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania. But, I feel like Roman doesn’t need the win and there’s still plenty of time to get to that match via another route. Ultimately, I like the idea of this match making a new main eventer, so I think we’re going to see someone eliminate Brock Lesnar and win the match to set up their title match at WrestleMania. I truly hope Vince doesn’t go the Cain Velasquez or Tyson Fury route. I think, especially from what I’ve seen on TV in the past few weeks, the time is ripe to make a run with Drew McIntyre. If you didn’t see his work in Impact Wrestling, he’s better as a babyface and I think he would do well in the top spot against Lesnar. It should be interesting to watch it play out.

The Predictor Predicts: Drew McIntyre wins the Men’s Royal Rumble Match

The Women’s Royal Rumble Match
Topline Thoughts: I don’t have as much to say about this match, as we don’t know much about the participants. What I will say is that it will be interesting to see who they choose to showcase from the NXT brand. In particular, many people, including yours truly, feel that now is the time to give Shayna Bayszler the big win here to go on to face Becky Lynch at WrestleMania. And for all we know, that may be the case. However, as we haven’t heard anything about Ronda Rousey and her family plans in the past year, I don’t think there’s any chance she’s passing up another big payday, so I’m going with a surprise return and win to set up the one-on-one match with Lynch that everyone wanted last year. Bayszler will continue to be built, but I think her time to shine comes after WrestleMania once Rousey goes away again.

The Predictor Predicts: Ronda Rousey wins the Women’s Royal Rumble Match

WWE Universal Championship Match/Strap Match: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt defends the WWE Universal Championship against Daniel Bryan
Topline Thoughts: After such a great introduction, the Wyatt character seems to have leveled off. This will undoubtedly be a good match, and, as I mentioned, I think we’re headed toward Wyatt and Reigns at WrestleMania. If that’s the plan, it will be interesting to see where they go with Bryan from here. He’s lost some steam from years past, but he’s still too popular to push too far down the card.

The Predictor Predicts: The Fiend” Bray Wyatt retains the WWE Universal Championship

WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match: Becky Lynch defends the WWE Raw Women’s Championship against Asuka
Topline Thoughts: I really like the way they’ve set this up by going back to Asuka’s win over Lynch at last year and creating a scenario where Lynch is doubting her abilities to defeat her past obstacle. Similar to Daniel Bryan, I’m hoping that in the loss, Asuka finds a way to stay relevant. She does still have the women’s tag team titles to her credit, so there’s still an opportunity to settle in to a good spot on the card if creative can put some more effort behind the tag team division.

The Predictor Predicts: Becky Lynch retains the WWE Raw Women’s Championship

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Bayley defends the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship against Lacey Evans
Topline Thoughts: I feel like this is a placeholder match for something bigger. Bayley really hasn’t hit her stride as a heel. Sasha Banks, who will likely have a role here, seems out of place as Bayley’s dutiful sidekick. And I know they’re trying, but there really hasn’t been that moment that makes me want to get behind Lacey Evans as a babyface. She’s still very green in the ring and there’s just still some more work to be done.

The Predictor Predicts: Bayley retains the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship

WWE United States Championship Match: Andrade defends the WWE United States Championship against Humberto Carrillo
Topline Thoughts: This could be the sleeper match of the night. Andrade has settled into a really nice role on the card and for the first time in a while, the United States title seems to have more relevance. With Carrillo, it’s a small climb, but I think there’s something there with some more seasoning. Let’s face it, when it comes to Latin American legends, he’s got a long way to go, but he’s a got a good look and a good move set. He has the potential to grow nicely into an upper mid-card babyface.

The Predictor Predicts: Andrade retains the WWE United States Championship

Singles Match: Roman Reigns meets King Corbin

Topline Thoughts: As I’ve said before, I’m not as down as others are on Corbin as a heel. I like what he brings to the table, but admittedly, this program has become stale. I think it has run its course and I’m looking forward to moving on.

The Predictor Predicts: Roman Reigns defeats King Corbin

Singles Match: Sheamus meets Shorty G
Topline Thoughts: It’s good to see Sheamus back and he’ll move back into the upper mid-card nicely. That being said, I’d like to see them do more with Shorty G. He has too much talent to be relegated to the bottom of the card with a subpar gimmick.

The Predictor Predicts: Sheamus defeats Shorty G

Category: Wrestling.

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