Last year rumble was a little more unpredictable, but the closer we got to the event it was clear that Triple H was gonna make his return and win the royal rumble match. In an age where keeping secrets in wrestling is almost impossible, especially the main-event of WrestleMania, the WWE have be unable to keep much suspense for the Rumble match because the winner is almost always known beforehand… until now?
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This year the Royal Rumble 2017 match is a month away and there is no logical winner. Goldberg and Brock Lesnar have been announced for the match, but you’d assume (whether we want it or not) they’re going to culminate their rivalry at WrestleMania, removing them from the equation. Even if they don’t face each other, Goldberg in the title picture doesn’t really make much sense considering he won’t be a full-time guy, and we’ve already seen a Brock title reign and it wouldn’t work well with the angle they created at Survivor Series.
Finn Balor might return arround the time for Royal Rumble match, but he already has a contractual rematch pending for the WWE Universal Title so he doesn't need to win the Rumble anyway. Kevin Owens and AJ Styles will probably still be their brand’s respective champions, with the only exception being if The Undertaker takes the title off of AJ – assuming that match even happens. Seth Rollins will face Triple H at WrestleMania in all likelihood, removing them both from the equation too… So who is even left?
Roman Reigns is never going to win the Rumble match again, they’re simply not going to let that happen, John Cena is probably facing Undertaker, and even if he isn’t, the odds of him being given a third Rumble victory seem quite low. He’s definitely not a favourite, that’s for sure. Dean Ambrose has just fallen out of the title picture and Chris Jericho will probably return to Fozzy. If he doesn’t, he might be the guy to bank on, assuming he isn’t facing Owens at this exact pay-per-view. Bray Wyatt in a heel versus heel match against Styles seems like long odds and he’ll probably be tied up with Randy Orton regardless. They’ll never be favourites for the Rumble, but it might be the year where someone like Cesaro or Sami Zayn do the impossible and headline WrestleMania.
If you’re thinking NXT, Samoa Joe is ready to come up, but with both champions heel, that diminishes the likelihood of Joe winning. Shinsuke Nakamura winning and setting up a dream match with AJ Styles or Kevin Owens would be amazing, but since he’s the NXT Champion it seems we’ll have to wait. Could we see a massive return like Kurt Angle or Jeff Hardy? Who knows, it’s all surprisingly hard to predict.
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You could make an argument for most of these guys winning the match, but you could also make one against all of them. This is genuinely an open field. Let’s see if we can narrow down the candidates.
We know that WWE is bringing back the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view early next year and once we know which brand is hosting it, we can probably be sure the OTHER brand is winning the Royal Rumble. Early speculation suggests it will be a RAW exclusive event. With Finn Balor likely to be back by WrestleMania, the odds of SmackDown winning the Rumble seem to be better than RAW. AJ Styles as the WWE Champion also means it will probably be a babyface that wins it.
As we’ve already stated, it won’t be Ambrose because his feud with Styles is over and Cena winning the Rumble for a third time, even though another Styles/Cena match would be amazing, seems unlikely. Who does that leave? James Ellsworth – obviously.
So who’s winning next year’s Royal Rumble – I don’t have a bloody clue.