Tha Sports Junkies 101

Who Could Potentially Win The Royal Rumble?

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For many WWE fans, the Royal Rumble is truly the beginning of the Road to WrestleMania.
Historically the winner of the Royal Rumble match is viewed by many as the centerpiece for the upcoming WrestleMania and how the card may or may not ultimately end up shaking out. Granted, the winner of the Royal Rumble match doesn’t always end up ultimately win “the richest prize in the game” at the Grandaddy of them All (John Cena in 2013 was the last winner to end up winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania) but more often than not they are featured in the shows main event. (2011 was the last time a WWE Championship match hadn’t closed the show)

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Every year, there are tons of fan debate regarding who should or shouldn’t win the Rumble match itself and this year is no different. You would make a case for half a dozen or more WWE talents winning the Royal Rumble and going on to main event WrestleMania, but these five should be considered among the frontrunners to walk out of the Royal Rumble with their virtual ticket stamped for the Showcase of the Immortals.

The Miz

Over the last six months or so The Miz has undergone a career renaissance of sorts and has firmly established himself as one of, if not the top heels in the WWE. And with him recently dropping his Intercontinental Championship to Dean Ambrose he is now potentially freed up for a main event level feud leading into WrestleMania.
The only issue with that is the brand he is on—should he get the victory it’s hard to truly envision him being built as a legitimate contender for either AJ Styles or potentially John Cena for the WWE Championship. But given the current state of the WWE, a true main event heel might be exactly what the WWE needs to freshen up the roster and would help bolster an already strong Smackdown Live roster, not to mention that he may be one of the only heels on the roster that gets legitimately booed by the fans on a weekly basis.

Chris Jericho

This one should be pretty obvious, while the Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho has dominated Monday Night RAW for much of the last six months or so there have been a number of times that a potential split has been teased. Clearly it is on the horizon and with Jericho’s current WWE run having lasted months longer than anyone expected he could be setting us all up for his latest temporary swan song any week now.
What better way to send his latest (and perhaps best) run with the WWE since 2009 than with the WrestleMania main event that longtime fans may agree that he is more than deserving for? That along with how well the WWE has booked Kevin Owens during his time with the company has it set up so that all of the stars have aligned for Jericho to finally do one of the few things he hasn’t yet: win the Royal Rumble match. Granted, that would likely spell an end to his latest heel run that he has been nothing short of phenomenal on (I mean, who wants to boo Jericho at this point in his career?)
But with the potential payoff being either Jericho getting his WrestleMania moment, or even just “doing the honors” for one of the WWE’s top stars, Jericho will likely be a popular name in Royal Rumble winner pools this January.

Baron Corbin

This one may be a little bit of a stretch, but hear me out here, during his first year on the main roster, Corbin already has a victory in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and appeared to be in for a major push coming out of that with some decisive victories over Dolph Ziggler as well as Kalisto over the summer and into the fall.
However, he does appear to be yet another victim of being caught in limbo far too often to have me convinced that this would be an overwhelming success in a main event level match at WrestleMania. But the ground work is definitely being laid for that to be in the works. Granted, this could be an example of him being a year away from this being a legitimate possibility (he may be a strong Money in the Bank contender this summer though) but he definitely should get at least some consideration for a Rumble winner.

Photo credit: Ahed Jericho on Flikr

Finn Balor

Much like Corbin, this one may be a bit of a long shot, especially with the questions up in the air surrounding his shoulder injury. But it was clear before his injury that the WWE had big plans for Balor and although those plans were severely derailed with the injury.
But because of the high expectations for Balor there is no reason to think if he does make his triumphant return at the Royal Rumble to think that he wouldn’t be someone to go the Edge (2011) or John Cena (2008) route and return at the Rumble and parlay that into a main event at WrestleMania.
Also there is no reason to think the WWE wouldn’t love to reignite the Kevin Owens and Finn Balor feud from 2015 that did a ton to help elevate NXT into what it’s become now.
Are there others that I left out? Definitely. Will there be someone win that absolutely nobody sees coming? I don’t know. I hope so. But regardless, it appears that the WWE is setting everyone up for quite the interesting Road to WrestleMania, starting in January 29.