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    Saturday, January 25, 2020

    The One Where No One’s a Sure Bet: Royal Rumble 2020 Predictions

    “There’s gonna be a Rumble tonight! The Royal Rumble, that’s right!” You probably guessed after that sweet sweet reference to my favorite Royal Rumble commercial what’s about to go down. It’s the Royal Rumble, baybeee! And the Smark Henry office is so hyped that we wrote predictions for this year’s January spectacle. Aren’t we the best?

    So join us as we answer the five biggest questions heading to the 2020 Royal Rumble. We have our NXT badass The Migz, the baddest tito on the planet, Tito Enzo Tanos, watch-out-for-that-bad-bad-bad-man-looking-fella (and yours truly) #NitPickRick, and Smark Henry’s biggest bad, Stan Sy. So, you wanna hear some predictions or what?

    It’s anybody’s ballgame. Who are your picks for this year’s Royal Rumble Matches?

    The Migz: I’ll ride the rumors and pick Roman Reigns. A three-way between The Fiend, Daniel Bryan, and Reigns does sound enticing, although that would most likely end up with Reigns winning.

    The Women’s Royal Rumble Match is where it gets interesting. I actually agree with most of the rumors involving Shayna Baszler. Why? Because NXT started dominating since Survivor Series and they need a Royal Rumble win to show dominance. Sure, maybe WWE isn’t bold enough to give away the Men's Rumble, but the Women’s Rumble kind of makes sense, especially since some seeds were already planted for a Shayna Baszler vs. Becky Lynch showdown.

    Stan: I don’t like how particularly unpredictable this year’s Royal Rumble Matches are. The contenders aren’t clear-cut and while this might not necessarily be the case, it gives off the impression that even WWE itself hasn’t decided on who to rocket-strap (shout-out to E&C) by Monday (Manila time).

    That said, if I were a betting man, I’d put money on Drew McIntyre for the Men’s Rumble, especially after what looked like a face turn on this week’s RAW. As for the Women’s Rumble, Vegas has picked Shayna Baszler to win—and frankly, with the unpredictability of it all, I don’t mind the pick.

    Ricky Publico: I get what you’re saying, but I’m also a Royal Rumble mark. The unpredictable nature of the match is what excites me the most. Remember the last time when the winner was as clear as day? It was still fun, but it’s not as exciting as say, the 2007 Royal Rumble Match. So yeah, let chaos reign this year and whoever wins it will totally deserve it.

    As for my picks, I’ll go with AJ Styles and Shayna Baszler. I’m going to pick Styles every year until he wins the damn thing, while Shayna Baszler certainly looks the part of a former Royal Rumble winner, if you catch my drift. So hyped for this year’s Rumble matches!

    Tito E: By the looks of things, Roman Reigns appears to be the best bet to win the Men’s Rumble this year and get himself a main event match at WrestleMania. But who will he be facing? I’ve heard rumors that WWE might be planning another Reigns vs. Lesnar match at ‘Mania (please God, no), though I also wouldn’t mind the far more logical Reigns vs. Fiend, should The Big Dog win the men’s Rumble and Bray Wyatt retain against Daniel Bryan.

    For the women’s Rumble, I’m with the majority here. I think Shayna Baszler is the most logical pick—at 39, she’s not getting any younger, and she absolutely has to be booked like a big deal while she’s still in her prime.

    What’s the Royal Rumble without the surprise entrants and returns? Who ya got?

    Migz: For the males, I think it's Goldberg. I'm guessing this is the part where he and Roman clash so we can get that Saudi matchup that no one really asked for. Edge is the loudest rumor though, so I can also see it happening. Now, Christian, on the other hand, would be perfect if he made a surprise return and helped Edge for a bit before they go on to eliminate each other. 

    For the ladies, I'm betting Smark Henry favorites Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir will be there to help my pick to win. Plus, I am looking forward to more NXT females in the match. Expect the likes of Shotzi Blackheart or Chelsea Green to show up just to pad this Women’s Royal Rumble. For my crazy surprise idea, I just think they'll make a bad decision by putting somebody like Santina (Santino Marella) in the match. 

    Stan: ON THIS DAY! I SEE CLEARLY… that Edge is making his triumphant return back to WWE, the same way he did a decade ago when he came out at #28 to win. I don’t think Edge is winning the Rumble, okay. Let’s make that clear.

    For the Women’s Rumble, I’m expecting Nia Jax to come back as a monster heel now that she’s reportedly ready to make her in-ring return. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an NXT UK Superstar or two, as well. Give me Kay Lee Ray!

    Tito E: I can already imagine sports bars around the world (including our own Skinny Mike’s) erupting in a loud cheer once Alter Bridge’s “Metalingus” plays to mark Edge’s in-ring return. Likewise, I don’t expect him to win, but his mere presence in the men’s Rumble will be an automatic highlight, should he turn out to be one of the few surprise entrants.

    As for the women, it’s no longer surprising anymore to see the top names (e.g. Baszler, Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley) in NXT compete in the Rumble match, so I’m going with Dakota Kai, who has impressed me with her recent heel turn. I’m also expecting one or two surprise, one-off returns from the Divas era. Kaitlyn has yet to compete in the women’s Rumble, but part of me expects that to change this year.

    Ricky: Why are y’all sleeping on my big bro WALTER? I mean, Edge returning will be amazing, but it’s also unlikely. I wouldn’t get my hopes up that much. WALTER, on the other hand, can get the rest of his Imperium cohorts to prevent him from elimination. For the women, Paige has been trolling us for weeks, but it probably won’t happen, too. Give me a Mercedes Martinez or even a Meiko Satomura. And why not, have Nia Jax make her return too? 

    Every Rumble has its Ironman/Ironwoman. Who will get this unique distinction this year?

    Migz: Seth Rollins for the guys. They're gonna build him up to be the biggest dick this year so what better way than to say he outlasted everybody?

    For the women, it's either Shayna Baszler or Io Shirai. Shayna would probably do well because of the obvious reasons of making her look menacing and dominant (like a female Brock Lesnar), but I also think Shirai deserves to at least look strong if she isn't winning the damn thing. Give it to us, WWE.

    Stan: I chose this guy as my winner pick on this week’s RAW review and now I feel stupid for recanting it. So instead, I’m going to select Mustafa Ali as my Ironman pick. He’s due for a huge babyface run, isn’t he? For the ladies, I don’t know, Charlotte Flair? Man, we don’t even have a huge babyface outside of Becky Lynch and Lacey Evans. This is a problem.

    Tito E: I’m going with Drew McIntyre as this year’s Ironman. I don’t think he’s winning the Rumble, but he deserves a much better 2020 after injuries and start-stop booking made his 2019 rather forgettable. Making him the Ironman is a good way to solidify what should be a much-improved push.

    My pick for Ironwoman is also Charlotte Flair. Not a fan of her as a babyface, but hell, she’s RAW’s biggest female babyface not named Becky Lynch. She deserves something to make her feel truly relevant.

    Ricky: The funny answer goes to Shorty G and Dana Brooke. The somewhat plausible answer goes to Mustafa Ali and Kairi Sane. The serious answer goes to Samoa Joe and Charlotte Flair.

    This year’s Rumble is as unpredictable as ever. Time to pitch some crazy spots.

    Migz: My weird prediction is that Dominick Mysterio eliminates Brock Lesnar. Cain Velasquez may or may not be there to help him do this. Rey Mysterio will probably be there so that it feels believable. I also think someone is getting the short-time shaft this year. I’m not yet sure who the (dis)honor goes to. Maybe someone like Curt Hawkins? Sami Zayn?

    Lastly, I can sort of feel some weird Fiend-ish angle happening mid-match. Maybe a moment wherein someone gets taken under the ring and isn’t really eliminated so that Bray Wyatt can set his pre-WrestleMania feud? Kane, perhaps?

    Stan: Kofi Kingston and John Morrison are going to be in this Rumble. Maybe they’ll make use of No Way Jose’s conga line? Has this been done before? I think we’ve seen too many Royal Rumble Matches.

    Ricky: The fact that John Morrison and Kofi Kingston will be part of this year’s Royal Rumble is enough for me to predict that we’re gonna get some quality yet crazy spots. I don’t want to think about it so I don’t spoil myself, but I’d like to see JoMo and Kofi try to eliminate each other, only for them to pull off insane moves to avoid elimination—sort of like a parkour battle, if you will. It makes sense, too, since their teams are feuding right now. Book it, Vince!

    Brock Lesnar is in the Rumble, but his WWE Championship is not on the line. Yay or Nay?

    Migz: Nay. I would've wanted to see the title defended so we can get the title off Brock and not make him look weak. As with the rumors, this is most likely to set-up his WrestleMania match.

    Stan: Nay. This is so problematic because Creative has had at least three weeks to explain the stakes of Lesnar’s entry into the Royal Rumble Match. I get that this is supposed to set his WrestleMania arc up. But why couldn’t Paul Heyman have set up what’s in it for Lesnar if he wins or loses? Making that clear would immediately have given this Rumble more gravitas. Instead, we have too many questions heading into it and for all the wrong reasons.

    Tito E: Hard Nay for me. We’re days away from the event, and I still don’t know why the hell Brock is in the Rumble.

    Ricky: Not to be a contrarian or anything, but this actually makes sense to me. Brock Lesnar is an arrogant monster heel, so it makes sense to challenge himself like this. He would probably put the WWE Championship on the line if he could, but that’s why he has a Paul Heyman to control his impulses. A champion trying to make a statement by vying to win the Rumble match at the most disadvantageous spot? That’s fresh! So it’s a Yay for me.


    And that’s it for our Smark Henry predictions for Royal Rumble. Agree? Disagree? Feel free to pipe down on the comments. While you’re at it, feel free to join other Filipino wrestling fans lose their shit at our Royal Rumble annual viewing party on January 27, 2020 at Skinny Mike’s Sports Bar in BGC. Tickets cost PHP 300 and comes with a free drink. Make sure to file a leave because we’re starting as early as 5AM. See you there!

    Photos from WWE.com
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    Item Reviewed: The One Where No One’s a Sure Bet: Royal Rumble 2020 Predictions Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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