Imp’s WWE Adventure
Guessing Royal Rumble 2019’s Surprise Entrants!
The Royal Rumble is my favourite WWE PPV by a country mile. The annual reverse battle royal is one of the very few match types that stands the test of time no matter the era, state of the industry or even your own personal investment in the product at the time.
A high octane character showcase, the stars of today all strutting out one by one and dancing with everything they’ve got. All perfectly wrapped in one neat 1 hour package. With one superstar being ultimately crowned the winner, and going on to perform in a marquee match at the grand stage of the company’s biggest show, WrestleMania.
A perfect way to get the hype vehicle rolling, as we officially start to set off down the road to WrestleMania.
However, for me the best part about the Rumble is the nature of unpredictability. As those 10 seconds count down to unveil the next mystery competitor, the anticipation builds and in that half second of silence before the wrestler’s theme plays, everyone looks to the entrance way with bated breath. Even when I watched last year’s Men’s Rumble with my younger brother who couldn’t care less about wrestling, at the end of that 10 second countdown the room went silent.
Then Apollo Crews came out and he was like, “Who dat?”, but what are the highs without the lows?
A nature that is upped every year by bringing out our favourite stars from the past, returns from injury, debuts, people we’d forgotten were employed, etc.
So today I’m going to try and predict who those surprise entrants will be! Who will fill that role of the pop of the unpredictable? This is all assuming there will be surprises, last year we got three, but sometimes there aren’t any like 2017 or there are waay too many like 2012.
Quick note: like last year, half of the Women’s Rumble Match will be surprises. So there’s not really much point playing this game with that match, although I’ll throw my ‘NXT spot prediction hat’ out onto Shayna Baszler and Toni Storm’s heads.
This first category is more a ‘quick laundry list’ to power through before getting to the fun, main bulk of the column.
So first on the list, Kenny Omega. Stop it. Same goes for the rest of The ELITE, Cody and the Bucks haven’t roped in a billionaire to ‘pretend start’ a wrestling company to swerve everyone from thinking they’re in the Rumble. That would be hilarious, but no, it would also be ridiculous (but also ingenius).
On that same point, this isn’t Chris Jericho’s best ever Rumble return swerve either, no walls will be broken on this night (insert US political joke here).
Next up, surely WWE aren’t stupid enough to include Hogan. No matter which side of the Hogan debate you fall on, the simple fact is there’s a big debate in the first place and that would distract from the match. There’s no way WWE don’t know this and I don’t think their aim to get the Hulkster widely accepted again will go as far as to actually include him in a match, never mind one as big as the Rumble.
Finally, and I can’t believe I have to say this, Roman Reigns. Hey I’ve seriously seen it said, there’s folk out there that refuse to believe the man’s even ill, so I’m putting him here to squash even the slightest inkling of that notion. Unless he has Super Cena blood and has already defeated the cancer, thinking about it he’d probably need Zack Ryder’s blood or whatever gave that man the ability to recover from a broken back in 2 weeks.
Immediately off the bat, there’s one man who we’ve not seen a little while. Former RAW General Manager Kurt Angle was last seen losing to an big, angry Scotsman and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Olympic gold medallist makes a grand return in his first Rumble since… pfff, 2005? God it’s really been that long, and he only lasted 30 seconds in that one. Here’s hoping for a slightly better go of it this time round.
And no, Baron Corbin should not get his revenge on the Monday Night’s Watch.
Then there’s a slew of former top wrestlers rumoured that may be be included, a whole list of people the IWC hopes to God don’t win. I’m talking about the likes of Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Triple H and Kane the Mayor. Yeah, that’s actually just the four guys that competed in the Crown Jewel main event, but I like to think that match sent a message.
And that message is, “No.”
And finally there’s the big Hollywood two, one of which has expressed massive interest in another WrestleMania programme, in the ‘Animal’ Batista. Last appearing on SmackDown 1000 for the Evolution reunion, in what felt like a nod at a possible future programme with Triple H. That said, The Game is known to thrown winks and nods all over the place ‘just in case’, so who knows.
I really wouldn’t mind Batista making a surprise entrance, I have no issue including such legends in the match, they’d get one mighty memorable reaction. My issue is solely in the buggers winning the bleeding thing.
Which leads me to the second of the Hollywood two, and this other one is a bit more complicated. Originally rumoured to be the man to face WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns at WrestleMania, those plans have obviously been completely uprooted. That said, with WWE clawing at a way to generate interest and star power, I wouldn’t put it past them to call upon the current biggest star of them all, The Rock.
I’ve been pessimistically predicting Rocky to win the Rumble for what feels like a full half year, because to me that is a worst case scenario where WWE STILL don’t generate any new stars and are once again completely screwed once WrestleMania season is over and Lesnar & Rock are gone.
I’ll believe WWE are listening and in a ‘new era’ when I see it. Until then, my Pessimistic PPV Predictions will persist!
A category that has become a staple this past decade, growing from one early spot to both Almas and Cole getting surprise entrances during 2018’s outing.
Looking back at last year, Adam Cole became the first North American Champion shortly after and Cien was called up to the main roster after ‘Mania. So perhaps this year could be as simple as the champions going into TakeOver getting those spots. With the NA Championship happening to be on the shoulders of Ricochet, a man who you would think would absolutely excel in this kind of match. The big spot/moment style of the Rumble could really elevate the bouncy man from Kentucky.
Compare that to Tomasso Ciampa though, a wrestler who more likely warrants a proper character introduction over a loud Rumble pop. Ricochet ticks a lot of the boxes Adam Cole did this time last year, but Ciampa is one of those that requires a bit more time for you to understand why you should boo him to utter oblivion. Like a ‘boo me cretins’ promo, or detailed video package, just something a tad more substantial than a surprise entrance.
So who’s my actual pick? I’m going with the Velveteen Dream baby! More in the vain of Adam Cole, gets a nice moment to shine, but isn’t actually full on called up. Really I just rather like that idea, one spot for a soon to be call up, another for one further down the line. Totally up for that becoming a regular thing.
Also this kind of all depends on who they want to call up, let’s not forget the slew of recent call-ups that are obviously expected to take part. Even though they’ve not really debuted yet and there’s only two more RAWs till the Rumble (bloody hell, that’s comes quick).
The Outside Picks
First off, I can never fully bet against The Great Khali randomly showing up. The man can hardly walk, but he’s so big that I assume WWE will try and wheel him out for as long as they can. Poor lad, all he wants to do is sit down and read ‘Fire And Blood’ before the final season airs.
In terms of recurring Rumble legends, there’s The Godfather who seems to drink from the same fountain of youth as R-Truth. And hell I’ll go for it, with his sons bringing the name into modern day prominence over in Japan, is there a shout for Haku? Considering they’re associated with NJPW, probably not, but that’s what makes him an outside pick!
We’re also reaching that point where fellas from the naughties are likely to start showing up in the Surprise Stars From the Past’ spots, so a quick shout for Chavo Guerrero and Carlito, who both appeared in Netflix’s hit show GLOW. That should be enough to keep them in consideration. Random folk like The Boogeyman slot in here as well AKA the ‘memorable’ gimmicks, not that there were many during the late naughties.
And I’ve not counted the days very well, but it feels like Kevin Owens and/or Sami Zayn’s injuries could be close to healed within the next while. Although the former was only written out back in October and has since had surgery on both of his knees, so I don’t like his chances of being bang on ready for January 27th. Zayn at least has time on his side, having been out since June.
Although you do need arms to wrestle, here’s hoping Sami’s now efficiently work well enough to use again.
Oh yeah, and Big Show. The giant shows up every now and again, recently turned both heel and face this year as well, so he’s around.
And that’s it! All the folk I think could be up for giving us all a lovely surprise in 2 weeks time.
My final 5 potential surprises – The Rock, Ricochet, Velveteen Dream, Kurt Angle, Batista
But what do you think? Who would you like to see make a surprise return? Which future stars should get those prestigious NXT spots? Should any of them actually win? Comment down below and let me know!
See you next week for a focus on the Women’s side of the Rumble!
Email Imp – firstname.lastname@example.org
Imp’s on LOP Radio every Thursday with Perfect 10 Wrestling! This Thursday he’s joined by Clive from the Ricky & Clive show to chat about 205 Live and a bit of UK wrestling.
Imp’s most recent columns
Imp’s NJPW Adventure – Is Kenny Omega Going To WWE or AEW?
Imp’s NJPW Adventure – The Story of Hiroshi Tanahashi Part 1: Becoming The Ace
Imp’s NJPW Adventure – The Story of Hiroshi Tanahashi Part 2: The Ace of the Universe
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