Did you know WWE are making history tomorrow night? For the first time ever they are holding a 30-woman Royal Rumble match. And we are going to be treated to the delight of Stephanie McMahon on commentary. As a certain woken figure would say, wonderful! Despite my sarcasm I am genuinely looking forward to this match. And because the Rumble is a special occasion, I’m going to break up my Spotlight slightly differently than I usually do. I’m going to break the match down into the biggest questions, and discuss each one individually. So let’s just get right into it!
Who is likely to last the longest?
Obviously this depends on where various people enter. Call it a gut feeling, but because of their entrances I’m guessing the first two will be Naomi and Bayley, and I think either one of them could go a long way. Usually I’d say that a workhorse would be the best candidate, someone that can work with anyone, have the stamina to stay in for 40+ minutes but that isn’t necessarily in with a chance of winning. Following that logic, I’d say someone like Natalya, Mickie James or maybe even Becky Lynch would be in contention. But working against that logic is that most of the field currently announced fits that definition of “workhorse”. That’s kind of how we got to this position in the first place, by a crop coming through that is just really good in the ring. Depending on what stories they want to tell, the Riott Squad teaming up for a while and dominating would be good for them, and would give Ruby Riott or Sarah Logan a chance at lasting the longest in the inaugural women’s Royal Rumble match.
Who will get the most eliminations?
You might think it would be easy to point to whoever the eventual winner will be as the same answer to this question, but there have been 16 instances of one person eliminating 7 or more people from a single Royal Rumble match, and only six of those times has come from the winner. Again I have to put the Riott Squad in contention here, purely on the numbers game, as well as Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose from Absolution for the same reason. However, I think the real favourites are Sasha Banks, Nia Jax and Asuka. I put Banks here because I can’t imagine she’ll have anything other than a strong showing, possibly taking out the previously mentioned alliances on her own. But Jax has to be the real top pick, this match suits her down to the ground, with 30 women for her to prove she isn’t like. It would fit Asuka’s gimmick of running through the entire division to eliminate the most people, but I see her entering the fray quite late into the proceedings. When all is said and done, I think Jax will become the first female record holder for most eliminations in a Rumble.
Will there be surprises?
Yes! There has to be. I’m not just saying that because it’s the Rumble, I’m saying that because they have announced every available woman on the main roster for the match, and there are still 12 spots to be filled. There will be appearances from the NXT roster, though personally I wouldn’t like to see too many – I’d rather see the field filled with legends. I think for the first one, it would really put over the significance of the match to have these past stars coming out of retirement for one more crack at it. I think it would be a travesty not to have Trish Stratus and Lita in the match – the latter’s absence from Raw25 could have been WWE trying to keep her out of our minds. Beth Phoenix obviously went into the Hall of Fame last year, and is currently a commentator for the Mixed Match Challenge, so she’s on good enough terms to come back as a one off. A face off between Nia Jax and Kharma could be really fun. Kharma has spoken about wanting to be in the match, and she’s part of GLOW, so there could be an opportunity for WWE to cash in on some cross promotion there. I saw the names of Molly Holly and Michelle McCool also being touted, who seem entirely plausible. And Stephanie’s presence at ringside is going to lead to a lot of questions about her role in the match – will she get more involved than just being on commentary?
And then there are the questions surrounding Ronda Rousey. She has been widely reported to have been in talks with WWE for months now, as well as training for pro wrestling during that time. She recently spoke to TMZ, saying she will be out of the country during the Rumble, and that she hasn’t signed any deal with WWE yet. But this is wrestling we’re talking about, so you still can’t rule it out. I mean let’s face it, if the plan is for Rousey to debut as a surprise entrant, they’re not going to tell you that in advance are they?
Who will win?
For me, this question is actually quite straightforward. If Ronda Rousey is in the match, she will win, no question about it. Imagine the mainstream press WWE would get if the biggest name in the history of women’s fighting shows up and wins one of WWE’s premier events on her first night? If we take her word for it that she’s not going to be there though, I think there really is only one other option: Asuka. When she debuted on Raw, the question wasn’t if she would be a success – it was how long can they go without catapulting her into the title picture. Over the last few weeks, Asuka has finally been interacting with Alexa Bliss, so the move to put the championship on Asuka is imminent. It seems like a lock that Asuka will be in the Raw Women’s Championship match at Wrestlemania, the only question appears to be if she will be the challenger to Alexa Bliss, or the defending champion against Rousey.
So there we have it! I think this match has been built up far better than the men’s equivalent, and it really feels like a big match because of them calling it historic so many times. I’m looking forward to seeing who the surprise entrants all are, even if I think the end result is a bit predictable. There are still so many other questions, and paths to get there, that it will be an exciting watch! Do you agree with me? Who do you see being in the key spots of lasting the longest, eliminating the most people, and eventually winning? Let me know in the comments below!