The Delco Elbow Drop

Thursday, January 23, 2014

WWE Royal Rumble – Who’s going to Wrestlemania 30?

The 2014 WWE Royal Rumble is this Sunday in Pittsburgh and the Rumble is usually a great event. The WWE usually uses the unique format to stage big returns as well as surprise entrants (think of Golddust or Bo Dallas in last year’s match). And it’s usually hard to predict just who will come out the victor. But this year feels different. And I don’t want to say it’s because of Batista. But… it’s because of Batista.

This guy?

No, not that guy. This guy.

No, this can't be right. Is that Pitbull?

No, no that’s not Pitbull. That’s what “The Animal” Batista was wearing during his return to WWE last Monday night on Raw. I dunno…skinny jeans and a designer zip-up doesn’t exactly scream “Animal” at me. The crowd seemed to be into Batista’s return, which consisted of once again reminding everyone he’s going to win the WWE World Heavyweight championship. He also did a sorta Batista Bomb to Alberto Del Rio (don't want to split those fancy jeans), a guy who has had issue with Batista’s return for weeks now. I wasn’t that impressed.

I’ll be honest, I pretty much didn’t watch any WWE during most of Batista’s career. I had started tuning out of WWE, in favor of the indies, right around the time that Batista debuted as Reverend D-Von’s assistant, Deacon Batista, and saw pretty much nothing he ever did. I know he held the World Heavyweight and WWE championships several times (thanks, Wikipedia) and that he was in Evolution but that’s about it.

But the reason why Batista in the Rumble feels odd is because it feels like there aren’t going to be any surprises this year. Batista has his eyes on the WWE World Heavyweight championship and winning the Rumble is his ticket to earning a shot at Wrestlemania. And usually I wouldn’t think WWE would be so obvious…but Batista is a returning Superstar and a multiple time champion who also has history with Triple H and Randy Orton. Why would WWE bring him back (and also why would he come back) if it wasn’t to challenge for - and most likely win - the WWE World Heavyweight championship? I don’t want to say it’s exactly like what they did with The Rock last year, but it’s close enough to be annoyed about it.

So far, 20 Superstars have officially been entered in the Royal Rumble – Batista, Alberto Del Rio, Big E Langton, The Miz, R Truth, Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes, Golddust, Rey Mysterio, Fandango, CM Punk, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, Damien Sandow, and the Usos, Jimmy and Jey – which leaves plenty of opportunity for mystery entrants.

Sure there will be plenty of surprises in the Rumble itself. I’m expecting a number of Superstars to return to active competition (RVD, Chris Jericho, Sheamus) but there will hopefully be some surprises as well. Last year brought us Bo Dallas from NXT, so who’s to say that Alexander Rusev couldn’t be this year’s call up? Or Adrian Neville? Or Sami Zayn? And if you really want to get crazy you could also throw Sting or AJ Styles rumors into the mix.

But winning the Rumble? There’s almost no other legitimate choice besides Batista.

Kane announced on Raw that CM Punk will be entered first in the 2014 Royal Rumble, which sounds pretty bad but there’s been as many winners from #1 (Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit. Err…I mean Stevie Richards) as there have been from #30 (The Undertaker and John Cena). But, I don’t really see Punk going the distance this year. With Kane breathing down his neck and the entire Shield entered into the match, I don’t think Punk has much of a chance.

ADR is an obvious choice but I just can’t help but see him putting Batista over when the time comes. Big E is definitely a future winner. He has all the right tools to main event in the WWE and just needs time for his fan base to grow. A catchphrase couldn’t hurt either. (Which is weird because he had a catchphrase in NXT but it didn’t seem to make the transition to the main roster.) Any member of the Shield could also win a future Rumble, just not this year. Cody and Kofi are also two guys who would really benefit from winning the Rumble, but it won’t be this year either.

What bothers me the most is that Daniel Bryan isn’t being included in the Royal Rumble. Not just because I’m an indy mark (it’s a lot that) but because he very well could be in it – he just isn’t. WWE seems to be acting like his feud with the Wyatts totally prohibits him from competing in the match. Bryan himself hasn’t even brought it up either – it’s like he’s somehow oblivious to the fact that there’s a match you can win and have a guaranteed shot at the WWE World Heavyweight championship. Because that’s what he cares about, right? Winning the title? I thought that’s why he was “joining” the Family in the first place, because they were going to help him win the title. And even though that angle was hastily ended, it somehow negates his desire to win the title, as long as he gets his hands on Bray? D-Bry went through Harper and Rowan just for ANOTHER match against Bray that night and now WWE is acting like there’s no way he could wrestle Bray AND in the Rumble? I don’t get it and I don’t like it.

Unless Sheamus comes back with a surprise main event push and dominates the field, that pretty much leaves Batista as the lone Superstar left to win the day – unless you truly believe one of the Usos, Fandango or Damien Sandow could win (oh, you). I just don’t see many other possibilities right now.

It’s too bad too because unpredictability is what makes the Rumble so fun. Granted, last year we all pretty much saw the writing on the wall (Cena wins the Rumble, Rock wins the belt to face Cena [once in a lifetime, lulz] at Wrestlemania 29), this year could be different…but it just doesn’t seem like WWE has any tricks up its sleeve. It seems like they’re planning on Brock Lesnar vs. Batista at Wrestlemania 30. Because Brock has said he also has a shot at the title and I can’t see him being told he has to take part in the Elimination Chamber.

Who knows. Maybe Undertaker will come back and win. But that seems about as likely as Sting winning.

(Photos from and


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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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