One of the biggest WWE PPV's of the year takes place Sunday in San Antonio as the Royal Rumble kicks off the true "Road to Wrestlemania." The event is always one of the top for the company, and the event has been sold out for some time. They have four matches to be set around the Rumble, and three of those four are title matches. Below is a preview of the event along with predicted outcomes.
Hardy's vs MNM - These four have been going at it for awhile, and the ladder match at the December PPV in which Joey Mercury broke his nose was one of the best in a long time. Now they will have a chance to go at it alone without the other two teams, and this should also be a solid match. Mercury will still be somewhat limited, and I look for a basic, but solid, match as these two head for a ladder or TLC showdown for Mania. I'll take MNM to win to build up the WM stip rematch.
Bobby Lashley vs Test for the ECW Title - I have no idea what these two are going to show us that won't be different from their match on free TV Tuesday night. Test is a kick-punch guy with limited ability, as is Lashley. Look for a lot of brawling in this one, and unless they want to really throw a swerve in there, Lashley should go over clean again. There is always a shot that Bob Holly gets involved, but even if he does, Lashley wins it anyway. Take Lashley to retain.
Ken Kennedy vs Batista for the World Heavyweight Title - Batista is headed for a WM showdown with the Undertaker, and this is just a warmup for that match. Kennedy is a good opponent for Batista, as he can take a bump and make the champ look strong for the WM showdown. Down the road Kennedy deserves a shot to be a champion, but as for this one, he's is a tough spot that will simply have him be nothing more than a stepping stone for the Champ. Batista wins clean.
Umaga vs John Cena in a Last Man Standing match for the WWE Title - The biggest question here really isn't about this match, but it's who Cena will move on to face at Mania. Last year his match with HHH was a shoe-in once he beat Edge to regain the belt at the Rumble, but this year is a lot more up in the air. Umaga has lost a ton of steam as a major heel, and his challenge has been taken down a notch with the PPV loss and a few Cena beat downs. Of course they are playing this as Cena being hurt big time after the attack Monday night, but whatever, Cena wins clean, goes over big, and moves on to a big question mark for Mania.
Royal Rumble for a Title shot at Mania - Despite there being 30 men in this event, everyone knows that there truly is only about 5-6 wrestlers that can walk out of this thing with the win and the WM title shot. Those men include Undertaker, Shawn Michales, Randy Orton, Edge, Chris Benoit and the Great Kahli. The only reason I throw Kahli in there is due to size and the unreal push that he has had recently on RAW. As for Benoit, he's still one of the best, and while there is no way he will win, he would have a great match with Batista if ever given the chance. There are really three ways they can go with this, with the obvious winner being the Undertaker, to directly set up a match with he and Batista at WM.
The next choice would be Michaels, who suddenly is a huge singles star again with HHH out. The Rumble is in his hometown, and would set up a very interesting match with he and Cena at Mania. Once again, a win for him would be a direct setup for Mania, and you could still have an angle getting Batista and Taker together, an angle that has already started.
Third would be Orton, who after Michaels is the next logical choice for Cena at Mania. Not sure if they want double face title matches on the biggest card of the year, but if not, Orton is the guy to get the shot, despite what is more and more looking like he and Edge will find a way to battle at Mania.
In the end, I will stick with my original choice, and that is the Undertaker. Michaels has won two Rumbles, Taker none, and I am not convinced that Michales-Cena is the overall plan for Mania. Taker is the safe choice, with Michales gaining momentum fast as the possible winner.