Hello everyone and welcome. Thanks again for landing on Planet Kayfabe. It's been a busy month, so I appreciate you sticking around if you've indeed been following all my pieces. Here I preview the 2018 Royal Rumble PPV and give my predictions.
One prediction off the top is they will say "making history" or anything to the effect at least 75 times. That's my shoot prediction. I'm not going to count, though. Some other geek can handle that shit. Okay, lets get started with the pre-show.
There's three matches to kick-off. Bobby Roode will defend his US title in an open challenge. Gallows and Anderson will face The Revival. Then there's a 6 man tag match with babyface 205 geeks facing heel 205 geeks. I don't have much to say about any of these. I think the babyfaces will go over in all of them. I hope Bobby Roode's surprise opponent isn't Dolph Ziggler too because what a f***ing joke that would be to have Dolph win the title, drop it because he feels he deserves better and then return on the PRE-SHOW to try and win it back. So... yeah I don't think it will be Dolph, I mean, it can't be... right?
Let's get to the main card.
Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan (c) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus (Tag team match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship)
The gimmick lately has been Jason Jordan is this wild rambunctious kid and the once rebellious anti-authority bad-ass Seth Rollins is now playing the role of the protective big brother trying to make sure Jordan has proper playground etiquette. Yeah, its pretty lame. Jason did a good job milking some heat in a hot Barclays crowd on Monday to some of WWE's most hardcore fans but I haven't enjoyed this pairing. it's really geek-ified Seth Rollins when he really should just be Curb Stomping this fool.
And... That's my prediction. Jordan gets overzealous and costs them the match and the tag titles. Afterwards to show Seth still has some resemblance of a scrotum he takes his frustrations out on Jordan which could lead to a Wrestlemania match. Which is fine because neither of these guys are going to be in the Universal title picture and I'd rather them work a singles feud than just thrown on the card in some tag team clusterfukk or the Andre Battle Royal.
The Usos (c) vs. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin (2-out-of-3-falls match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
I've enjoyed the Uso's work in 2017 and if you think I'm turning on them, I made it clear in the past that I had reservations about them having a babyface run. They almost had to turn because their work was so good but... I think before long they should quietly go back to the heel side. These guys are great but they have no babyface charisma, especially in this current gimmick of being dark dressed trash talkers.
That said, I'm still picking the Usos to win. Gable and Benjamin have been okay and I'm sure they'll be protected by picking up a fall just like EVERY other 2/3 Falls Match.
AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn (Handicap match for the WWE Championship)
Yeah, I didn't list them as "Kami". Stop making AJ say that, WWE. It's not funny and it's not over. I'm picking AJ to retain here. I don't think they are going with the whole "co-world champions" gimmick. I honestly don't think WWE will make Sami Zayn a world champion, even 50% of one but... who knows. Look at Jinder Mahal last year, although it's pretty obvious what they saw in him during that ridiculous push. Ugh... Whatever. AJ retains. Should be a fun match.
Brock Lesnar (c) (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kane (Triple threat match for the WWE Universal Championship)
Under normal circumstances I'd pick Braun and he really should win. He's the hot hand. He's the rising star. He has the most interest of the current full-time talent on Raw. It's really his time for the title... but will he win it?
No. He wont.
Brock Lesnar is their big investment. He's getting paid all this money. They're keeping that title on him until the big day at Wrestlemania and honestly... why not have Braun win it there? Oh, because we need to see yet ANOTHER coronation for Roman Reigns as the top babyface while Wrestlemania ends with fireworks and another chorus of heavy boos. Yawn. Whatever. Nothing about Reigns vs. Lesnar interests me and it has nothing to do with Roman winning. It's just a manufactured big match with a couple names but no one really cares. Of course there's time to still shoot a hot angle between the two but everyone knows Roman is winning and it's just not interesting.
So yeah, my pick is Lesnar and Kane will eat the pin.
I guess Braun can have one of those fake high profile matches with HHH at WrestleMania where they dress it up as a big deal just because it's Triple H when it's just going to be a nothing match. Ugh.
WOMEN's Royal Rumble Match
There's been a lot of buzz about Ronda Rousey but it cooled off a little this past week when she said she would be filming in Columbia until mid February. Yeah, she could be working the fans but who knows.
Honestly, Ronda doesn't have to win to get this over. I know some people are like "don't bitch, WWE always uses celebrities" yeah they did and Mike Tyson was a key figure in the WWF turning a corner against WCW, but did they have Mike Tyson win the Royal Rumble? No. Did they have Mike Tyson win the WWF Championship? No. So, there's plenty of ways they can use people with outside marquee value without having them go over their actual talent.
Which is funny that WWE would consider that because for years their logic was WCW and ECW talent have to look inferior to WWE talent and suddenly a former UFC star and current actress is going to come in and clean house? There's a spot for her in WWE -- sure, but is this it? I don't think so. She doesn't need to win the Rumble. She's already a star. Winning the Rumble isn't going to put her over. She's over on arrival. Just have her tap out Stephanie McMahon at Wrestlemania and send people home happy.
Speaking of... I can't believe I have to sit through an hour of Stephanie McMahon on commentary for this match. It's f***ing bullshit. It's one of my biggest gripes with the women's revolution/evolution in WWE. It's not about the women. It's about Stephanie MAKING HISTORY. It's not about Charlotte being a 2nd generation star and being a champion. It's not about the great Baley vs Sasha program on NXT that featured an Iron Man match. It's not about Asuka's dominance. It's not about the girls getting more TV time and development. No. It's about STEPHANIE MCMAHON MAKING MATCHES AND MAKING HISTORY! Everything has her face plastered on it. All the women, ya know, the actual workers busting their asses in the ring and trying to make a living are just little pawns that work like cute little soldiers for Stephanie who towers over them on camera and acts like the big mom granting them the privilege to "make history" so she looks good. So, along with her on commentary which will only take away from the match and draw attention on herself, she's likely going to go in there after the match and... will the winner have a spotlight moment and point at the Wrestlemania sign and celebrate with the focus on her like the male winner win? No. Stephanie is going to go in there and hug the winner and raise her hand and hog 50% of the spotlight for herself. f***ing bullshit, man.
Whatever. My pick is Asuka to win. The streak continues.
MEN's Royal Rumble Match
I'm not even sure if this one will go on last. There has been significantly less hype for this match since they really, really, REALLY, want you to know they're making history in this event. I'm not sure if you've heard, but... they're making history. I'm not even certain this match will even go last since, like I said in the Universal Championship portion of this, I think that main event is already set. This match is going to have a Smackdown winner and I'm going with a returning Dolph Ziggler.
If you watched the recent NoDQ Video where Aaron Rift answers my question about whether or not WWE will seriously push Dolph and if so -- why now? Why not the other thousand or so times they could have? He said he could see Dolph win the Rumble and then they just let him and AJ loose at Wrestlemania to have a great crowd pleasing match. I can see that happening, but again I'm not sure what Dolph's future is in WWE. Just like his MITB cash-in I can see WWE just go for a pop and then do nothing with the guy, which is a shame because for 6 or 7 years it has felt like he's been under-pushed and just there to make whatever midcard heel they're pushing look good.
Dolph winning the Royal Rumble would be a good shot in the arm for his career credibility. Instead of being just that consistent midcard favorite who won a bunch of secondary titles and got a few nice pops, having his name on a list of Royal Rumble winners would do a lot to set him apart from all the other Superstars we've seen in midcard purgatory over the years. There's other good choices for this match, but I'm predicting Dolph Ziggler to be the 2018 Royal Rumble winner. Now's a good a time as any for it.
There's my preview for the 2018 Royal Rumble PPV. Like the rest of you, I always look forward to the Rumble, but I hope they keep one of the titular matches shorter than usual because two 1 hour plus matches of the same type and stipulation on one card is a bit overkill and could kill the crowd a bit.
If WWE wants to truly make history hopefully they let the moment breathe rather than beating it over the audience's heads that LOOK HISTORY IN THE MAKING! Just relax. Let the moments happen, but... whatever. Call me cynical but with Stephanie out there it's just going to be an hour of commentary wiping her ass with minimal focus on the actual match and individual female superstars. Sorry, ladies. You do deserve better than this.
Thanks for reading everyone. Follow me on Twitter. If you want a RT put me over even if you don't mean it my ego doesn't give a shit either way. Leave a comment below with your personal prediction. Take care everyone. Enjoy the weekend with NXT and the Royal Rumble. I'm Paul Matthews for NoDQ. See you for my Rumble wrap-up.