The Royal Rumble match was always said to catapult a wrestler’s career into superstardom. The winner of the glorified over the top rope battle royal receives a championship match at WrestleMania. While last year we seen Bianca Belair really fire on all cylinders, winning the Rumble and going on to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania. It still remains a very rare occurrence that the Rumble match really builds a less established star (in WWE’s eyes) and let’s them have a run for their money in the main event scene. So with all that in mind I have decided to list five “less established” stars that could benefit from winning this year’s Royal Rumble match and stake a claim in the main event event scene.
1: Austin Theory
Austin Theory has been a shining light on Monday Night Raw every week since he was taken under Vince McMahon’s wing. Week after week, Theory has had some brilliant matches. Taking on the likes of Jeff Hardy, Finn Balor and most recently, AJ Styles just to name a few. Couple this with some of the most entertaining backstage segments we have seen in a long while with Vince and it’s clear that Austin Theory is becoming a must-watch part of Raw. Having already proved his efficiency of working heel or face, great in-ring work and showing a natural charisma, I think Theory could benefit greatly from a Rumble win. Why not play out a fresh take on a hand-picked corporate champion? Still only 24 years of age, there’s more than enough time for Theory to become a main event player but a Rumble win could really fast-track that.
2: Bron Breakker
I am completely sold on Bron Breakker! In four months he has already captured the NXT Championship and become a force to be reckoned with on the former “Black and Gold” brand. Sporting a look that just screams WWE, I think Breakker was always going to be a major player in NXT. Especially now with the focus on new, younger talent. Having already claimed the scalps of LA Knight, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, The Big Bad Booty Nephew is steamrolling through NXT 2.0 and some could argue he is in search of a new challenge. I am one of those people. I think Breakker could really shine with the Brock Lesnar treatment here, pushed to the moon as soon as possible.
Lesnar won his first WWE World Championship within 126 days of his debut. While Breakker technically can’t break that record, he could certainly enter himself into an elite class of wrestlers who won a world championship under the age of 25, should he win the big one at WrestleMania. I think Breakker is genuinely getting better every time I see him, be it in the ring or on the mic and WWE could easily capitalize on this momentum.
3: Liv Morgan
During the tail end of 2021, Liv Morgan found herself in the Raw Women’s Championship picture. Trying to dethrone “The Man” Becky Lynch to a losing effort. While some people argued that she may not have been ready, she definitely did enough to earn the respect of everyone watching. Morgan has vastly improved over the past year due to two main reasons, hard work and being given a chance. Garnering a great reaction every week and unfortunately falling short in her quest for the championship I was worried she would fall to the back of the line but this isn’t so. Morgan is pretty over with the crowd and still sniffing around the main event scene in the women’s division.
I think a Liv Morgan win at the Royal Rumble could give the fans a true underdog story. Something like Rey Mysterio’s win back in 2006, especially if she was to eliminate someone like Raquel Gonzalez. Following up with a win at WrestleMania for another feel good moment!
4: Pete Dunne
Pete Dunne has been one of the most exciting wrestlers to watch ever since I seen him in OTT. Mature from a young age and so technically gifted in the ring, he already is a master of his craft. A perfect blend of technical wrestling, brawling and a no nonsense attitude on the mic makes Dunne a real standout from the larger than life characters we normally see. The Bruiserweight, still only 28, has already tasted championship gold in WWE. This came in the form of having the second longest United Kingdom championship reign at 685 days. This shows the faith that has already been put in the Birmingham born star. Whether this will translate on the main roster remains to be seen though.
A winning effort could instantly put Dunne on the map with fans who only watch the main shows. Who knows, if he wins the WWE championship at WrestleMania he could have 600+ day run with that title too!
5: Raquel Gonzalez
There has been some rumors circling around already that Gonzalez is wrapping it up in NXT some time soon. Could she possibly be an entrant in this year’s Royal Rumble? This all makes perfect sense, having already made her mark in NXT, the only logical move is the main roster. Having Big Mami Cool storm the Rumble, eliminate a few women and win the match would make a huge statement. Should she win the women’s championship at WrestleMania, her strength and stature alone would make her a domineering champion. This would definitely make for some fresh matchups, be it squashes, giant killings or feats of strength. I think if they’re calling Gonzalez up she has got to win the Royal Rumble or have a dominant performance!
In conclusion, this is just fantasy booking and I really can’t see WWE giving any of these stars the win. The Royal Rumble should be used as a fast-track to the main event for the less established stars in my opinion. Nobody wants to see the likes of Roman Reigns or Randy Orton win the Rumble. Multi time world champions should be exempt from a Rumble match one year just to see how well it fares. I don’t think I’ll see that in my lifetime however!
As always, thanks very much for reading my article. Sound off in the comments on what wrestlers you think have an outside chance in the Rumble.
– Warren Garry