With the Royal Rumble just two-and-a-half weeks away, WWE is in the middle of a media frenzy right now. The talk of an invasion and New Japan Pro Wrestling stars coming to the company are taking over, but one of the biggest pay-per-views of the year is on the way. There are tons of rumors already going around about surprise entrants in the Rumble match, and this could make it one of the most interesting battle royals in a long time.
As if the Royal Rumble needed to be made a bigger deal, this year, the prize is bigger. Instead of just a spot in the main event at WrestleMania 32, Vince McMahon said the WWE Title is on the line in the match. That should make anyone and everyone want to enter.
Well, that “everyone” may end up proving to be true.
First of all, the rumors of AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows heading to WWE from NJPW are everywhere. Apparently, WWE is now upset that word got out about these four may be signings/may-not-be signings, as they were all supposed to be surprise entrants in the Royal Rumble.
Some have said that other talent from NJPW could be heading to WWE as well, but that remains to be seen. One name thrown around is Rocky Romero, but What Culture says that his role would actually be more of a trainer than in-ring performer.
With the WWE World Heavyweight Title being on the line this year, there may be fewer fillers (jobbers) in the match than they have had in the past. That could leave space for some bigger surprises and main event talent joining in.
As reported by WWE.com, only 10 names have been revealed to be in the Rumble match so far. This is as of after Monday Night Raw and McMahon’s big announcement. Usually, the majority of the names are announced before the actual Royal Rumble, but some are purposely left open.
- WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns
- Big Show
- Chris Jericho
- Curtis Axel
- Dolph Ziggler
- Bray Wyatt
- Braun Strowman
- Luke Harper
- Erick Rowan
All around social media and the internet, people are beginning to wonder who could be a surprise entrant in this year’s big match. Nakamura is still a title-holder in NJPW and was recently announced for a few more events, so he’s not heading to WWE just yet.
AJ Styles and the other former Bullet Club members are possibilities, but who else?
Fans are hoping more than anything that the rumors of Daniel Bryan never being able to wrestle again don’t end up being true. It’s been up in the air whether he will ever return as an in-ring competitor, but if he’s cleared, then the Royal Rumble would be a great place for him to make his comeback.
What Culture thinks this could be the time that WWE finally makes the jump and elevates Sami Zayn to the main roster from NXT. Even if he’s not fully called up, the fans would pop huge for him being one of the surprise entrants in the match.
James Storm would have been a perfect candidate to make a big main roster debut by showing up in the Royal Rumble. Unfortunately, that won’t be happening, as Storm showed up on the live premiere of Impact Wrestling on POP last night, and he’s back with TNA.
According to WrestleZone, Storm negotiated with WWE for months, and the most they could offer him was a deal worth less than $100,000 a year. TNA apparently offered Storm more than double that amount to reurn.
Bill Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, AJ Styles, and a host of others could end up being surprise entrants in this year’s Royal Rumble. As always, WWE may throw in some legends and names from the past to keep it fun, but the World Heavyweight Title being on the line will make this the most serious Rumble match in years.
[Image via WWE]