At last it’s here. After months of rumor and speculation the 2017 Royal Rumble is just hours away. This year’s battle royal sees The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, and a host of other WWE superstar’s lineup in the most unpredictable Royal Rumble for years. The reality is that any one of about eight of the named entries could feasibly win tonight’s Royal Rumble, and that’s before we even know who the surprise entries could be. Even today, the WWE website only reveals 22 of the 30 Royal Rumble competitors, so you can expect some big names, probably Triple H and Finn Balor to join tonight’s battle.
WWE fans will recall that The Undertaker appeared at SmackDown 900 to announce that he was back “taking souls and digging holes” and saying that he did not wish to be “defined” by WrestleMania. At the time, it was assumed that The Undertaker would become a more regular participant on the WWE network’s weekly shows. That proved to be a false hope. We then saw a ton of speculation suggesting that The Deadman would enter the 2017 Royal Rumble.
As previously reported in the Inquisitr, The Undertaker was immediately installed as the favorite to win the first big WWE network PPV event of the year. The odds on an Undertaker win at Royal Rumble 2017 have remained short ever since. The prospect of an Undertaker win seemed a certainty when John Cena announced that he was taking on AJ Styles for the world championship at tonight’s event. Despite The Undertaker’s protestations, that he did not want to be defined by WrestleMania, it seemed the scene was set for Cena Vs. The Undertaker at that event.
Of course, this is the WWE network, where plans change when the wind changes direction. John Cena is a 15-time world champion, but his film and TV work mean he is little more than a WWE wrestling part-timer these days. The Undertaker is fast approaching 52-years-old, has already undergone hip surgery and is rumored to need a hip replacement. If those rumors are true, then this is likely to be The Deadman’s last year in WWE. The WWE network’s Monday Night Raw program has been widely accused of being “stale” in recent months. That means the network needs some new storylines, and those stories really need to involve younger talent.
Will The Undertaker Win Royal Rumble, And What Does That Have To Do With A Roman Reigns Heel Turn?
The Mirror reports that The Undertaker is no longer the favorite to win the 2017 Royal Rumble. The burden of the favorites tag now lies on the shoulders of Randy Orton, according to some bookmakers. Despite that, it is difficult to comprehend The Undertaker not winning the Royal Rumble. The Deadman hasn’t entered the event for nearly a decade, and surely the WWE network would not let its biggest ever star retire without one more huge match.
Vince McMahon seems to have poured cold water on The Undertaker Vs. Cena happening this year. That would be a huge match for the WWE universe, but the signs are, that McMahon has a close eye on the WWE networks long-term future. For that reason, expect Cena to lose to AJ Styles at tonight’s Royal Rumble. A defeat for Cena would set him up for long-anticipated heel turn. A Cena heel turn would sit nicely with Cena’s reduced availability for WWE shows.
In many ways, Roman Reigns is a WWE network enigma. Reigns has multiple championships under his belt and is widely accepted to be Cena’s successor as the WWE network’s top “face.” The problem is that the WWE universe hasn’t taken Reigns to their heart. Along with his heavyweight World Championships, Reigns has been branded “most hated” and “worst” WWE wrestler. The WWE have, thus far, resisted a Roman reigns heel turn, but it seems that this could be in the cards.
According to Wrestling News, the latest Wrestling Observer newsletter claims that The Undertaker will take on Reigns at WrestleMania. If that match is nailed on, then it suggests that The Undertaker may well still win the 2017 Royal Rumble. We know that the Royal Rumble winner will get a world title match at WrestleMania, and the chances of seeing The Undertaker in the ring between the events are remote.
Should Reigns defeat Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal championship at tonight’s Royal Rumble, then the scene is set for Reigns to take on The Undertaker should he win the main event. Of course, Reigns’ match with Owens tonight sees Chris Jericho suspended in a cage above the ring. Does anyone really think that Jericho will remain there?
Expect Jericho to escape, interfere in the match, and perhaps cost Reigns victory again. That drama would set the scene for a Roman Reigns heel turn, give him time to overcome Owens on a later date, and set up a match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33.
[Featured Image by WWE network]