The news broke last week that the WWE was bringing the Royal Rumble back to San Antonio, and WWE.com reported that it is the first time in 20 years as the last time the Royal Rumble took place in the Alamodome was 1997. That was the year that Stone Cold Steve Austin won the event by eliminating Bret “The Hit Man” Hart. While the last two year’s Royal Rumble winners angered many fans, the WWE hopes to really turn things around this year.
Here is a look at who could appear in the 2017 Royal Rumble match and who might walk out as the winner and guaranteed of a WWE world title match at WrestleMania.
Of course, there will be the regular superstars in the WWE who will be fighting for a chance at their brand’s world title. At the moment, AJ Styles and Kevin Owens are the champions of their respective brands. If they still hold the titles by the Royal Rumble, they won’t be in the match and whoever they defend their titles against won’t be involved either. With three months to go until the Royal Rumble, there is no telling who will be in those matches.
Assuming that those two men are still champions by January, assume that Roman Reigns will be one of the names in the Royal Rumble match. As the Inquisitr previously reported, it is expected that Roman Reigns will be back in the WWE Universal Championship scene by the time that the Royal Rumble rolls around and this could give the WWE the chance to position him for a Universal title match at WrestleMania. However, the fans turned on him at the Royal Rumble this year, and the WWE might want to avoid that again.
The Inquisitr also reported that Kevin Owens has said that he wants to fight Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania next year and that could mean that Lesnar could make his second Royal Rumble appearance since returning. If fans remember right, it was The Wyatt Family who eliminated Lesnar last time and it could end up being a group effort this year unless the WWE wants to allow Brock to win the Royal Rumble match and get his title shot. This is unless the two actually fight at the Royal Rumble.
Finn Balor is one name that won’t be in the Royal Rumble match due to his injury probably keeping him out of action until after even WrestleMania in 2017. Other than that, expect most major stars not involved in the title matches in January to get their chances, including Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Sheamus, Cesaro, and more. Seth Rollins is expected to be involved in the world title scene with Kevin Owens for a while longer, but with Rollins expecting to fight Triple H at WrestleMania, he probably isn’t a favorite to win it.
The next fun guessing game when it comes to the Royal Rumble is who will get into the match from NXT. Names like Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, and more are more than qualified to fight in the match. Expect one or more of them to end up in the Royal Rumble and others to end up on the main roster by the Raw and Smackdown Live shows following WrestleMania.
Next up is looking at who could show up from outside the main WWE rosters. If the WWE purchases TNA Impact Wrestling, as The Inquisitr reported they are interested in doing, names like Matt Hardy, Bobby Lashley, Ethan Carter III, and more could be in line for a surprise Royal Rumble appearance.
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There is also the chance for stars from the past to make their returns at the Royal Rumble. Names in the past like Kevin Nash, Diamond Dallas Page, and more have made their way into the ring for a Royal Rumble appearance. Old school fans are still looking for a chance to see Jake “The Snake” Roberts back in the ring one last time, but those are all long shots to be sure.
The 2017 WWE Royal Rumble takes place at the Alamodome in San Antonio on January 29, 2017. Tickets go on sale for the event on Oct. 14 through Ticketmaster.
[Featured Image by WWE]