WWE recently announced that, for the first time in 20 years, the Royal Rumble event will be taking place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and they’re hoping that the event — which takes place on January 29 — will be the biggest Rumble of all-time.
A recent article published by Cageside Seats suggested that WWE is planning on contacting The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, and Steve Austin, with the idea that the three Texas natives will want to be part of their first big pay-per-view show of the year. Of course, Austin and Michaels probably won’t wrestle on the show, but they could do something similar to what they did at WrestleMania 32.
As for The Undertaker, well, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, he informed Vince McMahon after WrestleMania 32 that he was retiring from wrestling. But, we’ve heard that rumor several times in the past, and nobody will believe it until “The Deadman” misses a WrestleMania event, which he hasn’t done since WrestleMania 16 back in the spring of 2000.
The Royal Rumble show is arguably WWE’s second biggest show of the year behind WrestleMania, and one of the reasons why is because we often get to see WWE legends return during the Rumble match. There are also times — like with John Cena back in 2008 — where a popular star returns from injury sooner than expected.
So, who will return to the company this coming January? Well, let’s start with one of the aforementioned Texans.
- The Undertaker
As previously mentioned, WWE wants The Undertaker to be a part of the 2017 Royal Rumble. If he does return at the show, it’ll only make sense for him to be the final entrant in the Rumble match because no other possible return will be able to top the return of “The Deadman.”
According to Bryan Alvarez of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE had originally wanted to have a match between The Undertaker and John Cena take place at this past year’s WrestleMania 32, but they were forced to change “The Phenom’s” opponent to Shane McMahon after Cena got hurt.
Rumor has it that WWE is planning on having Cena wrestle Undertaker at WrestleMania 33 next spring. So maybe we’ll get an Undertaker vs. Cena tease in the 2017 Royal Rumble match.
- Finn Balor
Finn Balor suffered a severe shoulder injury during his WWE Universal Title match with Seth Rollins at SummerSlam.
Balor, who was called up from NXT just one month before getting injured, was forced to vacate the Universal Championship less than 24 hours after winning it. The original prognosis for his return was six months, so if he does return at the Royal Rumble, he’ll be returning one month sooner than expected.
On a recent episode of Chris Jericho’s podcast — Talk is Jericho — Balor said that he would like to wrestle The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33. He also said that he hopes to be back from injury in time for WWE’s biggest show of the year.
We have seen some WWE stars recover from injury and return to the ring a lot sooner than expected, and while most expect him to not return until right before WrestleMania 33, it’s possible that we’ll see him back in the ring in January at the Royal Rumble event.
- Bill Goldberg
It’s been reported by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Bill Goldberg will be returning to WWE to face Brock Lesnar at next month’s Survivor Series event. Also, according to Meltzer, Goldberg’s return will be a one-off, and he won’t be facing Lesnar again at WrestleMania 33.
Just because Goldberg won’t be facing Lesnar again at WrestleMania 33 doesn’t mean that he won’t have an opponent at the event, and it also doesn’t mean that he won’t make a surprise appearance in the Rumble match, where WWE can setup his WrestleMania 33 match.
In a recent interview with WWE.com, Goldberg made it clear that he has more than just one match left in him, and that he does want to wrestle at a big event like WrestleMania. So, if his match with Lesnar goes well, he may be interested in returning to the ring at the Royal Rumble to setup his WrestleMania 33 feud.
On a recent episode of Legends with JBL, Sting made it pretty clear that he wants to have one more match, and that he wants that match to be with The Undertaker.
Sting officially retired from wrestling during his WWE Hall of Fame speech, but it doesn’t look like he wants to hang up the tights just yet. But the question is, will WWE allow him to step back in the ring after he was nearly paralyzed in his last match with Seth Rollins? They probably won’t, but if they do, he could return to the ring at the Royal Rumble.
Like Undertaker, Sting currently resides in Texas. Of course, unlike Undertaker, Steve Austin, and Shawn Michaels, he’s not a native Texan. But, WWE could ask him to be a part of the Royal Rumble event simply because he’s already in the area. Will that mean that he’ll be a part of the Rumble match? Who really knows? It’ll be a huge deal if it happens though.
- Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle’s decade-long run in TNA/Impact Wrestling came to an end earlier this year, and he’s made it pretty clear over the last couple of months that he’s interested in returning to WWE and having at least one more match there.
In the past, WWE hasn’t been interested in bringing Angle back to the company. But, over the last couple of months, things have changed, and according to Angle, WWE is now interested in bringing him back to the company.
In a recent interview on the Ric Flair Show, Angle said that if he does return to WWE, it won’t be until 2017, which means that he could be a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble match.
[Featured Image by WWE]