As the countdown towards WrestleMania 33 is on, new WWE rumors keep popping up ahead of January's big Royal Rumble 2017 pay-per-view. That particular event is one of WWE's big four each year along with Survivor Series, SummerSlam and, of course, Mania. There continues to be new speculation as to who is going to win the big 30-man over-the-top-rope battle royal match that occurs in January. As has been the case with many previous installments, the winner goes on to a major championship match at WrestleMania. That is likely to be the case once again this time around. Could John Cena or Chris Jericho be frontrunners to win the Rumble match?
Recent developments following the Survivor Series pay-per-view saw a serious contender throw his name into the entries for the Rumble. After squashing Brock Lesnar in under two minutes for the main event rematch, Goldberg let the WWE Universe know on Monday Night Raw that he was the first man entering the Rumble. That quickly led to Goldberg's odds to win rising to make him a favorite, but also led to further speculation that Brock Lesnar will also enter the match and take Goldberg out. This would effectively set up their third bout for WrestleMania 33.
That would leave it up in the air as to who might win the Rumble and it brings up some compelling booking possibilities. As WWE Leaks reports, Chris Jericho's odds have fallen from 8/1 to 5/1 at Paddy Power and 10/1 to 8/1 at Betfair. The writer speculates that two favorites to keep an eye on as potential candidates to win the big match are Jericho and John Cena based on two storylines going forward. Both superstars seem to have major stories involving the championship chase right now. Cena's is even bigger than Jericho's with Cena currently off television for other things.
First up, Chris Jericho is involved in the ongoing storyline where he and WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens are "best friends." The two even pulled an elaborate ruse on the fans on last Monday's episode of Raw by pretending to blame one another for Team Raw's loss at Survivor Series. Instead, they both looked at each other and blurted out "Roman Reigns" as the one who cost them the match. Ironically, Owens will be defending the WWE Universal Championship at the upcoming Roadblock pay-per-view against Reigns.
Should Owens win, it's expected he'll continue past the Rumble as the champion. The storyline with him and Jericho as good friends, but Owens often winning with Jericho's help, but not always helping out Jericho, could come into play. Jericho could end up winning the Rumble and it causes an immediate rift between the two friends as tensions build towards a huge match at WrestleMania 33. It certainly makes sense, as the future Hall of Famer Jericho has never won the Royal Rumble match during his career.
A man who has won the Royal Rumble match several times before is John Cena, who also has 5/1 odds at Paddy Power to win it. Cena has been quiet due to his recent time off, but there's a big historic championship win looming in the distance. Some fans want it, while others are loathing the idea, but John Cena is nearly caught up to Ric Flair's record of 16 World championship reigns. In the dream situation here, Cena will come to the Rumble and find a way to win it once again. Meanwhile, The Undertaker will defeat current champion AJ Styles for the WWE World Heavyweight title at the same event. That sets up Cena vs. Undertaker for a marquee match at WrestleMania 33.
Both the Jericho win and Cena win make perfect sense from a booking standpoint, but then again sometimes WWE throws a complete curveball at the fans. In the case of WrestleMania, one has to think that setting up a huge dream match between John Cena and The Undertaker is where the money is to be made. A Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens feud could also happen, even without Jericho winning the Rumble, so it won't be surprising if WWE still finds a way to make both matches happen for next April's pay-per-view.
Of course, all of this discounts the notion that "The Demon" Finn Balor makes his surprise return and wins the big match in January. That's a possibility too, but as far as booking a huge pay-per-view card is concerned, the above scenarios just make the best sense.
WWE fans, what do you think of Chris Jericho or John Cena winning the Royal Rumble match? Would you like to see Jericho vs. Owens or Cena vs. Undertaker more at WrestleMania?
[Featured Image by WWE]