With WWE’s WrestleMania 33 winners official as of Sunday night, fans are still digesting some of the big surprises that occurred at the latest pay-per-view. “The Ultimate Thrill Ride” in Orlando produced several new champions for 2017 with fans now looking ahead to what will go down on this week’s episodes of Raw and SmackDown Live. Some fans may be looking even farther ahead, to next year’s WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The road to next year’s extravaganza will be kicked into high gear with the 2018 Royal Rumble and it may surprise fans to know who some of the early favorites to win are.
In 2017, the Royal Rumble match featured 30 of the WWE’s best superstars competing. It ultimately came down to a final three of Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, and Randy Orton. Wyatt was tossed out by Reigns, leaving Orton and Reigns to fight it out. Eventually, Orton snatched the victory away, sending “The Viper” towards WrestleMania 33, or at least fans thought so at first. Orton would give up that shot as he was aligned with Wyatt, but later found a way to get into the title match regardless of all that. Now it appears that Orton, along with several other WrestleMania winners from ESPN on Sunday are strong favorites to win the next 30-man match.
The Royal Rumble 2018 pay-per-view is slated for January 28, 2018, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of the WWE’s biggest events, it will take place just one night after the NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia pay-per-view. While the competitors are far from known for the 30-man match, there’s always speculation running ahead of the WWE’s events months in advance. As with most editions of the match, the winner of the Rumble goes on to headline a title match at WrestleMania.
The Irish sports book Paddy Power currently lists nearly 100 potential competitors for the big match along with their odds to win. It includes everyone from superstars such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan and CM Punk to celebrities such as Barack Obama, Conor McGregor, and Vin Diesel. The majority of those are longshots to win, although Punk is at 40 to 1 odds. He’s mostly a longshot because it seems his differences with WWE are far from patched up at this point in time.
With Randy Orton having won the most recent edition of the over-the-top-rope match, it makes him an immediate longshot to win it for a second-straight year. Orton is actually tied for eighth on the list with 16 to 1 odds along with Bray Wyatt and Brock Lesnar. So two of the big winners on “the grandest stage of them all” are listed within the top 10 favorites to win next year.
However, it will probably infuriate a good number of fans to learn that the top overall favorite to win the Royal Rumble next year is Roman Reigns. Many fans were upset when it was learned Reigns was booked to face The Undertaker at this year’s WrestleMania. A win by Reigns would further irritate fans over one of the most legendary wrestlers in the business. However, winning the Royal Rumble for his second time within the past four years could go a long way towards really driving a wedge between Reigns and the fans Vince McMahon wants to love the guy.
However, a few other winners from Sunday night’s WrestleMania PPV rank up there with Roman Reigns, which could give fans some hope for a different RoyalRumble winner in 2018. Seth Rollins has never won the Rumble and didn’t get to participate in the 2017 edition, thanks to Triple H (or Triple H’s music) costing him the spot. Rollins is a six to one favorite to win, making him third behind Finn Balor and Roman Reigns.
Also among the favorites to win this fan favorite match is John Cena at eight to one. Cena was involved in a relatively low-profile match on the WrestleMania card, as he teamed up with Nikki Bella to take on Miz and Maryse. Cena and Nikki didn’t just win the match, but there was also the big proposal after the win. Cena is currently an eight to one favorite to win the 2018 Royal Rumble. Remember that Cena has tied Ric Flair’s all-time title reigns record so he could break that record at some point. Could 2018 be his big year at WrestleMania 34?
Three other names pop up on the list of early Royal Rumble 2018 winner favorites. AJ Styles is a 10 to one favorite to win the match while Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens are each 12 to one favorites. There are a large number of WWE fans who would love to see Styles given this win based on his strong work in 2017 and the match he ended up with at WrestleMania this year. Ambrose and Owens are certainly worthy choices to win as well.
Any one of these superstars could end up being the final man in the ring but as mentioned, there’s a long road to travel before this pay-per-view finally happens. For now, fans will savor what they saw at WrestleMania 33 on Sunday night in Orlando, Florida and then will begin dreaming of what the future holds for their favorite WWE stars.
WWE fans, if you were booking the Royal Rumble 2018 now, who would be your pick to win the big match and headline WrestleMania 34?
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