“Educated Guessing” — WWE ’19 Royal Rumble Predictions and Analysis

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Royal Rumble is on Sunday and, given the important nature of the event, we didn’t want to leave you without any predictions — so here are some educated guesses. 

The build to this show has been solid and there are many possible outcomes/ways to move forward on “The Road to WrestleMania” … so let’s dive right in! 

KICKOFF SHOW

United States Championship

Rusev (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

While this feud may have lost some steam going into the event, the match between Rusev and Nakamura during the holidays is proof that these two can go. I expect a similar outing on Sunday.

My gut feeling leads me to believe the match will end with Lana getting her comeuppance on Nakamura, causing him to lose to “The Bulgarian Brute.” Hopefully all parties involved move on from this rivalry afterward.

Educated Guess: Rusev retains via submission

Cruiserweight Championship

Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Kalisto vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Hideo Itami

Buddy Murphy has had a killer run with the Cruiserweight title, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see his time as champ come to an end on Sunday.

The four-way stipulation allowing Murphy to lose his title without being pinned would probably be the easiest way to accomplish this.  

My money is on Hideo Itami capturing the Cruiserweight Championship in an effort to return him to his rightful place of prominence in the world of wrestling. 

Plus … we all want to see Hideo wrestle Daniel Bryan again after the video WWE posted on social media showing the WWE Champion praise Itami and tease a potential face-off. Having a solid run with the Cruiserweight Championship could certainly help with that. 

Educated Guess: Hideo Itami wins via pinfall 

SmackDown Tag Team Championship

The Bar (c) vs. Shane McMahon and The Miz

As listeners of Wrestling Sheet Radio know, this is my least favorite storyline on SmackDown right now. However, it seems to be a divisive topic and many people feel much differently. 

The one thing we can all agree on is that The Miz is putting his all into making this worth watching and almost all parties will deliver on Sunday. Because of that … I’m slightly, SLIGHTLY, intrigued to see where this goes on Sunday. 

My guess, unfortunately, is that Shane and Miz continue towards whatever the point of this storyline has been by defeating The Bar for the tag titles — which could go one of two ways on the Road to WrestleMania.

  1. They lose them back to The Bar prior to WrestleMania and it ends their friendship, leading to a match between Shane and Miz at WrestleMania. 
  2. They hold them until WrestleMania and defend the titles there 

In my opinion, neither of these options sound incredibly entertaining.

Educated Guess: Shane McMahon and The Miz via roll up. NEW CHAMPS!

SmackDown Women’s Championship

Asuka (c) vs. Becky Lynch 

Obvious statement: Becky Lynch should be in the main event of WrestleMania this year against Ronda Rousey.

In my opinion, it’s really easy to get there. Knowing WWE though, they tend to make things more convoluted.  This makes it difficult to guess what will happen. 

Therefore, I’m going to stick with what my wrestle-brain tells me is “best for business” and that is Ronda causing Becky to lose after a brief distraction. 

Why you ask? More on that later in this article … 

Educated Guess: Asuka retains via pinfall 

WWE Championship

Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles

“The New” Daniel Bryan is arguably one of the hottest acts in wrestling right now due to his boomer-bashing, planet-protecting persona. Ending his title run now would be a mistake. 

My only question heading into this match is whether their feud is brought to an end here or progressed further. I’m not sure this rivalry can sustain a level of interest long enough to last until WrestleMania — despite the great performances from both wrestlers in and out of the ring– but I have a hunch this rivalry will somehow extend past Sunday. 

Educated Guess: Daniel Bryan retains via submission 

Raw Women’s Championship

Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Sasha Banks 

Back to Ronda/Becky and WrestleMania …

If my guess from earlier in the night occurs, I’d imagine Becky gets involved in the Raw Women’s Championship match as revenge.

My bold prediction is that Becky’s interference causes Ronda to lose her title to Sasha Banks via submission. This plants further seeds for the inevitable Four Horsewomen vs. Four Horsewomen feud, likely gives Sasha Banks a marquee match at WrestleMania and continues to build a potential WrestleMania main event involving Becky/Ronda.

The last piece of the WrestleMania main event puzzle comes next … 

Educated Guess: Sasha Banks via submission after distraction from Becky Lynch. NEW CHAMP! 

2019 Women’s Royal Rumble 

Back when it was announced that the winners of Mixed Match Challenge would receive number 30 spots in the Rumble, many complained about this move taking away the fun surprise of who’s coming out last during the matches. 

The best way to correct this would be for an enraged Becky Lynch to attack Carmella backstage and steal her spot in the match. The pop for Lynch’s music at number 30 would be deafening. 

Then, the final two in the match could be Becky/Charlotte Flair.

If Ronda were to get involved once again in the finish, maybe accidentally causing Charlotte to lose in the process, this could set the stage for Flair to complain about how she was screwed and wants a title shot at Elimination Chamber. There she could win the women’s title to set up a three-way match of Becky vs. Charlotte vs. Ronda at WrestleMania for the SmackDown Women’s Title.

::removes tin foil hat::

Educated Guess: Becky Lynch wins the 2019 Women’s Royal Rumble 

WWE Universal Championship

Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Finn Balor

I expect Brock Lesnar to win here, but I’m hoping this is the start of a meaningful storyline arc for Finn Balor that ends with a brand switch and a heel turn, as well as a change of scenery. 

With Vince McMahon belittling Finn on Raw by pointing out his flaws compared to the rest of the roster, it would seem as though a loss here might be the thing that convinces Balor he needs backup to be the star he once was. 

Pairing Finn with The Club and allowing him to portray the cocky, heel character he built his brand on in Japan would be huge for SmackDown after the Superstar Shakeup.

Since WWE seems intent on not utilizing the group as a stable, I realize this fantasy booking scenario has been sort of played out. However, with the existence of AEW and contract talks on the horizon for The Club, I could seem them finally pulling the trigger on this (no pun intended). 

Educated Guess: Brock Lesnar retains via pinfall 

2019 Men’s Royal Rumble 

I’m fully aware the general consensus is that Seth Rollins will win the match, but is it possible Braun Strowman was only pulled from the title match because they had bigger plans for him and didn’t want to rush his next match against Brock quite yet? 

Me thinks yes. 

It’s no secret that the reaction to Braun upon his recent return wasn’t as fervorous as it had been before his injury, so I’m hoping producers realized he needed to get back to that fever pitch before wrestling “The Beast” again.

In my opinion, Braun finally vanquishing Lesnar to become the new top force in WWE is a much more satisfying WrestleMania moment than Seth doing the same thing. 

Therefore … 

Educated Guess: Braun Strowman wins the 2019 Men’s Royal Rumble 

For more predictions talk, watch the latest edition of Wrestling Sheet Radio where I formed most of these thoughts as we discussed the card for Sunday’s event.