WWE Royal Rumble 2017 Predictions and Analysis: ‘Educated Guessing’ With James McKenna

royal rumble predictions analysis educated guessing james mckenna

It’s a new era here at Pro Wrestling Sheet and, in the interest of broadening our horizons, we’re going to start doing monthly PPV predictions — beginning with Sunday’s Royal Rumble.

What’s up Sheet readers! James McKenna here. Normally I school our Editor-in-Chief Ryan Satin when we’re making our monthly PPV picks in private, but you guys asked for more articles, so he asked me to bring my expertise in educated guessing to the site.

With that out of the way, let’s do this and see how well I beat WWE at their own game!

THE PRE-SHOW

Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax

Besides sounding like the most woefully underused Mortal Kombat character, WWE creative has done little favors for Nia. At the moment, she’s merely playing second fiddle to the other women on RAW. However, I’m guessing that train makes an abrupt end at the Rumble … with Jax notching her first big singles victory on PPV.

(Yeah yeah, I know she beat Alicia FAWWKKSS at Clash Of Champions. DOESN’T COUNT!).

Educated Guess: Nia Jax by pin

Raw Tag Team Championship Match

Cesaro and Sheamus (C) vs Anderson and Gallows

Ever since A.J. Styles was removed from The Club, WWE have really spun their wheels trying to pick up any sort of momentum for Anderson and Gallows. Something tells me WWE goes out on a limb for the Rumble pre-show by letting the Good Brothers get their shot at the top of tag team mountain. I think its a no-brainer to set the tone early for the night with two relatively big upsets.

Educated Guess: Gallows & Anderson by pin. 

Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella and Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss, Mickie James and Natalya

This one is super hard to call. I think it really just comes down to a simple “who needs this win more,” which tips the scales toward Naomi. With no major wins recently, and Alexa being queen of the mountain, I’m expecting Naomi to start 2017 off with a bang by picking up the win.

Educated Guess: Naomi by pin

MAIN CARD:

WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match

Rich Swann (C) vs Neville

Since coming back onto the scene, BEARD NEVILLE has been an absolute monster (albeit a small one). New look, darker music, pissed off attitude and slight tweaks to the move set have made Neville look like a beast … and the company has noticed. Rich Swann is the new guy on the scene, but WWE has the King Of The Cruiserweights back and he’s looking absolutely unbeatable.

Educated Guess: Beard Neville by pin. NEW CHAMP!

WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match

Charlotte (C) vs Bayley

This is a shame really, because I think the women’s title picture on SmackDown Live is WHITE HOT right now, and giving the major PPV title matches to Raw really takes away from its focus. That gripe out of the way, Bayley finally gets her title match on a major WWE show. That should spell out what WWE is thinking instantaneously – Bayley, the underdog, would never win the title her first time out of the gate and it allows them to drag things out a bit longer. My long term hope is that Bayley walks out of Mania with it, but for now I am calling that Charlotte’s PPV winning streak continues.

Educated Guess: Charlotte Flair by submission

WWE Raw Universal Title Match

Kevin Owens (C) vs Roman Reigns (w/ Chris Jericho suspended in THE SHARK CAGE)

WHY ISN’T THIS MATCH SPONSORED BY BETTY CROCKER SHARK BITES?!?!

Ok, now that I got that out of my system — I think this is the most obvious match on the card. Yes, the shark cage is a pretty fantastic comedy element for Jericho to do his schtick in … but nothing more. Unless the cage has suddenly become airtight, the Listmaker can drop whatever he needs out of the cage to help KO. I’m assuming he somehow sneaks a bag of shenanigans in there.

In my opinion, there is zero chance of Roman Reigns walking out of the PPV as Universal Champion.

I’d also be willing to bet my hard earned money that later in the night he shows up in the Rumble match itself to get boo-ed mercilessly.

Educated Guess: Kevin Owens by pin

WWE Championship Match

A.J. Styles (C) vs John Cena

To be truthfully honest, this was the hardest one for me to narrow down.

Styles has been a God for Smackdown Live and he’s restored prestige to their title. On the other side, John Cena is the loyal soldier who at every beck and call has been there for the WWE. “Which one would you push?” was a question I continually pondered to myself and I kept coming back to a single, unmistakable fact. The sun is setting on John Cena.

He’s taking breaks from in ring activity more often than not and early rumors on the circuit say that John might break away again post Wrestlemania. Creative has to know at this point that the possibility of losing John Cena to Hollywood is a real thing. They 100% need him to beat Flair’s record and they know the record breaker can be a grand affair. This one is the tie though and they need to get it out of the way sooner rather than later.

Educated Guess: John Cena by pin. NEW CHAMP! NEW CHAMP!

The Royal Rumble

The day that Wyatt and Orton won the tag titles I hit up our Editor-in-Chief Ryan Satin saying “Damnit, if they lose the tag titles before the Rumble, Randy is taking it”.

When they lost to American Alpha, I could only offer up one word.

“Whomp.”

WWE’s creative team are pretty predictable regarding matches like this. That is why I believe the casualty of this show will be the “unpredictable finish” Triple H recently hinted about. They can’t go with Goldberg or Lesnar — as that’s too predictable — and Undertaker is too old to win, which is why I’m betting he comes out at number 30.

The one name that I keep going to, that they have zero for, is Orton. One could even argue that he deserves it too. I think thats going to be enough for Vince to pull the trigger on the Viper getting the WM33 title match.

Educated Guess: Randy Orton 

Please Tell Me I’m Wrong and This Actually Happens: Shinsuke Nakamura

You’re probably depressed after reading the Orton stuff and realizing it’s an actual possibility.

Please take pleasure in viewing this photo of WWE Hall Of Famer Koko B. Ware as consolation.

koko b ware