WWE Royal Rumble 2014 match card preview: The Royal Rumble

WWE.com

This is it! One of the most popular matches - nay, happenings - on WWE's calendar goes down tonight in Pittsburgh when thirty wrestlers try to throw each other to the floor with a shot at WrestleMania glory on the line.

30 Man Over-the-Top-Rope Elimination Battle Royal

The 27th annual Royal Rumble match is finally here! It is always one of the most anticipated matches of the year. 30 superstars will fight it out for a chance to pose on the turnbuckle and point at the WrestleMania 30 banner at the end of the night. Two men will start the match, a new superstar will enter the fray every 90 seconds, and elimination occurs when a superstar goes over the top rope and both feet hit the floor.

The road to Royal Rumble

The road to the Royal Rumble match is a familiar one, as WWE slowly released names of the official match participants over the last few weeks.

20 of the entrants have already been confirmed, including can't miss superstars such as The Miz, Xavier Woods, Fandango, Damien Sandow, R-Truth, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan. Other superstars competing in the match include The Shield, Big E. Langston, Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, the Usos, Kofi Kingston, and the Rhodes Brothers.

The remaining two men are the ones with the biggest stories heading into the Royal Rumble match.

CM Punk thinks The Authority is out to screw him. It is hard to disagree with him considering that he has dealt with attacks and betrayals from many of Triple H's associates in recent weeks, ranging from The Shield to The New Age Outlaws to the Director of Operations, Kane. Oh and there is also the fact that Kane has forced CM Punk to enter as the very first entrant of the match. This is very familiar territory for CM Punk, as he also entered as the number one entrant in his most recent Royal Rumble match appearance back in 2011. With the deck stacked against him, the Best In The World will have to go through 29 other superstars if he wants to achieve his goal of headlining the biggest wrestling spectacle of the year, WrestleMania 30.

Batista returned to WWE on the January 20th episode of Raw. He got right up in the faces of both Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio to let them see first-hand what happens when he picks out his own clothing. He also made sure to let the world know that he is back to win the Royal Rumble and star in the main event of WrestleMania 30. Batista has been a pretty lucky guy when it comes to the Royal Rumble draw; his numbers in past Royal Rumble matches include 28, 28, 8, and 30. I have a funny feeling that Big Dave's fortunate luck of the draw will continue with the 2014 Royal Rumble match.

So that leaves 10 spots available for the rest of the roster, including superstars such as Diego, Santino Marella, Antonio Cesaro, Jack Swagger, Ryback, Kane, Fernando, Curtis Axel, Sin Cara, Wade Barrett, Brodus Clay, 3MB, the Prime Time Players, El Torito, and everyone else not named Zack Ryder.

The Royal Rumble match could also witness the exciting returns of fan favorites such as Chris Jericho, Sheamus, Rob Van Dam, Christian, and Evan Bourne. And what is a Royal Rumble match without a few legends crashing the party such as Diamond Dallas Page, Jake The Snake Roberts, or Aldo Montoya? There is also the possibility of some wrestlers pulling double duty on the night, including Daniel Bryan and maybe even Brock Lesnar.

There is one final storyline worth keeping an eye on. An awe-inspiring Royal Rumble streak is in jeopardy as the 2014 Royal Rumble match approaches. The Great Khali holds the active record with 7 consecutive Royal Rumble match appearances. Kane holds the career record of 13 consecutive Royal Rumble matches, but his streak came to an end in 2012 when he became more interested in tossing wheelchairs off of stages. The Great Khali is (very) slowly approaching Kane's career mark, but he has not been named as an official entrant for the 2014 Royal Rumble match. Will The Great Khali be able to continue The Streak? Or will WWE unfairly give his spot to some undeserving scrub like Dolph Ziggler? The only way you can watch this drama unfold is by tuning in to the 2014 Royal Rumble match!

What's at stake?

An opportunity to challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania is on the line as these 30 superstars spend close to an hour holding each other firmly against the ropes. Batista and CM Punk are the heavy favorites, but Vince McMahon is known to throw in the occasional Sheamus Swerve, so nothing is for sure.

This is always one of the most chaotic and thrilling matches of the year. So sit back, count down that clock every 90 seconds, and root for your favorite superstar on his quest for Royal Rumble domination!

Remember to follow along with the Royal Rumble live blog for full results and match-by-match coverage by clicking here.

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