As Michael Cole sort of told us last night on Raw, and our own Geno Mrosko confirmed here at Cageside Seats, The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (AtGMBR) at WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans on April 6th now has 24 entrants for its announced thirty man roster.
The match started out as a fun idea when it was announced by the host of WrestleMania, Hulk Hogan, but has kind of devolved into a shotgun way to get thirty guys a payday from the biggest show on the calendar. There's still no word on it The Memorial will be an annual affair, or if the winner gets anything but a trophy and something to crow about. With Battle Royals generally being sloppy cluster$%&*s and rumors already floating about this one being relegated to the free kick-off show, these last four names could make or break the whole concept.
You have had some great ideas from various comment threads about who could fill out the remaining four slots, and we have some of our own. Before revealing our 100% guaranteed, scientifically-selected-but-still-totally-a-guess picks, let's handicap the field:
Rob Van Dam. We've been expecting The Whole F'n Show to return pretty much since he left, as his last comeback was always rumored to be one of several multi-month stints with WWE. He'd provide some credibility to the match as a former WWE champion, and a couple of signature spots that the match will most likely be remembered for down the line. Plus, Chris Jericho already teased his return on Twitter while promoting RVD's appearance on his podcast. Odds: 2 - 1
Chris Jericho. Speaking of Y2J, his calendar looks pretty booked for the summer. But you can never put it past him to show up for a one-off opportunity to surprise us, keep his name on our tongues (and with a new book hitting the stands this fall) and put someone over. Odds: 10 - 1
The Real Americans. A couple of the biggest names on the active roster without announced plans for New Orleans, Jack Swagger and Cesaro have a tag team title shot promised to them, but it's unclear if it will be at WrestleMania (Ryback and Curtis Axel were pulled from AtGMBR and given a shot at The Usos; Zeb Colter's boys earned a similar favor for helping Kane last Friday night, but the time of their title match has not been announced as of this writing). Swagger is a former World Heavyweight Champion, and his Swiss partner is rumored for a big push and could do a lot of the heavy lifting - literally and figuratively - in order to get the match over with the crowd. Unfortunately, their break-up seems to be on hold, and I don't know if Creative will want to burn two slots on a team. Odds: 9 - 5
Swagger's Soaring Eagle. Just checking to see if WWE is reading this. I'm sure the SSE could do some hilarious stuff with 3MB! Odds: 1,000,000 - 1
Alexander Rusev. Was it just me, or was he announced for the Battle Royal at one point? There were definitely rumors that he was not only going to be in the match, but was being booked to win it as a way to start a big summer push. The big man definitely has some athleticism that could turn him into a good pro wrestler, but based on his NXT work and what we saw in the Royal Rumble match, he's not there yet. Still, Lana coming out to tell us that he's "super athlete" has to be heading somewhere, right? Odds: 5 - 1
Sami Zayn, Bo Dallas, The Ascension or other NXT cast members. Zayn or NXT champ Adrian Neville would be able to contribute memorial moments to the match with their ring work. The NXT tag champs would provide an interesting visual, especially big man Konnor. But even with a bunch of smarks peppered in among the 70,000 fans at the SuperDome, I'm not sure having a developmental guy or two thrown in with 28 other guys is a useful way to debit anyone. Maybe someone gets in by winning a NXT Battle Royal like Dallas did before Royal Rumble 2013, but that's probably the extent of it. Odds: 12 - 1
Ultimate Warrior. He's in great shape and hasn't really taxed his body with in-ring competition in a long time (some might say "ever"), and I'm not ashamed to say that I'll be a little disappointed if we don't get to see him shake the ropes at least once during 'Mania weekend. Odds: 10 - 1
Kevin Nash. He's shown a willingness to take a WWE paycheck, and Triple H has shown a willingness to cut him one. Plus, you know he'll be in town for his Outsider's induction into the Hall of Fame the night before. Odds: 7 - 2
NWO. My favorite idea, from Cagesider Hayeya (I apologize if others came up with it first/simultaneously), would be to have Hogan, Nash and Scott Hall ride in together and help the host claim the trophy. The unwillingness to even reference Hall's WCW days probably rules this out, though. Odds: 100 - 1
HHH. He is the greatest of all time - what's three matches in one night for a Superstar of his caliber? Somebody Photoshop the Andre trophy into one of these. Odds: 20 - 1
The field. Xavier Woods? The repackaging of Brodus Clay? El Torito? JBL to represent the announce table? Hacksaw Jim Duggan to plug Legends House? There are a lot of ways they could go with this, and the unceremonial dumping of names like Justin Gabriel and Zack Ryder into the mix yesterday doesn't exactly fill us with confidence. Odds: 3 - 1
In the end, we think they've already got the most important players and the winner whittled down to a few options from among the names already announced. So these last few participants will either be for surprise value on that Sunday night, or big announcements on the go home shows next week designed to draw eyeballs and open wallets.
The 100% guaranteed, scientifically-selected-but-still-totally-a-guess Cageside Seats picks for the final four entrants in the 2014 Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal are:
Rob Van Dam, Ultimate Warrior, Chris Jericho and Kevin Nash
What do you think, Cagesiders? Who do YOU got for the final four?