Who's going to win the Royal Rumble this year?

J. Meric

Looking at who is in the Royal Rumble this year and trying to figure out who is going to win the match.

We're now just days away from the Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV) event scheduled for the US Airways Center this Sun., Jan. 27, 2013, in Phoenix, Arizona, and that means it's time to try to figure out who is going to win the Royal Rumble match.

WWE.com is only listing 11 official entrants. Let's break them down into tiers.

Most Obvious

John Cena
Randy Orton
Sheamus

These are the three most obvious choices as it would set up WrestleMania 29 rather nicely. It's expected The Rock will win the WWE championship and Cena will challenge him for it at that show, so this would be a nice, simple way to book him to get there without completely destroying the "Once in a Lifetime" gimmick from last year. Sheamus and Orton are big stars who are likely headed for a match against each other and it's possible WWE will want that match to be for the world heavyweight championship.

Contenders

Wade Barrett
Ryback
Antonio Cesaro

These are guys who have potential and are expected to be featured heavily throughout 2013. I wouldn't expect any of them to actually win but it would make sense for all of them to have strong showings and I wouldn't be shocked in the slightest if WWE went with a surprise and had one of them take it. It would be an outstanding way to build Ryback up to the levels he was at before his program with CM Punk and that would seem more likely than the other two, who are both mid-card champions.

Would Be Cool But No

Dolph Ziggler

A few of you have mentioned in the comments here on Cageside (if you lurk but don't comment, change that, okay?) that it would be delicious to have Ziggler get a truly big push by having him win the Rumble while still holding the Money in the Bank briefcase. This would ensure him a shot at whatever title he wanted while giving him back up in the event he fails to win that match.

Not Going To Happen

The Miz
Heath Slater
Jinder Mahal
Drew McIntyre

Three jobbers and a guy who can't properly execute a Figure Four. None of these guys are a legitimate threat to win and are there to fill up the ring until the big boys clear them out.

It's not time to make an official prediction just yet -- that comes with tomorrow's Pay-Per-View Pick 'Em Game -- but you can vote in the poll below to tell us who you think will win. My money is on John Cena.

You?

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