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With WWE TLC 2013 in the books, the next stop is Royal Rumble 2014

Now that "TLC" is officially in the books, it's time to look ahead to the next event on the calendar and the first of 2014: The Royal Rumble, which kicks off "WrestleMania" season. Get excited!

For those of you who took a short break or were just roughing it through the hard winter months of professional wrestling, there's good news awaiting just around the corner. Indeed, with WWE having wrapped up its 2013 campaign with the TLC pay-per-view (PPV) that took place just last night (Sun., Dec. 15, 2013) at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, it's time to look ahead to 2014.

Next stop? The always fun Royal Rumble event, which takes place on Sun., Jan. 26, 2014, at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Royal Rumble, the match, mind you, is at its best when its at its most unpredictable. Last year's showcase, featuring John Cena last eliminating Ryback before going on to defeat The Rock for the WWE championship at WrestleMania 29, was a foregone conclusion. It was still fun, sure, but not as fun as it could have been.

This year? All bets are off.

There's also the added intrigue created by the fact that WWE went ahead with its hastily thrown together plan to unify the WWE and world heavyweight championship titles. For the first time in a decade, there is only one champion and the winner of the Rumble match will immediately know his opponent at WrestleMania 30 as opposed to getting a choice between the top two titles.

There aren't even any current favorites to win. John Cena could repeat, or CM Punk could add another accolade to his long list of accomplishments, or Daniel Bryan getting so many "YES!" chants could lead to a fickle Vince McMahon to alter course once again.

There are just so many possibilities.

That's without mentioning the many surprise returns we get each year. Remember Chris Jericho entering from the number two spot last year and lasting for nearly an hour? That was fun.

Perhaps it will happen again.

There are quite a few storylines current set up to run through the next few months but for the most part, everything is still largely up in the air. There is no direction that would shock and surprise and maybe that's alone is just shocking and surprising enough.

For posterity, here is the current list of champions as of this writing (Dec. 16, 2013) and heading into WrestleMania season:

WWE world heavyweight champion: Randy Orton
Intercontinental champion: Big E. Langston
United States champion: Dean Ambrose
Tag Team champions: Cody Rhodes & Goldust
Divas champion: AJ Lee
Internet champion: Zack Ryder

Any Cagesiders care to hazard a guess on how the next few months are going to play out? And how much are you looking forward to it?

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