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WWE Royal Rumble 2017 predictions: Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns

WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) -- if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course -- tomorrow night (Sun., Jan. 29, 2017) live from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas with its Royal Rumble event starting at 5:00 p.m. ET with the Kickoff show leading right on into the main course at 7 p.m. ET on the WWE Network.

Set for the card: the Royal Rumble, Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns for the Universal title, AJ Styles vs. John Cena for the WWE world championship, and more!

Luckily for you Cagesiders, our staff of learned wrestling blowhards is here to help figure out just how the event is going to play out with predictions for each match on the card.

Let's get to it.


Royal Rumble

Geno Mrosko: I don’t know. That’s a good thing. Considering a title has to be involved, you would think that would eliminate a few options, like Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, or Undertaker. But maybe not! Again, I don’t know, and that feels great. Pick: Braun Strowman

Sean Rueter: With the star power at Mania, a title match doesn’t have to go on last. So we can use the Rumble to shock the world and put a feather in the cap of an all-timer who was screwed out of a win in this match last time Vince decided to shock the world. Pick: Chris Jericho

Kyle Decker: When it comes to this PPV, I really don't have the foggiest idea, especially regarding the Rumble match. I suppose the most likely are Undertaker and Braun Strowman, but I think I'm going to go with someone who isn't advertised and probably not cleared to wrestle. Pick: Finn Balor


Cain A. Knight: As long as anybody besides Braun Strowman wins this match then I'll be a happy camper, because I have no interest in sitting through a godawful Strowman championship match at WrestleMania 33. But the fact that Strowman was creepily staring at a TV monitor during Undertaker's return to Raw makes me suspect those guys will be fighting each in Orlando. My best guess is that Vince wants to turn the expected rematch between Goldberg and Lesnar at Wrestlemania 33 into a championship match. So I'll go with Lesnar winning the Royal Rumble match, with Goldberg defeating Owens or Reigns at Fastlane. Pick: Brock Lesnar

Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns

Geno Mrosko: When they took the US title off Reigns, it was presumably so they could put the Universal title on him and Owens could bump down to feud with Chris Jericho over the lesser title. Pick: Reigns

Sean Rueter: All signs were pointing toward this being the latest phase in WWE’s “John Cena 2.0” plan for Romey. Then they added a stipulation, and rumors about Reigns vs. Taker started flying. Now, there’s all kinds of ways to play this - and one of them ties in nicely to my Rumble prediction/fantasy booking. Pick: Kevin Owens

Kyle Decker: The no DQ stip throws a wrench into things because if they want to delay Roman winning the title, they could use some sort of interference. Or they can use that to allow Triple H to try to save his boy one more time and get thwarted by Rollins. I'll go with the latter with Roman winning the title so they can veer into KO/Jericho for the Mania build sooner than later. Pick: Roman Reigns

Reverend Kain: KO's numbers game? Eliminated, Jericho's in a cage, and it's no DQ on a night when Roman's Shield buddy Seth Rollins has nothing else to do. Big Merch is comin' for that Big Red Belt, oh yes, you better believe it, and he's gonna be in the Man Event come WrestleMania. Pick: Roman Reigns

Cain A. Knight: For this entire month I was fully prepared to pick Reigns here and assume that Owens would turn on Jericho in the aftermath of KO's defeat. But then this past week on Raw, Reigns really played up the idea that there's no way he can lose this match, and then he humiliated both Owens and Jericho with the shark cage. It seemed a little too one-sided to do all that and then still have Reigns win the championship at the PPV. The No DQ stip seems to increase the likelihood that Jericho drops a weapon (or The List of Jericho) through the cage for Owens to use in order to retain his championship. Pick: Kevin Owens

AJ Styles vs. John Cena

Geno Mrosko: It’s time for Cena to tie the record for title reigns. Considering his growth and career, he deserves it as much as anyone else possibly could. Pick: Cena

Sean Rueter: They can’t really let John set fire to AJ’s soul on the ‘go home’ and then beat him, too, right? RIGHT? Pick: AJ Styles

Kyle Decker: My bet is Cena will win a major milestone title at WrestleMania, either 16 tying Flair or 17 breaking it. So I think he's going to beat Styles tonight to win #16 and then lose the title in the Elimination Chamber to set up the record breaker at Mania. Pick: John Cena

Reverend Kain: 100% picking with my mark hat on, but I feel like the best play is for AJ to continue being the Guy John Cena Can't Beat, especially with the Elimination Chamber right around the corner to move the title around without Cena actually beating him. Pick: AJ Styles

Cain A. Knight: Cena has to beat AJ at some point, and I don't think Vince would run this same match on 3 different PPVs in less than a year and then do it for a fourth time at WrestleMania 33. I'm also willing to believe the rumors of AJ Styles versus Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 33, and I don't see any need for that to be a championship match. AJ had a good run with the belt, but now that's it's WrestleMania season, it's probably time for Styles and Owens to move down a notch on the card so that Cena and the part-timers can get all the glory. Pick: John Cena

Charlotte vs. Bayley

Geno Mrosko: It isn’t yet the time for Bayley to get the title and, in fact, she needs to be knocked down a few more times before the ultimate rise. She should come close but have her heart broken. Pick: Charlotte

Sean Rueter: I’m a Bayley stan and I’m trying to deliberately make different predictions than the rest of the staff, and even I can’t go Hugster here. Pick: Charlotte

Kyle Decker: While I think Bayley will be the one to take the gold from Charlotte, I don't think it'll happen this soon. The Hugger will need to struggle a bit more before winning the big prize, likely at Mania. So she'll fail to get the job done tomorrow as part of her journey to the top. Pick: Charlotte

Reverend Kain: It's a total hedge, but Charlotte Flair doesn't lose on pay-per-view. Pick: Charlotte Flair

Cain A. Knight: Bayley's character type pretty much requires that she can't win the title here, because it would be far too soon for her to overcome Charlotte at this point in this story. Charlotte's streak of being undefeated in championship matches on PPV won't end any time before WrestleMania 33. Pick: Charlotte Flair

Rich Swann vs. Neville

Geno Mrosko: Bow down to the king. Pick: Neville

Sean Rueter: He calls himself a king, but I think he’s a jester... yeah, no, can’t do this one either. Pick: Neville

Kyle Decker: Neville has to win the title here, right? He's been incredible since he's returned and having an unstoppable villain with the title will be a help for the division. Pick: Neville

Reverend Kain: Behold the king, the King of the Cruiserweights! On your back, Swann. Pick: Neville

Cain A. Knight: Neville has looked great as a ruthless heel over the last month and it could all be wasted if he loses this match. I expect the King of the Cruiserweights to finally claim his throne in what could be a fantastic match if it gets 15 minutes. Pick: Neville

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

Geno Mrosko: This doesn’t matter, as evidenced by the fact that it was thrown together at the last minute and is WWE’s way to cram the SmackDown Live women’s division onto the card. Count on the babyfaces to win in that case. Pick: Nikki & Naomi & Becky

Sean Rueter: Was all set to pick Team “Good Girl” (see Mauro, you’re not the only old white guy who can make Drake references!), because it’s a PPV pre-show and, let’s be honest, this isn’t actually a big deal. But the Mickster needs a win. Pick: Natalya & Alexa Bliss & Mickie James

Kyle Decker: On SmackDown, Becky has been down a lot with Mickie and Alexa keeping their advantage. This will be a good chance to give her a win to recharge her. Also, they can use Naomi getting the pin on the champion Bliss in order to set up a short feud between those two. Pick: Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, and Naomi

Reverend Kain: Mainly I did this one last and realized I was picking heels across the board, except for Roman, so hell with it, right? But really, with Mickie James fresh back, I gotta think you want to put her over right away. Pick: Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, & Natalya

Cain A. Knight: The booking of this match revolves around Naomi. If they are planning to give her a brief push heading into the February PPV, then Naomi will probably pin Bliss here to earn her way into championship contention. If Naomi isn't about to receive a push over the next couple of weeks, then she is the clear person to take the fall for her team. I'll go with the former option because Bliss needs a new dance partner now that Becky will be tied up with Mickie James. Pick: Nikki Bella, Naomi, & Becky Lynch

Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson

Geno Mrosko: What a weird program, right? The idea is the bad guys are better but have been getting screwed over, enough so that they’re using two referees to make sure it’s fair and that way the bad guys might win. I don’t get it either. The best part? They still won’t win! Pick: Cesaro & Sheamus

Sean Rueter: As our last great Republican President once said, “There's an old saying in Texas that says, fool me once, shame on... shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again.” Pick: Gallows & Anderson

Kyle Decker: Man, who knows with this division. Let's say it's finally the Club's time and they can allow Sheamus and Cesaro to finally finish off their one on one feud. With this pick, I'm picking all title changes, which never happens at a PPV. Pick: Gallows and Anderson

Reverend Kain: Too sweet me, hoot! Surely, having two referees on hand means the Good Brothers can't get screwed again, right? Pick: The Club

Cain A. Knight: The Club has now pinned Cesaro on two consecutive episodes of Raw, so that means it's time for Cesaro and Sheamus to pick up the win. Gallows and Anderson always lose the big one. Pick: Cesaro & Sheamus

Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax

Geno Mrosko: Sasha Banks is hurt. Nia Jax is a killer. There’s really only one way this can go. Pick: Jax

Sean Rueter: You ain’t broke $#!+, Jax. Pick: Sasha Banks

Kyle Decker: It's too early for Nia to lose and Sasha has the excuse of the bum knee to take a loss. Plus, if they end up turning Banks heel down the road after Bayley wins the title, this loss as a babyface won't hurt much of anything. Pick: Nia Jax

Reverend Kain: I feel like this one has life left in it yet, plus Sasha's knee can't be 100% yet. Pick: Nia Jax

Cain A. Knight: Last month I predicted that Sasha would lose the feud with Charlotte and then proceed to get squashed in January by Nia Jax. This probably won't be a squash, but I don't really see any reason to stray away from the idea that Nia is going take out The Boss, especially given the questionable health of Sasha’s knee. Pick: Nia Jax

That’s how we see the card playing out.

How about you?

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