For a match many were touting as an extremely unpredictable Royal Rumble, the 2017 version of WWE’s famous battle royal didn’t offer up much in the way of surprises.
Going into the match on Sunday, Jan. 29, we knew 22 of the 30 names who would duke it out for a chance to main event WrestleMania 33. While some of those eight unclaimed spots had to go to guys who’d be elimination fodder for the many big names like Brock Lesnar & Braun Strowman, “surprise entrants” have become a fixture of the match - and, thus, speculation began.
Samoa Joe seemed like a lock, since he’s supposed to be on the main roster soon and hasn’t done anything in NXT since ending his feud with Shinsuke Nakamura last month. Swagsuke was another name fans focused on, especially after he dropped the NXT championship Saturday night.
Legends and Hall of Famers, current and future, were being discussed. Sure, Kurt Angle said he wouldn’t be there, but what else was he going to say? DDP’s been a surprise entrant before, and there’s talk he’ll be announced for the Hall soon.
What did we get?
Jack Gallagher, Kalisto, Mark Henry, James Ellsworth, Tye Dillinger, Apollo Crews, Enzo Amore & Roman Reigns.
Setting aside the always polarizing reaction to that final name, and the wonder that WWE actually went with NXT’s Perfect Ten in the ten spot, there’s not a lot to get excited about there.
No major debuts. No shocking returns. Not much of in the way of “surprise”.
In fact, other than Roman’s very presence being an affront to roughly half the WWE Universe, the lack of unexpected names (or ones we all expected even though no one guaranteed or even teased their inclusion) seems to be a knock for some fans when they look back on the match.
What do you think, Cagesiders? Were you bummed by the lack of surprises? Did it impact your enjoyment of the match?