It's one thing to predict the winners and losers at Royal Rumble 2018, but how about taking a guess at the match order on that card?
WWE has announced 6 different matches for the main card of Royal Rumble 2018.
Here is my subjective view of how important each of these 6 segments rank on the Royal Rumble 2018 card, ordered from most important to least important.
- Men’s Royal Rumble Match
- Women’s Royal Rumble Match
- Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kane
- AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
- Rollins & Jordan vs. Cesaro & Sheamus
- The Usos vs. Benjamin & Gable
It is important to come up with a list like this to get an idea of which matches are going to be placed in the key spots on the card or take up the most time, and which matches might end up in the cool-down spots or be given the least amount of time.
Opening and closing the card with both Royal Rumble matches
This card will feature two Royal Rumble matches, and assuming both matches have 90-second waiting intervals, that means the runtime on each match will probably end up in the 45 to 60 minute range.
Two matches of that extended length should probably be kept far apart from each other, so I think WWE will open the card with one and close the card with the other.
I can see a scenario where Ronda Rousey is planned to win the women’s Royal Rumble match and so WWE decides to end the night with her surprise appearance. But in general the men’s Royal Rumble probably has an advantage for the main event spot. The women’s Money in the Bank match opened that pay-per-view while the men were in the main event, and the women’s Survivor Series match was featured early in the card with a shorter length whereas the men’s match was given more time and main evented the card.
Considering that history, the men’s Royal Rumble match will probably close out this card, but it’s not a slam dunk guarantee.
That gives me the following card:
Segment 1: Women’s Royal Rumble Match
Segment 6: Men’s Royal Rumble Match
It’s probably a good idea to follow the women’s Royal Rumble match with one of the tag team matches. There are rumors that Jason Jordan is hurting right now, so I don’t expect his match to go very long. And a 2 out of 3 falls stipulation isn’t ideal for a cool-down following a Rumble match. So I’ll choose Rollins’ tag match for Segment 2.
I don’t really want to immediately follow the Raw tag team championship match with the SmackDown tag team championship match, but I think it would be a little strange to place the WWE Championship match on the card before the Usos’ match. Therefore the Usos land in Segment 3.
And Brock Lesnar is presented as a bigger star than AJ Styles, so I’ll put Styles in Segment 4 and Lesnar in Segment 5.
So here is my final prediction for the match order at Royal Rumble, along with guesses on the bell-to-bell match times.
Segment 1: Women’s Royal Rumble Match (48 minutes)
Segment 2: Rollins & Jordan vs. Cesaro & Sheamus (9)
Segment 3: The Usos vs. Benjamin & Gable (15)
Segment 4: AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (17)
Segment 5: Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kane (12)
Segment 6: Men’s Royal Rumble Match (57 minutes)
If the goal is keep the main card at 4 hours, then the 4 non-Rumble matches probably need to be kept at around 50 to 55 minutes of total match time. I decided to go low on Jordan’s match due to his rumored injury, and higher on the Usos’ match because it would be a shame to rush through a 2-out-of-3 falls match.
I’m really not too thrilled with the final setup here and think things might look better if the card opened with the Usos’ match, moving the first Rumble match into Segment 2. Oh well, this is my final answer and I’m sticking to it.
That's my prediction for the match order at Royal Rumble. What's yours?