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WWE Royal Rumble 2019 predictions

WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) — if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course — tomorrow night (Sun., Jan. 27, 2019) live from Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona with its Royal Rumble event starting at 5:00 pm ET with the Kickoff show leading right on into the main course at 7 pm ET on the WWE Network.

Set for the card: Two Royal Rumble matches, Brock Lesnar defending the Universal championship against Finn Balor, 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 predictions

Men’s Royal Rumble

Geno Mrosko: They’ve done a horrendous job of building to this match as a match itself, with very few clear favorites to win it. In fact, there’s really only one guy I can see winning it, so he’s the choice I’m making here. Pick: Seth Rollins

Sean Rueter: If you look back at how loud the “BURN IT DOWN” chants were at one point, and how anxious people were to talk about Dean getting swole while he was out injured, it’s remarkable that neither of the Shield guys feel like a hot choice to win this thing. Maybe WWE plows ahead with the rumored Rollins plan, but at this point, I’m thinking Vince goes with something tried & true. He doesn’t even need to be around much to sell the story of chasing his 17th WWE World title while standing up for the fans against the consumption-hating maniac who was almost his brother-in-law. Pick: John Cena

Kyle Decker: Really it’s Seth Rollins or Drew McIntyre at this point. (I have Bray Wyatt as surprise dark horse, but I can’t imagine who he’d match up with for Mania.) Between Drew and Seth, it all comes down to whether or not you believe in the reverse momentum theory. At this point, I don’t. Pick: Seth Rollins

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: I’d really like it to be Kofi or some equally off-the-wall choice as we discussed with Brent Brookhouse a week or two back, but alas, I’m not confident enough to bet my pick here. Anyway, the Universal Championship scene is inscrutable at the best of times, so I’m going very slightly off-road and picking the Monster Among Men himself to get a delayed showdown with the Beast Incarnate at WrestleMania. Pick: Braun Strowman

Cain A. Knight: The potential winners on the Raw roster are Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre, or maybe Braun Strowman if he joins the match. The potential winners on the SmackDown roster are...nobody? The potential winners on the part-time roster include pretty much everybody, because having Goldberg or Undertaker show up here to win it and then challenge Brock at WrestleMania 35 is a very WWE thing to do. I’ll just play it safe and stick to the rumor mill. Pick: Dolph Ziggler Seth Rollins

Stella Cheeks: I cannot, nay I will not, betray my man. Pick: Drew McIntyre

Women’s Royal Rumble

Geno Mrosko: It’s hard to imagine anyone winning this match outside of Becky Lynch or Charlotte Flair and only one of the two is currently scheduled for it. If this were about merits, or how hot a wrestler is, or the work they’ve been doing in recent months and the potential for what they could continue to do, the pick is obvious. Pick: Charlotte Flair

Sean Rueter: It’s pretty much got to go one of two ways, and since I just went with someone we’re not sure will even be in the match to win the men’s Rumble, I’ll go with a person who will definitely be in the women’s one. Pick: Charlotte Flair

Kyle Decker: I can’t pick against the Man winning the Rumble. I wonder how the crowd, which will be a hardcore crowd, would respond if she’s not in it. It wouldn’t be a Daniel Bryan 2014 situation, but they’d be a bit angry. And you don’t put her in it if she’s not gonna win it, especially if she’s just coming off a title loss. Pick: Becky Lynch

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: I’ve had my ups and downs with Charlotte’s work over the years, but I am currently very much digging what she brings to the table. And surely, being the Queen, the Royal Rumble is hers to lose, no? Pick: Charlotte Flair

Cain A. Knight: This all comes down to Becky Lynch or Charlotte Flair, and Lynch might not even be in the match. It mostly defeats the purpose of the Rumble if Becky loses her championship match earlier in the night only to win this Rumble and earn another championship match. If someone already demonstrates they can’t win the title, why is it worth getting excited over that person winning another shot at it? The much more interesting route is if Becky first defeats Asuka for the title and then still wins this Rumble. If WWE is going all-in on The Man, that’s the way to book this one. Pick: Becky Lynch

Stella Cheeks: If the McMahon’s are true to their word (L O L) and we truly are in charge, then there can be no other answer than The Man Becky Lynch. Course, Charlotte will be added to the match before Mania, but that’s a problem for a different day. Pick: Becky Lynch

Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor

Geno Mrosko: There is literally nothing in the world that makes me think there is any chance of Finn Balor winning this match. A snowball has a better chance in hell. Pick: Brock Lesnar

Sean Rueter: I believe. I also believe he won’t carry it into WrestleMania. But the new era needs some shaking up, and this will shock people like Survivor Series ‘16. Pick: Finn Bálor

Kyle Decker: There was a part of me that was convincing myself of a Balor win. Given the way they built him up as the guy who couldn’t get it done, the only way to end that story would be for him to get it done. But the chances of Brock going into Mania not champion are slim to none. Sorry, Finn. Maybe next time bring the Demon. Prediction: Pain Brock Lesnar

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Great matches against AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan have proved that as much as I’m sick of the guy, Brock’s still got enough of it for best-in-the-world types to drag him through an excellent match. I don’t think Finn is quite on that level, but he’s close, and this should be a hoot. As far as picked, I played the Rumble safe, so let’s contradict that here and go out on the limb... Pick: Finn Balor

Cain A. Knight: This match will be far superior to Strowman vs. Lesnar, so that’s a big positive. However, the Lesnar segment on Raw really left a bad taste in my mouth. There was way too much focus on Braun Strowman, and of course Balor couldn’t even get the pin on The Monster ahead of this championship match with The Beast. It’s clear that Balor is just a stopgap and the bigger priority is to protect Strowman. That means regular Finn Balor is going to be victimized and conquered, but hopefully not before he puts on a great match with Brock. Pick: Brock Lesnar

Stella Cheeks: I am shocked that I am writing these words, but I am really looking forward to this match. Do I think that Balor will win? No, but I think that he will put in so much effort that Brock will have no choice but to show up and work. If they want to force feed me a David and Goliath fairy tale, well then god damn, I’m eating it. Pick: Brock Lesnar

Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles

Geno Mrosko: I’m just hopeful they get time to put together something really good, because we know they can put together something even better. Someone is going to have to sacrifice time for this show, though, and my fear is they’ll sacrifice it here. We’ll see. Either way, I can’t see a compelling reason to switch the title back right now. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Sean Rueter: The #AJStylesWeinerChallenge has been everything I ever wanted it to be. But my Rumble pick needs this to go one way, and that means the angry vegan is breaking that red neck. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Kyle Decker: Can you imagine taking the title off Daniel Bryan right now? The type of consequences for the planet would be devastating! Mother Earth needs him to defeat consumerist Styles. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Look, I dunno about you nerds, but I care about the planet. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Cain A. Knight: I don’t really see anything different with the “real” AJ Styles, but that doesn’t mean this won’t be a tremendous match. I can only hope it ends with a Phenomenal Hot Dog through a mustard-covered table. My best guess is Styles will lose and Mr. McMahon will then put more pressure on AJ to snap. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Stella Cheeks: Daniel Bryan force feeds AJ Styles a vegan hot dog. AJ is so disgusted and distracted that DBry gets the 1-2-3. Instant classic. Wiener challenge complete. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Ronda Rousey vs. Sasha Banks

Geno Mrosko: The match I’m most excited to see, mostly because both are incredible when it comes time to actually work the match they’ve put together. There’s a clear favorite to win, and she probably should, but you can bank on Sasha making you feel like there’s a real chance she’ll pull it out. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Sean Rueter: This is gonna get wild and as the kids say (or used to say a couple years ago, it’s hard for us old folks to keep up) I. Am. Here. For. It. All of the women’s matches on this show feel like chapters in a larger story, so this pick is tied into my predictions for those. It’s also tied into Elimination Chamber, where The Boss will get this win back en route to lifting a different belt over her head. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Kyle Decker: I am so excited for this match. Hell, both women’s matches are probably the two non-Rumble matches I’m looking forward to the most. There’s no way that Rousey is losing the title, though. Looks like Sasha is going to have to find someone else to wash her feet with their hair. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: All the talk of whether Ronda will still be around after WrestleMania has me curious here. Like, it seems blatantly obvious that she’ll hold the title at least through the big one, but are they really gonna position her as a loser at Mania? It’s a longshot, but I’m going with the Boss here, because I can’t help but think we get a swerve here somewhere along the way, so why not right now? Pick: Sasha Banks

Cain A. Knight: I’m super hyped for this match and expect it to be fascinating from start to finish. It seems fairly predictable that Sasha Banks is going to tap out. But wouldn’t it be far more interesting if Charlotte or Becky showed up to pay Ronda back for TLC? They could cause a disqualification, allowing WWE to revisit Rousey vs. Banks at a PPV in February or March. Or they could actually screw Rousey out of the title, leaving open the possibility that Rousey then enters and wins the Rumble match. That’s probably getting a bit carried away, but you never know. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Stella Cheeks: Look I know that Sasha is going to tap out to Ronda, but I’m not watching this match for the finish. I am watching because the BOSS is back and I want to see what innovation she brings to this match. Ronda is still really green, but she has lots of chemistry with Sasha. Story line wise (and probably IRL too) they both have so much to prove - Ronda that she’s not a paper champion, Sasha that she’s still got it. The emotions and the stakes of this match make it a must watch. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Asuka vs. Becky Lynch

Geno Mrosko: The thing about Lynch is that it really feels like she’s become a star but it’s hard to tell if that’s actually the case in WWE in 2019, considering the metrics and how the business is run. If she is, maybe there’s more money in the chase, in which case she can lose here. Then again, if she’s that hot you have to have the title on her, right? This is a tough one, and that’s without factoring in those rumors of her maybe winning the Royal Rumble. Pick: Becky Lynch

Sean Rueter: This doesn’t mean she’s not winning the Rumble, either. Pick: Becky Lynch

Kyle Decker: I really really want to pick Becky Lynch to win this AND the Rumble. But I don’t see WWE only having one women’s championship match at Mania. Because of that, Becky can’t win the title back. They’ll have to find a creative way of protecting her without making Asuka look bad in the process, which will be a tough task. But I don’t think Becky leaves with the gold. Pick: Asuka

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Well I’ve contradicted my other picks once so far this show, and I’m not gonna do it again. So given that I called Ronda not taking the title or winning the Rumble, having Becky regain the title seems wrong. Ergo... Pick: Asuka

Cain A. Knight: A victory here for Becky would bring into question why WWE bothered having her drop the title one month ago. But Becky is going to win at least one match on this night, so I might as well start her off with this one. Pick: Becky Lynch

Stella Cheeks: I just don’t think they are going to let Becky win both matches. If this match happens before the women’s rumble and Becky loses the crowd will be sad but then if she wins the rumble you’ve provided the crowd with the ultimate roller coaster of emotions. Plus, Asuka remains champ and with Becky’s focus on Ronda and the main event of WrestleMania she can build some new feuds within the SD women’s roster. Asuka versus Nikki Cross 2.0 anyone? Pick: Asuka

The Bar vs. Shane McMahon & The Miz

Geno Mrosko: There are a lot of reasons to think they’ll actually put the titles on the challengers here but I’m of the mind they don’t and work the story around it. The Bar are better off with the belts. Pick: The Bar

Sean Rueter: Vince McMahon probably believes the biggest signal he can send that he’s TOTALLY TAKING TAG WRESTLING SERIOUSLY THIS TIME is to strap his son. Pick: Shane McMahon & The Miz

Kyle Decker: The lovable odd couple tag team always wins these types of matches. Fitting that they beat a team that formed as an odd couple team themselves. Plus, it’s a title Shane’s never held. Pick: Shane McMahon & Miz

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: I remain stunned at how touching Shane and Miz’s odd-couple friendship is, and I’m not ashamed to say I’ve rolled a tear once or twice while they’ve bonded over their respective daddy issues. So I wanna see those kooky kids pick up the W, damnit! Pick: The Best Tag Team in the World (Shane McMahon & the Miz)

Cain A. Knight: The Bar is going to lose separate tag title reigns to Some Kid and Shane McMahon, respectively, within the span of a year. And WWE wonders why many fans can’t take their tag division seriously. Pick: Shane McMahon & The Miz

Stella Cheeks: This match is classic road to WrestleMania stepping stone. We’re clearly setting up some kind of Miz/Shane McMahon feud and winning the tag titles would add a nice layer to their eventual downfall as a team. Just look how well that worked for Dean and Seth (LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL). I just hope there is cake involved. Pick: Shane McMahon & The Miz

Rusev vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Geno Mrosko: From winning the Royal Rumble last year to working the pre-show this year. Hey, at least it’s a title match against a wrestler everyone loves! He’ll probably even win too! Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

Sean Rueter: Hey, look! It’s the 2018 Royal Rumble winner! Pick: Rusev

Kyle Decker: This feud hasn’t been on TV in weeks. I kind of forgot it was a thing. No reason to put it back on Nakamura. Rusev can run with the forgotten strap for awhile instead. (Feud with Mustafa Ali, please!) Pick: Rusev

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Hey what do you know, the Royal Rumble falls on Rusev Day this year! Pick: Rusev

Cain A. Knight: I’d be surprised if they switch the title back to Nakamura here. It’s on the pre-show, and Nakamura’s had the upper hand on Rusev over the last month. It’s time for Rusev to put Nakamura away and finish this feud. Pick: Rusev

Stella Cheeks: Oh thank god they added this match. I was afraid this show would only be four hours long. Pick: Rusev

Buddy Murphy vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Kalisto vs. Hideo Itami

Geno Mrosko: Pick: Akira Tozawa

Sean Rueter: Both because he’s the only guy who hasn’t been cruiserweight champ in this match and because I can see it being a “please consider re-signing with us and remaining a part of our massive stockpile of talent rather than joining another fed” move. Pick: Hideo Itami

Kyle Decker: Going with Buddy Murphy because champions win fatal 4-ways often. Pick: Buddy Murphy

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Buddy Murphy continues looking for bigger and better challenges and bests every last one of them, so I’m not gonna bet against him here. Pick: Buddy Murphy

Cain A. Knight: I learned a long time ago from Kyle Decker that the champion is actually not at a disadvantage in this type of match. Pick: Buddy Murphy

Stella Cheeks: You know what, eff it. Pick: Hideo Itami

That’s how we see the card playing out.

How about you?

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