clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Predicting the match order at Royal Rumble 2021

New, 11 comments
WWE.com

It’s one thing to predict the winners and losers at Royal Rumble 2021, but how about taking a guess at the match order on that card?

WWE has announced six different segments for the main card of Royal Rumble.

Here is my subjective view of how important each of these six segments rank, ordered from most important to least important.

  1. Men’s Royal Rumble
  2. Women’s Royal Rumble
  3. Drew McIntyre vs. Goldberg
  4. Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens
  5. Sasha Banks vs. Carmella
  6. Asuka & Flair vs. Baszler & Jax

Reigns vs. Owens will almost certainly get more time than McIntyre vs. Goldberg, but I’m ranking Goldberg ahead of it for the novelty factor. We’ve already seen Reigns vs. Owens multiple times in the past, whereas Goldberg has never fought McIntyre. In general, the match with the part-timer is the one that I assume WWE thinks is the bigger attraction. As a result, I’m tempted to rank Goldberg even higher than third on the list.

Main event

Any of the top four matches could theoretically main event this card, although the Men’s Royal Rumble is always the safest bet for this spot.

When Goldberg wrestles, he usually competes in the main event. If WWE plans to book to him to defeat McIntyre for the WWE championship, then their match could certainly close out this card. But it might be awkward to follow up two 50+ minute matches with the five minute (or less) Goldberg special.

The Universal championship match between Reigns and Owens is a long shot for the main event. Hell, it couldn’t even main event TLC 2020 or the Christmas episode of SmackDown television last month, so there will have to be a major angle planned for that to change here.

Without Becky Lynch or Ronda Rousey around, the Women’s Royal Rumble match is not as likely as the Men’s Royal Rumble to main event this card. Therefore I’m playing it safe and choosing the latter match for the main event.

Two Royal Rumble matches

This will be the fourth year with two different Royal Rumble matches on the card. These matches run for 50+ minutes and make for a card that is different from any other on the calendar.

The 2018 main card included 6 total matches. The Rumbles were placed as the 3rd and 6th matches of the night.

The 2019 main card included 7 total matches. The Rumbles were placed as the 4th and 7th matches of the night.

The 2020 main card included 6 total matches. The Rumbles were placed as the 2nd and 6th matches of the night.

WWE has yet to open a card with a Royal Rumble match, so I won’t be bold enough to do that here either. If Goldberg is wrestling in the main event, however, then opening the card with a Royal Rumble match has a higher chance of happening.

Judging from the above examples, it seems like the first Rumble match of the night will probably end up in Segment 2 or Segment 3. I prefer the structure of having a men’s championship and women’s championship match right before each Royal Rumble match, so I’m going to place the Women’s Royal Rumble match in Segment 3.

That gives me the following card:

Segment 1:
Segment 2:
Segment 3: Women’s Royal Rumble
Segment 4:
Segment 5:
Segment 6: Men’s Royal Rumble

Segment 1 and Segment 2

With two very long matches placed in Segment 3 and Segment 6, I might as well place the next longest match of the night in Segment 1, in order to space those all out a bit. That means Reigns vs. Owens is opening the card.

Segment 2 will then be one of the women’s matches. Asuka’s tag team match includes three wrestlers who will perform double duty. It usually makes the most sense to book the Royal Rumble match as the final match of the night for any double duty wrestlers.

It’s worth noting that back in 2018, WWE did have a similar double duty situation with Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan vs. The Bar, and they actually booked this tag match to occur in the very next segment after the Rumble match. I thought that placement decision really hurt the tag team match, and WWE should not repeat that mistake here.

One downside to saving Sasha Banks vs. Carmella for after the Women’s Royal Rumble is that it means Carmella likely won’t participate in the 30-woman gimmick match. If Banks vs. Carmella occurs before the Women’s Royal Rumble, then the loser of the match could presumably still join the battle royal and try to reverse her fortune. I don’t know how difficult it might be for WWE to find 30 women for the Rumble match, and perhaps they’ll need Carmella to perform double duty as well. That’s the main reason why I could see Asuka’s tag match actually being saved for after the Women’s Royal Rumble. I wouldn’t advise it, though. I’m putting Asuka in Segment 2.

That gives me the following card:

Segment 1: Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens
Segment 2: Asuka & Flair vs. Baszler & Jax
Segment 3: Women’s Royal Rumble
Segment 4:
Segment 5:
Segment 6: Men’s Royal Rumble

Everything else

The least important remaining match will likely get stuck in Segment 4 following the Women’s Royal Rumble match. So unless WWE adds a SLAPJACK match to the card late, I think the other women’s match will end up there. On my card, that means Sasha vs. Carmella is in Segment 4. WWE rarely ever books three consecutive women’s matches on a pay-per-view card, so maybe there really will be a filler segment added to the card to break these matches up.

That leaves Segment 5 for Goldberg.

Finalized card

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: Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens (24 minutes)
Segment 2: Asuka & Flair vs. Baszler & Jax (11)
Segment 3: Women’s Royal Rumble (55)
Segment 4: Sasha Banks vs. Carmella (10)
Segment 5: Drew McIntyre vs. Goldberg (5)
Segment 6: Men’s Royal Rumble (58)

That’s my prediction for the match order at Royal Rumble 2021. What’s yours?