Welcome to another edition of the ‘Monday Gorilla Position’! A weekly column here at Cageside Seats that dissects the latest shows and reports, and tries to figure out just what is going on in the world of WWE, AEW & more!
When it comes to sports wagering, the belief is that if a betting line looks weird, Vegas knows something you don’t.
The betting odds for the Women’s Royal Rumble Match coming up on Jan. 27 are a little puzzling. At least once you make it past the top two. Becky Lynch and Bayley are the clear cut front runners to earn a Championship match at WrestleMania 40, but Jade Cargill is surprisingly not far behind at all.
According to Bet Online, Jade is +300 right now despite not yet having made her WWE debut. Raquel Rodriguez also cracks the top 5 as a betting favorite, even though she’s been absent from television since being diagnosed with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.
Do the oddsmakers know something we don’t? Or are they simply overlooking some of the other contenders?
Allow me to put on my detective cap, peruse the evidence that’s available, and come up with a top five list. Next week, I’ll be doing the same for the guys in their Royal Rumble match.
5. Mystery guest, will you please reveal yourself?
It may be a bit surprising to give better odds to someone who is currently not signed with the company than Bianca Belair, but hear me out.
If the E-S-T is to compete in her fourth consecutive Championship match at WrestleMania, it’s far more likely that she walks in as the Champion as opposed to the challenger. Meaning her feud with Damage CTRL will finally culminate with her regaining the WWE Women’s Championship from IYO SKY at Elimination Chamber.
It’s possible the oddsmakers agree with me as Belair currently has the 6th best chance to win her second Royal Rumble match at +1000.
There are some other options available for the E-S-T, as I’ve written about previously, but for the sake of argument let’s say Bianca is the Champion in Philadelphia. Who’s her challenger?
How about a big time, incoming free agent that deserves to make a big splash upon their return?
Mercedes Moné may be the name that many have in mind, but all the latest reporting still has her AEW bound. Important to point out that anything can happen until Mercedes signs her name on the dotted line and makes her debut.
If something drastic changes and Sasha Banks does make her stunning return at the Royal Rumble, you can take it to the bank that she’s winning the match, but another name to keep in mind is Naomi (aka Trinity).
The former TNA Knockouts Champion is expected to make her return to WWE before the end of the month, with the belief that her time in TNA wrapped up this weekend at Hard to Kill (unless she didn’t... PWInsider now says she could have several dates left on her deal with the former Impact Wrestling. Another example of why handicapping pro wrestling is akin to herding cats).
Naomi was presented as a main event Superstar from the moment she arrived in the (now former) IMPACT zone, and she shined like someone truly worthy of that spotlight. WWE would be wise to follow their lead.
She would be a big time addition to the SmackDown Women’s Division, and a much needed new rival for Belair... who has wrestled Bayley on television alone nine times dating back to 2020.
Giving Naomi the nod at the Rumble, if she makes her return, should be under heavy consideration.
4. Liv Morgan (+1400 according to Bet Online)
Liv Morgan has been out of action since last July with a shoulder injury. It’s unclear at this time if she’s healthy enough for an in-ring return, but if she is, it would be stunning if she’s not one of the surprise entrants in the Rumble this year.
Not only that, but the moment she enters the match, she should be considered one of the favorites to win it.
The oddsmakers don’t agree at +1400, ranking Liv below fka Sasha Banks. Who, again, is on the verge of signing with another company — if she hasn’t already.
Not sure what their considerations are, because the story for Liv’s victory is right there. She came within a hair’s breath from going wire-to-wire in last year’s Rumble match, losing out to the woman she started the contest with in Rhea Ripley, her former tag team partner and the current Women’s World Heavyweight Champion.
Ripley is also the same woman that (in kayfabe only) put Liv Morgan on the shelf last Summer with a brutal attack on Monday Night Raw.
I could spend the next 3000 words or so explaining how ridiculous it is that people are still getting arrested for marijuana possession these days, but that’s a topic for another article. And probably a different website.
The facts seem to be that Liv Morgan is well liked backstage, there’s no heat on her currently and there’s a juicy story all ready to go if WWE wanted to head in that direction.
3. Nia Jax (+800 according to Bet Online)
Don’t roll your eyes. It could happen. Nia Jax could win the Royal Rumble. You may be asking why, but the answer is simple.
Rhea Ripley is on the verge of becoming one of the most over babyfaces in the entire company. She basically is already, but as of now is still considered a heel in the eyes of the WWE creative team.
Competing against a nuclear heat magnet like Nia Jax at WrestleMania would only further get the fans behind Ripley.
Some people may not be ready to admit this, but Jax has also been really good addition to the Raw Women’s Division and is just the dominate type of opponent that Rhea needs a victory over to really solidify her title run.
Nia’s victory over Becky Lynch at WWE ‘Day 1’ was booked for a reason. Despite her clear size advantage over most of the roster, Jax needed a marquee win to stake claim as a serious title contender. Now she has it.
Jax is currently listed with the fourth best odds to be the last woman standing in Tampa at +800, but it’s far more likely she’s being set up as Rhea’s challenger in her home country of Australia, where Elimination Chamber is being held this year.
Expect Jax to be one of the few remaining competitors left in the Rumble match, just to give the audience collective anxiety disorder. Never fear though WWE fans, the Man will come around to send Nia crashing to the floor like it’s 2019 all over again.
2. Becky Lynch (+200 according to Bet Online)
Here’s a bet you can make comfortably. Becky Lynch will be Rhea Ripley’s challenger at WrestleMania 40. It’s the match that WWE has been teasing for months and is one of the few that could push either of the two men’s world title matches for a main event spot on the card.
The question is, how does The Man become the No. 1 Contender for the Women’s World Heavyweight Championship? Does she make history by becoming the first ever woman to win the Royal Rumble twice? Or does she win the Elimination Chamber?
“Did you know that I’ve never been in Elimination Chamber?” Lynch recently told the Casual Podcast. “So, I’m looking at that and thinking maybe it’s time Becky Lynch makes her debut in an Elimination Chamber match,” Lynch teased. “Maybe she wins, and maybe she goes on to main event WrestleMania once again.”
Lynch may be one of the current betting favorites to win her second Rumble match at +200, but she wouldn’t go out of her way to start hyping her involvement in the Chamber match if there wasn’t at least a chance of that coming to fruition.
Becky is on a slight downward trend after her loss to Nia Jax. Her story back to the title picture is all about fighting through adversity and earning her way back. Losing the Royal Rumble match could be another obstacle thrown her way along her road to redemption.
Earning the right to face Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania by beating five other women inside the demonic Elimination Chamber seems more like the path for The Man to go down this year.
WWE booking Becky Lynch for Elimination Chamber would also be a win for the fans in Perth, especially after it was all but confirmed that Roman Reigns vs. The Rock is not happening there.
1. Bayley (+150 according to Bet Online)
If Becky Lynch vs. Rhea Ripley is the match for the Women’s World Heavyweight Championship over on Raw, and Becky doesn’t win the Rumble to earn that spot, than it’s pretty safe to assume that a SmackDown Superstar is on tap to get that honor.
Quite simply, it has to be Bayley’s year.
She’s on the worst stretch of her entire career, winning just 5 singles matches in the past year. Her loss to Bianca Belair this past Friday on SmackDown was just the latest of many for WWE’s first ever Women’s Grand Slam Champion.
It’s easy for fans to point to her recent win/loss record and say that Bayley hasn’t been built up for a Rumble win or that she hasn’t earned it.
Honestly, that’s a fair assessment. Bayley hasn’t earned it. But Pamela Martinez has earned it.
Will it finally be @itsBayleyWWE's time to shine at the #RoyalRumble? It sure would be a fitting way to celebrate her 11th year anniversary with WWE and keep Damage CTRL on it's current hot streak. @cagesideseats @WWEPR https://t.co/jXfo5Y0iND— Rick Ucchino (@RickUcchino) January 12, 2024
Since returning from her ACL injury at SummerSlam 2022, Bayley has done everything within her power to build up the rest of the Women’s Division. Putting the likes of Bianca Belair, Shotzi, Liv Morgan, and Rhea Ripley over time and again. Both inside the ring and out of it.
She’s put the importance of building Damage CTRL into the All-star group that is today above the her own singular goals and aspirations.
Bayley has rightfully earned the reputation of being one of the most selfless performers in all of WWE and it’s time she received her thank you. Winning the Royal Rumble should be the catalyst of her career resurgence.
As the losses have piled up, Bayley’s confidence has been rocked. She may talk a big game but you can see it on her face that she just doesn’t believe in herself right now. Part of the masterful work that Pam has done with that character.
I’ve written this before, but it’s time for Bayley to have her Lion King moment. She needs that kick in the backside — that bump on the head — whatever it is that finally jogs her memory of who she’s supposed to be. Something it appears she’ll have to do on her own.
Dakota Kai made it clear on Friday that Bayley will not have the help of Damage CTRL at Royal Rumble, just like in her match against Bianca. It’s almost like the other four members of the group are testing The Role Model to see if they should keep her around.
If anything, it seems as though Bayley is being set up for failure. A final straw for Damage CTRL to finally cut ties with the woman who brought them together, or a red herring so fans doubt her ability to get the win?
Right now, Bayley is the slight betting favorite to get the job done. It’s going to be fascinating to see if WWE pulls the trigger. And if they do, how they set up Bayley challenging IYO SKY for the title when she currently has her sights set on Rhea Ripley.
Let us know who your favorites are for the 2024 Women’s Royal Rumble. And see you back here next week when Monday Gorilla Position dives into the Men’s Rumble!
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