This Sunday, the WWE kicks off their 2021 Pay Per View schedule with the traditional favorite, the Royal Rumble. We have five matches on the card as of this writing, including two rather strong world title matches for a show that has never been sold on the back of the title matches. Let’s go through the show!
WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles Match
Asuka & Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax
Man, the titles need something else don’t they? Between Asuka dealing with Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair dealing with Lacey Evans and her dad, the tag team titles have become a complete afterthought. That’s not to say they would be much better off on the challengers here. The heat that Nia Jax had for a couple months after bullying Lana has completely dissipated thanks to the return of the Queen and we only have to look back to a year ago this time to see how far things have fallen for the Queen of Spades. It’s hard to believe it was only a year ago, many of us were predicting Shayna would win the Rumble en route to winning a title at Wrestlemania. Kind of depressing to think about it.
Still, the team of Shayna and Nia are the better of these two options so I say we see a title change and hopefully for the sake of the titles, we get a real team challenging for them soon (I’m looking at you Riott Squad!!!)
Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax
WWE Universal Title
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Kevin Owens
Full credit to both of these guys. I have long been a fan of Kevin Owens, but he has felt stale for a long time. Not anymore. Owens has done a fantastic job over the past few months and he’s gone from a guy who had been lost in the shuffle to someone I really hope holds a World Title again. Alas, this is not that time. Roman Reigns has ascended to the level of star that WWE has always hoped and believed he could become. He has hands down been the best thing going in WWE since he returned at SummerSlam. Anyone that comes in contact with him has benefitted and perhaps nobody more than Kevin Owens. We’re getting to the money time of the year for WWE and there isn’t a man better suited to lead WWE into Wrestlemania as champion than the Head of the Table. This should be a thrilling, brutal, and exhausting battle, but the Tribal Chief stands tall at the end.
Winner and STILL WWE Universal Champion: Roman Reigns
WWE Championship Match
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Goldberg
What a year it’s been for Drew McIntyre. Won what was, in my opinion, the greatest Royal Rumble match of all time. Defeated Brock Lesnar in the main event of Wrestlemania. Defeated Big Show in the actual main event of Wrestlemania. He’s had great battles with the likes of Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler, and Randy Orton and now he gets to rub shoulders with the legendary Goldberg. I’ve gone back and forth on this match. For the longest time, I thought Drew was retaining. Then came RAW this past week and Tom Phillips continued to drop the line “the one title that has eluded Goldberg his entire career”. I think it’s entirely possible that Goldberg might win the title from Drew, just for Drew to win it back at Wrestlemania, hopefully in front of a live audience. Perhaps Miz even cashes in and takes the fall to protect Drew. I could totally see that happening. I’ve almost talked myself into picking Goldberg. History says I should take Goldberg. He beat Kevin Owens. He beat Bray Wyatt. It’s Wrestlemania season! He’s GOLDBERG.
Nah, it’s still not enough. I’m taking the first ever Scottish WWE Champion to retain.
Winner and STILL WWE Champion: Drew McIntyre
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
Let’s start with the Rumble match that I think is easier to predict. To me, this comes down to one of two ladies and I can make the case for both. It’s either Bianca Belair or it’s Rhea Ripley. Let’s start with Ripley.
Rhea Ripley stepped onto the scene in NXT as an absolute star and has done nothing but score touchdowns every time she’s given the ball. She did everything that you can do in NXT and now the time has come for her to ascend to the main roster. It could be RAW, it could be Smackdown, but make no mistake about it, Rhea Ripley has star written all over her. After how Wrestlemania ended for her last year, imagine Ripley eliminating Charlotte to win the Rumble? It would be incredible.
But on the other hand, we have Bianca Belair. To me, there is nobody in WWE, male or female, that has the star potential of the EST of WWE. She has everything you could possibly want. She never quite reached the peak in NXT, one of the rare misses in the Black and Gold’s women division, but that will be rectified on the Blue brand. She was the breakout star in last year’s Rumble match, this could be the match that puts her over the top.
Either one of these women would make a fantastic choice to main event Wrestlemania, but I give the nod to Bianca Belair. I think she’s headed for a showdown with both Sasha Banks and Bayley and we see the blossoming of a superstar Sunday night.
Winner: Bianca Belair
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
I would expect this to main event Sunday and deservingly so. For once, predicting the winner of the Men’s Rumble match doesn’t feel as straightforward as it usually feels. You have to go back several years to find a Rumble match with as many legitimate potential winners as we have this year. The seeds have been planted for a potential Reigns/Bryan showdown. The Yes Man has done just about everything in WWE, everything except win the Rumble. He’s certainly one of the favorites. Could it be the year for a Keith Lee or Big E to win? It’s not beyond the realm of possibility. Both men have bright futures and could be World Champions. I expect there may be a certain Messiah and who knows? Maybe you can’t see the winner of this year’s Rumble wink wink.
At the end of the day however, after the pledge we heard Monday night, my pick is the Rated R Superstar. On January 31st, 2010, Edge shocked the world, returning from a long absence from injury, he won the Royal Rumble, and on this day, 11 years later, Edge has another chance to chase the dream, another chance to feel alive.
Agree or disagree with my picks? Let me know!
By Dylan Creighton (@Dylan_James77)