Royal Rumble 2023 Preview, Predictions And Thoughts

It’s that time of year again as we are beginning the Road To Wrestlemania. That means we are going to be seeing some of the biggest shows of the year and things are about to get a lot more exciting. WWE has done a nice job setting up the Royal Rumble matches this year as there are a lot of open spots remaining, though the men’s match is more or less a two horse race. Let’s get to it.

Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight

Let’s get the goofy out of the way first. This is the Pitch Black match, which is a product placement match from Mountain Dew. WWE still hasn’t exactly explained what it’s going to be, but knowing Wyatt’s involvement, things are going to get more than a little strange. By strange I mean ridiculous, but it’s a new Wyatt so I’m trying to hold on to false hope for as long as I can.

Of course Wyatt wins here, as there is zero reason to have Knight beat him in his first match. Save or some Uncle Howdy shenanigans, I can’t imagine there being any reason to think that Wyatt is in any danger here, though it is nice to see Knight putting in the work to make the match feel more important. This is Wyatt’s to win and I can’t imagine anything else, so hopefully they keep the goofiness to a minimum.

Raw Women’s Title: Bianca Belair(c) vs. Alexa Bliss

As much of a layup as this seems to be, this one has me wondering about where it is going. Belair has nothing left to prove on Monday Night Raw and shifting her over to the Smackdown Women’s Title picture could be a good change of pace. At the same time, if Bliss is doing nothing more than being weird all the time without any actual success, it is going to get old fast.

I’m not certain on it, but I’m taking the title change here, as I think Belair moves over to do something else. Becky Lynch or even Bayley can take the title from Bliss soon enough, but Belair is very, very firmly established as a top star and she needs a new challenge. At the same time, Bliss needs a win to reestablish herself and I’ll go out on a limb and say she gets that win here.

Undisputed WWE Universal Title: Roman Reigns(c) vs. Kevin Owens

The fact that Reigns is still on the same reign from when he defended against Owens TWO YEARS AGO at this same event tells you a lot about what he is doing. As has been the case with a lot of stuff lately, this is going to be much more about Sami Zayn than anyone in the match. Reigns has basically made this match Zayn’s final Bloodline exam and it begs the question of what is going to happen.

I’ll go with Reigns retaining, but I think we get the big stuff after the match. Once Reigns keeps the title, Zayn does something like refusing to help destroy Owens, turning face in the process. For the life of me, I can’t imagine anything but Zayn challenging Reigns for the title next month in Montreal, which would basically be Zayn’s Wrestlemania. Reigns isn’t losing the title here, but it’s going to be a big turning point in the Bloodline saga.

Men’s Royal Rumble

Let’s get the obvious out of the way right now. You can have your Brock Lesnar, your Bobby Lashley, your Seth Rollins and your Drew McIntyre. This match is 100% Cody Rhodes’ match to win with Sami Zayn being the only other person on the planet as a dark horse. Unless WWE has a monster surprise waiting on us here (and there are 11 spots open as of the end of Smackdown), this one should be pretty much in the bag.

Naturally I’m taking Rhodes, as I can’t picture a reason not to. I’m still not sure if Rhodes is THE guy to do all of this stuff, but if WWE has picked him to do it, then that’s better than slapping something together at the last second. As for a surprise pick, I still think there is a chance Randy Orton is back here, though he would almost have to win if he is back in this kind of spot. It’s going to be the Rhodes Show though, and while I don’t quite like it, I certainly get the idea.

Women’s Royal Rumble

Then we have this one and as sure as I was on the men’s, I’m completely in the dark here. There are several ways you could go for a winner and the fact that we only known twelve entrants makes it all the more confusing. Bayley and Becky Lynch are both possibilities, even if Lynch has yet to be announced for the match. I’d also call Raquel Rodriguez the darkest of dark horses, but if they wanted to pull the trigger on someone (even if they aren’t ready yet), Rodriguez is an option.

That being said, I’ll go with Rhea Ripley, who has yet to have her big moment. Her title reign was completely overshadowed by Charlotte and since then she has grown into a much bigger (and better) star. Ripley fits all of the criteria here and could be primed for a heck of a title match at Wrestlemania, say against a bit of a lame duck champion Becky Lynch. It should be Ripley this year, but I’m far from confident on this one.

Overall Thoughts

Even though the Sword Of McMahon continues to hang over our heads, there is a lot of potential with this show. If nothing else, I love not knowing who is scheduled for the Royal Rumbles and there is a good chance that we could be in for some awesome surprises. Just the fact that I can be excited for this show again is nice, and while it might go away as soon as McMahon changes his mind (again), I’ll take it for one night.

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