The 2018 Royal Rumble card is, quite simply, stacked.
Of course the marquee match of the show is the one bearing the PPV’s name. But then there’s the added bonus of the women getting to compete in a Royal Rumble match of their own. That means 30 men and 30 women will battle it out in their respective matches to gain a World Championship and Women’s Championship opportunity at ‘Mania 34. Speaking of championships, AJ Styles will defend his WWE Championship in a Handicap match against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. As for the Universal Championship, its holder (Brock Lesnar) will compete in a Triple Threat Match against two fellow behemoths – Braun Strowman and Kane.
I’m here to break down those aforementioned bouts and the rest of the card in this preview piece for the 2018 Royal Rumble event.
Bobby Roode (c) vs. TBD (Open Challenge for the WWE United States Championship)
Predictions & Winner: The “GLORIOUS!” US Champion is currently riding high over on the Blue Brand. And as a fighting champion, he’s open to any and all challengers. This Open Challenge situation rarely happens. It’s always cool to see someone unexpected stroll down the ramp and answer that challenge. I think Roode’s going to come face to face with the man who caused all this US Championship madness in the first place – Dolph Ziggler! Ziggler’s not going to be able to claim the title he left behind back in 2017, though. Roode’s retaining in this one.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder)
Predictions & Winners: Man…Raw 25 was hot garbage, wasn’t it? One of the worst parts of that celebration (and I use that term loosely) was the utter burial of The Revival. That one really hurt. So now we’re back to that whole ordeal (minus the entirety of DX/The Clique). WWE loves them some 50-50 booking, so you can expect to see The Revival get a small dosage of their heat back when they beat Gallows and Anderson here.
Kalisto, Lince Dorado, and Gran Metalik vs. TJP, Gentleman Jack Gallagher, and Drew Gulak (6-Man Tag Team Match)
Predictions & Winners: *flips a coin* AH, IT’S HEADS! Kalisto, Dorado and Metalik FTW! Kinda figured that they’d hold some sort of Gauntlet Match to crown a new Cruiserweight Champion since Enzo’s gone, but oh well…
The Usos (Jey and Jimmy Uso) (c) vs. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin (2-out-of-3-Falls Match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
Predictions & Winners: So Daniel Bryan did the right thing by giving Gable and Benjamin another WWE SmackDown Tag Team title shot against The Usos. The shenanigans that occurred during the last match between those teams led to Gable and Benjamin thinking they’d won the titles. But the referee’s error during that moment led to the bout getting restarted, which led to The Usos retaining (regaining?) their titles. In order to make sure no more tomfoolery takes place, The Usos vs. Gable and Benjamin rematch will take place under 2-out-of-3-Falls rules.
This one looks like it could be a dark horse contender for Match of the Night (if they get enough time to deliver greatness). I’m betting on Gable and Benjamin scoring the first pinfall, then The Usos nabbing the second one. That’ll expectedly lead to the third and final fall, which will ultimately lead to The Usos pulling out the big win and defeating Gable and Benjamin once again. This feud will probably go on for a few extra weeks afterward until The Usos’ next challengers emerge – Harper and Rowan, The Bludgeon Brothers.
Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan (c) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship)
Predictions & Winners: Anyone else think this match is slowly turning into a Triple Threat Match at some point? Cesaro and Sheamus have taken two shocking losses to Crews and O’Neil (WORLDWIDE!), which should make them eligible to get a shot at the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship, right? Kind of strange that this bout is still being contested among the champs and the two challengers who lost unexpectedly.
Anyways, we’re still going to get this match at the Rumble. Cesaro and Sheamus have been at it with Rollins and whoever’s been partnering with him for a good while now. The random duo of Rollins and Jordan is an odd pairing that really haven’t been on the same page. I see this match furthering the eventual heel turn of Jordan, who’ll end up costing Rollins the match and gaining an enemy in Rollins. So Cesaro and Sheamus will get the titles back, Jordan will get verbally lambasted by Rollins, Angle’s going to book them for the next PPV, and Jordan’s going to lash out at his Pops for it.
AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn (Handicap Match for the WWE Championship)
Predictions & Winner: Owens and Zayn have turned into one of the more entertaining aspects of Tuesday nights. They’ve caused plenty of headaches for Shane McMahon and fractured the relationship between him and Daniel Bryan. The other entertaining component of SmackDown, WWE Champion AJ Styles, has been handed back-to-back losses by Owens and Zayn due to some outside distractions. Due to his frustration, AJ yelled out a match idea in a sarcastic manner that pushed Daniel to actually book it. So now AJ’s set to defend his WWE Championship in a Handicap Match against both Owens and Zayn. So it’s easy to see how this one’s going to go down – Owens and Zayn will go back and forth on offense as they wear down the champ.
AJ will make some comebacks here and there, but will most likely have his ass handed to him more than anything. Then those moments of dissension will arise when Owens and Zayn try to pin AJ, which will lead to broken up pins and in-ring arguments. Even though either men can get the pin and turn their team into a co-WWE Champion duo, Owens’ inflated ego will push him to nab the winning pin. Owens and Zayn’s constant arguing will lead to their downfall, which will push AJ to take advantage and ultimately come out on top. I do sense some sort of outside interference from Daniel and Shane, but this time it won’t work out in Owens and Zayn’s favor. All I know is this – Shane’s eventually turning heel on Daniel and setting up a match against him at ‘Mania 34.