The road to WWE Wrestlemania 33 begins this Sunday Night with the 2017 WWE Royal Rumble event.
Over the next week here on Fightful, I will be bringing you a “Countdown To The 2017 WWE Royal Rumble.” During these columns, we will be looking at the past history of the Royal Rumble event and while also previewing this years event as well, plus Fightful will be providing the first of its kind Live WWE Royal Rumble Match Stat Tracker as the big match is taking place this Sunday Night.
So, without any further ado, here is Day Four of our countdown, as I pick the 8 surprise entrants I want to see in the Royal Rumble Match.
(Please Note: This list is not in any particular order or ranking and I am going with 8 surprise entrants because that's how many spots are left open in the Rumble Match.)
#1: Kenny Omega
Kenny Omega had possibly the best start to 2017 as anybody in the professional wrestling world can, having the potential “Match Of The Year” against IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada at NJPW Wrestlekingdom 11. Omega, since that fateful match, has yet to really resurface anywhere in the wrestling world, outside of a few appearances via social media. Omega is also a free agent (as of this writing), so him popping up in the Rumble would be the shock of the year, especially if he would win and then feud with former Bullet Club member and current WWE World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles.
(Editor's Note: Kenny Omega noted around press time that he'd not be in the Rumble match)
#2: Shinsuke Nakamura
The current NXT Heavyweight Champion will be defending his belt the night before the 2017 WWE Royal Rumble event against Bobby Roode. The way this match ends could tip the hat to the fans about whether or not Nakamura is heading to the main roster. Nakamura has expressed in many interviews, even before signing with the WWE, that he would like to compete at WWE Wrestlemania and he would like a match with John Cena, both can potentially happen if Nakamura enters and wins the Rumble.
#3: Finn Balor
Balor has spent less than two months on the WWE main roster, where he became the first ever WWE Universal Champion and then suffered an injury in the match where he won the gold. Balor was recently spotted in the offices of the renowned Dr. James Andrews, where he was getting his injured shoulder checked out to see if he is able to return. Just think of this scenario, assume that WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens defeats Roman Reigns at the Rumble and Balor wins the Rumble Match, then we can have Owens versus Balor for the gold at WWE Wrestlemania 33, it would be the same match that headlined the first WWE NXT Takeover: Brooklyn event.
#4: Samoa Joe
The former multiple time WWE NXT Champion hasn’t been seen on television since losing the steel cage match to Shinsuke Nakamura at the WWE NXT special from Australia. Joe has been with the NXT brand for years now, so a call up to the roster would make sense at this point in time. A bit of potential history can be made because if Joe were to somehow win the Rumble and then one of the championships at WWE Wrestlemania 33, he would be the first wrestler to hold the WWE Championship, TNA Championship and ROH Championship.
#5: Kurt Angle
The former multiple time WWE Champion was the first announced inductee into the 2017 WWE Hall Of Fame class. Also, he recently canceled some bookings overseas that were to happen concurrently with the 2017 WWE Royal Rumble event, so its time to put two and two together. Angle hasn’t been seen in the WWE for over five years now, having spent the majority of that time racking up gold in TNA Wrestling. Angle, at nearly 50 years old, can still go and could be only one of a handful of wrestlers to potentially compete at Wrestlemania in the same year he’s being inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame.
#6: Daniel Bryan
This one may seem out of left field for a lot of you out there, but when you consider that the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion and current Smackdown GM has been feuding with The Miz (who’s in the Rumble Match) for months now, this could be the point where things turn physical between the two. Bryan was also, in an accidental way, the cause of the fan revolt at the 2014 WWE Royal Rumble that would eventually get him a main event slot at WWE Wrestlemania 30, so a surprise return to the Rumble would be a great moment for the former champion.
#7: Shawn Michaels
For those who are not wrestling historians, exactly 20 years ago in 1997, Shawn Michaels headlined the 1997 WWE Royal Rumble event in the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, Texas…which is where this years event is taking place. Michaels, in that main event, would defeat Psycho Sid to win the WWE Championship, Sid won the belt a few months earlier at the 1996 WWE Survivor Series event. Michaels will be in the building that night, as he will be a part of the pre-show panel alongside fellow WWE Hall Of Fame member Jerry Lawler and others. Michael looked fantastic when he was a surprise at WWE Wrestlemania 33, plus he does have a movie to plug as well.
#8: Matthew Riddle
We will be finishing off this piece with a little bit of company wide ass kissing, but lets be fair Fightful fans, seeing one of our very own in Matthew Riddle pop up in the Rumble Match would be a great moment. Riddle would also joining Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn as the only UFC veterans to appear in the Rumble Match. Riddle will be in San Antonio during Rumble weekend, facing ACH at Evolve 76 and DUSTIN at Evolve 77, plus Triple H even talked about Riddle during a conference call this week promoting the WWE NXT Takeover: San Antonio event.
Countdown To The 2017 WWE Royal Rumble #1
Countdown To The 2017 WWE Royal Rumble #2
Countdown To The 2017 WWE Royal Rumble #3
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