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 Five of our countdown, as I make my predictions for each match on the card.
(Note: I already made my Royal Rumble Match prediction, which you can check out be clicking on “Countdown To The 2017 WWE Royal Rumble #5” on Page Two.)
WWE World Heavyweight Title Match: AJ Styles (Champion) vs. John Cena
This will be the third time that AJ Styles and John Cena have met in a singles match this year, Styles won both of the previous meetings, but this is the first title match in their series. The match at WWE Summerslam 2016 was an instant classic and nothing less should be expected here. Cena is a win away from tying Ric Flairs historic 16 title reign record, a record he has been trying to tie for over a year now. Styles has had the best first year that any WWE star has ever had and he now competed at the same event he debuted at last year.
The big question here is how ‘Mania plans will affect this match, as Cena is no longer facing The Undertaker as planned, while Styles is rumored to be facing Shane McMahon at the event. Cena’s usually childish promo work has been great leading to this match, what Styles remains his usual, but excellent self.
Prediction: I would love to see Styles win this match and defeat Cena for a third time, which would solidify his status as a top wrestler in the company for years to come. However, Vince McMahon likes bringing in the old guard to be in a prominent spot at ‘Mania and Cena is now the old guard, Cena wins another classic and the title.
WWE Universal Title Match (No DQ Match & Chris Jericho Suspended In A Shark Cage): Kevin Owens (Champion) vs. Roman Reigns
While I expect this match to be a good one, there is one huge problem I have with this match, which is that these two have wrestled so many times on pay-per-view and free TV that it is becoming dangerously redundant. Also, when you factor in how many times Chris Jericho (who will be suspended above the ring in a shark cage) has been in the ring with Reigns, all three men in the triangle are becoming stale together.
With that being said, Owens and Reigns usually excel with matches that have a No DQ stipulation, Owens has had a few of those classics with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Reigns hasn’t held the WWE Universal Championship or WWE World Title in a long time now, which is shocking since he’s the second reincarnation of “Super Cena.” Even though Jericho will be above the ring in a shark cage, expect him to get involved in this one before it’s all over.
Prediction: Reigns will come super close to winning the championship, but Jericho gets a weapon to Owens, who nails Reigns with it to score the pin and keep the title.
WWE Raw Women’s Title Match: Charlotte (Champion) vs. Bayley
These two have wrestled a few times already on WWE Raw, with Bayley getting the majority of the wins. However, unlike the over extended feud, plus constant title exchanges between Charlotte and Sasha Banks, this combo hasn’t gotten old yet. Charlotte has been great since her heel turn, becoming more of an entitled rich kid with each promo, while Bayley remains the adorable wrestling fan turned wrestling star. If there singles match at WWE NXT Takeover: Fatal 4 Way a few years back is any indication, these two can put on a classic on the big stage.
The one interesting thing to keep in mind is Charlotte’s undefeated streak in singles matches on pay-per-view. The question that could determine the fate of these two in the match is this…is WWE going to let that streak end at the 2017 WWE Royal Rumble event or at WWE Wrestlemania 33? At this point in time, there may actually be more to do with Bayley as the champion, such as rematches with a vengeful Charlotte, a feud with the previously undefeated Nia Jax or even a feud with Sasha Banks (assuming Banks tuns heel).
Prediction: This one is a hard one to pick when you break down all the factors, large and small, but I have to make a pick either way. I go with Bayley getting ever so close to the pin, but Charlotte somehow holds onto the belt using nefarious means.
WWE Cruiserweight Title Match: Rich Swann (Champion) vs. Neville
We can sit here all day and argue about just how poorly the cruiserweights have been booked since the conclusion of the WWE Cruiserweight Classic, but one cannot argue that the highlight of the division has been Neville. This brand new version of Neville is the best reason to watch 205 Live, while almost the opposite can be said about cruiserweight champion Rich Swann.
Swann’s story was great in the beginning, as he came out of nowhere in the WWE to become the WWE Cruiserweight Champion, but he has since gone stale, in my opinion anyway.
Prediction: Swann has gone as far as he can with the gold, Neville gets the win and probably, the best cruiserweight champion in WWE history when it’s all said and done.
Click over to Page Two to see my picks for the Kickoff Show matches…
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