With the year coming to an end, wrestling fans looks ahead to the Royal Rumble. Personally, the Rumble has always been my favorite PPV of the year. One of the reasons were the surprise/debuts/returns in the Royal Rumble match itself. Today, I'll take look at 5 realistic Royal Rumble surprise entrants for the upcoming Royal Rumble in San Antonio, Texas on January 29th 2017.
Disclaimer: This is in no particular order, this is just what I want to see, and that could happen realistically.
5) Shelton Benjamin
Shelton was supposed to return to Smackdown Live after the draft started, but he found out that he had a torn rotator cuff during his physical. Now, I know what you're saying "well he just announced on Twitter that he will be out for another 4-6 months from his torn rotator cuff." Hear me out. Shelton is still a great athletic at the age of 41, and maybe his recovery time is still great, and he can come back early for the Rumble. I wouldn't be surprised either way.
4) Tye Dillinger
Tye has been an excellent talent for NXT over the last year or so. With his "Perfect Ten" gimmick he has got over with the crowd with relative ease. Ovver Survivor Series weekend the crowd chanted "ten" the 3 nights that they were in Toronto. Also, it's probably time for him to get called up to the main roster, and it's coming soon. His match with Bobby Roode looked like it was Dillinger's "swan song," but that ended up not being the case. Recently he had questioned himself and his spot ont he NXT roster (hint, hint). On the November 30th edition of NXT, Dillinger faced Samoa Joe in a losing effort. NXT General Manager William Regal told Tye that he'd be in a qualifying match for a fatal 4 way match to determine who will be the number one contender for Nakamura at NXT: San Antonio. Unfortunately, he didn't win the qualifying match -- shocker I know. Maybe he can continue his feud with The Miz that began on Twitter in the Rumble match.
3) Samoa Joe
Joe has been a focal point at NXT ever since he signed with WWE and made his debut at NXT: Unstoppable. He recently finished off his feud with Shinsuke Nakamura in Melbourne, Australia in a steel cage match with Nakamura retaining the Championship, and a Rumble would make a perfect place for him to debut at. Smackdown Live lacks of depth at the top and, Joe will fill that void. He can start a fey with current champ AJ Styles, who he has history with in TNA, Or he can battle with John Cena, who he trained with. The possibilities for Joe are endless on the blue brand.
2) Finn Balor
Everybody's favorite Irish leather jacket wearing Fonzie lookalike. Finn has been sidelined since the night after Summer-Slam in August after tearing his labrum is in shoulder against Seth Rollins in the Universal Title, match that Finn actually continued and he won. The timetable for his return was 4-6 months, but the surgeon found the tear to be much worse than originally anticipated. Finn was at an ICW event in November in the UK and he was able to raise both arms above his head, which is a good sign. If Finn does return at the Rumble I expect him to return at #30 and possibly win the thing.
1) Kurt Angle
"Oh It's true, it's damn true." I have Kurt Angle at number one. Kurt Angle hasn't been on WWE TV since he left for TNA in 2006, but this Angle/WWE rumor hasn't stopped since he left TNA. Angle has stated plenty of times that he and Triple H had talked about an possible return and also stated that he will return to wrestling in 2017. I can picture it now, Rusev eliminates everyone, as he stands alone in the ring. you hear the classic Kurt Angle WWE music and 65k in unison, chanting. NOW that would be a Royal Rumble moment for the ages. You can still have Rusev throw out Angle to set up the long awaited Wrestlemania match between the two
Those are my general thoughts for this year's Royal Rumble's surprise entrants. I'll be at the event live, as will several Fightful.com writers. Comment below your top 5 surprise entrants in the Rumble!