The start of the year is here, with the Royal Rumble properly kicking off the 2021 WWE slate, commencing the Road to WrestleMania 37. There will be 30 wrestlers entering the ring, many of which will be kept under wraps until the day of the big event, with only one coming out on top to book passage to the pinnacle event on March 28.
Naturally, much of the debate surrounding potential victors of the Men’s Rumble surround those who have officially declared their participation. However, even if he hadn’t announced his participation coming in, it seems as though Daniel Bryan would still be the consensus favourite.
So, is Bryan finally going to get the run that he’s deserved for years? If not, who are the potential wild cards in the Royal Rumble pack?
Going out on the Biggest High in Wrestling
The Royal Rumble 2021 odds hold Daniel Bryan as the 5/4 favourite to win the Men’s Rumble. He sits as the favourite ahead of Keith Lee (4/1), Big E (7/1), Brock Lesnar (8/1), and Drew McIntyre (17/2), but having odds above evens tends to mean that there’s doubt behind the tip. That said, Bryan looks to be the pick of the bunch as far as storylines and fan preference is concerned.
CBS Sports reports that Bryan was the first to officially declare that he would partake in the Rumble, with AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Bobby Lashley, and Otis joining the fray soon after. What makes him stand out amongst these other entrants is that his upcoming departure has been well-documented, and the WWE appears to be gearing up ‘The People’s Champ’ to a grand finale.
Back in October 2020, Bryan announced that this is now his last run as a full-time superstar, which would peg his retirement for autumn this year. Before then, he has a shot at glory in the Royal Rumble, which many say that he should have won in 2015, and possibly 2016. After that, a must-see clash at WrestleMania, returning to the big stage after a seven-year hiatus, potentially against Roman Reigns.
While the stars appear to be aligning for Bryan to feature as the co-star of a massive WWE event in just a couple of months, this is the Rumble. There will be 29 other wrestlers vying for their shot in the main event, with the battle royale in the squared circle having every chance to create an upset.
Wild Cards of the Royal Rumble Deck
If there’s one wrestler who looks to be getting the nudge towards a big 2021, it’s Bobby Lashley. He’s been hard done by in the past, but his new turn as a mighty heel has proven to be a good run, with the absurdly strong competitor continuing to put in memorable showings as a dominant force. Furthermore, he seems to be getting more protection than anyone else in the company right now, setting him up as the perfect triumphant villain. At odds of 50/1, though, it's clear that few foresee it going Lashley’s way.
Another wrestler not to be counted out – but, admittedly, somewhat of a long shot – is Adam Cole. Easily one of the top performers of 2020, he became WWE NEXT’s longest-reigning champion and stands as the leader of the Undisputed Era. An exciting and eccentric wrestler, Royal Rumble gives him the perfect opportunity to break into the main roster. The bookies certainly think there’s a chance of this happening, giving him 17/1 odds to win the event outright.
A fairy tale finish to the popular veteran’s career is certainly on the cards for Bryan, but wild cards like Lashley and Cole could put a spanner in the works of his last ride in the WWE.