It's time for the Royal Rumble! Even more than WrestleMania, the Royal Rumble is easily my favorite show of the year. Sure, that should be WrestleMania if everyone does their job right, but by the time we make it there, everything's been set up. Beyond who wins, there should be no surprises. But the Rumble? It's filled with surprises. Anything can happen. It's a fantasy booker's dream.
Guys. Look at Edge. He is just as happy as we are. And this was last year. Yes, last year was actually 17 years ago, but last year. Edge has already declared again for this year's Rumble so won't be a "surprise."
First, let's look at some sweet sweet Royal Rumble stats shamelessly pulled from Wikipedia! But first, let's watch WWE's official "By the Numbers" video!
The most recent winners in 2020 were Drew McIntyre and Charlotte Flair and both were able to win their challenged titles (McIntyre winning Raw's WWE World title, Flair winning the NXT Women's title). Other recent women's winners since beginning in 2018 include Asuka (2018, did not win the Smackdown Women's title against Charlotte Flair at WWE WrestleMania 34) and Becky Lynch (2019, main evented and won both the Raw and Smackdown Women's titles against Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey at WWE WrestleMania 35). Other recent men's winners since 2018 because of solidarity include Shinsuke Nakamura (2018, also did not win Smackdown's WWE World title against AJ Styles at WWE WrestleMania 34) and Seth Rollins (2019, won Raw's WWE Universal title against Brock Lesnar at WWE WrestleMania 35).
Steve Austin has won the most Royal Rumbles with 3 (1997, 1998, and 2001), though six men have won twice - Batista (2005, 2014), Hulk Hogan (1990, 1991), John Cena (2008, 2013), Randy Orton (2009, 2017), Shawn Michaels (1995, 1996), and Triple H (2002, 2016). Of those six, Orton is the only one confirmed for the Rumble match to potentially tie Austin's record.
The most winning entry is 27, having won in 1989 (Big John Studd), 1993 (Yokozuna), 1994 (Bret Hart, co-won by #23 Lex Luger), and 2001 (Steve Austin). The longest single entry is Daniel Bryan in 2018's Greatest Royal Rumble with 1 hour, 16 minutes (Rey Mysterio has the traditional record from 2006's Rumble with 1 hour, 2 minutes). For women the honor goes to Natalya with 56 minutes, 1 second in 2019. The longest cumulative entry is Chris Jericho with 4 hours, 59 minutes (Rey Mysterio is again second with 4 hours, 1 minute - maybe he'll be this year's iron man to give the stat back to a current WWE superstar?). Natalya again holds the cumulative record for women with 1 hour, 36 minutes. On the other end, Santino Marella and Liv Morgan hold the records for shortest entry with 1 second and 8 seconds respectively.
The most eliminations in a single Rumble belong to both Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar with 13 eliminations, though Strowman's was again 2017's Greatest Royal Rumble and Lesnar's was the more traditional 2020 Rumble - Lesnar also has the most eliminations in a row with those 13 eliminations. Bianca Belair and Shayna Baszler also together hold the women's record with 8 eliminations each, both from the 2020 Rumble (Baszler also has the record for eliminations in a row with her 8). Most cumulative eliminations goes to Kane (and Isaac Yankem) with 44 total - the closest active member is Roman Reigns with 33, but he'll be defending his title this year. Charlotte Flair holds the women's record that should easily be broken with 9 eliminations total. Kane has also made the most appearances with 19 - a record that won't be broken for at least 7 years as runners up Dolph Ziggler, Dustin Rhodes/Goldust, and Kofi Kingston are all at only 13 Rumbles. With only three women's Rumbles so far, 10 women have appeared in all three so far - Carmella, Dana Brooke, Kairi Sane, Liv Morgan, Mandy Rose, Naomi, Natalya, Sarah Logan, Sonya Deville, and Tamina. Of them, only Sane and Logan won't be making it to four... as far as we know?
With this year's WrestleMania 37 announced to again be Too Big For One Night™, there should be (hopefully?) more of an effort to have each Royal Rumble winner get one of the nights' main events, guarenteeing we get a women's match as one of the main events again. Will they? Probably not because the last match (supposedly) isn't considered the only main event on a card. But you know what? Last year when Becky Lynch and Shayna Baszler went on third on night one of WWE WrestleMania 36, the Quixo bullpen all had the same reaction: shit, Lynch is retaining (and I say that as a fan of The Man). If Lynch/Baszler had gone on last instead of Braun Strowman and Goldberg (for the purposes of this argument, we're ignoring the spectacle that was Undertaker/AJ Styles), there would have been drama, excitement, and at least for us surprise when Lynch retained. What I'm saying is Lynch/Baszler should have main evented.
So who are this years top contenders for each Rumble? From what I can see, Roman's top Smackdown contender is the first man to declare for the Rumble Daniel Bryan, with dark horse contenders Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro, and Quixo-WWE WrestleMania 37's pick Big E. Sasha Banks, once done with Carmella, probably has Bianca Belair being set up as her top contender, with Bayley easily able to be slotted in as well, so it works that Belair and Bayley are currently working a program. Over on Raw, Drew McIntyre's top contenders are probably Sheamus or Keith Lee, both currently seen as friends of Drew, with Bobby Lashley as my main dark horse contender? And finally, Asuka is ready for everyone and Charlotte Flair is right there co-owning the WWE Women's Tag Team titles with her. That can't last long, right? Plus she was Quixo-WWE WrestleMania 37's other pick for a Rumble win (and the more likely in "real life" of the pair). Dark horse contender: Alexa Bliss could easily be plugged in once she's done setting Randy Orton on fire.
Of course, will any of our current champions even make it to WrestleMania? Currently booked for matches at the Rumble include both men's top champions - Reigns again defending against Kevin Owens and McIntyre defending against Goldberg (wait, what?). Neither top women's champion is defending their singles title, but Asuka and Charlotte Flair are defending their tag team titles. Of the two champions (three counting Raw Women's champion Asuka), McIntyre should be the most in danger considering Old Man Goldberg has easily defeated the likes of Brock Lesnar and Bray Wyatt in squash matches in recent years. He he did fall to Braun Strowman at last year's WWE WrestleMania 36, but can we bank on that? Roman will hopefully never lose and Asuka and Flair are presumably on a collision course for Asuka's title anyways. Guys, what I'm saying is that I'm very afraid of yet another Goldberg title win, and that would be the stupidest thing to happen to McIntyre's beautiful title run, even more so than dropping the title to Orton for three weeks.
Let's check in on whatever we're doing with Quixotronic's Wrestling Shame Challenge™! We'll reset the stats after WrestleMania. Will something terrible happen to the loser? Maybe? Probably not at this point. While planning is fun, doing things is hard and not recommended. Everyone will get a pat on the butt and we'll all move on.
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic…
Standings going into WWE TLC 2020:
First Place: Kyle 61% (75-47)
Second Place: Tim 55% (42-34)
Third Place: Ryan 38% (21-35)
WWE TLC results:
WWE World Title TLC Match: AJ Styles (vs Miz?) vs Drew McIntyre ©
Your Winner: Drew McIntyre
Kyle: Drew McIntyre (1-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-1)
Tim: Drew McIntyre (1-0)
WWE Smackdown Women's Title Match: Carmella vs Sasha Banks ©
Your Winner: Sasha Banks
Kyle: Sasha Banks (2-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-2)
Tim: Sasha Banks (2-0)
WWE Raw Tag Team Titles Match: The Hurt Business (Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin) vs The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) ©
Your Winners, and NEW WWE Raw Tag Team Champions: The Hurt Business
Kyle: The New Day (2-1)
Ryan: n/a (0-3)
Tim: The Hurt Business (3-0)
WWE Women's Tag Team Titles Match: Asuka & [mystery partner] vs Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler ©
Your Winners, and NEW WWE Women's Tag Team Champions: Asuka & Charlotte Flair
Kyle: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (2-2)
Ryan: n/a (0-4)
Tim: Asuka & [mystery partner] (4-0)
WWE Universal Title TLC Match: Kevin Owens vs Roman Reigns ©
Your Winners: Roman Reigns
Kyle: Roman Reigns (3-2)
Ryan: n/a (0-5)
Tim: Kevin Owens (4-1)
Firefly Inferno Match: Bray Wyatt (w/ Alexa Bliss) vs Randy Orton
Your Winners: Randy Orton
Kyle: Bray Wyatt (3-3)
Ryan: n/a (0-6)
Tim: Bray Wyatt (4-2)
And now the conclusion…
New standings after WWE TLC 2020
First Place: Kyle 61% (78-50)
Second Place: Tim 56% (46-36)
Third Place: Ryan 34% (21-41)
Who will survive!?
WWE Royal Rumble 2021
WWE Smackdown Women's Title Match: Carmella vs Sasha Banks ©
The Background: Sasha Banks successfully defended her title against Carmella at WWE TLC 2021. Carmella teamed with Bayley and Banks with Bianca Belair in losing efforts on the December 25th Smackdown against the Women's Tag Team champions Asuka & Charlotte Flair, but then Carmella pinned Banks in a Carmella/Bayley vs Banks/Belair match on the January 1st Smackdown. Sasha Banks later got to face Carmella's male companion Reginald in a match on the January 22nd Smackdown, easily defeating him. Reginald returned on the January 29th Smackdown offering Banks a bottle of wine, but instead Banks threatened to break Carmella jaw.
Fanboy Fantasy: Banks and Carmella get a few more minutes than back at TLC. Since there is no additional stipulation, we get several teases of each being too brutal - the referee threatens to stop the match when they won't release holds during rope breaks and the like. At one point obviously when the referee isn't looking, Reginald tosses Carmella a bottle of wine, she tosses it right to Banks, and then grabs her face and acts like she took a hard shot to the jaw. Banks and the ref argue until Carmella goes for a surprise roll-up, but Banks kicks out. Banks locks in the Banks Statement and Carmella taps right away. Banks releases, grabs the bottle, and then locks the Banks Statement in again with the bottle putting additional pressure on Carmella's face. On the next few Smackdowns, we can have fun with Carmella having a full taped up face like the Invisible Man. Maybe Reginald spills wine in his eyes, can't see Carmella, and then she thinks she's invisible too? Yes, let's go with that.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Sasha Banks - I'm glad Carmella has a new character and she's playing it well, but I just don't see Banks losing the title just yet.
Tim: Sasha Banks
WWE Women's Tag Team Titles Match: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler vs Asuka & Charlotte Flair ©
The Background: Asuka and mystery partner Charlotte Flair (gasp!) won the WWE Women's Tag Team titles from Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler last month at WWE TLC 2021. Since then, it's been a bit of a mess with the champions popping in and out of both Raw and Smackdown as well as both having their own troubles. On Raw, they've collectively been feuding with the former champions (Flair defeated Jax via DQ at the December 28th Raw, Baszler, Jax, & Lacey Evans defeated Flair with Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose at the January 25th Raw), while also getting into singles feuds with Lacey Evans (Ric Flair is now managing Lacey Evans? And he actively cost Charlotte matches on both the January 4th Raw and the January 11th Raw) and Alexa Bliss (Bliss invited Asuka to her "Alexa's Playground" talk show segment to declare for the Rumble and Establish Domiance™ by attacking Asuka on the January 18th Raw - even if you're possessed by Sister Abigail, still not the smarted thing to do). Despite Brooke & Rose on Raw and the Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott on Smackdown both opporating on the perefery of the tag titles scene, we've resorted back to the former champions for this title defense.
Fanboy Fantasy: Both teams operate as well oiled machines despite both being teams of singles superstars. There's no tension whatsoever - until Asuka pins Nia Jax for the win. Champions celebrate and leave, and Jax and Baszler just stare at each other, seething. They pounce and beat eachother towards the entryway until Jax powerbombs Baszler into one of the LED screens. Or a table. She gets taken out. More on that later. Asuka and Flair go on to defend their titles to the winners of the women's Dusty Rhodes Classic - Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell, with LeRae pinning Asuka for the win and the titles. This gives Flair the reasoning that since Asuka lost the tag team titles, she owes her something... like a title shot at the Raw Women's title, perhaps?
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Asuka & Charlotte Flair - I think we're getting Asuka/Flair II at WrestleMania, so why not have them play the "Can They Co-Exist?" game a little while longer.
Ryan: Asuka & Charlotte Flair
Tim: Asuka & Charlotte Flair
WWE World Title Match: Goldberg vs Drew McIntyre ©
The Background: Drew McIntyre successfully defended his WWE World title at WWE TLC 2021 by defeating both AJ Styles and a Money-in-the-Bank cash-in (just kidding?) by the Miz in a TLC match. McIntyre again successfully defended against his friend Keith Lee on the January 4th Raw before being attacked by Goldberg. Supposedly there was supposed to be something to establish why he did this that got cut, but does it matter? However, the bigger news is that the next week, Drew McIntyre confirmed he had contracted COVID-19 and had to go into #quixotine, becoming the first (I think?) performer to publically do so. To kill time, Triple H had a little match with Randy Orton on the January 11th Raw that ended obviously with Alexa Bliss shooting a fireball at Orton (somehow I did not write this) and with John Morrison and the Miz reintroducing Gillberg to modern fans on the January 18th Raw (that I definitely didn't write). McIntyre did return at the backdoor pilot for NXT India, the January 26th Superstar Spectacle, by teaming with Indus Sher (Rinku & Saurev) to defeat his former 3MB partner and former WWE World Champion Jinder Mahal and the Bollywood Boyz (Samir & Sunil Singh). Goldberg can't win the the title because the Quixo bullpen demands McIntyre/Mahal next month at WWE Elimination Chamber! Do it!
Fanboy Fantasy: Goldberg comes to the ring with his police officer entourage as usual, McIntyre comes to the ring with Sheamus and Keith Lee mimicing the entrance for giggles. It wouldn't be as funny as if New Day did it, but let's go with it. After a long five minutes, Sheamus pulls out a stungun while the referee (and both McIntyre and Lee) aren't looking and stuns the shit out of Goldberg. McIntyre notices that Goldberg is floored so he starts his Claymore countdown, but Goldberg is slow enough to get up that McIntyre gets frustrated and... concerned? Either way, McIntyre hits it and pins Goldberg to retain. He tries to shake Goldberg's hand but Goldberg regains his composure and spears Sheamus. McIntyre and Lee pounce and need to be separated from Goldberg as we fade to black before the next match. On Raw, McIntyre and Lee accuse Sheamus of interfering because they watched video from last night. We don't prolong it - we have video and their jobs are on television. Sheamus defends himself by saying he was helping his friend, but it was still shitty. With a Smackdown superstar winning the Royal Rumble, Raw holds a tournament to find McIntyre's challenger - with Sheamus and Lee in the final with Lee winning when Goldberg shows up and stuns Sheamus in return. At Fastlane, we get Goldberg vs Sheamus and if Sheamus wins, he gets plugged into the title match at Mania... and he does? Somehow? More stunguns? It doesn't matter - friend vs friend vs friend at WrestleMania. Or Andrade Almas vs Drew McIntyre, please?
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Drew McIntyre - Somehow Goldberg has won the Universal title twice in the last 5 years... let's not do that again?
Tim: Drew McIntyre
WWE Universal Title Last Man Standing Match: Kevin Owens vs Roman Reigns ©
The Background: Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens have been in eachother's business for a little while now, with Reigns successfully defending his WWE Universal title in a TLC match at WWE TLC 2021, and then again on the December 25th Smackdown in a cage match. Not surprisingly, Jey Uso help Don Roman win each time, because they're family. Owens defeated Uso the next week on the January 1st Smackdown, but was then murdered by Don Roman. Since Owens was declared dead (only slightly different than declaring for the Rumble), Commissioner Adam Pearce (he is officially that at this point, right?) booked a gauntlet match to determine the next challenger... that he won after he entered last and Don Roman did more murdering. Pearce, fearing guaranteed death, named a resurrected Kevin Owens as his replacement in what will now be a Last Man Standing match. Do Roman is not pleased.
Fanboy Fantasy: Guys, I don't want to see Kevin Owens murdered again. But we need to see Kevin Owens murdered again. Reigns starts out taking his time with Owens despite Owens trying to rush with as many power moves as he can. They brawl to the back, naturally, and we get a couple near counts. They brawl for a while more until Owens is able to knock Roman off screen into someone - we pan over to see Roman laying underneath a full-gear Adam Pearce. Pearce pummels Roman while Owens sits back and grabs popcorn. Roman is able to fight back and literally throw Pearce into Owens. Pearce tweeks his knee again and is taken away by medical staff while Owens and Reigns continue their fight. Soon Jey Uso shows up and Owens is able to fight both back... until Jimmy Uso finally returns and we get 3-on-1. The Family is able to finish murdering Owens for the 10 count. We end with the Usos holding up a dead Owens and Roman hitting him with one final Superman punch into a hard cut to black. Owens was never seen again.
Just kidding, Owens returns to fight Sami Zayn at WrestleMania. It's a redo, but whatever, Owens should at least win that feud? Roman faces the winner of the men's Royal Rumble.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Roman Reigns - Don Roman will never lose. At least not for the next few years. Please?
Ryan: Kevin Owens
Tim: Kevin Owens
Women's Royal Rumble Match
13 of 30 announced: Raw's Alexa Bliss, Charlotte Flair, Dana Brooke, Mandy Rose, Nia Jax, Peyton Royce, Shayna Baszler; Smackdown's Bayley, Bianca Belair, Liv Morgan, Natalya, Ruby Riott, Tamina
The Background: The winner gets to choose which champion they'd like to face at WrestleMania - usually it's the champion of their brand (Smackdown superstar Asuka chose WWE Smackdown Women's champion Charlotte Flair in 2018), but not always (Smackdown superstar Becky Lynch chose WWE Raw Women's champion Ronda Rousey in 2019, Raw superstar Charlotte Flair chose NXT Women's champion Rhea Ripley in 2020). Will they main event? Who knows - while Lynch/Rousey(/Flair) main evented in 2019, neither the 2018 or 2020 match were main events (Asuka/Flair was the second match, Flair/Ripley was the first match of night two). As for who's most likely to get the possibility, as mentioned above the top contenders look like Smackdown's Bayley & Bianca Belair and Raw's Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair, though I would not rule out NXT's Rhea Ripley & Io Shirai. Bayley and Belair have been feuding over... bragging rights? Belair won an Ultimate Athlete Obstacle Course Challenge on the January 22nd Smackdown that saw her carry Otis Dozovic. It hurts and excites me just looking at it. Bayley, of course, is the former champion and in a fight-forever feud with Sasha Banks even if they're both distracted with others. As for Raw, Alexa Bliss is currently hosting the Fiend and setting people (well, Randy Orton) on fire but also recently attacked Asuka and only lost her title shot because Orton came Outta Nowhere™ and hit her with an RKO in revenge on the January 25th Raw. Charlotte Flair is Charlotte Flair and also co-owner of the WWE World Tag Team titles with WWE Raw Women's champion Asuka. As for contenders out of NXT, Rhea Ripley wrapped up her feud with new hoss Raquel Gonzalez (and her time with NXT?) at the January 6th NXT New Year's Evil while Io Shirai will soon need to deal with Gonzalez as she has been NXT Women's champion since back in June 2020 at NXT Takeover: In Your House by defeating former champions Ripley and Charlotte Flair.
Fanboy Fantasy: Billie Kay and Peyton Royce draw #1 and #2 and simply refuse to fight - they're going to stick together because they are friends. Natalya gets #3 (her and Tamina are having a match to determine who gets #30, so we'll have that be Tamina) and the former Iconics team up on her. Some more ladies come in with no one actually being eliminated until Nia Jax shows up at #9 and eliminates four people (including Natalya) before a bandaged Shayna Baslzer comes in at #10. Jax and Baszler lock eyes before Baszler starts elimating people at Jax - Jax takes a break in the corner and lets Baszler vent. This leaves the Iconics who are simultaneously eliminated by Bazler, tying Jax and Baszler up at four a piece. Jax pounces Baszler and the two eliminate eachother, clearing the ring. Bayley comes in at #11 because she can work the screens and entertain us all on her own and will be the Iron Woman for the rest of the match. For surprises, Eva Torres and Melina Perez have both been rumored to be rejoining WWE, so let's throw them in; Beth Phoenix of course as she's in the WWE bubble, and can I finally get Victoria in a Rumble match? Fantasy booking - it is so. The NXT roster helps fill out the 30, so we easily get Shotzi Blackheart and her little tank, along with another Kacy Catanzaro near-elimination bit. Rhea Ripley comes in at #25 and gets the Diesel-push eliminating 5 or 6 people in a hot run, visibly impressing Bayley who is having all the fun. Tamina gets her #30 spot, but is easily eliminated by Bianca Belair, giving us a final four of Belair, Bayley, Ripley, and of course Charlotte Flair. Bayley tries for a team-up with her fellow Horsewoman, but Flair turns on her because