Ever since its creation in 1988, the Royal Rumble has been a fan favorite event every year. It’s the start of the road to Wrestlemania! Sometimes it can be easy to predict who will win the rumble based on the stories that have had the groundwork laid for them. The 2019 women’s rumble was obviously going to Becky or Charlotte to fight Ronda Rousey. Rey Mysterio in 2006 to carry on the legacy of Eddie Guerrero. Let us not forget about Boo-tista in 2014.
There are also years where the company only has one or two guys on top causing them to show their hand. However, the last few years have been a bit different other than a few exceptions. With WWE doing a bad job with creating stars and Vince constantly changing his mind, it seems like the winner could be decided day-of. This year is the most obvious that the company has practically nothing planned for Wrestlemania, and the Royal Rumble will be used to create that card.
A New Era of Storytelling
Long-term storytelling simply is not a thing anymore in WWE. It’s all about thinking on a monthly or even weekly basis and capitalizing on ratings. This creates some positives and negatives. On the negative side, it ruins good storytelling and creates 50/50 booking. Now on the positive side, the Royal Rumble now feels like it could truly go to anyone. We’ve seen the Royal Rumble used in the last few years as a way to set up matches for Wrestlemania. Of course, the winner goes on to headline “the showcase of the immortals”, but undercard matches are also determined.
Last year we saw Edge teaming with Orton during the match teasing a Rated-RKO reunion, only for Orton to turn on Edge the next night to set up their Last Man Standing match. Another from the 2020 men’s match was when Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens continued their feud into the Rumble match. Although there have been examples of this from the last few years, the 2021 Royal Rumble, both men’s and women’s, seems like it’ll be the most that this tactic will be used so far.
First, let’s discuss the women’s match. The former tag-champs Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax will both be in the Rumble. While I’m not sure if their tag-team title match is before or after the Rumble, it’s safe to say if they can’t regain the titles they will split during the Rumble. This could possibly set up a match for Wrestlemania between the two powerhouses. Another story that could be continued is Bianca Belair and Bayley. Both of these women have been feuding for the last few months and will both be entering the Rumble. While I’m not sure if they will be in a match together at Wrestlemania, this could cause their feud to continue until Elimination Chamber. Now, if it does go on to Mania, it’s possible that this sets up a three-way between Bianca, Bayley, and Sasha Banks for the title.
The match with tons more possibilities is the men’s Royal Rumble match. This thing is stacked with stories going in and is sure to leave with many more. Let’s start with the most obvious one, and that’s the Fiend returning from the dead to take out Randy Orton. The other option for this is Alexa Bliss interfering. Some other stories center around Sami Zayn and the Intercontinental championship. Sami Zayn vs Big E in a rematch for the title could be set up, along with other superstars to be added to the IC picture. Some of these stars are Apollo Crews, Cesaro, and Shinsuke Nakamura. The last big story possibility is with Daniel Bryan. If he doesn’t win, a perfect setup for his match would be to face the person who eliminates him. Some potential people for that spot would be Jey Uso, Cesaro, or AJ Styles.
Of course, all of this is just pure speculation. It’s very possible that the Royal Rumble doesn’t set up a single match at Wrestlemania. However, it does seem like they want to use this match to light a fire in some feuds. I guess we’ll just have to wait for the Rumble and see what happens.