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The LAW's WWE Royal Rumble Preview

Live Audio Wrestling / January 27, 2013 - 12:01pm

Tonight is the 26th annual WWE Royal Rumble from the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona with a good idea of the key directions for WrestleMania to come out of this show. The Rock returns for his first match since WrestleMania 28 and his first appearance at the Royal Rumble since 2002 and will likely lead to this being the second most purchased WWE event of the year unless they have a huge match for SummerSlam. You can catch The LAW tonight at 11pm EST immediately after the Rumble with a two-hour rundown of the shows and tons of your phone calls for reaction to the show and thoughts about the directions for WrestleMania so dial in at 1-855-591-6876.

CM PUNK VS THE ROCK FOR THE WWE TITLE

Dan “The Mouth” Lovranski
This one will be interesting to see how they book it now that they've added the Shield may not interfere stipulation. I could certainly see the Shield costing Punk the match as a way for him to drop the title without actually getting pinned, but I think that would leave the audience really pissed off. They need to give Punk some kind of program for Mania, and the roots of it should be planted, so does that mean we see Taker tonight? Regardless, Rock should go over here.

Jason Agnew
This will be a great match, and ultimate I think Rock will win.  However, I hope that instead we have Brad Maddox try to interfere part-way through the match but is immediately taken care of by The Rock, Heyman should also interfere a bit, and then when it looks as  though Rock is going to get the victory (perhaps as he does the people's elbow) Brock Lesnar comes out and destroys the Rock. Punk gets the victory and we set up the following.

Elimination Chamber match would be Brock/Punk vs. Triple H/Rock

Mania would be Brock vs. Rock // Punk vs. Taker

John Pollock
The success of this show will is really on the shoulders of these two with the Rumble a clear #2 attraction this year as opposed to the pattern of the Rumble being the key draw and the ability to put less marquee names challenging for the title(s) such as Hardcore Holly in 2004. I felt their strongest segment was during the first week with both on the microphone and there is a certain draw to this match that is heightened because of the Punk character and being Rock’s equal on the microphone and not stepping down or showing any fear. I believe this is pretty clear cut and The Rock failing makes no sense business wise nor does Punk holding onto the title for an extra month make any sense to me when the destination is The Rock as champion. I expect Rock to win the title clean and coming out of this match Punk’s streak has ended and his revenge will be to end the biggest streak in the WWE.

30-MAN ROYAL RUMBLE

Dan “The Mouth” Lovranski
It seems blatantly obvious that Cena will win the Rumble and face Rock at Wrestlemania again. But the Rumble is also useful in creating other storylines and moments.  A couple of things I see happening is Ziggler going in first or second and lasting most of the match, maybe even breaking Rey's record. I also see something with Kane and Bryan tossing out Team Rhodes Scholars after they win the titles earlier in the night. Maybe we'll even see a tease of a break up from Team Hell No. I'm guessing they'll also keep Ryback very strong in this match too, giving him the most eliminations of the night spot.

Jason Agnew
My prediction here is that John Cena wins the Rumble, however my hope is as such.

Ziggler starts the Rumble and is left in the ring at the very end.  All other of the 28 competitors have been eliminated and he is just awaiting the 30th participant to come out, the lights go out, The Undertaker appears in the ring and immediately eliminates Ziggler.  Thus setting up streak versus streak, Punk vs. Taker at Wrestlemania.

I also think that Ryback should eliminate all of the members of The Shield along with a notable elimination of Kane, since Kane holds the record for most people ever eliminated in a Rumble.

Oh, and since the Rumble is in Phoenix and that's where The Honky Tonk Man lives, I'd like for HTM to get the comedy spot in the middle of the Rumble with the 3 Man Band, all of 3MB beat down on him until he is rescued by Kane coming out, then after eliminating all of 3MB, HTM tries to get Kane to sing, and Kane once again eliminates HTM just like in 2001.

John Pollock
This is traditionally a very well booked match with a combination of surprises, long term teases and the goal of getting some upper card players into the mix with the ironman entrant and the monster gimmick with a ton of eliminations. Dolph Ziggler seems poised to spend the majority of the match in the Rumble and do the 50-60-minute marathon they have given to the likes of Rick Martel, Ric Flair, Chris Benoit and Rey Mysterio among others in the past. With Ryback doubtful to be winning this match it makes sense that he is booked for the big monster role. It would not surprise me to get a nostalgia name from the past in there that is above your Jim Duggan or Sgt. Slaughter level similar to the Kevin Nash and Booker T appearances in 2011. In terms of the winner I’m sticking with John Cena as I think it a) makes the most sense and b) gets back to the Rumble winner being the legit main event of WrestleMania, which has not been the case for a few years.

ALBERTO DEL RIO VS BIG SHOW FOR THE WORLD TITLE IN A “LAST MAN STANDING MATCH”

Dan “The Mouth” Lovranski
I don't know if returning to the exact same stipulation for this rematch is such a good idea since they will have to come up with new ways to make it work. However, I don't see a title change here since I see three others on the show already and Del Rio is getting over as a face, so he will retain here. 

Jason Agnew
Alberto keeps the belt... Mexico cheers.

John Pollock
I was very surprised they made the change on television a few weeks ago as I thought Big Show was great during his run as champion and he has been the most underappreciated guy on the roster over the past year in my opinion. Big Show has been all about business this entire run and working his ass off every night getting Del Rio over and taking a ton of punishment in these matches beyond the call of duty. I expect a very physical match and Del Rio retains the title with the always looming Money in the Bank threat, which would be a cool idea if Dolph Ziggler stole the title at the end of this match (and the stipulation lends itself well to a cash in) and then enters the Rumble on his quest to become a double champion at WrestleMania. It sounds interesting on paper but wouldn’t be the way I would go and will say Del Rio simply keeps the title Sunday night.

TEAM HELL NO VS TEAM RHODES SCHOLARS FOR THE TAG TITLES

Dan “The Mouth” Lovranski
I see Team Rhodes Scholars finally getting that big title win here, and then Kane and Bryan eliminating them during the Rumble and the program continuing until they decide to finally break up Kane and Bryan

Jason Agnew
It's time to flip these over to Rhodes Scholars!

John Pollock
Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow have been gaining momentum for some time now and I feel Daniel Bryan and Kane have become a bit redundant in this role, the team doesn’t need the titles and I think the graduation segment was a tease that the title reign is ending and perhaps Kane and Bryan go their separate ways leading into WrestleMania.

ANTONIO CESARO VS THE MIZ FOR THE U.S. TITLE

Dan “The Mouth” Lovranski
It sure looks like Miz will go over here after the rub from Flair and his using the figure four now as his finisher and Cesaro telling Flair he was nothing but an old man. But I would rather see it remain on Cesaro since he is so good in the role, and we haven't had nearly enough vignettes with him downplaying America. But it really appears they are getting behind Miz, so I expect him to go over here.

Jason Agnew
Cesaro should first teach Miz how to do a proper Figure 4, then bitch slap him in the face and pin him.

John Pollock
It’s amazing that they are going above and beyond to try and get The Miz over as a babyface and then you stamp the “pre-show” label on him and essentially tell the audience where he is slotted. Both guys will be in the Rumble and I expect Cesaro to be booked for some key spots in the Rumble and get some big eliminations but I don’t see a title change coming on the pre-show nor do I expect Cesaro to win clean so I will say this ends with a DQ of some sort.

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