Every January, the Royal Rumble remains WWE’s most highly anticipated event. It begins the Road to Wrestlemania. An unpredictable road, and one that overall tends to be the company’s most exciting and fun events of the entire year! Rightly so, WWE typically puts its all into the event and tries to create a night people will never forget. 2023 was no exception to that, providing one of the most fun and well-put-together Royal Rumble PLEs they’ve done in some time, specifically both Rumble Matches. With 2024’s show this coming weekend, it only seems right to look ahead to some of the favorites to win both of the big matches, as well as preview what else there is to see on the card! It will be a short show in terms of the number of matches but promises to be a show that might prove to be extremely important in shaping the year that is to come in 2024 for WWE!
Before we get to the Rumble Matches, let’s run down the remainder of the card. The first match will see Logan Paul defend the United States Championship against Kevin Owens. This is a match that has roots dating back all the way to Wrestlemania 37 when KO hit the now-United States Champion with a Stunner following his match that night. Paul has not yet made his ring debut for the company, but he is well on his way to becoming a focal point of the product very soon! This will serve as Paul’s first defense since winning the championship back in November, so will be interesting to see the style of title match he will work as the defending champion. Owens is also a very good choice as someone for Paul to work with, giving him yet more time to develop as a performer and to really hone his craft when it comes to competing in championship matches. Paul will likely retain and head to Wrestlemania to defend the title against someone along the lines of LA Knight, but this will be a great first test for the multi-media superstar in the Maverick! Speaking of Knight, he is in action outside of the Rumble Match as well. He will be competing in a Fatal-Four-Way along with Randy Orton, AJ Styles, and of course, the defending Undisputed Universal Champion Roman Reigns for the champ’s title! This match is a combination of several stories from Smackdown in the Fall, that will come to a head just before the road to Wrestlemania really begins. For Knight, it’s a second chance at the gold in the last three months, and another shot to be in there with some of the biggest dogs in the game. Meanwhile, Styles gets the opportunity that was stolen from him following his attack by the Bloodline, and Randy gets the opportunity he’s waited for since his injury at the hands of the Bloodline in 2022. Reigns will in all likelihood roll right on and take his title into Wrestlemania once again, but the match should be extremely fun and entertaining, and I for one cannot wait to see what will come next once we move on from these stories and jump into Wrestlemania season!
Now, let’s turn our attention to the Royal Rumble Matches, as they are both two of the most anticipated matches of the night, and this year is more unpredictable than in many years! On the women’s side, several options lie in the future paths of Rhea Ripley and Iyo Sky. There’s Bayley, who has never won the Rumble, the only WWE accolade to allude to her in her career. A Rumble win could lead to an eventual battle with Iyo Sky and a split from Damage CTRL if she went that way. Becky Lynch could secure her second Rumble win, which lines up a definitive path for her to face Rhea Ripley in the already teased dream match come Wrestlemania in Philly. Jade Cargill could make her in-ring WWE debut in the Rumble, which could lead to her being skyrocketed to the top of the card with a win. Will Nomi (Trinity) or Sasha Banks (Mercedes Monè) return to WWE on this night? Only time will tell, but they likely shoot to the top of the favorites list if they do. Beyond them, solid options do remain in the form of Bianca Belair (also seeking her second Rumble win), Nia Jax, and even a potentially returning Liv Morgan!
On the men’s side, there are more viable options who can realistically win than maybe ever before. It starts at the top, with last year’s winner Cody Rhodes looking to go back-to-back and win the 2024 edition, which would line him up to try and finish his story once again at Wrestlemania. That would be much easier if it weren’t for a certain Second-City Savior who returned to WWE in the Fall, who just so happens to be competing in his first WWE televised match 10 years, 10 years to the day he walked out, in CM Punk. Punk shot up to the top of the favorites list when he returned and announced his participation in the Rumble. Will he punch a ticket to face Seth Rollins at Wrestlemania? Another name that became an instant favorite is the current, reigning, and defending Intercontinental Champion (the longest reigning one of all), the Ring General, GUNTHER. Last year’s runner-up, who set the record for the longest single entrant in a standard Rumble Match in history when he entered at number one, GUNTHER already confronted the World Heavyweight Champion on Raw this week, showing that maybe, just maybe, that’s the way things may go. Drew McIntyre would want to say something about that, as he looks for his second Rumble win and redemption for all the wrongs done against him over the years. One more choice who I feel may be overlooked in all of this is Finn Balor, who has had the Rumble allude to him for his entire career, and if he wins here, and Damian Priest cashes in Money in the Bank prior to Wrestlemania, then the tensions between them could rise enough to have them face off for the gold at the grandest stage of them all.
There are so many possibilities here, coupled with the potential for some surprise returns, and shocking eliminations, and the final selections will surely garner plenty of discussion. If last year’s event is any indication of what to expect Rumbles to be like under the Triple H creative regime, then this year’s will likely be even better. I know for sure that I will be sitting right in front of the TV come Saturday night to see what transpires down in Tampa Bay as WWE once again embarks on the Road to Wrestlemania for the 40th consecutive year!