The field of 30 goes down one by one with each elimination every year around this time. Speculation and predictions all discuss who will win the match, if there will be any surprise appearances and what that crazy Kofi Kingston will do next. One of my favorite parts of the Royal Rumble match is when the whole thing seems to come to a halt and reset when the last four men in the ring realize that one of them will be going to the main event of WrestleMania. That’s what I want to speculate about.
Last year, the match closed with Sheamus, Roman Reigns, CM Punk and the eventual winner Batista. It was the man who made his return from a long absence, the man being prepped to begin his rise to the top, a guy they were trying to keep happy in a very misguided manner and the unfortunate winner. Not a slight against Batista, but even he has admitted that the outcome that occurred wasn’t “best for business.” In 2013, the match closed with Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Ryback and winner John Cena. It was the previous year’s winner, the sentimental favorite who didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell, the former ally turned failed heel and the obvious winner to set up the rematch that nobody was clamoring to see.
There are two men who are essentially guaranteed to find themselves as one half of the final four; Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns are the men being positioned to be the potential winners, and while the most dramatic and nail-biting way to close the match would be having them as the final two, you know WWE is going to telegraph one of their victories by having one of them eliminated while either one or both of the other two men are still in the match. So who will the other two be? I can guarantee that one of them will be Big Show, who has had an ongoing rivalry with Reigns and is being set up as the man to eliminate in this year’s match. There are a few options for the fourth and final spot, however.
Dolph Ziggler is certainly a choice, as he has been gaining momentum since being the sole survivor for his team in November and is being treated like a star for an elongated period for the first time in his career. He will still be the bridesmaid, though, but next year he may have a legitimate chance of getting the ring on his finger. There has been speculation that Brock Lesnar might end up in the match, even that he could win, after losing his title earlier in the evening. I don’t buy it, but it’s become a popular prediction over the past few days. Dean Ambrose is also a possibility, with he and Roman Reigns perhaps being forced to come to blows due to the nature of the match. In this case, my money is on Ziggler.
If Roman Reigns is going to win the match, then he’s going to do it by last eliminating the Big Show. While seeing him and Bryan as the last two in the ring would be intriguing and definitely edge-of-your-seat programming, they wouldn’t be dumb enough to sabotage Reigns by having him eliminate the odds-on favorite in the hearts of the WWE Universe. If Daniel Bryan is set to be the winner, they can do it one of two ways: he and Reigns can trade near eliminations — while nerds like me sit on the couch screaming at the TV that they better not make the mistake of giving Reigns the victory in this scenario — or Bryan can win the match by last eliminating Big Show.
Since the moment Daniel Bryan announced that he was returning to the ring and was entering himself into the Royal Rumble match, I have had the picture in my head of him winning the match by eliminating the much, much larger Big Show and proving himself on the big stage of the 27th Annual Rumble Match. That may elicit memories of the way Chris Benoit won the match 11 years ago, however, so it may be out of the running.
As I often say to close out my speculatory columns, we will have to wait and see what the outcome ends up being. I will say that my official prediction for the final four is Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Dolph Ziggler and Big Show.