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WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) — if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course — tomorrow night (Sun., Jan. 26, 2020) live from Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas with its Royal Rumble event starting at 5:00 pm ET with the Kickoff show leading right on into the main course at 7 pm ET on the WWE Network.

Set for the card: Two Royal Rumble matches, Bray Wyatt defending the Universal championship against Daniel Bryan, and more!

Luckily for you Cagesiders, our staff of learned wrestling blowhards is here to help figure out just how the event is going to play out with predictions for each match on the card.

Let’s get to it.

Royal Rumble predictions

Men’s Royal Rumble


Geno Mrosko
: First time in quite a while it’s been entirely unclear who is going to even be considered for the top four, let alone a possible winner. I’ve been sitting here for far too long trying to decide just how bad that is for WWE. Time to go with a reliable choice! Pick: Randy Orton

Sean Rueter: When was the last time a Paul Heyman spoiler was wrong? Okay, probably SummerSlam. But still! Pick: Brock Lesnar

Kyle Decker: It really is a wide open field, but with Roman Reigns likely finally finishing up the King Corbin feud, I’m going with the Big Dog. It’s been over a year since he’s been in the championship picture and a Fiend vs. Roman match could be quite the program. (If it’s another Brock/Roman program, on the other hand, I may cry.) Pick: Roman Reigns

Cain A. Knight: There are a lot of interesting possibilities when it comes which superstar will eliminate Brock Lesnar. WWE has almost no faith in their full-time stars, so that means they’ll probably go with one of the worst options by giving the elimination to a returning Cain Velasquez (after Brock eliminates Kofi Kingston in a few seconds). As for who wins, well, it will be either Roman Reigns or a part-timer. I’m sure Vince wants to go with a part-timer, but he’s gone through so many of them in recent years that CM Punk stands out as one of the few remaining who would be a viable WrestleMania headliner. And I don’t really see that happening just yet. Pick: Roman Reigns

Stella Cheeks: They really have taken all of the fun out of the rumble by announcing almost every slot early. I want surprises. I want pops. But what I think we’ll get is more of the same. At this point, I’ve learned never to vote against Brock. It only leads to heartbreak. Pick: Brock Lesnar

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: PROFESSIONAL! WRESTLING! Or, in English for those of you who don’t remember his reign as Evolve World Champion, the big exciting Scotsman who’s been calling his shot and totally won’t end up just being eliminated by Mr. Randall Keith Orton in desultory fashion somewhere in the low 20s. Pick: Drew McIntyre

Women’s Royal Rumble


Geno Mrosko
: We don’t even really know who is in this match, so I’ll pick from the seven or so who have been officially announced as of this writing. From that group, one looks a little too obvious and the rest are huge underdogs except for that one who low key got Roman Reigns booking for the longest time. Yeah, I’ll just go with her. Pick: Alexa Bliss

Sean Rueter: There’s a few things on this card that seem designed to break my dorky, smarky heart. This is probably one of them. But what the hell. Let’s theorize that she’s been laying low in preparation for a big moment like this, and hope they actually book The Boss vs. Bayley on a big stage (and somehow don’t **** it up). Pick: Sasha Banks

Kyle Decker: I’ve seen good reason to pick against Ronda Rousey. Elle Collins on Twitter pointed out that if they were going with Rousey, they’d probably be paying way more attention to this Rumble than they are. But at the same time, I think they need to give us that Becky vs. Ronda match while it’s still relevant. It was the match we all really wanted last year and didn’t get. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Cain A. Knight: The winner of this match will likely be one of Charlotte Flair, Ronda Rousey, or Shayna Baszler, though Sasha Banks and Nia Jax also might have a shot. I would imagine Vince McMahon will do whatever is necessary to get Rousey back for WrestleMania 36 and a championship match with Becky Lynch. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Stella Cheeks: *Raises fists. Looks at the sky. Screams.* Pick: Ronda Rousey

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: I haven’t been watching NXT since I started liveblogging AEW so I really have no idea if this is plausible or if she’s got unfinished business, but she just lost the title, it’d be a way to make a big splash, and honestly with 2020 WWE I expect a Ronda return to be something they’d drop on Raw, so... Pick: Shayna Baszler

Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan


Geno Mrosko
: There is a bigger chance that Kane comes out and wins the match than there is that Bryan finds a way to win the match. Pick: Bray Wyatt

Sean Rueter: Look on the bright side, D-Bry. He didn’t invade Birdie’s nursery. Pick: The Fiend

Kyle Decker: This program was needed to get the Fiend back where he needed to be after a stumble of a feud with Seth Rollins. And while I love Bryan and would love another run at the top for him, now is not the time. The Fiend needs a long reign and a WrestleMania match to redeem the last WrestleMania match he had when he was a champion. Pick: Bray Wyatt

Cain A. Knight: Sorry Daniel, but it’s not going to be you, because you are destined to fight Sheamus at WrestleMania 36. Pick: The Fiend

Stella Cheeks: I’m saying it. The Fiend has officially flopped. Sure the vignettes are fun and the character work is good, but the wrestling is straight trash. Daniel Bryan is the hero everyone loves! Plus, he got that nice new haircut. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Who am I to pick against the wrestling god that is 2006 Ring of Honor World Champion the American Dragon Daniel Bryan Danielson? Pick: Daniel Bryan

Becky Lynch vs. Asuka


Geno Mrosko
: No shot they do the same thing they did last year, right? I mean, it’s at least possible, and if they go on first I’ll immediately be convinced it’s exactly what they’re doing, but I just can’t imagine it. That’s probably good enough reason to think it’s what will happen, come to think of it. See, this is what WWE does to a mind. You get so twisted up you forget what the story dictates, and that’s the babyface finally overcoming and winning in the end. Pick: Becky Lynch

Sean Rueter: You didn’t see Lynch ****ING TAPPING OUT last year, did you? Sorry, I’m still bitter about that, and a lot of what went wrong between Oct. 2018 and April 2019. What were we talking about again? Oh yeah, I don’t know if I think this will happen, but I want it to so bad I’m writing it down here. The way to retroactively make last year’s wasted submission work is to have it happen again here. Shayna Baszler can wait. Give me The Man slaying her dragon at ‘Mania. Pick: Asuka

Kyle Decker: I love love love this story. A rematch of Becky’s worst loss of the year at the same event it happened at. That being said, it’s not going to go the same way. Becky is going to get the win so she can go forward and do the one thing she didn’t get to do last year. Beat Ronda Rousey one on one. Pick: Becky Lynch

Cain A. Knight: Becky is the top star in the company, so she’s not going to come up short in this match for redemption. Pick: Becky Lynch

Stella Cheeks: If Ronda is winning the Rumble than that means that Becky is Raw Women’s Champ until WrestleMania. Then we re-enter the Twilight Zone where two washed up MMA fighters are WWE champions, nothing entertaining happens and yet we keep watching. Pick: Becky Lynch

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Babyface says she wants to conquer the one person who’s always had her number means babyface conquers the one person who’s always had her number. Pick: Becky Lynch

Bayley vs. Lacey Evans


Geno Mrosko
: They so badly want Evans to become a top star, be it as a heel or a babyface, that it’s downright insulting watching how they’ve done this total 180 with the character she is supposed to be portraying. They never bother to explain these things either. It just sort of happens, and people just sort of go with it, because WWE audiences are conditioned to just accept the shit sandwiches they’re served up. It would be infuriating if I had the energy to care at all. Pick: Bayley

Sean Rueter: Even considering what I’m deluding myself into thinking might actually happen predicting in the other women’s bouts, I’m not sure where the wind’s blowing here. Banks vs. the former Hugster doesn’t need a belt, but will there actually be room for three-plus women’s matches on the card in Tampa? Who’s turning (or at least leaning) face in order to give us a a TakeOver: Brooklyn rematch? I just don’t know! Eenie, meenie, miney, moe... Pick: Lacey Evans

Kyle Decker: This is one I don’t have a firm feeling about. I could see them going with Lacey and then having Sasha Banks face her for the title. But there are enough babyfaces on the roster, especially if Naomi will be joining that brand, that there’s still mileage out of a heel Bayley title reign. Pick: Bayley

Cain A. Knight: Imagine if they give Evans the booking that Becky Lynch had last year on this card, where she loses in the championship match but then goes on to win the Royal Rumble match? I don’t see that happening, because Evans is probably going to beat Bayley. Pick: Lacey Evans

Stella Cheeks: *Wipes tears off face. Looks back at the sky and thinks “Don’t you dare do this to me.”* Pick: (please be) Bayley

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Babyface Lacey is being pushed super hard and got to cut a teary promo about her dad and her daughter this week. She ain’t losing. Pick: Lacey Evans.

Andrade vs. Humberto Carrillo


Geno Mrosko
: Who the hell is Humberto Carrillo? Pick: Andrade

Sean Rueter: Zelina Vega hasn’t been banned from ringside. Ergo... Pick: Andrade

Kyle Decker: Humberto isn’t there yet in his progress to go over Andrade, who has been positioned well in WWE and done very well with that position. And it seems like their plan to get Carrillo over is to have him lose very competitive matches often. So why stop now? Pick: Andrade

Cain A. Knight: I don’t think Carrillo is winning the gold this soon after his return, so this one will either be a win for Andrade or a screwy disqualification finish. Eh, screwy disqualification finish sounds about right. Pick: Humberto Carrillo

Stella Cheeks: Humberto wins but Andrade remains the champion. Zelina wears an amazing outfit. The audience gets to watch a really good wrestling match. Everyone leave the match a winner. Pick: Andrade

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Plucky young babyface fights the good fight but can’t overcome the killer heel until Mania. Done. Pick: Andrade “Cien” Almas

Roman Reigns vs. Baron Corbin


Geno Mrosko
: This has all the makings of a Royal Rumble preview, considering how many wrestlers have gotten invovled in the feud since it first started. Somehow, Corbin has had four different wrestlers helping him out at various points. What is it about this guy? He’s probably going to win again, so they can get another match out of this in Saudi Arabia. Pick: Baron Corbin

Sean Rueter: Corbin, Ziggler, Roode, Dash, Dawson. Roman, Jimmy, Jey. The Big Dog needs more people. Pick: King Corbin

Kyle Decker: It’s gotta be Roman, especially since I have him winning the Rumble. Then again, Becky Lynch lost a title match last year and then won the Rumble, but I still can’t convince myself Corbin is the one winning this feud. Pick: Roman Reigns

Cain A. Knight: This never-ending feud really didn’t need to be extended with a lengthy gimmick match on a card that already has the two longest matches of the year. Baron Corbin is simply not a top level heel, and every week Vince McMahon wastes with him in that spot only serves to make the product weaker. The Falls Count Anywhere gimmick doesn’t fit this feud well, so that means it will somehow affect their booking in the Royal Rumble match. Pick: Roman Reigns

Stella Cheeks: The Falls Count Anywhere gimmick is sure to make this match - you know, the one we’ve seen approximately 1,000 times - worth watching right? RIGHT? Pick: Roman Reigns. Or Baron Corbin. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Face reality. This feud is never ending.

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: I got a weird feeling about this one. It’s unlikely, probably I’m just throwing my pick away, but I’m thinking they fight all over and we get some kind of crazy explosion non-finish, like Lashley and Strowman going through the LED boards. Pick: An unannounced no-contest that will drive me nuts in the liveblog

Sheamus vs. Shorty G


Geno Mrosko
: It seems clear Shorty G is being fed to the big fella to get him over again now that he’s back and ready to make a run up the card again. Pick: Sheamus

Sean Rueter: Thrilled that the lobster head is back. Always down to watch Gable work. Baffled that this is a PPV match. Pick: Shorty G

Kyle Decker: If they’re bringing back Sheamus’ old look, they should bring back his old music. It’s a shameful thing that they haven’t. Pick: Sheamus

Cain A. Knight: I’m just not feeling this push for Sheamus, whose prime was almost a decade ago. I fully expect that he’ll be one of Baron Corbin’s interchangeable thugs in a few months. Pick: Sheamus

Stella Cheeks: Let’s see. Sheamus gets video promos and spotlights every week that make him look strong and intimidating and Shorty G is there to be the butt of short jokes - if he’s even lucky enough to be on the show at all! Pick: Sheamus

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Looks, folks, my girlfriend loves Chad Gable. I can’t pick against the guy, logic and reason be damned. Pick: Chad Gable


That’s how we see the card playing out.

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