Will The Rock make his return?
As a service to fans who have a general interest in WWE but may not have seen a match in months, we are happy to provide these FAQs as a guide to Royal Rumble 2023, scheduled for Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Who will win the Men’s Royal Rumble?
We do not know it! Is not that incredible? WWE, that paragon of predictability, has become decidedly unpredictable in the last few weeks. We don’t know who will win the Rumble to take on Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. We don’t know if Reigns will still have both titles by then, or if its dominant faction, The Bloodline, will remain intact.
It also goes beyond the mat. Hell, up until this month we didn’t even know Vince McMahon was returning as WWE Chairman. We haven’t seen anything this turbulent since RETRIBUTION took over the production truck at RAW. It was that messy!
Question withdrawn and reformulated: Who could win the men’s royal rumble?
As a reminder, the Royal Rumble is a 30-way match with new wrestlers joining the fray every 90 seconds. Wrestlers are eliminated by being thrown over the top rope and touching the ground with both feet. Yes, you’re out even if you mess up your seat, Kofi Kingston.
On Monday, 15 participants were announced for the 30-man rumble match: Austin Theory, Baron (or Happy or King or whatever) Corbin, Bobby Lashley, Braun Strowman (yup, he’s back!), Cody Rhodes, Drew McIntyre, Gunther, Karrion Kross, Kofi Kingston, Omos, Rey Mysterio, Ricochet, Santos Escobar, Seth Rollins and Sheamus.
Check out these names. What a rumble we have already. (“They have more beef there than a steakhouse in Laredo!” – Jim Ross probably).
The most notable would be Rhodes, a guy we haven’t seen since he defeated Rollins in Hell in a Cell with a bruise so big it looks like someone with grape jelly has a map of Kazakhstan on his painted chest. He underwent surgery to repair a torn right breast tendon and will return in the Rumble. It should be said that Cody is the betting favorite when it comes to offshore books, and it’s no secret why: His stated goal since returning to WWE has been to win the world title, which father Dusty and brother Dustin eluded. He would also be a new matchup for Reigns.
We’re expecting two names to participate due to their reappearance on the RAW 30th Anniversary show: The Miz and Brock Lesnar, who chimed in to give Theory a US title match win over Lashley.
OK, based on that and their placement on the official poster for the Royal Rumble, which is a little giveaway.
Are we expecting big surprises for the Rumble?
Again, our word of the day is “unpredictable”. The surprises could be the return of an NXT star or an injured wrestler. It could be something bigger, like a free agent joining WWE, like AJ Styles’ memorable debut.
Or it could just be The Great One.
Ever since WrestleMania was announced for Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium, there has been speculation that Hollywood’s very own Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, would take on Reigns in one of the two main events to determine the true “tribal chief.” But he’s not the only star in the rumor mill. There were multiple reports this week that “Stone Cold” Steve Austin has been offered several matches at WrestleMania, including against Reigns – and the Rumble is in Texas – after his numerous appearances at Mania over the last year stole the show. John Cena returned for a tag team match on the final SmackDown of 2022 and was revealed to be a WWE 2K23 cover athlete.
Think of someone a little less nostalgic: after a star-establishment bout with him at Crown Jewel, could WWE darling Logan Paul deserve a rematch with Reigns? Sure, he suffered an injury during that match, but schedules and injuries in WWE are…let’s just…never be sure. You’ll notice that the list of early entrants didn’t include the rest of The Bloodline – Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso, Solo Sikoa and “Honorary Uce” Sami Zayn. And they could end up being the story of the Rumble.
What’s up with The Bloodline?
First, let’s reiterate that this story is the most compelling thing going on in professional wrestling right now. Specifically, the drama over if and when Zayn will break away from this Reigns-led faction, either because he chooses to reunite with enemy Kevin Owens or because he’s excommunicated from the group.
On Monday, Zayn was “put on trial” when manager Paul Heyman presented evidence – circumstantial and otherwise – that Zayn was treacherous. He was saved from Sikoa’s Samoan Spike by Jey Uso of all people, who presented counter-evidence that Zayn was loyal to The Bloodline. That led to Reigns ruling that Zayn was “not guilty” before claiming he had a “final test” at the Rumble.
When @SamiZayn Seems to be banned from The Bloodline, Jey @WWEUsos presents the defense of “The Honorary Uce”. #WWERaw pic.twitter.com/y8onhCUePk
— WWE (@WWE) January 25, 2023
Could it be the match itself? Or could that be in the undisputed championship game between Reigns and Owens?
Does Owens have a chance to beat Reigns?
Unless that’s when Zayn hits on the tribal chief, we suspect not. But Owens and Reigns have teamed up for some really strong matches – remember the 2017 Rumble when they fought with Chris Jericho hanging over the ring in a shark cage? While the outcome may seem inevitable this close to WrestleMania, it will be worth the time…especially if it’s the next chapter in the Zayn soap opera.
What about the women’s championships?
The RAW Women’s Championship is on the line when Bianca Belair meets Alexa Bliss, someone we’re sorry to report is creepy again, and not in an endearing Wednesday Addams dance way.
Formerly the Harley Quinn of Bray Wyatt’s Joker, Bliss returned to the realm of demonic dolls and vomit black goo after Wyatt’s return. Instead of Wyatt, the character haunting this feud with Belair is the mysterious Uncle Howdy, a creature of dry ice and backlighting who recently appeared during an outside-the-ring fight between Alexa and Bianca.
From the Dungeon of Doom to the Firefly FunHouse, wrestling has always had its goofy, supernatural side. Get on your knees for this one. And whatever Wyatt has in his… sigh …Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match.
What exactly is a Mountain Dew pitch black match?
First a definition of terms.
A dark match is a match played without the television cameras on. When done before the show, talent can be there to win their reruns and warm up the crowd. When it’s after the show, it’s usually a big star match held for the benefit of the arena audience rather than advancing a storyline. These types of matches are usually used to send everyone home happy.
A lights out match is an unsanctioned match between two wrestlers where no rules apply and the result is not included in their overall tally. This is symbolized by the arena lights being turned off and back on before the violence begins.
A Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match is… a soda commercial. Do they spray each other with dew? Is it some kind of burp contest? Is there a 2 liter bottle of carbonated black grape drink attached to a pole? Is this the start of sponsored themed matches in WWE? How close are we to getting Babybel in a Cell, which features two wrestlers fighting in a cage made out of mild snack cheese?
It’s really anyone’s guess as to what this match between Wyatt and the talkative LA Knight will be like. We heard there was some kind of neon element. We assume it will be loud and EXTREME because of the Mountain Dew.
There are echoes of the Bliss storyline here, in which Wyatt tries to avoid slipping into his devilish past despite the malicious presence of an Uncle Howdy. Will he show up here when Wyatt takes on the former Max Dupri? Does he even like Mountain Dew? He seems more like a cute teaman to us.
Does the women’s Royal Rumble include drinks?
Ain’t no one to throw me out the rumble… #Royal Rumble #Judgment Day ⚖️ pic.twitter.com/SnvJU2MF1m
— RheaRipley_WWE (@RheaRipley_WWE) January 22, 2023
Well it will have Shotz-i! (Holds for applause that never comes.) The women’s Royal Rumble also has 30 participants, although a week before the event the list of official participants was much smaller than the men’s: Candice LeRae, Emma, Liv Morgan, Raquel Rodriguez, Rhea Ripley, Shayna Baszler and Zelina Vega.
The majority of the roster are expected to attend the event, with Becky Lynch, Damage CTRL (Bayley, Dakota Kai, Iyo Sky), Sonya Deville, Asuka, the aforementioned Shotzi, Ronda Rousey and WWE SmackDown Champion Charlotte Flair announced to be pending. The Women’s Rumble has become as famous for its surprise entrants as the Men’s Edition – remember last year’s Kelly Kelly, Alicia Fox and Mickey James?
Unlike the men’s Rumble, on the women’s side there is an unaffordable favorite in Ripley, who has never won the Rumble and is part of a heavily pressed faction in The Judgment Day. But again, it’s the Royal Rumble. Upsets are what it’s built on, whether it’s whose music is next, who’s last in the ring…or if Vince just declares himself the winner of the two rumbles and the soda match because…he is back. And of course he will turn out to be Uncle Howdy. … “I WAS ALL THE TIME, BRAY!”
Have fun with the rumble!
https://www.espn.com/wwe/story/_/id/35530626/a-lapsed-fan-guide-2023-royal-rumble-rock-make-return Will The Rock make his return?