Royal Rumble participants – chances of victory

As of this writing, WWE.com has announced 28 names who will officially be participating in the Royal Rumble – 19 from Raw and 9 from Smackdown.  While there are some obvious choices yet unnamed – such as Kane, Big Show and Kofi Kingston – these are the ones officially named, and thus these are the ones we’ll be covering.

Though we still have two episodes – one of Supertstars and Smackdown – to go before the Rumble itself, today we’ll be going through the list of participants and gauging their possible chances for victory and a shot at the main event of WrestleManis XXVII.

FAVORITES (MORE THAN A SAFE BET TO CLAIM VICTORY)

CM Punk (Raw)
CM Punk has been riding a wave of momentum since taking over the Nexus, and he’s held the main event spot before, so it’s likely that he may have earned his spot to take the Rumble.  The problem here is that Raw’s champion, The Miz, is a pretty heavy heel and it’s unlikely to be a bash of the baddies to headline the biggest show of the year.  Though a lot can change between January and April, so there’s a chance that the scene my shift to favor a Punk challenge.  The February PPV Elimination Chamber’s scene-changer will be a running theme here.

John Cena (Raw)
This one should really go without saying.  John Cena is the face of the WWE and he will most certainly have a prominent role in WrestleMania.  But challenging for the WWE Championship?  He’s as good of a bet as anyone and a feud between him and the Miz would certainly be a good one.  But of course anyone looking for a storyline of their own has an excellent starting point with eliminating Cena.  Anyway, he’s THE favorite, as he is with any other match he’s in.

Rey Mysterio (Smackdown)
One of the top three babyfaces on Smackdown, Rey has claimed Rumble victory before and even went the entire distance to do so, setting the record for longest Royal performance in 2006.  Like Punk above, Rey Mysterio’s problem comes with that he’s not a fitting challenger should the champion remain the same through ‘Mania.  Rey’s currently in a feud against Alberto Del Rio, whom will quite possibly cause his elimination.  But until Kane or Big Show get announced, Rey’s Smackdown’s safest bet to bring home the win.

UPSETS (DECENT CHANCE OF VICTORY)

Alberto Del Rio (Smackdown)
Alberto has certainly made his mark on Smackdown in a relatively short period with big wins over the likes of Rey Mysterio and Christian.  Del Rio has the personality and the in-ring skills for a main-event feud, but he still seems a little too new to headline WrestleMania quite yet.  If the Smackdown title match becomes a triple threat match, look for Del Rio to be involved, though should he win the Rumble, someone else will likely be involved.

John Morrison (Raw)
A month ago, he would have been considered a long shot, but John Morrison surprisingly earned a #1 contender spot at last month’s TLC.  Even though he used the shot on an episode of Raw, he and Miz had a fantastic match that left many people (myself included) believing that he actually could win the title.  Should Morrison pull the upset and take the Rumble, I could see him costing the Miz the title at Elimination Chamber and go into WrestleMania feuding with Miz.  He’s also a definite favorite for a Money in the Bank match, especially with Shelton Benjamin no longer with the company.

King Sheamus (Raw)
Though many people would grumble with the thought of Sheamus headlining a WrestleMania title match, the unavoidable truth is that he’s now an established main eventer and the WWE has a lot of confidence in him.  For Sheamus to make it all the way to ‘Mania, something would have to change with the title picture.  He’s currently feuding with John M0rrison, and there’s no chance we’d see a Sheamus vs. Miz program in the future.  Even a John Cena vs. Sheamus program seems unlikely.  Still, one can’t avoid mentioning that Sheamus has the resume to warrant a Royal Rumble win.

Wade Barrett (Smackdown)
Though he no longer has the momentum he had while John Cena was a member of his Nexus, the leader of the newly establish Corre is still a formidible force for any match.  The Rumble has been a breakthrough match for the rise of stars in the past like Shawn Michaels (1995), Steve Austin (1997), and Chris Benoit (2004), so should Wade Barrett continue his main event rise, a Rumble win might just push him into that next level.  Smackdown is in need of another main event heel as it is, which is a part of why he moved to the show as it were. 

LONG SHOTS (CONSIDERED A SHOCKER TO CLAIM VICTORY)

Daniel Bryan (Raw)
Though the black sheep of the original NXT cast, Daniel Bryan has proven time and time again that he’s got the talent to go toe-to-toe with anyone in the WWE.  Lately, though, he’s been involved in a comedy storyline involving the Bella Twins (and now Gail Kim) which would only work solidly in the US Title picture.  A Rumble win would certainly be lost before WrestleMania came around.  He’s more likely to stay a contender for the Money in the Bank match.

David Otunga (Raw)
If the storyline were to feature a Nexus member shocking with an upset in the Rumble only to be forced to give their shot to leader CM Punk, then David Otunga is the one to draw the short straw.  Not a likely bet.

Drew McIntyre (Smackdown)
The so-called chosen one would have been a much more likely choice a year ago, but he’s dropped down the card as of late, currently in a storyline involving Trent Barreta over the affection of Kelly Kelly.  If the WWE were seeking to get his push restarted, this would be the place to jumpstart it with a vengenace, but I don’t find it likely.

Jack Swagger (Smackdown)
Jack Swagger’s upset over Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship was one of the more shocking stories in 2010, but he’s fallen out of grace in the meantime.  He’s still in the upper part of Smackdown’s roster, feuding with Kofi Kingston over the Intercontinental, so I’m calling him (and Kofi) a long shot here, but it’s probably not going to happen.

Mason Ryan (Raw)
Though he’s only been with the WWE for a couple weeks, Mason Ryan certainly has the presence and the brute force to be an upset win in the Rumble.  Should that take place, I’d think the opposite would happen than with Otunga above.  CM Punk would demand the title shot and be refused.  Doing so would basically be the WWE running through the Batista/Evolution breakup at a breakneck speed, and that would ultimately backfire, costing Mason Ryan the type of reaction he might ultimately get from it.  So not likely going to happen – maybe in TNA.

R-Truth (Raw)
No, just kidding.  I just like R-Truth and hate the idea of putting David Otunga in a category above him.  What’s up?

NO F*CKING WAY (SORRY – NOT GOING TO HAPPEN)

Cody Rhodes (Smackdown)
Not yet.  Maybe in a few years down the road and with a better gimmick.  Not here.

Darren Young (Raw)
Since being booted from Nexus, Darren Young has done two things: jack and squat.  Jobbers from Superstars do not a Royal Rumble winner make.

David Hart Smith (Raw)
It’s got to suck being the lesser of a tag team breakup in which neither member is being pushed.  But such is the status of David Hart Smith.

Ezekiel Jackson (Smackdown)
Big Zeke has the presence to make an impact in the Rumble match, but not to win it.  He’s resumed his goon status from yesteryear, and that’s where he’ll stay.

Heath Slater (Smackdown)
Yeah – like a ginger could ever take home the Royal Rumble.

Husky Harris (Raw)
Um…no.

Justin Gabriel (Smackdown)
Eventually, Justin Gabriel might become a force to be reckoned with in the Intercontinental title picture, but he’s not there yet.  He’ll need to break out of the Nexus/Corre stable before he’ll be able to move forward.

Mark Henry (Raw)
Despite always being called “the favorite” when he’s in the match, Mark Henry never really has a chance to win.  His elimination always make someone else look better, and it’ll probably be either Wade Barrett or CM Punk this year.

Michael McGillicutty (Raw)
He’s got a hell of a legacy about him being the son of “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig, but if he’s inherited the talent of his father, Mike McG hasn’t had the opportunity to showcase it.  He won’t here.

Primo (Raw)
Primo didn’t have a shot when he was still teaming with his departed brother Carlito, and he has less of one now.  Back to Superstars with you!

Ted DiBiase (Raw)
There are few worse gimmicks to be in than a losing streak one, but DiBiase’s current one pretty much kills any slim Rumble chance he may have had.  Maybe Shelton Benjamin’s mama can come help him out.

Tyson Kidd (Raw)
See “David Hart Smith”.  This is the other half.  Kidd looked to be getting a push back in December, but both he and the new talent brought in to go with him were quickly squashed and that was the end of that.

William Regal (Raw)
Regal’s still a hell of a talent, but he looks to be in the twilight days of his career.  A Royal Rumble win wouldn’t have happened in his prime, and it won’t happen now.  He’s still fun to watch, though.

Yoshi Tatsu (Raw)
I like Yoshi a lot, but can you really see him in a WrestleMania main event?  Me neither.

Zack Ryder (Raw)
Fellow 1/8th Nelson writer manof1004gimmicks bet me $3 that Zack Ryder would win the King of the Ring tournament.  I should see if he’ll give me the same bet for Ryder in the Rumble.

I’ll have my PPV preview of the entire Royal Rumble on Saturday.  Until then!

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