Tonight is one of the biggest nights on the WWE calendar with the 2013 Royal Rumble live on Pay Per View from the sold-out U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix,AZ. The show features the classic 30-man Royal Rumble match with the winner being granted a championship title shot at the biggest show of the year, Wrestlemania. As if that’s not enough, the show will feature an epic showdown for the WWE Championship between CM Punk and movie star Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. Pro Wrestling Examiner breaks down the whole card in this preview with predictions to help you win the Royal Rumble pool at the PPV party tonight.
WWE United States Championship
Antonio Cesaro vs. the Miz
This match will air on the free live web stream preview on youtube.com/wwe at 6:30PM C/ 7:30 PM E
The Miz has been set up for this match with the blessings of 2-time WWE Hall of Famer ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair. Cesaro interrupted Miz interviewing Flair on the 20th Anniversary episode of RAW and insulted the 16-time World Champion. Miz came to Flair’s defense, applied the dirtiest player in the game’s signature Figure Four LegLock on the current U.S. Champion. You would think with that momentum that it’s a given the Miz who recently became a ‘fan favorite’, can upset Cesaro tonight yet it does not seems like the WWE Universe is buying Miz as a hero just yet.
Cesaro will continue his “America does not deserve America” rhetoric, impress fans with his sound wrestling skills that have made him of the one best new WWE talents of the last year. Prediction: Cesaro escapes the Rumble as WWE U.S. Champion
WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane) vs. Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damian Sandow)
WWE has done a solid job of building up their Tag Team division in the past year with the reigning WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane) being one of the hottest acts outside of the main event level. Their challengers tonight Team Rhode Scholars bring the goods as both personalities and pros in the ring. Though both teams have faced off in the past, this match seems to have some finality to it especially with Kane and Bryan ‘graduating’ from their Anger Management program with a ridiculous skit this past Monday on RAW. Is this foreshadowing to Team Hell No losing their edge as a team before facing Rhodes and Sandow? Look for this match to open the Pay Per View broadcast. Prediction: New WWE Tag Team Champions Team Rhode Scholars
World Heavyweight Championship Last Standing Match
Alberto Del Rio vs. The Big Show
Del Rio’s jump from hated Mexican elitist to feel-good Mexican hero has been more successful than many thought it was going to be when it started in December. After conquering the gigantic Big Show for the World title in a Last Man Standing match on Smackdown two weeks ago, Del Rio has been getting bigger and bigger pops from the Latino fans especially as WWE has been touring through the Southwest region of the United States. This no time to deny Big Show especially after he brought the hammer down on Del Rio at the conclusion of this week’s Smackdown when he pushed a ringside commentary table over on top of him him in the same fashion that Del Rio used to put Show down for the count to win the World title. There is also the always looming threat of Money in the Bank winner Dolph Ziggler cashing in, but that does not seem likely with his focus on John Cena and the Rumble match. This match will be violent between Del Rio and Show with Del Rio’s personal ring announcer Riccardo Rodriguez getting involved to help his friend. Prediction: Alberto Del Rio retains the World Heavyweight Championship
WWE Championship Match
CM Punk vs. the Rock
There has not been a WWE Championship match that has garnered this much attention in years, and with good reason as wrestling star-turned-movie star Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson is returning to challenge for the title. Anytime the Rock is involved WWE the whole show is elevated to a special level with all the “electricity” he attracts from casual wrestling fans. This energy will make for an intense fight with brazen WWE Champion CM Punk in the most important match of his career. For over 430 days, Punk has sat on top of the throne as the WWE Champion defeating all the big stars on the roster, so this match elevates him as well bringing his record-breaking title reign to it’s greatest challenge.
The addition of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon instituting an order that if the Shield interfere the WWE will strip Punk of the title, makes it clear: tonight in Phoenix it’s one-on-one between the Rock and Punk. Though the Shield may not be the only force outside this match with something against either man, so always ‘expect the unexpected’.
The winner of this match may have the challenge of Elimination Chamber next month, but do not get it twisted: the winner of this match is headlining Wrestlemania 29. Each men with their larger-than-life egos will want to win this match at all cost, and it’s not going to be squash match. This one will go down to the wire.
Prediction: After 430 days as champ, Punk’s days as WWE Champion end with the Rock defeating him clean. The Rock takes the WWE Championship on a worldwide press tour to promote his three upcoming movies, Snitch , Pain & Gain and G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
If your a CM Punk fan, read this article breaking down 5 reasons why he can beat the Rock tonight at the Rumble.
Royal Rumble Match
Here are the confirmed superstars competing in the match.
- John Cena
- Randy Orton
- Dolph Ziggler
- Heath Slater
- Jinder Mahal
- Drew McIntyre
- Antonio Cesaro
- Wade Barrett
- The Miz
- Daniel Bryan
NXT Wrestler Bo Dallas (son of WWE veteran Mike Rotunda) won an 8-man NXT tournament in Phoenix at the Royal Rumble Fan Fest to earn a spot in the Rumble.
This leaves 12 vacant spots left in the Royal Rumble. There is always a potential to see several past WWE superstars return to the company in a big way by joining the Rumble.
The Royal Rumble match is truly one of the most fun matches to watch live every year with the surprise returns and the mayhem in the ring all unfolding in the same bout. This year’s Rumble should top last year’s Rumble match from St. Louis, which left a little more to be desired. WWE fans will see the Show Off Dolph Ziggler run the gauntlet in this one from either the first or second entrant spot to almost the end of the match. He may not win tonight, but Ziggler will be the MVP of this year’s Rumble.
Prediction: Some years it’s pretty easy to predict who will the Royal Rumble, and this seems to be one of those years. After losing at Wrestlemania 28 in a match his guaranteed victory and then followed that up with a string upsetting loses, John Cena wants to redeem himself and get his ticket stamped for the main event for Wrestlemania 29 in New Jersey. Cena may have lost a lot in 2012, but he has been built up once again in his recent weeks in his convincing wins over Mr. Money in the Bank Dolph Ziggler. Love him or hate him, Cena is the face of WWE and it’s time for him to once again get back his mojo.