WWE Royal Rumble 2020 Preview And Predictions
Written by Brandon Lewis on January 24, 2020
All photos curiosity of wwe.com
The Royal Rumble: A match that since 1988 has wowed the minds of the WWE Universe with some of the best moments in WWE history. The Royal Rumble signifies the start of the road to Wrestlemania.
- There will be 30 superstars in the match. Entry is determined at random.
- Superstars that drew No. 1 and No. 2 will start the match. Every 90 seconds, a new superstar will enter.
- Elimination occurs when a superstar goes over the top rope and both feet land on the floor.
- The last remaining superstar in the ring will be declared the winner of the Royal Rumble and will advance to a championship match of his or her choosing at Wrestlemania.
Sunday from Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, home of the Houston Astros, the superstars of RAW, Smackdown and NXT will try to cement their place in WWE history by winning one of the two Royal Rumble matches and guaranteeing themselves a spot at the Showcase of the Immortals in Tampa, Florida. However, there’s more than just the two Royal Rumble contests on the 2020 version of the Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View (PPV) that could make it one for the ages.
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
The Men’s Royal Rumble this year has one of the most compelling fields in a Royal Rumble in a long time in my opinion, headlined by The Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar, who is entering the match first as the WWE Champion. Lesnar and his humble advocate Paul Heyman believe that nobody on the RAW, Smackdown, NXT, NXT UK or 205 Live roster is worthy enough to challenge Lesnar for his championship, and Lesnar is going to victimize and conquer 29 other superstars in the Rumble to prove it.
I don’t see how Lesnar wins this match as I think the person that eliminates Lesnar will be his Wrestlemania opponent. The question is: Who will that person be? Lesnar has run roughshod all over the RAW roster for the last three years. There is nobody left on RAW for him to face.
Smackdown? The only worthy challengers on the blue brand for Lesnar’s WWE Title are Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns, both of whom Lesnar has faced countless times before. NXT, NXT UK and 205 Live? There’s really nobody. You could make an argument for WALTER of Imperium in NXT UK as well as NXT Champion Adam Cole, Keith Lee and Matt Riddle in NXT, but I doubt WWE will be putting Lesnar on NXT or calling up any of those three superstars.
Even though many wrestling fans believe that NXT is the best WWE product currently going, and it is now on the USA Network going head to head with All Elite Wrestling (AEW) on TNT every Wednesday night, I believe WWE still views NXT inferior to RAW and Smackdown no matter how many times they try to deny it. The fact that there is no NXT match on the Royal Rumble card proves my point.
So, that leaves us with a surprise entrant. As of this writing, there are 24 superstars that declared for the Rumble. I am going to guess that it least two wrestlers are coming from NXT, NXT UK and 205 Live, so that leaves four open slots.
If you read the wrestling rumor mills constantly, you know there’s a huge possibility that WWE Hall of Famer and my favorite WWE Superstar of all time Edge will be in the match. If you are like me, then you are hoping that CM Punk and John Cena also return in the Rumble, so that leaves only one spot, and I believe that spot goes to the man that throws Lesnar over the top rope. That man’s name is Cain Velasquez.
Yes, Lesnar and Velasquez did face off back in November in Saudi Arabia at the Crown Jewel PPV, and yes, Lesnar did make Velasquez tap out in rather quick fashion with the Kimura Lock, but Lesnar-Velasquez Two in WWE at Wrestlemania 36 is a major draw for marketing purposes. Velasquez winning the WWE Title at Wrestlemania over Lesnar gives FOX the ability to tag WWE as ‘a real sport’ since a former UFC Champion won the WWE Title even though the build will more than likely take place on the red brand.
Now, I do not think Velasquez wins the entire match. For the second time in his career, I believe the “Big Dog” Roman Reigns walks out of the Rumble victorious, and he targets “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt, the Universal Champion. Since the 2019 WWE Draft in October, Reigns and The Fiend have not crossed paths, and there’s a reason for that.
Wyatt says The Fiend never forgets. If Wyatt is telling the truth, that means The Fiend didn’t forget about his war with Reigns throughout 2015. The Fiend has already taken out former enemies in Finn Balor, Seth Rollins and Kane. He is working on taking out another former foe in the leader of the YES Movement Daniel Bryan.
Next on The Fiend’s list should be Reigns after Reigns wraps up his feud with King Corbin, and this time I believe Reigns will be cheered after winning the Rumble, unlike last time.
While The Fiend also has a history with Cena and Punk, I do not think it would be a good idea for either of them to go up against The Fiend right now. Since his return from battling with leukemia, Reigns has been relegated down to the mid card for the most part. He has yet to have a WWE or Universal Title match since he relinquished the Universal Title in 2018.
The only way to get Reigns back in the main event picture is by having him win the Rumble. Plus, fans are going to cheer The Fiend. Cena and Punk need to face superstars like Corbin and Andrade. They are young heels, but great talents that could use the spotlight of working with somebody like Cena or Punk.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
In 2018, Auska won the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble Match, and the build to the match was excellent. WWE put a lot of time into making sure the Women’s Royal Rumble Match was seen as important as the men’s. They even made it the main event of that Rumble PPV in Philadelphia.
Then, last year the big story surrounding the Women’s Rumble Match was “The Man” Becky Lynch and her rise to stardom. Even though it was not the main event of the show, the crowd in Arizona went nuts for Lynch when she replaced Lana in the match after Lana suffered an ankle injury. Lynch won the Rumble and went on to win both the RAW and Smackdown Women’s Championships in the main event of Wrestlemania 35 in a triple threat match against “The Queen” Charlotte Flair and “The Baddest Women on the Planet” Ronda Rousey.
This year however, WWE has spent little to no time building up the Women’s Royal Rumble Match. The biggest program on RAW involving the women is Lynch’s rematch with Auska from last year’s Royal Rumble PPV. On Smackdown, champion Bayley is busy running away from Lacy Evans’ Women’s Right.
It is a little shocking that as of this writing, only five out of 30 possible superstars have declared for this match, but I do believe WWE has a plan, and that plan involves an outsider just like the men’s match: Rousey.
I just mentioned above how Lynch defeated Rousey and Flair at last year’s Wrestlemania. In that match, Rousey was the one who took the fall. It was the first time in WWE that she was defeated, and we have not seen Rousey in WWE since.
The story of this match writes itself: Rousey coming back for revenge against Lynch, but this time, it will be one-on-one like the majority of the WWE Universe wanted last year. I don’t think this match would main event because of the time WWE has spent investing in The Fiend this year, but it would be a show stealer.
I know that former NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler is a friend of Rousey’s, and if she were to win the Rumble, her vs Lynch at Wrestlemania would be an easy story to tell, but we saw Lynch, Baszler and Bayley main event Survivor Series, and the match was not spectacular. I doubt Lynch and Baszler could put on a show if it was just a singles match at Wrestlemania.
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (C) vs Daniel Bryan. Universal Championship. Strap Match
Besides the Royal Rumble matches, the biggest match from the blue brand consists of The Fiend putting his Universal Championship on the line against Daniel Bryan in a rematch from Survivor Series. The difference this time around? It is a Strap Match!
Both Bryan and The Fiend will be tied to each other. As of this writing, it is unclear what the rules of the match are going to be. There are two types of Strap matches.
Type one involves one superstar touching all four corners of the ring in order without stopping before being hit by their opponents. Type two involves pinning your opponent for the victory. Both versions have zero rules to them. There are no count outs or disqualifications.
If I was tasked to book this match, I would choose type one. To me, type one protects Bryan. Even though The Fiend is more than likely going to walk away from this match with his championship still around his waist, Bryan should be able to hit a lot of offense on The Fiend.
These two should tell an incredible story, and the match should be awesome no matter the version WWE decides. I would just like to see Bryan not take another pin fall from The Fiend. That way he still looks like a legitimate challenger that took The Fiend to the limit as he ventures into his next storyline.
Becky Lynch (C) vs Auska (W/ Kairi Sane). RAW Women’s Championship
When Royal Rumble 2020 kicks off, it will be 364 days since Lynch and Auska battled in Phoenix over the latter’s Smackdown Women’s Championship. That night would also be the last night since Lynch last lost a singles match for a championship. Ever since her victory at Wrestlemania last year, Lynch, like Lesnar on the men’s side, has run roughshod over the entire RAW women’s division. Lacey Evans? Check. Natalya? Check. Sasha Banks? Check. Lynch has not defended the title since defeating Banks in a Hell In A Cell (HIAC) match at the HIAC PPV in October.
The whole build for this match surrounds the fact that Auska is the only woman Lynch has not beaten in the last calendar year. I do think Lynch gets revenge on Auska Sunday.
I know on WWE Backstage recently, analysts such as Christian, Punk and Paige have all said Auska needs to win this match, so that Lynch has something to chase. I completely disagree.
As mentioned above, I think Lynch and Rousey need to have a proper one-on-one match at this year’s Wrestlemania, and the only way that happens is if Lynch is the RAW Women’s Champion.
Bayley (C. W/ Sasha Banks) vs Lacey Evans. Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Since Survivor Series concluded in November, Evans has targeted the blue brand’s Women’s Champion for his first feud as a face. Evans believes the champion does not represent the woman of WWE property, and she is looking to bring class to the Smackdown Women’s Championship. During the build to this match, Bayley and Banks have mocked Evans’ background as a marine, and they have intimidated Evans’ 6-year-old daughter.
WWE could have rushed Evan’s title shot at TLC, but they smartly waited for the Rumble. On the Jan. 17 episode of Smackdown, in an im-prompt-to match, Evans pinned Bayley in a non-title match, giving her the momentum heading into Sunday, but I believe Bayley retains the title after “The Boss” distracts the No. 1 contender.
I don’t believe WWE is ready to put the championship on Evans yet. Her character is fine, but her ring work needs to improve in order for her to be taken as a legitimate champion. Plus, I think WWE has plans for Bayley to defend the title at Wrestlemania. For Evans, losing this match does not hurt her. Going from No. 1 in the Royal Rumble and barely being on TV to a Smackdown Women’s Championship match within a year is a heck of an endorsement in my book.
Roman Reigns vs King Corbin. Falls Count Anywhere Match
Ever since being brought back to Smackdown in the 2019 WWE Draft, Baron “King” Corbin has been feuding with Reigns over who is the best superstar on Smackdown. Over the past two months, King Corbin and his “court” (Robert Roode, Dolph Ziggler and The Revival) have embarrassed Reigns on multiple occasions, including pouring dog food on him. Reigns has mostly had the upper hand over King Corbin and his cronies since The Usos have returned to Smackdown to help out their cousin.
This two month saga will conclude Sunday in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Now, unless you have been living under a rock, you know that I am a huge fan of Corbin. There’s a reason he gets the most boo’s out of everyone in WWE right now. People legitimately do not like him. They want him to go away. So what does WWE smartly do? Capitalize on it and put him on our TV screen more!
I believe that the 2019 King of the Ring winner is a future world champion in WWE, but as for Sunday, I think Reigns and The Usos destroy the King and his court. If Reigns does indeed move on to The Fiend as I predict, he needs to win clean here over Corbin, so he can have all the momentum in the world going into the Royal Rumble, albeit beat up from what should be a brutal and entertaining match. I want to see them fight in the Astros bullpen, and let’s help King Corbin cuts a pre-match promo on the Astros cheating scandal. That would make my night!
Andrade (C. W/ Zelina Vega) vs Humberto Carrillo. United States Championship
After Andrade retained his championship of the United States in a barn-burner of a Ladder Match on the Jan. 20 edition of RAW over his long time rival Rey Mysterio, Andrade attempted to deliver a Hammerlock DDT to Mysterio on the exposed concrete on the outside. Just as Andrade was about to put Mysterio out of commission, out came Carrillo dressed in a Rey Mysterio mask and shirt. Carrillo took out Andrade, saving his hero and getting revenge on the champion after Andrade took out Carrillo with the same maneuver a couple months ago, so here we are!
I believe this will be a fun match, and that Andrade will retain his strap, but I have a small problem with this match being on the card because I do not think it is needed. Save it for RAW WWE. There’s no reason to have this match on a Royal Rumble PPV.
The PPV is already expected to be it least four hours. The main matches of the show are the Royal Rumble’s, the Universal Championship match and both Women’s Championships. That’s five matches right there. Let’s not bore the crowd because they are tired. Sometimes, less is more.
Sheamus vs Shorty G
Now, why is this match on the main card as of this writing? Beats me. This feels like a pre-show match or a Smackdown match. The story of this match is as simple as this paragraph.
Sheamus returned on the first Smackdown of the new year after nine months off and delivered a Brogue Kick to Shorty G. Sheamus believes that there are no more real men on Smackdown, and Shorty G, aka Chad Gable, is sick and tired of being bullied. There’s your build for this match. Admittedly, I’m hoping for a replay of Wrestlemania 28, and Sheamus just Brogue Kicks Shorty G and pins him instantly, so we can move on to more important matches.
Brandon Lewis is the Web Director for Black Squirrel Radio. Follow him on Twitter @brandonlewis_7