By: Travis Thayer
I feel the need to write an introductory post in order to metaphorically get the ball rolling. As a fan of professional wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment in particular, I will be focusing on the pivotal months leading up to WWE’s biggest show of the year WrestleMania. The “Road to WrestleMania” to most fans is the most important and exciting time of the year. This is the time of the year where the biggest stars make shocking returns, and super matches are created to peak our interest. This Sunday marks the 26th anniversary of the Royal Rumble, and it officially kicks off the “Road to WrestleMania 29”, which will be held in East Rutherford, New Jersey at MetLife Stadium on April 7th.
The Royal Rumble
The Royal Rumble is one of four traditional pay-per-views that the WWE puts on annually. Just like all PPV’s the Royal Rumble gives the fans one-on-one encounters between heroes and villains looking to settle the score, but the Royal Rumble match itself is what is looked upon as the fire starter that leads to WrestleMania. The Royal Rumble match is a 30-man battle royal where the sole survivor is guaranteed a title shot and a spot in the main event at WrestleMania. Two superstars will start the match, and another participant will enter every ninety seconds. The only way to be eliminated from the match is to be thrown over the top rope and both feet hit the floor. This particular match is one of the most exciting and unpredictable matches in the WWE’s arsenal. On Sunday, stars like John Cena, Sheamus, Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, and many others will vie for the chance to main event WrestleMania, but those stars may be overshadowed by the “best wrestler in the world” and one very “electric” entertainer.
CM Punk (WWE Champion) Vs. The Rock
After 10 years of making movies and becoming an even bigger star than he already was, The Rock will challenge for the WWE Championship. Last year The Rock headlined WrestleMania 28 where he defeated John Cena. This year The Rock is trying to headline the show of shows as the WWE Champ. The Rock’s popularity within the WWE Universe and in general bodes well for the WWE as they are always after TV rating and PPV buyrates. The Rock instantly gives the WWE credibility, and the interest in the Royal Rumble has gone through the roof in the past three weeks. Although The Rock is a big reason for the interest you can’t discount his opponent, CM Punk. CM Punk has been the reigning defending WWE Champion for well over 400 days now. He has carried the WWE for the better half of a year and a half at a time where fans became tired of the same ole’ song and dance. CM Punk tabs himself as the “Best in the World” and you can’t argue with the guy. He has proved himself to be a terrific in-ring competitor and is second to none on the microphone. His intensity and storytelling abilities are up there with the all-time greats and on Sunday he goes one-on-one with the “great one”. This should be a match for the ages, as we have never seen the two in the ring together. Will CM Punk’s incredible title reign continue on or can The Rock win the WWE title that he has been craving for ten years? This question will definitely be answered on Sunday and it would certainly shape how the WrestleMania card will look come April.
Who Win’s the Rumble?
My prediction on who wins the Rumble will largely depend on who wins the Rock/Punk match for the WWE Title. If The Rock is crowned champion I have to believe that John Cena will win the Rumble and become the new No. 1 contender for the WWE Title. If Punk retains his title Cena could still win the Rumble and still face Rock at Mania considering there is another PPV in between the Rumble and Mania. There is also a scenario where Cena doesn’t win, but still ends up wrestling The Rock but we will let that play out rather than explain. Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Dolph Ziggler seem like the only other reasonable pics to win the Rumble. Although, there are other variables. How will The Shield impact the Rumble? Will they target Randy Orton, Sheamus, Ryback, and The Miz like they have in the past? I will say yes, but the threesome has proven themselves to be unpredictable. Will A.J. Lee and Big E. Langston help Dolph Ziggler win the Rumble all the way from No. 1 where only two people have ever done so? One thing is for certain is that Sunday night will be an exhilarating start to the “Road to WrestleMania”. And before I give my final thoughts on who will win the Rumble I have to give my final four participants that will be left standing in the ring. Dolph Ziggler will put on a tremendous show by lasting all the way to the end from the No. 1 spot. Sheamus will be there at the end to try and win his second consecutive Royal Rumble. And as a bit of a surprise I believe rookie Dean Ambrose of the aforementioned Shield will be in the final four, but in the end I do expect John Cena to win the Royal Rumble much to the chagrin of the WWE Universe, and he will once again for the second straight year headline WrestleMania against The Rock. But at the end of the night I have a feeling more people will talk about Dolph Ziggler stealing the show, and just how damn good CM Punk really is.