It’s January, and for wrestling fans, that means one thing: it’s Royal Rumble season! Kevin Carroll ranks all the entrants we’re aware of at the moment.
Yes, there’s a lot of other stuff to get excited about in wrestling at the moment, and yes the Rumble is still a few weeks away. But I’ve decided to get in the spirit of the event, and power rank EVERY superstar who’s declared for the Rumble’s chances to win, from worst to best. This week, I’ll be breaking down the men’s Rumble, while dedicating next week to the women’s side of things.
At the time of this writing, 20 gentlemen have declared their entry into this year’s Royal Rumble contest. Considering the number of surprise entries and legends that will make up a good chunk of the remaining field, it’s a safe bet to assume that 20 superstars is roughly all we’ll know before the Rumble event itself.
So without further ado, let’s get to it:
20. Jinder Mahal
Remember when Jinder Mahal was WWE Champion for much of the summer of 2017? Me either! No shot for the Modern Day Maharaja to punch his ticket to WrestleMania, I’m afraid.
Truth gets the slight edge over Mahal because of his guaranteed #30 entry, which would technically give him the best odds to win if wrestling weren’t fake. Unfortunately for Truth, this is the case, which means that the co-winner of the Mixed Match Challenge will most likely NOT be the last man left in the ring when it’s all said and done.
Could you imagine that pop though? Gives me chills to think about. Sorry, Truth!
18. Apollo Crews
The last of this tier of talent that I like to think of as the “no-shots” is Apollo Crews, who we last saw picking up a victory in mixed tag action on Monday Night RAW. As it wasn’t even him picking up the pinfall, I think it’s safe to assume that Crews will have a relatively short night in Phoenix, which is a shame because he’s a bundle of talent that needs to break out sometime in the year 2019 if he’s to have any chance in WWE at all.
Look, I love Elias as much as the next guy, I’m a card-carrying member of the Walk With Elias fan club, but could you really see him winning the Rumble? I think somewhere down the line we could see Elias elevated to the title picture, but without much momentum to speak of right now, this year won’t be the year.
16-14: Big E, Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston
As much as I enjoy the New Day as a stable, that designation really hurts their chances to make any sort of waves in the Rumble match, beyond Kofi’s usual death-defying save spot, which seems to get better every year. What’s he going to do to top standing on pancakes last year? What props will he use? That’s about as good as it’s going to get for the New Day in this year’s Rumble.
13. Baron Corbin
If the WWE wishes to set Phoenix on literal fire with a riot that no police force can contain, than sure, you could look at Baron Corbin as a legit threat to win the Royal Rumble. But do we think that Vince McMahon and company really want to send the fans home that mad? I can’t see it happening, especially as the idea of a Corbin-Strowman or Corbin-Lesnar WrestleMania main event isn’t exactly appetizing.
12. John Cena
The only free agent on this list, but that tag doesn’t really matter when, by winning the match, you could essentially put yourself on whichever show you see fit. Anyway, you know Cena’s a contender in kayfabe, as a two-time Rumble winner and 16-time world champ. They’re going to build him up as potentially the favorite to win the thing, but you and I know that’s not the case.
The man just isn’t as committed to WWE as he once was, and even though I fully expect him to win world title No. 17 someday, the Rumble is supposed to make a star. They haven’t always adhered to that logic, but I expect them to this year. Another star that will be made? Whoever dumps Cena over the top rope.
11. Randy Orton
He gets the slight nod over Cena because he’s full-time and still being presented as a threat over on SmackDown, but the same logic behind Cena not winning applies to Randy Orton.
He’s already won the match twice, and there’s prestige and expectation that will come with that, but Orton hasn’t really sniffed the world title scene since dropping the belt to Jinder Mahal two years ago, and no one’s exactly clamoring for him to get back into the picture.
Look for him to start a feud off of whoever eliminates him from the match, probably carrying through WrestleMania. It seems like a good way to get someone over.
10. Bobby Lashley
Vince loves heat, but I don’t think he loves it enough to let Bobby Lashley leave Phoenix as the winner of the Royal Rumble. It would be one hell of a troll job though, you gotta admit. I don’t think they have any plans for Lashley beyond this mini-feud he seems to have going with Seth Rollins, and I think he’ll have a quiet Rumble night.
9. Samoa Joe
I’ll be the first to point out that the Samoan Submission Machine should be way, waaaaaay higher up on this list. But what has he done to really enforce that notion? He’s been on the wrong end of so many feuds and matches, and he has yet to capture his first title in the WWE since coming up from NXT, where he was a force to be reckoned with. He’ll be U.S. Champ soon, and maybe WWE champ this year, but not via the Rumble.
8. Dean Ambrose
Ambrose is going to hold onto that Intercontinental strap for a little while, I have a feeling, which almost disqualifies him from having a chance in the Royal Rumble match. But as an upper-midcard guy, you just never know what they might do with him, and I legitimately think he has more of a chance than the other fellas that have appeared on this list so far.
7. Jeff Hardy
I think at some point, we’re going to see Jeff Hardy get one last run with the WWE Championship. Why not start that now? He’s got momentum, he’s got experience, he’s a very real threat.
6. Rey Mysterio
I know, I know, he should be in the same boat as Cena and Orton. But naaaaaaah, I’m a Mysterio guy for life and I believe he presents a legit threat to the rest of the field. He’s been nothing but brilliant since returning to SmackDown, and who wouldn’t want to see Bryan-Mysterio, or maybe even Mysterio-Lesnar? I know I would.
5. Andrade “Cien” Almas
By virtue of a massive pinfall win over Rey Mysterio in tag team action on this week’s SmackDown, I’ve got to give him the edge to win the Rumble over Mysterio, even though his heel alignment doesn’t really play out well with two heel world champions at the moment. But if AJ Styles were to win the WWE Title from Bryan at the Rumble, a Styles-Almas match would be a nice callback to some of Andrade’s an early SmackDown work, and would be a heck of a match, to boot.
4. Mustafa Ali
It’s not too early to put the rocket on Ali’s back and shoot him to the top of the card. He’s already pinned the WWE champ Daniel Bryan once in tag team action, so clearly he’s going to be in the title picture sooner rather than later. Why not get him started with the biggest win of his career?
3. Finn Balor
Balor vs. Lesnar. The Demon vs. The Beast. BOOK IT.
The word is that Finn Balor is set for a big year, and if that’s the case, than a Rumble win would be the perfect way to start off a massive 2019 for him. And if you don’t want him to face Lesnar, than moving him to SmackDown and having him square off with Daniel Bryan would be just as good, if not better.
2. Seth Rollins
My personal pick to win the Rumble, I think Rollins-Lesnar is the best possible match we could have at WrestleMania (it won’t be closing the show, that honor should and will belong to the women, but more on that next week). Rollins is also someone you could move to SmackDown and feud with Bryan if that was the route WWE chose to go.
1. Drew McIntyre
He’s gotta be the favorite, right? The Scottish Psychopath has been on an absolute tear ever since reemerging on Monday Night Raw. He’s destroyed Kurt Angle, Dolph Ziggler, Finn Balor, and just about everyone in his path. Next up? Brock Lesnar.
The Good, Bad and Ugly: NXT (01/16/2019)
Bobby breaks down the most recent episode of NXT. Does it play out like we all expect?
NXT was back to its usual self last week. A whole lot of action, tremendous storylines, and excellence. This week, we hope the Good times will continue. They cram a lot of Professional Wrestling’s finest into a small hour long segment proving less is more. With another week of new content will NXT ever be anything but Good?
Bianca Belair Promo
This match with Shayna Baszler will be incredible. Both are so dominant and contrast each other’s styles so well. Glam vs. Gloom. Belair had a more than impressive win over Nikki Cross last week and it certainly got some people’s attention. Her mic skills are sincere, and smooth. She has a lot of “it” factor. Of course when you put Baszler’s name in your mouth, she isn’t going to be far behind. Baszler interrupted Belair, in tow with her Horsewomen. Baszler is fantastic and demands attention, but Belair held her ground and the two had a Good exchange. Belair finally had enough and literally slapped the spit out of Baszler. She poked the bear and for the time being got away with it.
Johnny Gargano vs. Humberto Carillo
Carillo nearly won the 205 Live Championship this week, and has some skills. Gargano can work anyone so this was a decent match. A lot of flying around, huge moves and smooth entertaining action. Carillo hit a sick “missile dropkick” followed by a “standing moonsault.” He is impressive, but Johnny Wrestling wasn’t going to be outdone and crushed Carillo’s momentum and face with his “slingshot DDT” for the victory.
Kassius Ohno vs. “Limitless” Keith Lee
Two huge, physical beast going head to head. This is going to hurt. Ohno is one stiff bastard but Lee won’t be one to get beat around. Lee was dominant early on, overpowering and out finessing Ohno. Lee is so impressive, you never know what he is going to do. He has the power and agility rarely seen on any platform of sports. Ohno didn’t lie down though, he got in his shots and got the big guy down with brutal kicks. Ohno had control until he got a back full of knees on a senton attempt. Lee wouldn’t turn back from there. He just overpowered Ohno, tossing him around and hitting a slingshot cross body for a near fall. The ref got in the mix and knocked down just long enough for Ohno to get in a “low blow” for a cheap but much needed win for Kassius Ohno. Matt Riddle made the run in due to the cheap victory but only Good for a staredown.
Street Profits vs. The Metro Brothers (Chris and JC)
The current EVOLVE Tag Team Champions have been appropriately hyped. A lot of fans have no idea who they are, but they can certainly work. The Metro Brothers have a Good look as well. This had match had decent potential heading into it, as both teams had a Good energy heading in. Unfortunately this was a quick match, and didn’t showcase anything special. Street Profits win decisively. The celebration was short lived though as the “Forgotten Son’s” who truly were forgotten by most. These bad ass bikers beat the hell out of Street Profits and the crowd was not amused. Not NXT’s greatest stuff, and a surprisingly disappointing opening match.
Adrian Jaoude vs. Dominic Dijakovic
Jaoude a black belt and badass looks like a serious dude, and we already know how intense the New England Native Dijak is. He destroys his opponents. Unfortunately we saw a lot of awkward “mat” wrestling. The problem is if you do mat wrestling, it cannot look half assed and both competitors have to be able to go with it. We didn’t see that here. This was boring, and didn’t do anything for the audience. Dijakovic Wins and it couldn’t have ended fast enough.
OVERALL- Good, but not as Good as usual. Some of the action was more than disappointing but honestly nothing is perfect. NXT is more often than not, a fantastic example of Professional Wrestling’s potential.
The NXT product is just unreal. The promos have substance and are straight to the point. The talent on the roster even with the “call ups” seem to replenish and feed the well-oiled machine without a hiccup. The word is that an extended time slot may be in the works for more action. As said earlier less is more, but if they don’t fill the extra time with crap and just more expected Gold of a typical NXT, more is just better. However this week it wasn’t up to par. It seems that as usual the Good outweighed the Bad, but this really wasn’t their best. Onto the next week, which are the “take home” shows for an action packed weekend. See you then!
All In For a New Era Of Pro Wrestling
Corey Taylor makes his debut for The Chairshot with some opinions about the new era being ushered in by All Elite Wrestling!
Unlike people who don’t know much about wrestling or those that just watch it as a fan, I am way different. Although, I am not a wrestler, watching wrestling had been my passion since Iv was young and its to a point I watch and study it on a creative level. I had fallen in love with WWF right from the start. A lot of people ask me ‘how?’ or ‘why?’
It all started in 1991, I was just two years of age. Pretty young, right? Yeah, I told you. My dad was channel surfing when he flipped to WWF, and that was it. Ever since that first encounter, I became addicted. Here I am, thirty years old and still a devoted fan.
I know virtually everything about the wrestling industry from that time period, and it was such a magical time. The era of Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage, and Hulk Hogan was lighting up the federation in the early ‘90s. This continued until the WWF decided to do a “NEW GENERATION.” Wrestlers like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels who were tag team specialists set off on single careers and became leaders of the new era.
Media mogul Ted Turner, the CEO of World Championship Wrestling, had a chat with Eric Bischott who was one of his B-team announcers on how they could compete against WWF. Eric Bischoff pulling anything out of thin air that he could think of that’d help them compete recommended they should go head to head with the WWF every Monday night. Turner concurred and gave him the prime time slot. They shook WWF to its core for a period of time.
Due to this development, WWF which was still going the kid-friendly over the top character lost a lot of its fanbase and was suffering financially while WCW was more reality-based and was bringing in bigger numbers. Most of the stars of the 80s and early 90s from WWF jumped to WCW. During this period, Luger appeared on the very first episode of Monday Nitro while Hogan and Savage had left a year or so earlier, since their presence was almost termed as irrelevant; WWF was on the project of making it big with new young pros but even their bigger stars like Kevin Nash (also known as Diesel in WWF) and Scott Hall (known as Razor Ramon) shocked the wrestling world by jumping to WCW.
As if that wasn’t enough, WCW competed with WWF/E “head to head” and won every week for 83 solid weeks! Wow, you would agree with me that this was huge. This challenge outright brought WWF ratings crashing down. However, the WCW’s ego started their downfall. How? Naturally, for all their previous challenges the raw pre-taped their Monday night Raw on various weeks and when they did WCW would give away the results. Then on the 83rd
week, they publicly announced that there was going to be a new champion. That night, Mick Foley won the championship and WCW knew it was happening because it was pre-taped. Tony Schiavone said with disgust “That’ll put butts in the seats.”
However, the fans switched over to Raw and the WCW never really recovered from the rating change. This development further fueled the WCW’s doom. Based on the responses from various sources, a lot of things led to her downfall in 2001 but on a fateful day in 2001 Vince McMahon “bought his creation.”
I know what you are wondering. Why bring you on this trip eighteen years back in time down memory lane? Here we are in 2019. WWF; now known as WWE is still standing though on bent legs. They are still going strong but they are struggling with keeping the momentum going and ratings are not what they use to be. Even with its long-lasting virtue, it is struggling to keep the fans entertained.
Now don’t get it all wrong it is still a juggernaut but for how long? Some people blame it on Monday Night Raw being three hours while others say it is as a result of Vince inconsistency with his fans and all other sorts of assumptions. In all, there seems to be a new dawn for WWE in 2019. They will either flourish or fail. WWE is about to witness the competition it hasn’t witnessed in 18 years.
It all started four months ago, on the first of September, 2018. After months of intense preparation and planning, Cody Rhodes, the son of a legendary pro wrestler, and a pro wrestling mastermind, the late Dusty Rhodes, along with Nick and Matt Jackson, the Young Bucks put on a well-planned event that sold out the Sears Center and successfully put on a stacked show. It was a great show as were interesting combinations of amazing in-ring competition, blasts from the past and simply entertaining and bizarre moments.
There was Jay Lethal restoring his Black Machismo tactic with Randy Savage’s brother Lanny Poffo by his side, there was this very emotional NWA championship match between Nick Aldis and Cody Rhodes and to cap it all, everyone also enjoyed the challenge between Kenny Omega and Pentagon Jr, with a shocking appearance by Chris Jericho. It was the kind of show wrestling fans have been dying for. At one point I had to rub my eyes and wonder if I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. With Adam Page in the ring after a match, Joey Ryan’s crotch appeared on the screen and began to…well…stiffen, Followed by inflatable phallic druids heading down to the ring and the world
saw the “Res-erection” of Joey Ryan. I was just standing there both traumatized and entertained. It was definitely unique.
ALL IN was such a success it was announced on the BEING THE ELITE YouTube channel on January 1st that they were going DOUBLE OR NOTHING, and a second announcement of the birth of All Elite Wrestling. The Bucks, Adam Page, and Cody Rhodes were going to be starting their own wrestling promotion…but it gets even better. As days went on it was announced that top female independent talent, Brit Baker was joining the company and the official disclosure of the financial backers being the Khan family, owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars. It is being said
that they are investing about one-hundred million dollars into the startup of the company.
Wow! That’s a huge amount of cash.
More names relating to the project were announced on the 8th of January, at a press conference hosted by All Elite. The first names that were called out were: (So Cal Uncensored); Frankie Kazarian, Christopher Daniels, and Scorpio Sky and signed by All Elite Wrestling. Then the former WWE Cruiserweight champion PAC and Chris Jericho, one of the biggest free agents in the industry were announced at the rally.
According to The Bucks and Rhodes, they testified that they had a goal of putting ten thousand people in a building a few months ago, and they were successful. In their words, they revealed that they never let their friendship have any effect on them in their profession and their comradely will surely be one of the driving forces of what makes AEW successful. I ran through the lists of the names that were announced, Cody Rhodes, Young Bucks, Adam
Page, Brit Baker, So Cal Uncensored, PAC, Chris Jericho and am predicting a ton of success of ALL IN but I could also see some similarities between AEW and WCW. The distinctions between AEW and WCW were clearly evident.
Both WCW and AEW were funded by a billionaire. WCW, however, focused on already established big names from WWE while AEW is focusing on guys who have made thier own names for themselves. Even former WWE wrestlers like Pac and Jericho left WWE and have done a great deal. WCW had pizza guys and network execs running the company before and after Eric Bischoff was in power but AEW has The Bucks and Cody Rhodes leading the charge
and seems to be in control of things on a creative level. That will be a major catalyst that will be why AEW can outrun WCW.
Unlike WCW, in AEW, there are no egos, no politicians, no random individual who does not know the trends in the wrestling industry. It is a project that is being anchored by people who ARE in the wrestling business. The trending news does not stop here, and there had been rumors that big networks are looking to have AEW on their network and another aspect reminiscent of WCW one of those networks is none other than the former home of WCW Nitro the TNT network. Could we see a rebirth of the Monday Night Wars? Dare we dream?
The wrestling business is changing and this could be a wakeup call to WWE to focus and make an impact and keep the momentum going while also giving fans an alternative in AEW. It is evident that the next two years are going to be very remarkable and very crucial for WWE, AEW and the pro wrestling industry in general, and I am so excited to be a fan of the product now even more than ever. However, if WWE or AEW needs a writer on their staff that has been following the industry for 27 years and had 10 years of writing experience, I am available, reach me.
To get the latest news on All Elite Wrestling, tune in to your favorite pro wrestling news sites. You can also tune into Twitter and Being the Elite YouTube channel to get the news.