Sunday brings us the Royal Rumble, which is a gold mine for gambling! Or so I’m told. As always, we’re just bringing you picks for entertainment purposes. I do know there’s tons of prop bets you can make on this event.
One popular one is to bet on which number entrant will win the Rumble. 27 was a popular number early in Rumble history, and still has the most winners with four, but we haven’t seen somebody win from that spot since 2001. 28’s had a better run in recent years, having three winners since 2005. 30 used to be jinxed, but we’ve seen three people win from there since 2007. Numbers lower than 10 have been bad luck since 2009, so you won’t like your chances there. Last year saw people win from 16 & 17, so I think we’ll see a little more variance this year. I’m thinking a low number wins the men’s match, while a high number wins the women’s.
Then there are prop bets on who will throw the most people out. On the women’s side, you gotta look at Nia Jax. On the men’s side? I’d go with Sheamus out of the people currently in it.
Will somebody break the overall time record? I doubt it, especially since Daniel Bryan shattered it at the Greatest Royal Rumble.
So there’s plenty of ways to have fun with the Royal Rumble. Let’s take a look at the odds on the matches, brought to you by BetOnline. Just so you know, some of these odds are fluctuating like crazy, so they might all be completely different by the time this gets posted. Good times!
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Asuka & Charlotte Flair (+150) vs. Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (-200)
no need to face them all alone
We can all swing together my oh my pic.twitter.com/aUDlmzCFlg
— ASUKA / 明日華 (@WWEAsuka) January 23, 2021
This was posted on Thursday with Nia & Shayna installed as the favorites for two reasons I can see. For one thing, they eventually wound up winning the clusterjerk on Monday that took about a half hour and three finishes to settle. For another thing, it’s probably time for Charlotte to get a singles title shot. Maybe with Lacey Evans? Sure, let’s make it a three-way. Charlotte, Lacey & Asuka, not Charlotte, Lacey & Ric.
Think I’d still bet on Asuka & Charlotte though, because I Don’t Bet Against Greatness. They’ll lose the belts later in the WM build.
Drew McIntyre (-300) vs. Goldberg (+200)
"I ain't gonna need a frickin' cattle prod to do it! All I'm gonna need is one Claymore." 😮😮😮
— WWE (@WWE) January 27, 2021
From the perspective of a viewer, I can’t see Goldberg winning this match. Drew’s been going pretty strong as champion for most of the past year, with a brief pause caused by Randy Orton. Who, by the way, is much more disrespectful to WWE Legends than Goldberg accused Drew of being. I’m still confused about that whole story point. Goldberg is in great shape for a fifty-four year old man and still has mainstream value, but the idea of him being a world champion gets more ridiculous by the year. Not like that’s stopped WWE the last two times he’s gone after a championship. Losing a championship to Goldberg didn’t hurt Kevin Owens or The Fiend in the long run, but it didn’t help them either.
There is some value in betting on Goldberg. I’ve noticed how much he’s being featured on WWE social media, and it wouldn’t be all that surprising if they put the title on him to set up some type of “dream match” at WrestleMania. If you insist on betting, he’s the choice. Personally, I’m hoping Drew gets the win, but there isn’t much value in betting on him.
Roman Reigns (-1500) vs. Kevin Owens (+575)
8 days. pic.twitter.com/ytVWYOEWI8
— Kevin (@FightOwensFight) January 23, 2021
I’d like to tell you there’s a chance of KO scoring the upset here and taking Roman’s spot at the Head of the SmackDown Table. It’s going to be a fun match to watch, and Owens tends to thrive in matches where there aren’t a ton of pesky rules involved. I just don’t see any good reason to take the belt off of Roman Reigns at this point in time. Stay clear from this one, unless you want to do a fun prop bet.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match: Nia Jax, Charlotte Flair, Bianca Belair, Bayley, Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, Peyton Royce, Alexa Bliss, Shayna Baszler, Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott, Tamina & others
Current Top 10 (+tie)
Bianca Belair: +150
Alexa Bliss: +300
Charlotte Flair: +400
Rhea Ripley: +550
Ronda Rousey: +700
Becky Lynch: +800
Sonya Deville: +1000
Shayna Baszler: +1400
Nia Jax: +2000
Last year @BiancaBelairWWE only had a few hours to prepare for the Royal Rumble…
She still threw out eight women and lasted over half an hour 😳
— WWE on BT Sport (@btsportwwe) January 27, 2021
The fact that Paige cracks the top 10 tells you there aren’t a lot of options here. Nothing personal against Paige, I’m just not aware of when she was cleared to compete. Maybe that happens on the WWE Backstage show? Probably not, but I can only assume that some people are drawing that conclusion.
Bianca is a clear favorite here, and the possibility of Belair vs. Sasha Banks at WrestleMania is very tempting. Then there’s Rhea Ripley’s name, and even if she’s not officially in the match yet, her emerging to win the Rumble makes perfect sense to me. Ronda Rousey? Becky Lynch? I wouldn’t mind either one. Sonya wrestling would be newsworthy. We definitely can’t rule out Alexa doing some weird stuff.
I’m going with Rhea Ripley at that price. A bit of a roll of the dice there, but there’s good potential to make some money there. Watch her not appear while Ronda, Becky & Paige do.
Four To Look Out For
Lacey Evans: +2500
Peyton Royce: +2500
Toni Storm: +3300
Chelsea Green: +6600
Yeah, we’re just throwing some darts here. Not a lot of likely options outside the current top 10. Lacey is getting a push with Charlotte’s dad, which leaves Peyton with not too much to do. It’d be a quick way to heat Peyton up, if Vince McMahon is still high on her. Toni’s always going to make a list if I have a change to put her on one. Finally, I have no idea when Chelsea’s expected to come back, but I expect her to make a big impact when she does. Can’t think of a much bigger impact than winning the Royal Rumble.
Men’s Royal Rumble Match: Daniel Bryan, Bobby Lashley, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Otis, The Miz, Jey Uso, Cesaro, Jeff Hardy, Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, Shinsuke Nakamura, Big E, John Morrison, Sheamus, Mustafa Ali, Edge & others
Current Top 10
Daniel Bryan: +100
Brock Lesnar: +600
Keith Lee: +700
Big E: +900
Drew McIntyre: +1000
Shinsuke Nakamura: +1000
The Rock: +1000
Roman Reigns: +1200
EDGE DECLARES FOR THE ROYAL RUMBLE 😤
— B/R Wrestling (@BRWrestling) January 26, 2021
Bryan has been the betting favorite for most of the time since odds were released. WWE has repeatedly informed us that he’s never won a Rumble match, which feels like they’re telling us that he’ll win this one. Bryan hasn’t had the best win-loss record lately, which also plays into the feeling that he’ll win the Rumble. 50/50 booking.
Edge shot up the board like a rocket after announcing his entry into the match, and it’s easy to see why. It’ll be the third Rumble Edge has made a comeback appearance for, and he won the first one back in 2010. He made it to the second runner-up position in his comeback last year, and one expects him to be around at the end this time around. Especially since his rival, Randy Orton, will likely be otherwise occupied.
Brock Lesnar is one of the names I could see as a possibility for the #30 slot that will be announced on WWE Backstage this Saturday night. Considering how well he did the last time he was in a Royal Rumble, he’d stand a good chance of winning it. This is all assuming WWE gives him enough money to leave his house. I won’t rule it out!
The rest of the top 10 consists of either long shots or championship match participants trying to get in the WM main event. We’ve seen Becky Lynch do it before, but it doesn’t happen as often as you might think. I think Edge is the smart pick because it’s the easiest way to give him something for WrestleMania. Keep an eye on that Brock price though, if it gets much lower somebody knows something.
Four To Watch Out For
Seth Rollins: +1400
Randy Orton: +4000
The Miz: +5000
We’ve been waiting for a Rollins comeback, and I’ve got a feeling it’s going to happen at the Royal Rumble. This one didn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to figure out, but a Rumble feud with his former Shield buddy would make some sense.
Sheamus won the 2012 Royal Rumble, as I’m well aware of. One figures that his alliance with Drew McIntyre would fall apart at some point, and there might not be a better time than the build to WrestleMania. Certainly not a better time for Sheamus, it’d be a high-profile feud on a high-profile show.
Orton was considered one of the favorites earlier this week, but his stock sunk like a rock within the last couple of days. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with this tweet from WrestleVotes:
Sorry for the lack of details here but still noteworthy IMO; had a brief conversation earlier with a source regarding the Men’s Royal Rumble match. They said quote:
“There’s a finish that scares the death out of me. And it’s legitimately getting heavy consideration” yikes.
— WrestleVotes (@WrestleVotes) January 27, 2021
I could end up being wrong, but I read this as something stupid involving Orton & Bray Wyatt. As long as it results in neither man winning, and as long as we have an actual winner, I’m ok with whatever. That being said…Orton is still a threat to win this thing and I bet he gets closer to the top of the board before Sunday. So jump on this price if you can!
Miz at +5000 seems like a really good bet to me considering how much he’s featured on television. I don’t think he’s all that likely to win, but should he really be at the same value as Ricochet, Conor McGregor & Tommaso Ciampa at this point? Probably not. Of all the long shots, Miz seems the best bet.
There you have it! Good luck everybody, and don’t forget to send me 15% of the fake money you win! Or 15% of the profits you made off of GameStop, whichever is more.
Steve Cook’s Fave Five: April 2021
It’s a little more than halfway through April! You know what that means…
It’s a little more than halfway through April! You know what that means.
It’s time to talk about my current five favorite wrestlers like I’m Booker T. Let’s break down the Fave Five!
5. Samoa Joe
A gentle reminder that Samoa Joe is one of the greatest talkers in the game pic.twitter.com/p4TZeZIAV7
— Kenny Majid – A Kenny For Your Thoughts Podcast (@akfytwrestling) April 15, 2021
I figure what happened between Samoa Joe & WWE was the following: WWE offered Joe an announcing contract since either they didn’t want to use him in the ring or their doctors wouldn’t clear him to wrestle. Joe looked at the contract, noticed the financial discrepancy, realized he could probably get NJPW to let him train young boys in California for that kind of money and said “thanks but no thanks”. Nothing else really makes sense to me.
Unfortunately, those who thought that WWE wouldn’t utilize Joe to their fullest potential were right. It wasn’t all WWE’s fault though. Joe had a lot of miles on his tires when he got there. Injuries are always more of a concern with larger wrestlers the older they get. And when Joe was healthy, he did get to do some good stuff and show people a glimpse of the Samoa Joe that people like me raved about back in the mid to late 2000s.
In any event, Joe got his WWE run. It was a thing that happened. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t wind up in AEW because he seems like the kind of guy Tony Khan would throw all the money at. Should be fun!
4. Kris Statlander
— All Elite Wrestling on TNT (@AEWonTNT) April 15, 2021
AEW does have a pretty insane number of factions right now. It risks the possibility of all of the groups blending together, with none of them really capturing the attention of fans. However, there are positive things about AEW’s faction warfare that shouldn’t be overlooked. It makes booking fresh matches to fill cards pretty easy. You can have groups facing off each week, but in different combinations that keep it fresh.
Another good thing: It can help us decide how we feel about characters that we might be on the fence about. Kris Statlander’s character was a topic of discussion from the moment she entered AEW. A lot of people weren’t sure how to take her. Wrestling aliens, or wrestlers who think they’re aliens, aren’t exactly common. Its the kind of thing that gets over in the indies, because those feds attract fans that are more willing to buy into unique concepts. Mainstream is a tougher sell.
Aligning Kris with the Best Friends makes sense to those in the know, since she came up working shows with them. It also helps people that don’t know about her figure out more. The Best Friends are a happy go lucky group that are the whitest of white meat babyfaces you’ll find in AEW, and that’s a good thing. They’re welcoming to people with unique personalities, as Orange Cassidy’s presence establishes. A friendly alien couldn’t ask for a better group to surround herself with, and from their appearances so far she seems like a perfect fit.
Add in the fact that the time on the shelf helped her get into better shape and refine her look & presence, and the sky’s the limit for Statlander. As long as she can stay in the ring, I’m expecting big things from her in 2021.
3. Tay Conti
Sometimes, all one needs is a change of scenery to approach their true potential. Tay spent a few years at the WWE Performance Center learning how to be a professional wrestler. During her time there, Tay never showed much in the way of potential. Even though she had a combat sports background and had the type of physical appearance that gets attention, Conti’s TV time was very limited and uneventful. She seemed like one of those wrestlers that was bound to stay in developmental until WWE gave up on them, then drop off the face of the earth without most wrestling fans noticing.
Tay’s story took a different route. She ended up being one of the cuts that AEW took an interest in, and was brought in for the Deadly Draw Women’s Tag Team Tournament. Her teaming with Anna Jay worked well on & off-camera, and she pretty much fit right in with the group immediately. She started training with Dustin Rhodes, and pretty much immediately started looking better in the ring & figuring out what worked for her. Now, she’s one of the people helping AEW’s women’s division go to a higher level.
This isn’t meant to denigrate WWE’s Performance Center or its methods. There just isn’t a wrestling training center out there that’s going to work for everybody. Tay had to find what worked for her. The people that recently got cut will have to do the same. Hopefully, the people that recently got signed by WWE will thrive in that environment.
2. Bianca Belair
We’ve recently seen three new Women’s Champions under the WWE umbrella, all of whom are great in their own way. I’ve talked about Rhea Ripley before, she’s got unlimited potential and so far she’s done very well on the main roster. Raquel Gonzalez is doing very well on NXT and her push to the championship made perfect sense & got over. I do think the best of the title changes was Bianca’s defeat of Sasha Banks in the main event of WrestleMania Saturday. It was a special moment for Bianca, a very fun match to watch, and a great performance from both Bianca & Sasha Banks, who did everything she could to make Bianca in that match.
You see the video of the NXT segment up above, with the three current Women’s Champions under the WWE umbrella celebrating together. Apparently there was a picture taken in 2019, and there were pictures taken after this week’s NXT, with Triple H making sure to get in there as he likes to do with all new champions. I’ve never really been a fan of that sort of thing, even the “Horsewomen” celebrations on previous NXT shows didn’t do much for me.
Besides the usual complaints people have about things like that, the thing that I didn’t like was how Rhea & Raquel came off. They were all smiling & happy like they were Big Daddy Cool Diesel after beating Mr. Bob Backlund in 1994. Completely against what Raquel has been up to this point, and what Rhea has been when she’s been at her best. Hopefully this is just a one-time thing for Rhea for the portion of the NXT audience that likes their lady wrestlers crying & happy after their performances, and hopefully it’s leading to Raquel getting dismembered by Dakota Kai, who can’t be happy about her heater winning the championship and then turning into Smilin’ Diesel.
Fortunately for Bianca, it does nothing to affect her character or our opinion of her. That’s why I think her title run will go best. I’m also putting her here because I’m pretty well convinced there isn’t a wrestling move or spot she can’t do well. Insanely talented, and the more experience she gets the better she’ll be.
1. Darby Allin
Sometimes you just want to watch something that’s stupid fun. Something that doesn’t need too much thought in order to enjoy it. Just people doing crazy things to entertain an audience. Darby Allin matches are just what you need when you’re looking for something like this. There isn’t anybody crazier in pro wrestling today than Darby, which is probably for the best. I’m convinced this kid has a death wish.
The one thing that kinda gets me about Darby sometimes is how he kicks out of everything. Poor Matt Hardy wasn’t going to beat that kid unless he shot him with a gun, and apparently there’s a metal detector at Daily’s Place. (Shoutout to Matt by the way, hell of an effort in that match.) But then I remember that Darby Allin is a daredevil and constantly posting videos online where he’s jumping off high places and doing crazy things. Obviously, it’s going to take a little more to beat a daredevil than your average pro wrestler.
What’s it going to take to beat Darby Allin? That’s a good reason to keep watching.
NXT Minus 6: About that Cole-O’Reilly match…
It was the Takeover match that held the most promise. Where did it go wrong?
It was the Takeover match that held the most promise. Where did it go wrong?
6. I was jacked to 11 for Adam Cole versus Kyle O’Reilly. I was ready to give it a Tokyo Dome 6 stars. MOTY before the bell rang. A masterwork of storytelling. I correctly predicted it would be an unsanctioned match. Then the action started, and it quickly became “be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.”
5. After the first few acts of violence, it was apparent that the problem with the match would be the stipulation. The last NXT unsanctioned match was Johnny Gargano versus Tommaso Ciampa in 2018. That was 3 short years ago, but things move quickly in today’s world. There is very little chance an unsanctioned match can deliver the level of violence it promises as long as NXT is on the PG-13 Peacock.
4. Fans are losing their minds over all the content Peacock is leaving on the cutting floor. A lot of it was offensive and would never work today, but that’s not the point. The fact is there’s only so much violence Peacock’s parent company NBC will tolerate from wrestling. Take the chain, for example. Other than the clothesline, it was practically useless. O’Reilly tried to make it work, but it fell flat. In an unsanctioned match, 20 feet of heavy duty chain should be all you need to decimate another human being.
3. Maybe I’m a victim of my own wrestling memory. An unsanctioned match in Memphis in the 80’s would have been a bloodbath. Someone would have been hung over the top rope with the chain around his neck. Whipped across the back. Hog tied. Someone would have wrapped it around their fist for a few stiff shots to their opponent’s forehead. But that goes back to my original point. None of that would fly today even if NXT was only on the WWE network.
2. I’ll go so far as to say the only violent-promising stipulation that interests me is Falls Count Anywhere. There is zero drama in wrestlers pulling chairs from under the ring. The chance to use the naturally occurring environment as a weapon still holds a world of suspense. Someone is going through windows, walls, off the stage, over the guardrail, stuffed in a locker. Honestly, I’m tired of people getting hit in the stomach with folding chairs. Of all the ways to hit someone with a folding chair, that’s the least practical.
1. I’m sorry to say Kyle O’Reilly versus Adam Cole didn’t deliver what I expected. Maybe I’m in the minority. Maybe I don’t need over-the-top violence to entertain me. Maybe I don’t need wrestling to keep pushing the envelope. Five of my top 6 matches of 2021 are straight up wrestling matches. Maybe all I need is two (or three or four) strong characters and a good story. Damn, I sound old.
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