Every January, 30 WWE Superstars vie to win the Royal Rumble match for a coveted shot at the World Heavyweight championship at WrestleMania.
But this year's Rumble, live from the Amway Center in Orlando this Sunday night, will be different. For the first time ever, the WWE is making its World Heavyweight titeholder — Roman Reigns in this case — put the championship on the line in the over-the-top, 30-man Rumble itself.
As if that wasn't a daunting task of its own, the McMahon family rigged the drawing this past Monday Night Raw to make Reigns the No. 1 overall entrant. So, in other words, he'll have to go through hell and back if he's going to be the first ... and last man standing in the annual match.
That being said, it's still hard to count out the current World Heavyweight champion in this important spot. But remember, 29 other Superstars also have a shot. So what's going to go down this Sunday? Well we're here to discuss six people who have a legitimate shot of waking up Monday morning with the belt in their possession.
Sure, the deck is stacked against him, but if the WWE wants to keep the page turning on this modern-day Stone Cold vs. Vince McMahon, employee vs. boss angle, Roman Reigns could very well wind up being the last man standing in Sunday's Royal Rumble, outlasting 29 other Superstars in the grueling process and retaining his World Heavyweight championship.
Reigns winning would sure up the ante with Vincent Kennedy McMahon, his daughter Stephanie McMahon and his son-in-law Triple H all having to go back to the drawing board to find ways to screw over the champ until WrestleMania 32 on April 3.
Continuing with the theme of the McMahon family giving Roman Reigns the Raw deal — pun intended — we could totally see Triple H conveniently abusing his power and injecting himself into the Royal Rumble as the comfy 30th participant, paving the way for not only him to win the over-the-top match without breaking a sweat, but robbing Reigns of his World Heavyweight title.
That and two entire subsequent months of back-and-forth torture between Reigns and the McMahons could set up quite the WrestleMania 32 main event between "The Game" and Roman come April 3, wouldn't it?
Well, he's "The Beast" for a reason, right? Penciling in Brock Lesnar for at least 10 eliminations in the Royal Rumble seems like a logical bet. Whether it's going to be taking fellow WWE Superstars on painful tours through Suplex City or simply discarding them like rag dolls, Lesnar is going to get his fill this Sunday night.
With Roman Reigns calling him out this past Raw, we wouldn't be surprised to see the World Heavyweight champion and "The Beast" as the last men standing in the Rumble, either. With the road to WrestleMania upon us, Brock winning the title back wouldn't be far-fetched at all. He has a legit shot to win it all.
If the rumors are true and this upcoming WrestleMania 32 is The Undertaker's final dance with the WWE, before riding off into the sunset, then why not have the Dead Man go out on top? Part of that could entail Taker — and not Triple H — being the 30th man in the Royal Rumble, surprising everyone and leaving Orlando with the World Heavyweight title.
On the strength of being a pillar of the WWE for 25-plus years, you can never count The Undertaker out. He has more than earned a glorious sendoff and winning the Rumble could mark the beginning of that.
We know that John Cena is nursing a serious shoulder injury, but with rumors continuing to run rampant that he's going to be facing The Undertaker at WrestleMania 32, Cena winning the Royal Rumble would only serve as a springboard to build up towards the WWE's most-important event of the year.
As the face of the company for the past several years, don't ever put it past Cena to be the last man standing in the Rumble ... especially considering he made a surprise return from injury to win a Rumble already back in 2008.
Daniel Bryan was going to be our sixth legit pick to win the Royal Rumble, as perhaps a surprise 30th draw, but the former World Heavyweight champion getting medical clearance and instantly injected back into the main-event heat without being eased back in is asking for a lot.
So, perhaps the route the WWE will take is making the Rumble winner a wrestler that fans are familiar with, but not in the WWE. And this year, that would be none other than AJ Styles. John Cena posted the above picture of the high-flying, risk-taking Styles on his Instagram account Wednesday morning, further fueling speculation that the WWE has signed the veteran.
Perhaps, the storyline will be that Styles is taking Cena's place in the Rumble ... and he wins it all, making his debut truly unforgettable in the process. Hey, stranger things have happened and it would show that the WWE isn't afraid to take chances and mix things up a bit.