By Nick Whitworth @pwpitstopNick
The Rant Of The Day – Royal Rumble/NXT Takeover:Philadelphia Edition
2 Rants in one week… Boy, you are all in for a real treat then eh. This Rant is just a tad bit different as I will only be discussing 2 topics not the usual 5-6. Today’s topics are quite simple.
– Royal Rumble
– NXT Takeover: Philadelphia
1: We are days away from the Royal Rumble and I am filled with mixed emotions. The past few Rumble’s have been a huge disappointment. The only good thing to come of the past few Rumble’s has been WWE finally signing the Phenomenal AJ Styles and having him shockingly debut.
The past few years we have seen Randy Orton, Triple H, Roman Reigns and Batista win the Rumble…. Pretty hurtin’ winners if you ask me. This year I do think we will finally have a solid winner.
The Royal Rumble is one of my favorites as it begins my favorite season of the year… The Road To Wrestlemania. Nothing beats the build up to Mania, with the Rumble winner eyeing that main event slot, the WWE Hall Of Fame and now the brilliant NXT Takeover’s all make for a fantastic weekend. Each passing week WWE slowly builds up feuds for Mania, announces Hall Of Fame inductees and starts heavily promoting the event… It all starts at the Royal Rumble.
Let me break down each match with my genius thoughts and predictions. So lets see how right I will be (99% right, right?)
– The Usos vs Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin (2 out of 3 falls for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship):
Should be Rusev and Aiden English in my opinion, taking advantage of the red hot Rusev but I will settle for Gable & Benjamin. This should be the opener as I think these 2 teams will produce an excellent match and really set the tone for the rest of the night. Both teams are hot right now so I will agree with WWE that they made a good call here.
Winner : With the recent DWI for Jey Uso I will go with The Usos dropping the straps to Gable & Benjamin.
– Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan vs Cesaro & Sheamus ( for the Raw Tag Team Championship):
Odd pairing of Rollins and Jordan, rumors of Jordan being injured, Sheamus and his neck injury, this sounds exhausting just from that. I am not into Rollins/Jordan one bit as Jordan is just a filler for the injured Ambrose. Jeez, they say Rollins injures people, well now it seems he injures his tag partners by just teaming with them… Ok, I had too.
I do think this match will be solid as anything The Bar does is always solid but not knowing the severity of Sheamus and his neck issue, I think Cesaro might carry the team. Nothing wrong with that though as the fans love Cesaro and it is a great way to protect Sheamus until the company figures out what is next for the pale fella.
Winner : No clue as it depends on the 2 stars injuries.
– AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (Handicapped match for the WWE Championship):
Besides the Women’s Rumble, this match could steal the show. 3 amazing talents going at it. One little difference is Zayn and Owens are working together. Styles is the companies biggest star so I think even though the odds are against him, he will hold his own. I mean he is Phenomenal isn’t he?
I am 100 % invested into this match and with it being a handicapped match you know there is a surprise here. No way in hell will this be just a plain ol’ lop sided match. WWE has something up their sleeve with this one and I for one and intrigued.
I do not see Style’s helper being the person who he faces at Mania, I see it being the person who ends up challenging KO.
Winner : AJ Styles. I believe he will hold the belt until Mania and will go on to finally main event the biggest show of them all.
– Brock Lesnar vs Braun Strowman vs Kane ( Triple Threat for the Universal Championship)
If I am being honest here I will say I absolutely dislike this match and have no interest in seeing it. Lesnar is very much overrated, Strowman just doesn’t cut it yet for me and Kane, well is it 2004?
I wont beat a dead horse here but I am sure most of you are thinking the same way as me. The only reason why Vince made this match was because I fell asleep during the meeting and wasn’t able to chime in with my brilliant ideas.
Winner : Brock Lesnar as it has been rumored for the past year that we will be getting Lesnar vs Reigns at Mania (zzzzzzzzz – that’ll be me during that match)
– Men’s Royal Rumble match:
Even with the weak outcomes I always love this match. From nostalgia acts to debuts, the Rumble has always been top notch. This year I predict an even bigger Rumble.
We will 100 % see EC3 debut (re debut I guess you would call it) and I think will do extremely well. Much like Styles, Carter will look great and the announcers will hype him up like a mega star. Rockstar Spud I can see debuting as well as he has been rumored to have signed with the company a few months back.
One rumor that could be a game changer is that of Daniel Bryan entering the Rumble. Whether or not if I agree with him returning, if he is cleared and this is what he wants then so be it. Bryan is still super hot and their is a ton of money to be made off of him. He was forced to retire while he was insanely over which is something no wrestler wants. As long as tweeks up his style just a tad, he could still be a force to be reckoned with.
One thing I do not want to see is wasted entrants like Shaq or Drew Carey. WWE superstars should not sit out while non wrestlers get to step in the ring. I have never been a fan of this. All because WCW made it work with Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone ( I disliked by the way), there is no need of it in WWE
I do think this year the winner will be from Smackdown Live. Could be Bobby Roode as he seems to be on the cusp of greatness. The winner this year needs to be a fresh star who hasn’t been with the company for over 10 years. If the previous crowd reactions to the winners made any impact in who to have win this, a fresh star is the way to go.
Winner : Shinsuke Nakamura. He will then face AJ Styles at Mania. If Daniel Bryan is in the match then obviously he will go on to win but like Nakamura, Bryan will challenge Styles.
– Women’s Royal Rumble match:
With this history making match I really hope WWE does right by this and makes it close the show. All eyes will be on this event so what better way to highlight this then by placing it as the shows closer. As much as this match is hyped, I believe it will exceed expectations.
With all the nerves these women will have, we all know they will bust their butts in that ring, lay everything they have on the line to give the fans what they want. I find anytime the women encounter pressure they tend to raise the bar that much higher.
30 women will mean WWE returns for some, debuts for others. I see stars like Kaitlyn, Michelle McCool, Molly Holly and Victoria making their returns. Even if it is just for one night. I see NXT stars like Nikki Cross, Peyton Royce, Billie Kay and Kairi Sane enter the match.
One major debut I see happening is the debut of the Rowdy one, Ronda Rousey. While I don’t see her winning, I see her impressing the fans and setting up for her Mania match against Charlotte Flair which I personally think would be one hell of a match. I for one and super stoked to see Rousey in the Rumble. She is money and if pushed correctly she could make a massive splash in the women’s division.
Winner : Asuka. As soon as this match was announced I instantly thought of her as the winner and I stand my decision.
2: While I am excited for the Royal Rumble I am really excited for NXT Takeover: Philadelphia which I will go on record to say… Once again NXT Takeover will slaughter a main roster Pay Per View. I might as well just dive right into this.
– The Undisputed Era vs The Authors Of Pain ( for the NXT Tag Team Championship):
ReDragon ( I still call them that) are being showcased like massive stars. Winning the tag straps so early into their NXT run shows me just how big of a deal WWE thinks this guys are. I love them and their style and honestly can’t wait to see these guys on the main roster.
The AOP seem to be main roster bound and I can’t really complain. I dig their gimmick but am just a little iffy on if they are too green to get that call up. Not my call, but either or I still believe in their characters.
Great match up which I see opening the show to once again set the tone for the event but I think something bigger will happen during this match. Preferably at the end of the match…. We will see the debut of War Machine (Please let them keep the name) setting up a mega match up at NXT Takeover: New Orleans.
Winners: Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly retain.
– Ember Moon vs Shayna Baszler (for the Women’s NXT Championship):
Now I am actually super surprised Baszler is getting a title shot so insanely early in her NXT run but I think Triple H is mega high on her to immediately give her a shot gun push.
Even though her run has been brief and just run ins but I love her character. She has only been wrestling a few years but I have been waiting for her to come to WWE since she made the switch from MMA to wrestling. She has that look that makes you think “badass”. She looks the part and I know with the training she is receiving from Sara Amato down at the PC.
Ember Moon has been a great addition, just in a tough spot as she is trying to fill the void of Asuka. She is a great talent but I feel her run will be like Drew McIntyre’s title run (from The Undisputed Era), overshadowed by Baszler. She is destined for greatness in WWE, just the timing isn’t right.
Winner : Shayna Baszler and will go on to have a solid run with the strap.
– Aleister Black vs Adam Cole (Extreme Rules match):
This match could be a show stealer. Black has shined in NXT thus far and I am sure will be called up sooner rather then later. His look, his in ring work, his psychology, he quite frank is a true star. I think he is just honing his craft before making that leap.
Adam Cole debuted with a massive bang and hasn’t slowed down. Cole has been pretty much the center of NXT and you can tell he is going to be NXT’s next Finn Balor which is something the brand has been lacking since Balor’s call up.
Cole is the total package and makes for a great natural heel. He could also flip the script and make for a fantastic face as well. I hope his NXT run isn’t too long as I want to see Cole vs Styles before it is too late.
This match being Extreme Rules will make for a brutal affair. Theirs bodies will be beat up, their bell will be rung but mark my word, these 2 will tear the house down. My one worry is outside interference or too much extreme gimmick in the match. Still, that being said I can not wait for this match.
Winner : Adam Cole. Then will face the NXT Champ at Takeover: New Orleans
– Andrade “Cien” Almas vs Johnny Gargano (for the NXT Championship):
The pairing of Almas and Zelina Vega has been spot on. Both compliment each other in the right spots. The pairing was that one little piece that was missing in Andrade’s run. Put them together and they make magic. The main roster needs these 2 and they need to be pushed exactly how they are in NXT.
Gargano is so red hot, he reminds me of when Daniel Bryan was at his peek. I can smell a title run for Johnny Wrestling…. Just not yet…
I have 2 scenarios involving Gargano in this match. Being outnumbered, he will walk out on the ramp, turn and point and out walks Candice LeRae or Vega will interfere and LeRae will come to Hubby’s aid. Either way, this is how I see Candice making her NXT debut.
This match is going to be unreal. I will even go as far to say has potential to be one of the best WWE match we will see in 2018 (yes it is only January, I know that). Gargano has been producing incredible matches over the past few months and Almas has been on fire. Together they will create a little thing I call magic.
Winner : Andrade “Cien” Almas retains but only because Tommaso Ciampa will make his return from injury and viciously attack his former partner Gargano, which will set up a war at New Orleans.
My final take on Rumble weekend is quite simple…. I think this years Royal Rumble will be the best Rumble we have seen in the past 4-5 years with a fantastic winner. Takeover will blow our minds as per usual and will once again destroy a main roster PPV. I see great debuts, great returns, and a great way to begin the Road To Wrestlemania. Ricochet will debut at New Orleans…. That’s my take on his debut.
Well, time for this guy to hit the sack. It is 2 hours past my bed time but Ranting is what I do best so technically, sleep is for the weak…. Until tomorrow when I am crying to the wife about how tired I am… Remember to support your local wrestling, these guys are busting their butts hoping to get noticed by a major company so your support goes a long way… Oh I got to go, I see Vince is calling me, must be about my input for Mania matches….