by Brock Koller
Tonight the Road to WrestleMania 33 begins. And while there is no overall clear favorite winner to win the main event, tonight should also begin the road to one specific Mania match.
It’s a match years in the making, yet a match the rumor mill says has already been scrapped from WWE booking plans. Hopefully, that is just a ruse on the federation’s part to keep the hardcore fans and dirtsheet writers off their trail.
Because the Undertaker vs. John Cena needs to happen at WrestleMania. It just make sense.
In his Mania repertoire, the Undertaker has wrestled some of the greats including Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Jake the Snake Roberts, Batista, Kevin Nash, Kane, Big Show, Edge, CM Punk, and Randy Orton.
John Cena’s WrestleMania Rolodex is full of top names too including Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Edge, Big Show, Batista, and The Rock.
But, as you can see, Taker’s name does not appear on Cena’s list nor vice versa.
They have wrestled back in 2003 and in a tag match in 2007, but Undertaker vs. John Cena is unquestionably a WrestleMania match.
There are many ways the Royal Rumble can be the launching pad for this historic contest.
Scenario A: John Cena defeats AJ Styles for his 16th WWE World Championship. The Undertaker wins his second Royal Rumble match. Undertaker chooses to face Cena at WrestleMania.
Scenario B: John Cena loses to AJ Styles and is entered into the match. He and the Undertaker meet in the center of the ring and have a face to face stare down followed by a brawl. This has been done before a la Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior at Royal Rumble 1990 to setup their WrestleMania VI encounter.
Scenario C: John Cena defeats AJ Styles and Styles is entered into the Rumble. However, after AJ Styles loses to Cena, he attacks Cena and tries to injure him. During the Rumble, Cena comes out to get revenge on Styles and inadvertently eliminates the Undertaker. Causing drama.
The point is no matter how you get to the Undertaker vs. John Cena, we need to get there.
It is time. And it should begin tonight at the Royal Rumble.
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax: Jax gets her biggest win of her career, Banks gets frustrated as her turn back to heel grows closer. WINNER: NIA JAX
Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson: It would be great if Gallows & Anderson finally won the gold and could show what they are really capable of. So let’s hope. WINNERS: GALLOWS & ANDERSON
Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, & Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, and Natalya: Hey, Mickie! With this being Mickie James' first high profile match back – she needs to prove those ‘you still got it’ chants she will receive are accurate. WINNERS: BLISS, JAMES, NATAYLYA
Rich Swann vs. Neville: Neville is the King of the Cruiserweights. Enough said. WINNER: NEVILLE
Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley: The Raw Women’s Championship has changed hands so often, I think it should stay on Charlotte until Mania. Bayley will get the gold soon enough. Just not this soon. WINNER: CHARLOTTE
Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns: So the question is when Chris Jericho fights Owens at WrestleMania should it be for the WWE Universal Championship or just the United States Championship? And if Reigns wins the title, who would he defend against at Mania – Braun Strowman, maybe? I have a feeling Owens will retain tonight, but still lose it by WrestleMania. WINNER: KEVIN OWENS
AJ Styles vs. John Cena: If I choose Cena, then the Undertaker has to be the winner of the Royal Rumble. Well, I’m not choosing the Undertaker to win it. So that must mean AJ Styles will win and go to WrestleMania with the gold. Or lose it at Elimination Chamber. WINNER: AJ STYLES
2017 Royal Rumble Match: This is it. One of the best matches ever created by the WWE. A highlight of the year every year. The Surprises. The Endurance. The Anticipation. 3. 2. 1. Who is it? Who drew number one? Who drew number two? Will The Million Dollar Man buy someone’s number this year? Will two superstars fall out at the same time? Will Vince McMahon somehow damage both knees while sliding into the ring? And how will Kofi Kingston make it back into the ring to avoid elimination? All these questions, but the most important one – Who will win?
My prediction: A returning Finn Balor.
It may be too early. I don’t know his medical status. But WWE has stunned us before with speedy recoveries i.e. John Cena winning the 2008 Royal Rumble. Should Balor win, I would love for him to choose to face AJ Styles, but even a Balor – Reigns match at Mania would be interesting.
Many are saying Randy Orton. I’m not. He can fight Bray Wyatt without any title implications and that match will still have a good backstory.
A surprise Kenny Omega appearance? A triumphant homecoming for Kurt Angle? A motivated Shinsuke Nakamura or Samoa Joe? All good choices.
But what about Goldberg and Lesnar? I say these two just eliminate each other. Or Goldberg throws Lesnar out right away and lasts a while longer. Undertaker, I’ve spoken about already. If Cena wins the title, then Undertaker is the clear favorite.
There are a lot of other choices – you could go with Jericho, Strowman, Sami Zayn, Dean Ambrose or The Miz.
But I like going into the Royal Rumble with a wildcard. One that many won’t choose because it probably won’t happen. But I came close in 1995 when I picked the wildcard British Bulldog.
Almost was year.
This year, I’m locking in on the Demon King and hoping he remembers to win the Rumble.
Enjoy the show!