Here is a breakdown of who is in the Rumble match, their chances of winning and some expected other participants and potential surprises.
“The Lunatic Fringe” could play spoiler in tonight’s match. He is heavily pushed and is a crowd favorite, but yet often loses the big matches. His performance tonight could determine where he falls in the creative plans for WrestleMania XXXI and beyond.
Bad News Barrett
The current Intercontinental Champion has been up down over the years thanks to various injuries and creative snafus. Right now he is peaking at the right time. He won’t win tonight but could have a great 2015 if he stays healthy.
The Big Show
The largest man in the match is always an impressive sight. He has been on a collision course with Roman Reigns for weeks now and they will more than likely collide tonight, only for Show to eventually fall to Reigns. He should find himself in a good spot come WrestleMania time.
Bryan is one of the two odds on favorites to win tonight. Bryan just came back from an injury filled 2014, and fans around the world are hoping Bryan can regain the momentum he had going into 2014. But even if he doesn’t win tonight he will find himself in a very high profile spot come WrestleMania.
Fandango is here to pad someone else’s elimination stats. His best bet is a battle royal spot at WrestleMania.
Goldust has been on a career renaissance in the past two years and rumors are flying that 2015 will be his last year in active competition. He will most likely interact with his baby brother Stardust and get a swan song at WrestleMania.
Harper could easily break out as a big star in 2015 and his showing tonight could go a long way in showing what WWE has in store for him going forward.
“The Big Red Machine” has been in a mainstay in the Royal Rumble match ever since 1999 (save for missing out in 2012 in a poor choice by creative). Some years he has looked impressive and some years he was ousted quickly to make someone else look impressive. Tonight looks like one of those nights where he will be sacrificed for the greater good of someone else.
After already wrestling for the Tag Titles earlier in the night, Miz will more likely be in a showdown his “stunt double” Damian Mizdow. Tonight should be the night that Mizdow breaks free of Miz and becomes his own man once again
See The Miz…
Truth is one of this mid-card soldiers who fills up a spot in this match and helps pad someone’s elimination stats. His best bet for WrestleMania XXXI is if the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal returns again this year.
Reigns is the odds-on favorite tonight. Since The Shield broke up this summer, all eyes pointed to Roman Reigns main eventing WrestleMania XXXI. His biggest competition tonight will be Daniel Bryan, who is the other favorite tonight. Whoever wins tonight’s battle royal will paint a clearer picture of WWE plans going into WrestleMania.
The current reigning and defending United States Champion should have a great showing tonight in the Rumble match. Rusev has had a great 2014 and should have a great 2015 as well. He is riding a great wave of momentum and is one of the company’s most pushed and protected superstars. He won’t win tonight but should look great even in defeat and find himself in a great position going into WrestleMania.
“The Big Guy” should look impressive here and probably notch some impressive eliminations. He could be a front-runner to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania should it happen.
The Stardust character has breathed new life into Cody Rhodes but tonight won’t be his night. Perhaps this year at WrestleMania we will finally see him square off with his brother Goldust.
“The Eater of Worlds” has been heavily protected and pushed on WWE TV in recent months. It’s been rumored that Wyatt is the chosen one to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania should The Dead Man feel like he can wrestle this year. With that in mind, keep an eye on Wyatt tonight as he could find himself in a top four finish.
Ziggler had just an awesome 2014 and hopefully the momentum will continue into 2015. Ziggler always has the potential to start in the match early and serve as the match’s iron man and pace setter. His hard work this past year should reward him with a nice spot on the WrestleMania XXXI card.
These are the only seventeen men officially announced for tonight’s match, leaving a staggering 13 spots unannounced. Originally Justin Gabriel and both Fernando & Diego of Los Matadores were originally announced as participants in the match but have been removed from the official list. That’s no loss there as all three men would have been pure cannon fodder for the match’s bigger stars.
However it seems expected that all six men from the Kickoff Match (Kofi Kingston, Big E, Xavier Woods, Cesaro, Tyson Kidd and Adam Rose) will make appearances. Kingston has made a name for himself for creating unique elimination saves. Cesaro has been dominant in battle royals in the past and Rose has had troubles with the Bunny mascot that was part of The Rosebuds and tonight would be a perfect night for The Bunny to unmask himself and actually kick the rivalry into a new gear. In fact, expect Kingston to use The Rosebuds to crowd surf himself back to the ring before eventually being eliminated.
Being the show is in Philadelphia, Rob Van Dam is almost guaranteed to make an appearance to appease the ECW faithful that will be in the crowd. In addition Chris Jericho, who worked this weekend’s house shows for WWE, is obviously in town too and could appear as well. Plus Randy Orton has been out of action since November and is the most obvious and likely return we will see tonight. Sting is also the left field choice to take a spot. He apparently only has four dates left on his WWE in-ring contract but a spot in the Rumble would be incredibly iconic.
For the past two years a NXT superstar has made an appearance with Bo Dallas in 2013 and Russev in 2014, so expect a NXT star to get a spot tonight, with smart money being on either Adrian Neville or current NXT Champion Sami Zayn.
If there are any spots left after all of that there are other mid-card soldiers like Jack Swagger, Erick Rowan, Titus O’Neill or Heath Slater could find themselves on pay per view.