The 18th annual Royal Rumble takes place on January 30th in Fresno, so let's talk why not?
15 competitors are entered from Smackdown and 15 from RAW, with the winner challenging either the World or WWE Champion (winner's choice) in the main event of WrestleMania XXI in Los Angeles in April. That particular wrinkle was added last year when Smackdown's Chris Benoit won the match and jumped to RAW, putting the focus more on the individual and less on the brand. Plus, this makes for much more wacky storylines!
According to WWE.com, there's already a bunch of qualifiers for the Rumble: SMACKDOWN: Daniel Puder, Booker T, Charlie Haas, Mark Jindrak, Luther Reigns RAW: Edge, Shelton Benjamin, Christian, Chris Jericho
Those already tied down with non-Rumble PPV matches: WWE Title Match: John Bradshaw Layfield [c] vs. Kurt Angle vs. The Big Show World Title Match: Triple H [c] vs. Randy Orton Casket Match: Heidenreich vs. Undertaker
And by careful deduction here's who's not yet doing anything at the Royal Rumble, but touring at January house shows: RAW [11 spots left]: Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Kane, Gene Snitsky, Batista, Chris Benoit, Muhammad Hassan, Khosrow Daivari, Maven, William Regal, Tyson Tomko, Hurricane, Rosey, Sylvain Grenier, Robert Conway, Simon Dean, The Coach, Val Venis, Rhyno & Chris Masters. SMACKDOWN [10 spots left]: John Cena, Kenzo Suzuki, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Danny Basham, Doug Basham, Chavo Guerrero, Funaki, Spike Dudley, Scotty 2 Hotty, Nunzio, Hardcore Holly, Orlando Jordan, Paul London & Rene Dupree.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED: Daniel Puder [Won Tough Enough] Edge [Won qualifier on RAW] Shelton Benjamin [Won qualifier on RAW] Booker T [Won qualifier at house show] Charlie Haas [Won qualifier at house show] Christian [1/14 house show win over William Regal] Mark Jindrak [1/15 house show win over Scotty 2 Hotty & Nunzio] Luther Reigns [1/15 house show win over Scotty 2 Hotty & Nunzio] Chris Jericho [1/16 house show win over Muhammad Hassan]
Looking at the house show cards for the rest of the month, there's a bunch of announced Rumble qualifying matches: 1/22 [RAW; Tyler, TX] The Coach vs. Val Venis Beware, though, as the Christian/William Regal qualifier at the Minneapolis show wasn't advertised in advance, so they can arbitrarily make any one-on-one match they want a Rumble qualifier.
(edited by Freeway420 on 16.1.05 1844) "Illusions, Michael. A trick is something a whore does for money...or candy!" - G.O.B. Bluth, Arrested Development
The Bashams will probably be defending the tag titles against somebody (Luther/Jindrak?), so that takes out four from the Smackdown roster right there. There could possibly be a RAW tag title match to decide the possibly vacant belts due to Eugene's injury.
I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff Leo McGarry insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police? Here's one that's really important because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town: touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you? One last thing: while you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits." --- President Jed Bartlett, The West Wing
I was thinkin that the loser of the qualifying matches would not be entered into the Rumble anyway and if they would, it would have defeated the purpose of a Rumble qualifying match in the first place. Also there is a small possibility of surprise entrants like Lesnar or Rock but they may be saved until a month or two before 'Mania.
Note: I originally worked this out on Friday, but when I tried to post, the server was down. As I expected, they seem to be going La Resistance vs Hurricane & Rosey for the Tag Team titles (not a surprise, really. The only other option was Christian & Tomko).
Raw Rumble Participants: Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Christian, Dave Batista, Edge, Gene Snitsky, Jonathan Coachman, Kane, Maven, Muhammad Hassan, Shawn Michaels, Shelton Benjamin, Simon Dean, Tyson Tomko, William Regal.
Shawn Michaels and Edge are both probably out of the Rumble now. I don't know if that means some surprise entrants (The Rock is still listed as being on Raw) or just means that Rhyno and Val Venis get to go.
Originally I had Flair in instead of the Coach, but that doesn't fit with the 1/22 house show that has The Coach vs Val Venis. Of those two, it seems more likely to me that The Coach gets in to do the non-wrestler comedy spot that they always seem to like (Pete Rose, Drew Carey, Ernest Miller, etc).
Other Matches La Resistance vs Hurricane & Rosey for the Tag Team Title Triple H vs Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Title Shawn Michaels vs Edge Triple Threat Women's Championship Match?
Left out: Rhyno, Steven Richards, Val Venis, Possible surprise returns: Matt Hardy? (not sure on the timeframe, just a guess) (less likely: Mark Henry, The Rock, Garrison Cade [I think he's still around...])
Smackdown participants: Booker T, Carlito, Charlie Haas, Dan Puder, Danny Basham, Doug Basham, Eddie Guerrero, Jesus, John Cena, Kenzo Suzuki, Luther Reigns, Mark Jindrak, Orlando Jordan, Rene Dupree, Rey Mysterio
Maybe Orlando Jordan & Funaki instead of the Bashams. Or maybe both the Tag Team and Cruiserweight titles are defended, and it's Orlando and oh, Hardcore Holly in the rumble.
Left out (not sure who is still healthy and whatnot): Akio, Billy Kidman, Chavo Guerrero, Nunzio, Paul London, Shannon Moore, Spike Dudley
JBL vs Kurt Angle vs Big Show for the WWE title Undertaker vs Heidenreich-Casket Match
NOTE: The above post makes no sense. We apologize for the inconvenience.
I THINK Rock is shooting a movie. In Hollywood. The Rumble's in Fresno. They COULD fly him out for it. It'd be a cool surprise, and give them some cool "Anything Can Happen..." momentum heading into WrestleMania. And on the Smackdown side possibly...NEW JACK?
(edited by Freeway420 on 17.1.05 2238) "Illusions, Michael. A trick is something a whore does for money...or candy!" - G.O.B. Bluth, Arrested Development
Where is the steven richards of the 80s!? Where is Koko B Ware?! I hope he's not dead, then I'll just look dumb. Koko never won a match that I remember (Misc no-name jobbers don't count), but was still booked as a star. I loved the guy.