WWE Royal Rumble 2018: Confirmed and projected card
With the Royal Rumble a little over a month away, we look at how the card is shaping up at the first stop on the road to WrestleMania 34.
With Clash of Champions wrapping up WWE’s 2017 pay-per-view schedule, it’s full steam ahead on the road to WrestleMania 34. The first stop on that road, as always, is the Royal Rumble. This year, for the 31st annual incarnation of the event, WWE will come to Philadelphia, PA and make history. While the event will host the usual 30-man Royal Rumble match, it will also feature the very first ever women’s Royal Rumble match. While we’ve still got a little over a month until the event, here’s how the card is looking right now.
Universal Championship Triple Threat Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs Kane vs Braun Strowman
Raw was set to crown a challenger for Lesnar by pitting Kane and Braun Strowman against one another last week on Raw, but a double countout left things in limbo. Raw General Manager Kurt Angle cleared things up early this week on Raw by announcing this triple threat match. While it’s still disappointing to see Kane scheduled for a championship match in 2018, this clash of titans will be predictably fun. Lesnar will surely pick up the win by pinning Kane, but there will be plenty of carnage along the way.
Men’s Royal Rumble match
The annual 30-man Royal Rumble match will happen as always, and it’s still up in the air just who might be the favorite to walk out victorious. While it’s widely expected that Roman Reigns will be the challenger to Brock Lesnar going into WrestleMania 34, he’s also expected to earn that right at the Raw-branded Elimination Chamber event in February. With that in mind, the winner is likely to be someone from SmackDown Live, but anything past that remains unknown.
Women’s Royal Rumble match
Stephanie McMahon made the monumental announcement at the end of Monday Night Raw that this year’s event would host the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match. It’s still unconfirmed how many competitors will be in the match, but currently speculation is that it’ll be a 20-woman match based on the current size of each brand’s women’s division. The only official declaration has come from Naomi on SmackDown Live, but either way this will be a spectacular and historic contest.
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Enzo Amore (c) vs Drew Gulak
While this match may get pushed further down the road, there’s clearly a build right now to Gulak eventually turning on Enzo Amore. Cedric Alexander earned a shot at the Cruiserweight Championship “at some time in the future,” which means the match could take place on any Monday Night Raw or 205 Live before the Royal Rumble. Enzo is expected to remain champion going into the 205 Live tour in January, and Gulak would be a great opponent for him at the Rumble.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos (c) vs Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin
While The Usos exhibited their prowess at Clash of Champions by keeping the division on lock and retaining their titles, Gable and Benjamin picked up an upset win over the champions in a non-title match on SmackDown Live only two nights later. Getting a non-title win over champions all but guarantees a future title shot, and this would be a great match for the Rumble to help solidify the team of Gable and Benjamin.
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss (c) vs Asuka
It’s not clear yet if either women’s champion will defend their belt at the Rumble, largely based on just who WWE will pack into the women’s Royal Rumble match, but one possibility would be giving Asuka her title opportunity now. If she’s in the women’s Rumble, Asuka’s undefeated streak would be at stake in a chaotic match that she doesn’t really need the win in. Instead, she could dethrone Bliss and carry the belt into ‘Mania while keeping her streak intact.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Roman Reigns (c) vs Samoa Joe
It’s unclear if this championship will be defended at the Royal Rumble or not, especially considering both of these competitors will likely be in the Royal Rumble match itself, but there has been continued build to a confrontation between Reigns and Joe with the title on the line. This match could serve two purposes. Reigns will have to drop the belt before WrestleMania 34 as he’s expected to face Lesnar, but regardless of the outcome, having to work two matches in one night protects Roman from another loss in the Royal Rumble match itself.
WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) vs Sami Zayn (w/ Kevin Owens)
Just who will end up challenging AJ Styles for the WWE Championship is up in the air after AJ polished off his feud with Mahal by picking up a submission win at Clash of Champions. With Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens clearly two of the most important superstars on the card considering their focus in recent months, this would be an unconventional matchup that fans can get behind. While Owens might be the obvious pick, the Royal Rumble tends to be the home to unlikely challengers, and Owens would likely want to help his best friend to championship success.
What do you think the card will look like at the Royal Rumble? Let us know in the comments below!