There are 30 wrestlers who will compete in the Royal Rumble tonight, but only one of them will win (unless it’s a repeat of 1994). Here’s a breakdown of just how likely it is that a competitor will be headed to the main event at WrestleMania 31.

Highly Doubtful

Ryback – There’s no indication that they’re willing to have this guy represent the company as its champion, and his mic skills absolutely need to improve.

Big Show – If he were going to get pushed into this spot, he would have done better in his feud with John Cena and he would be featured more prominently on the shows. He might eliminate some people to help him move up on the all-time list, but someone’s going to use him to make themselves look awesome, and Roman Reigns is the best candidate for that.

Sting – As much as people want to see the former WCW franchise player enter the Rumble while he still has some juice left, the big payday for him at this point would be a WrestleMania match against Triple H, which means winning the Royal Rumble would be pointless (and counter-productive).

Jack Swagger – The guy draws heat as a face against Rusev and as a heel against a foreign-born opponent. That’s it.

Cesaro – He just started teaming up with Tyson Kidd, whose only involvement on television the past few months has been Divas-related. I wouldn’t say that WWE has given up on him, but he is certainly on a down-side of the push-rollercoaster.

Maybe Next Year

Rusev – There are too many other good storylines to build surrounding the main event scene this year. Rusev doesn’t fit into any of The Authority storylines, especially with Seth Rollins and Brock Lesnar filling the heel roles atop the card. He should just keep drawing attention to the European… I mean United States Championship.

Wade Barrett – It’s obvious that WWE wants to do something with Barrett, and he’s got all the tools to be in the main event, but he needs to stay healthy for a bit and work himself into some high profile feuds. Until he even sniffs the World Title, winning the Rumble isn’t a possibility for him… though it seems it will inevitably happen.


Dean Ambrose – When The Lunatic Fringe is on top of his game, he’s as good on the mic as anyone, and he does a great job of telling a story through his matches. With a couple more high profile feuds like the one he’s had with Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins, he’ll be primed for the next step.

Sheamus – If he’s not injured, there’s always the potential that he could turn heel and win the Rumble, but I think WWE will want to bring him back, see how fans receive him, and then go from there. He’s won it before, and he’s still capable on the mic and in the ring.

Decent Odds

I’d be surprised to see these guys win the Royal Rumble, but it’s certainly not out of the question.

Dolph Ziggler – He’s a former World Heavyweight Champion and the fans are largely behind him. The feud between he and The Authority is established, and this would allow him to take center-stage for a bit. Given the potential for Cena to be the champion at WrestleMania, you have to consider the possibility of a Dolph Ziggler heel turn, especially because he’s better as a Heel Ziggler than as a Face Ziggler.

Bray Wyatt – Last year at the Royal Rumble, he defeated Daniel Bryan. He has beaten John Cena. He fares well against the (former) members of the Shield who are now in prominent positions. Going into WrestleMania, you couldn’t rule out the possibility of him leaving with the gold, which is something a good challenger needs.

Seth Rollins – If he doesn’t win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and can’t cash-in the briefcase for some reason, then perhaps The Authority can get him entered into the Royal Rumble and establish a very interesting situation where he could have a guaranteed title shot at WrestleMania AND hold the Money In The Bank briefcase.

The Undertaker – Think he’s done? I wouldn’t fully count him out. What better way to get revenge for losing to Brock Lesnar a year ago than to defeat him for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? We’ve already seen that the guy with the top strap doesn’t HAVE to be around every week (or even every month), so this schedule fits The Dead Man, whose last match really SHOULD be in a Casket Match.

Top Odds

These are the guys you should just assume are probably going to win it if any of them ends up in the final 3.

Randy Orton – He could be aligned with The Authority or he could be one of their opposition. He’s got enough clout to be in the main event of WrestleMania and could have a built-in storyline with Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, or Roman Reigns (among others) who might have the belt heading into The Grand Daddy Of Them All.

Roman Reigns – He was in the final two last year, and most people will agree that in the closing moments, they were getting excited at the prospect of him eliminating Batista. Injury sidelined him, but it’s clear that the WWE has big things in store for Reigns. He has better odds of eliminating 10+ superstars than he does of winning it, but he’s still one of the more likely options.


Daniel Bryan – There was a huge outcry last year that he didn’t win, and the way things shaped up, 2014 was supposed to be Daniel Bryan’s year to shine. His time with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was cut short due to injury. Winning the Royal Rumble puts him on track to main event WrestleMania two years in a row and puts him in prime position to pick up where he left off.