x

Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Shinsuke Nakamura and Ronda Rousey win the Royal Rumble matches while Triple H costs Braun Strowman the WWE Universal title as Brock Lesnar retains: WWE predictions

AJ Styles to retain the WWE Championship as the SmackDown tag titles are picked up by Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin.

Shinsuke Nakamura could be flying high again on Sunday if he is the winner of the 2018 Royal Rumble. Image courtesy of WWE
Shinsuke Nakamura could be flying high again on Sunday if he is the winner of the 2018 Royal Rumble. Image courtesy of WWE

WWE's latest Network Special, Royal Rumble, takes place at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Sunday. Ahead of the event here are the predictions on what will go down.

Shinsuke Nakamura to win the Men's Royal Rumble

Now, this is a tough call. With John Cena speculated to be going up against the Undertaker, that leaves, at least in this writer's mind, three realistic choices.

Shinsuke Nakamura, Roman Reigns and Randy Orton. The Miz, Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler are also outside possibilities, but it is hard to imagine WWE going with them.

Reigns is a contender simply because it has been pretty much locked in since the summer that he will be challenging Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania 34. How Reigns gets there is open to question. He can win the Rumble for a second time to guarantee himself the title shot. Or he can do it further on down the line in another kind of match, likely the Elimination Chamber in February.

The first win at a Rumble in 2015 was received horribly by the crowd in Philadelphia, and of course it is Philadelphia they are back in for this Rumble.

_________________

Read more

Roman Reigns to have lengthy title run and John Cena beats the Undertaker: WWE predictions for 2018

WATCH: WWE Superstars Alexa Bliss and Kane visit The National

AJ Styles, Roman Reigns and Alexa Bliss lead the top 10 WWE Superstars of 2017

Roman Reigns on WWE's Abu Dhabi tour and beating The Undertaker and John Cena

_________________

Reigns is a much more polished performer then in 2015. He still gets mixed reactions, but he has earned a great deal of respect from three years ago.

However, he does not need the win and the risk of his triumph being heavily rejected means the WWE should not have him go over here.

Orton has a lot of momentum going in here, but it is unlikely he goes over here. His disappointment at losing could tip him into a much needed heel turn down the line and this is his role in proceedings. He could well be the last man eliminated, if if its Nakamura who prevails.

This feels like WWE's last chance to establish Nakamura as a star on the main roster. It would be fair to say his run since coming from SmackDown has been forgettable to say the least.

The WWE can afford to take a risk here with Nakamura. With Lesnar v Reigns and Cena v Undertaker on the card, this will not be the main event of WrestleMania 34.

A potential AJ Styles v Nakamura title match has a lot going for it. Namely it is fresh and would be a very different match to the other big ones on the card.

Plus if Nakamura does struggle the belt can be kept on Styles and no harm has been done.

The Rumble is a chance to give Nakamura the chance to be the star he has the potential to be. Have him come out on top over Reigns, Cena and Orton and give him the ball and see if he can run with it.

Ronda Rousey to win the Women's Royal Rumble

Vince McMahon and the WWE love a headline that could make national interest and having Ronda Rousey in her first competitive (she had a cameo in a segment at WrestleMania 31 in 2015) appearance in the company would do that.

It may not be great for the women's division having a newcomer win the historic match, but what price some mainstream hype and the interest it sets up for Rousey getting a title shot at WrestleMania 34.

She will come in No 30, do a couple of impressive moves, and then cheat to beat Asuka - setting up their likely showdown at WrestleMania.

Asuka should dominate when she is in the ring, but it will give her more sympathy if she is cheated out of making history.

Becky Lynch will be the Iron Woman of the match and will spend the longest time in the ring, but she will fall short in the end.

This should be a lot of fun. If there is no Rousey yet then Asuka wins, but the WWE are likely to a risk on Rousey. She does not have to be at a high level in the ring just yet. If she wins on Sunday she has two months to get herself ready for WrestleMania.

Brock Lesnar to retain the WWE Universal Championship against Braun Strowman and Kane

This is the easiest match of the night to call. Brock Lesnar wins by pinning Kane.

Strowman will look dominant for a time, but interference from Triple H will cost him the match. Triple H will be looking for vengeance for his beatdown at the hands of Strowman at Survivor Series and this will set up their WrestleMania match.

Kane is in here simply to prevent Strowman being pinned twice in six months by Lesnar.

This is a match just to keep Lesnar occupied as the build-up to his inevitable showdown with Reigns comes ever closer.

AJ Styles to retain the WWE Championship against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in a handicap match

There is the threat of a title change here or a heel turn by either commissioner Shane McMahon or general manager Daniel Bryan, but this is likely to be far more simpler than that.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will have AJ Styles in trouble, but where this match will go wrong for them will be when both want to get the pinfall win to become champion.

Miscommunication will allow Styles to capitalise and win, and it will be then shown that it was always Bryan's plan and he knew that Owens and Zayn's selfishness would lead to them combusting.

This will set the seeds on Owens v Zayn at WrestleMania while allowing Styles to retain the title and head towards his first main event at the WWE's biggest event.

Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan to retain the Raw Tag Team titles against Cesaro and Sheamus

It is a case of when, not if, the Rollins and Jordan partnership implodes. But this seems like too soon for the titles to go back to Cesaro and Sheamus.

More tension and dissension, particularly from Jordan, should come before the split does happen.

There will be some close calls but Rollins and Jordan leave still holding the gold here.

Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin to beat the Usos to win the SmackDown Tag Team titles in a 2-out-of-3-falls match

Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin have had a number of close calls in winning the titles and this feels like a good time for them finally to get the big victory.

It has the advantage also of throwing open the tag division on the blue brand and allow the New Day to come back into the picture.

The Usos have been great champions, and will be again, but it is time to mix things up a little.

WWE Royal Rumble is on the WWE Network, which is available through OSN, with the main show beginning at 4am UAE time.