The Royal Rumble is famous for its history of surprise debuts and returns, ushering in WWE Legends, Indie darlings, and current stars returning from injury. While recent years may not have utilized this element to proper effect, it is something fans wildly anticipate with each countdown between entrants. So, with the 2018 Royal Rumble just days away, it should come as no surprise that rumors are swirling about who may hit the ring for a chance to main event Wrestlemania.
This year in particular is intriguing as there will in fact be two Royal Rumble matches, with the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match honestly almost overshadowing the men’s Rumble.
So, with multiple divisions to consider, here are 7 surprise entrants who could enter the Men’s or Women’s Royal Rumble match.
7. EC3 (Ethan Carter III)
Better known to WWE fans as Derek Batteman, EC3 has made a name for himself in TNA and on the indie circuit the past few years. Adding fuel to the fire was the last minute pulling of Carter from an indie show the same weekend of the Royal Rumble. It would be interesting to see if WWE embraces Carter’s EC3 character or whether they would revert him to his terribly received Batteman character from four years ago.
6. Trish Stratus
One of the most well-known and decorated women in WWE history, Trish Stratus is viewed by many of today’s women wrestlers as an icon. During a time when women’s wrestling was on a downturn, Trish and Lita broke onto the scene to lead the initial charge of what would later become the Divas Revolution and is now known as the Women’s Evolution. The fact that Trish toyed with a return in late 2015 before becoming pregnant with her second child, and her recent appearance at Raw 25 this past Monday, it would make sense for her to make even more history and play a role in the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match.
In recent months “The Animal” has expressed interest in another run with WWE. What’s more surprising for the 49 year old is that he’s interested in a full-time role with the company rather than the usual part-time role most legends settle into. Despite a short, failed return in 2013 (Boo-tista/Blue-tista), enough time has likely passed and hopefully WWE will have learned from the booking mistakes which doomed him.
4. Daniel Bryan
Since his emotional retirement in early 2016, Daniel Bryan has remained one of the most popular faces in WWE, even in his Smackdown Live General Manager role. Over the past two years, feuds with the Miz, Shane McMahon, and even WWE Champion, AJ Styles have been teased. Unfortunately the majority of these have gone nowhere with regard to in-ring competition, though strong speculation suggests his newest heel-turn tease will lead to a cameo of sorts in this year’s Rumble. Should his theme hit, the crowd would be sure to pop louder than they would for any other entrant, regardless of their stature or legendary status. Despite still being relatively young, Bryan’s health would be the biggest factor on this one.
3. Rob Van Dam
A fan favorite for decades now, RVD first made his name as a significant piece of ECW, based out of Philadelphia. Given the 2018 Royal Rumble will be hosted in Philadelphia, and that Philadelphia is also where ECW called home, it would make total sense to give the home crowd a “local favorite.” About three years ago, this was used perfect to effect with Bubba Ray Dudley of the Dudley Boyz, another ECW original. And while Van Dam’s best days are behind him, he’s still a capable performer who can deliver a solid performance, particularly in a match like the Royal Rumble where he isn’t asked to carry and direct the action.
2. Ronda Rousey
Just four days before the Rumble, Ronda Rousey reportedly dismissed any notion of her debuting in this year’s Royal Rumble. It has long since been teased that she has a future with the company and has even been a huge fan dating back all the way to Rowdy Roddy Piper in the late 80s and early 90s. Still, given how certain fans have been of this one for awhile, this could just be a last minute misdirection by WWE and Rousey, similar to what we saw with the Hardy Boyz at last year’s Wrestlemania. Rousey has teased a major announcement on her website for weeks now, and even been seen having dinner with WWE COO, Triple H. Now, with the apparent dismissal of her announcement and her latest dismissal of WWE rumors, it would make sense if it were all related to the Women’s Royal Rumble.
1. Kenny Omega
Hear me out on this one. Kenny Omega recently re-upped his deal with New Japan Pro Wrestling for the next couple years, but there seems to be some things at work in the collaboration department between NJPW and WWE. From Chris Jericho’s recent work with New Japan, putting on a classic with Omega, to the recent focus and push behind Bullet Club, or as it’s known in WWE “The Club” or now “Balor Club.” Any Omega involvement would clearly just be a cameo to get a big pop out of the crowd but if he were to square off with, say, Fin Balor, the former leader of the Bullet Club in NJPW, “marks” would lose their collective minds.
Those are just some of the potential surprise entrants in the 2018 Royal Rumble. Maybe they’ll all happen, or maybe none of them will happen -in which case I apologize. Sort of…
Who do you think will be a surprise entrant in this year’s Rumble matches? Comment below and let us know!