The anticipation ahead of the Men’s 2023 Royal Rumble is hot. Cody Rhodes will return. Sami Zayn might be in the match, leading to the next twist in his relationship with The Bloodline. Then, there’s the potentially blind hope that The Rock will return, plus the desire for shock appearances from New Japan Pro-Wrestling stars. No matter what, we will be a little clearer about who will headline WrestleMania 39 when this Saturday ends. But how does WWE manage the above expectations? Simple, follow what the Royal Rumble did in 1994.
We said what we said.#RoyalRumble pic.twitter.com/nv7OYTv4sA
— WWE on BT Sport (@btsportwwe) January 25, 2023
The 2023 Men’s Royal Rumble & the 1994 Blueprint
Two Japanese Legends in the Rumble
The 1994 Royal Rumble featured appearances from Japanese wrestlers not contracted with the WWE. The Great Kabuki and Tenryu both appeared. It was The Great Kabuki’s only televised WWE match although he made a few appearances on co-promoted shows. Tenryu also competed in the 1993 Royal Rumble and WrestleMania VII.
We saw IMPACT Wrestling’s Mickie James in last year’s Women’s Rumble, so could the Men’s 2023 Royal Rumble follow suit this year? Surely, WWE asked for something in return when it let Shinsuke Nakamura face The Great Muta in Pro Wrestling NOAH and Karl Anderson compete at NJPW WrestleKingdom?
Great Muta in the Rumble would be a legendary moment. Apart from him, there are literally too many Japanese stars to mention, from Kazuchika Okada to Taka Michinoku.
An Anoa’i Family Member At 2 & 28
In 1994, Samu was the 2nd entrant into the Rumble with his cousin Fatu (Rikishi) coming in at 28.
Solo Sikoa at number 2 would allow him to continue to show his dominance in the WWE. It’ll also be fun to anticipate him winning it and facing Reigns, which is unlikely to happen but would be fun to think about.
At 28? It has to be The Rock. If that can’t happen, just give us Rikishi and literally repeat 1994.
2023 Royal Rumble: Two Winners Like 94
The 1994 Royal Rumble ended in confusion when nobody could tell whether Bret Hart or Lex Luger’s foot hit the floor first. After a few minutes of deliberation, they were declared joint winners.
Roman Reigns currently holds the Universal Championship and the WWE Championship; two belts. WrestleMania will take place on Saturday, April 1 and Sunday, April 2; two nights.
A Cody Rhodes Rumble victory would leave many people wishing for Sami Zayn or The Rock. Simple – two winners.
The Rock, Cody, or SamiMania
If The Rock enters the Rumble and wins to set up a dream match at WrestleMania 39 with his cousin Reigns, nobody would be disappointed.
But if WWE wants to go hard on its return of Rhodes in the Rumble, it has to go with two winners. A Rhodes win would leave a few too many people unsatisfied.
If Zayn and Rhodes are the joint winners, it also puts Zayn in the position of a championship match against Reigns that he didn’t technically mean to win. An accidental victory – albeit a joint one – for Zayn works perfectly with his current position in The Bloodline. It would add further ambiguity about Zayn’s intentions with The Bloodline.
This would set up Reigns having to defend one championship against Rhodes on Saturday and the other against Zayn on Sunday. Two championship matches and storylines would make up for the Rock-shaped hole in WrestleMania 39.
There are endless outcomes from these matches.
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