This Sunday, 30 WWE superstars will compete in an over-the-top rope battle royal to determine who will face the WWE World Heavyweight Champion at Wrestlemania in the main event.
A solid performance in a match of this calibre can help define a wrestler’s career for years to come, and if you take just a brief look at the list of stars who have competed in the iconic match since it’s inception in 1988, it’s importance to the company can’t be underestimated.
With an experienced animal on the loose, a fan favourite back in the reckoning and cracks appearing in the once impenetrable Shield, here we take a look at who to look out for in the 2014 Royal Rumble:
By Cameron Kennedy – @LiveF0rever_
The current favourite for me is the returning animal, Batista.
The winner of the 2005 Royal Rumble match returned after a 4 year absence on Monday night RAW and on doing so declared he is only back for one thing – the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
He was the first man to put his name forward for this year’s match and if, as we expect, he is given a lengthy contract in WWE, then it wouldn’t surprise me if he is the only man left standing in Pittsburgh on Sunday.
CM Punk’s position is a little bit tricky at the moment.
A couple of months ago I would have said Punk was a certainty to win the Rumble due to the fact he’s been out of the title picture since last year.
But now the self-proclaimed ‘best in the world’, finds himself in a predicament with the Authority and it looks like he may get screwed out of a chance at the title at Wrestlemania.
Kane of course told Punk on RAW on Monday that he would be entrée number 1 in the match, after he attacked the Director of Operations, and will now have to go through 29 superstars to claim his place at ‘Mania.
It’s a tall ask but one that’s been accomplished in the past.
Bryan is also in the same boat as Punk, with much of his current schedule dominated by his feud with the Wyatt Family.
Daniel Bryan will get his hands on Bray Wyatt at the pay-per-view but the question is, will Bryan compete in the Rumble as well?
He is the most over superstar in the company and has been since the summer, so it would be a smart move to have him compete in the main event at Wrestlemania and give the fans what they really want.
It’s all about whither Bryan is fit enough to have two matches in the one night, if he can, it could be a night he may never forget.
Many people have been tipping Reigns to have an incredible 2014 and it could all start on Sunday at the Rumble.
All three members of the Shield will be taking part in the match and Reigns seems the most likely of the three to make a lasting impression.
‘The muscle’ of the Shield has already knocked off CM Punk this year and he has mentioned that he would eliminate his partners, Ambrose and Rollins, for a title shot.
I can’t see him winning so early on in his career but I can see him equalling or maybe even surpassing Kane’s record of 11 eliminations in the 2001 Royal Rumble. Reigns is by far the biggest threat to the 3 main contenders.
There’s been talk of a possible return at the Rumble for the Celtic Warrior, Sheamus, so watch out for him if the rumours are true.
The Rhodes Brothers will have to battle against each other for a place at Wrestlemania, will one of them sabotage the other?
Damien Sandow could also surprise a few and go a long way in the match.
And remember, as always, there are some surprise returns for some WWE legends, so keep an eye out for some attitude era stars with Hulk Hogan and Goldberg both linked in recent weeks.