Sunday, January 7, 2018

Who will compete in WWE's 30 woman Royal Rumble

There are always some surprise entrants in the Royal Rumble, but there are sure to be surprise entrants in the first ever women's Royal Rumble.

If you look at the rosters, you've got 21 women on the roster.


Raw: Alexa Bliss (champion), Alicia Fox, Asuka, Bayley, Dana Brooke, Mandy, Mickie James, Nia Jax, Paige, Sasha Banks, and Sonya DeVille

Smackdown: Charlotte Flair (champion), Becky Lynch, Carmella, Lana, Liv Morgan, Naomi, Natalya, Ruby Riot, Sarah Logan, and Tamina
Inactive (pregnant): Maria, Maryse


Take away 2 of those women (the champions) and you've got 19 women on the active roster. That leaves 11 open spots to fill in the first ever 30 woman Royal Rumble.


So who does WWE use? Outside names not signed to the company? Former wrestlers? NXT standouts? Yes, yes and yes.

Here are some of the women I'd like to see show up, some of the women who are likely to be in the match and some of the women who WWE should not utilize in this match.



Likely to participate: Michelle McCool
Mrs. Undertaker retired to have kids after she ran through most of the competition at the time. However, she has recently mentioned the desire to work with Charlotte.

McCool was always a competitor and probably feels a little bit like she missed out on some good competition now that the WWE roster is filled with actual workers.

She recently mentioned on Lilian Garcia's podcast that her daughters are fans of 'boom boom' (as they call pro wrestling).  I'm sure she'd probably like to compete in front now that they're at an age that they can remember.

Michelle was definitely favored back in her last few years in the WWE.  They pushed her to the moon, making her the first Diva's Champion and then later winning the Women's Title -- making her the first woman in history to ever hold both titles at separate times.

If she wants a spot, it's probably hers.  WWE would probably want to build her legacy a bit too since they'll probably want to induct her into the Hall of Fame down the road.



Unlikely to participate: Kelly Kelly
One night only?  No road schedule for the entire year?  Yeah, I think Kelly Kelly would accept that invitation if offered.

Kelly was at the 2017 Hall of Fame ceremony to see Beth Phoenix inducted, but she's kind of the poster child for everything the women's division and women's evolution is not.

Whether that's her fault or just WWE booking, Kelly Kelly is the stereotypical Diva.

In a time where we've moved beyond that, it would seem like an odd choice to bring her back.

Though she'd probably get a decent pop?  According to some of the wrestling news websites, Kelly was in talks to possibly return when Total Divas first came out and then again a few years ago.



Likely to participate: Eve Torres
WWE loves Eve. She was quite a boring character until she turned heel and was over pushed for most of her career.

 Then, when she finally got to a respectable level in the ring, she retired. 

Still, WWE loves her. 

She's taught several self-defense classes at WWE's Performance Center over the past few years and WWE hasn't been hesitant to feature her in video segments. And why wouldn't they? 

She's the embodiment of female empowerment in real life. It'll just be unfortunate if they end up giving a spot to her when they could find some better former women wrestlers to participate.



Likely to participate: Nikki and Brie Bella
I don't want to see the Bella Twins. I'll be honest.

I was thrilled when Brie went off to make babies and Nikki left to go plan her wedding.

All the best to them in terms of life's happinesses but I have zero interest in seeing them return. 

Nikki Bella already needlessly broke A.J. Lee's record as longest reigning Diva's Champion.

Sure, both women improved over time (I was a defender of theirs in their first WWE run), but they were over pushed and since they're still on television in the form of Total Divas, it's hard to miss them in any way.

Realistically, I'm sure they will, so fine. Take up the spots of two more deserving women.



Should participate: Billie Kay and Peyton Royce
Speaking of more deserving women, these two have been rocking NXT ever since the likes of Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Charlotte left.

If WWE's first ever women's Rumble follows the pattern of some of WWE's recent male Rumbles, then they're sure to debut at least on NXT superstar.

Why not the Iconic Duo? They're like a better version of LayCool.

They've pretty much done all they can do in NXT.  They haven't won the NXT Women's Title, but they feuded with Liv Morgan, Aliyah, Ember Moon, Nikki Cross and Asuka.

They may as well debut on the main roster (Smackdown hopefully) and entertain on a bigger level.



Should participate: Shayna Baszler
Shayna Baszler certainly shouldn't debut on the main roster yet, but she'd be a good addition to the match.

With her MMA background and success in the Mae Young Classic, she could add some legitimacy to this first-of-it's-kind event.

She could have an interesting showdown against Sonya DeVille and another MMA fighter further down on this list.

Shayna facing off against Asuka, Natalya, Charlotte and Becky Lynch would be pretty cool to see as well.

Like I said, hopefully this wouldn't be a permanent roster debut, but maybe a one-time kind of thing.



Should participate: Kharma
Given how short Kharma's WWE career was (and how impactful she was to women's wrestling as a whole due to her work in TNA), it'd be nice to give her another distinction: the first and only woman to participate in both a male Royal Rumble and a female Royal Rumble.

She was in attendance for the finals of the Mae Young Classic in Las Vegas last Fall, so hopefully that's an indication this could happen.

If WWE ever does purchase TNA, then Kharma is probably a Hall of Fame candidate at some point in the next 20 years.

Plus, how cool would it be to see Kharma stare down Nia Jax?  Nia can eliminate Kharma, getting a little bit of a rub from her.  I'm sure Kharma would be fine with that.



Should participate: Victoria
Victoria is another woman who isn't as respected as she should be. She played such a great character during her feud with Trish.

 That feud took women's wrestling to a new level. Most fans remember Lita vs. Trish, but their ongoing rivalry wasn't that amazing until they were the main event of Raw.

Victoria's feud with Trish is what really took the women's division to a new level. The physicality of their matches -- particularly their hardcore matches -- was something very new at the time.

She was in the awfully booked Wrestlemania 25 battle royal. It'd be really nice to see her compete in the Royal Rumble and add to her already Hall of Fame-worthy career.

People I'd like to see her interact with: Bayley, Mickie James and Charlotte Flair.



Likely to participate: Bianca Belair
WWE likes this girl. She hasn't been used on NXT television often, but she gets a lot of love on WWE.com's video features and she was impressive in the Mae Young Classic.

 She was booked as an up-and-comer and she sure seems like she is. She's athletic, she's got charisma and she's got a unique look and gimmick with the long, braided hair.

Since she hasn't really been used much on television, she seems like a likely choice to debut on the main roster at the Rumble.

WWE is going to skip the NXT storylines and development with her and shoot her straight onto the main roster --- starting at the Royal Rumble. That's my prediction anyway.

She'll lay low a bit through Wrestlemania season but they'll push her pretty hard after that and into Summerslam. A little New Year's prediction for you.



Unlikely to participate: Melina
I posted a blog some time ago about how Melina should be on WWE's radar --- around the time they signed Mickie James.

Melina got injured in 2017 and spent most of the year rehabbing that injury, however.

I think she's all healed up, so it's possible she'd show up again.

I can just imagine the pop she'd get if her entrance music hit and she entered the ring with her split entrance.

However, I'm not sure WWE will give that to her fans. Melina is one of the women who is often forgotten when it comes to WWE's version of history.

They don't feature her much on any videos or photo galleries on WWE.com.

I'd mark out if she returned, though.


Unlikely to participate: Gail Kim
A big part of me is hoping WWE and Gail Kim pull one over on us and she makes a one-night return to WWE for this historic match. But it's unlikely. I'm realistic about that. Mostly, I just wish Gail Kim would've been in WWE at the right times. She's a perfect candidate for some of WWE's matches these days. Given that she retired because she felt she couldn't compete at 110%, it's highly unlikely she'd ever return the way Mickie James did. Given that she left WWE by going under the ropes in a women's battle royal on Raw, she's probably not too high up on WWE's list of favorite people.

However, they like to surprise fans and we know that there will be a lot of smart fans in Philly. They aren't WWE's casual fans. Since nobody expects her to be involved I almost wouldn't be surprised if she was.



Likely to participate: Lita
I'm torn on this one. On one hand, Lita seems very content with retirement and participating in WWE through Tough Enough and on WWE Network specials.

However, she'd said previously that she'd have liked to have a Team Bestie vs. Bella Twin match.

She'd probably like to have some interaction with some of the 4 Horsewomen. There's also Mickie James, who was Lita's last legitimate match in WWE.

With so many possibilities for some special moments in this first-ever event, I think Lita will put the boots on, maybe for the last time.



Likely to participate: Trish Stratus
Trish is likely to and should participate. She's WWE's golden child. She's the most pushed woman wrestler in the history of WWE's women's division. She was one of the most versatile performers in WWE history.

She certainly was one of the most inspiring female wrestlers of all time as well. There's hardly a female on the current roster who doesn't credit her for inspiring them to wrestle.

I wasn't a fan of Trish returning so often and I wasn't a fan of her taking a spot on the Wrestlemania card when she teamed with John Morrison and Snookie to take on LayCool and Dolph Ziggler (she just wasn't needed in that thrown-together and random match).

But it's been almost 7 years since her last match. It'd be a nice bit of nostalgia to see her compete again and to have various interactions with the likes of Bayley, Mickie James (again), Natalya, and Carmella.



Should participate: Ronda Rousey
WWE and Ronda Rousey have been flirting with the idea of working together for years now. Given that Ronda lost her UFC Title and her rematch, she may as well use her name value and take it to WWE.

It's an athletic endeavor, but scripted, so safer than UFC in a sense.

Ronda would, no doubt, bring a huge sense of legitimacy to this event and WWE's entire women's division.

Given how much WWE has built up Asuka, she'd be an eventual dream match for Ronda.  Actually, I could see WWE giving Asuka the Raw Women's Title before the Rumble and then giving Ronda the Rumble victory -- setting up either Ronda vs. Asuka or Ronda vs. Charlotte at Wrestlemania.

Meanwhile there's Charlotte and the potential for a 4 Horsewoman vs. 4 Horsewoman feud as well.



Likely to participate: Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir
If WWE wants the 4 Horsewomen vs. the 4 Horsewomen to happen, then Wrestlemania would be a good place for it to happen.

The road to Wrestlemania would be a good spot for it to start, too.

I don't like the idea of them taking up two spots in the Rumble, but if Ronda is showing up and the 4 Horsewomen feud is happening, then these two women will probably be at the Rumble in Philly, too.

At least they should be able to take some shots.  They'll probably be eliminated pretty quickly, but not without some interaction with WWE's 4 Horsewomen.



Shouldn't participate: Ember Moon
I love Ember Moon. I'm a huge fan, but I want a slow build with her, especially after seeing the 15 minute documentary currently on WWE.com. She's got some big money matches against Asuka in her future on the main roster. This rivalry could be better than Trish / Lita if they build it properly. They competed in Shimmer. They were signed the same day. They battled twice for the NXT Women's Title.

WWE should take that history to the main roster, but not until Ember has a good year in NXT as the Women's Champion.

Heck, they could even somehow allow Ember to go the main roster undefeated as NXT Women's Champion. If this is a one-off appearance, with a little showdown with Asuka, then fine.

I don't want her to have a permanent main roster spot yet though.

Honestly, with the nostalgia and the all the other women involved, I'd prefer Ember have a stellar Takeover match, sit the Rumble out and debut later on, when she'll have more of the spotlight focused on her.



Unlikely to participate: Beth Phoenix
I'd be fine with Beth Phoenix returning and until this past week I thought she would.

However, given that she's now announced as a commentator for the Mixed Match Challenge thing WWE has going on Facebook, I don't think she'll be competing.

She seems happy being a mother and a Hall of Fame superstar. I think she'll be on commentary during the match instead.

However, the idea of Beth Phoenix squaring off against Nia Jax or Charlotte Flair or Natalya or Trish Stratus or Ronda Rousey does intrigue me, so part of me hopes she'll step between the ropes one last time.



Unlikely to participate: Madusa / Alundra Blayze
Madusa may have been a good bet. I could see WWE giving this Hall of Fame wrestler one last match as more of a proper sendoff than she had before.

She's always wanted to compete against Nattie, Beth Phoenix and Charlotte.

However, given that she just had knee surgery, it's doubtful she'll be able to participate. 

Maybe it's for the best.

She could always show up next year if it's more than just a one-year event.



Unlikely to participate: Emma
How much of a pop would Emma get if she made a WWE return at this match?  Hopefully WWE realized how many fans were upset with their decision to release the immensely talented and absolutely gorgeous Emma last Fall.

Given how they are pushing women's wrestling, I was shocked to see that they released Emma.

Unless she really pissed someone off, there's a chance that she could come back.

WWE needs some numbers to make this Rumble legitimate and they need more than a bunch of retired Divas, a bunch of NXT call-ups (especially since Ruby Riot, Mandy Rose, Sonya DeVille, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan are all new to the roster) or a few Mae Young Classic competitors.

Emma is a known name.  She's talented.  The WWE Universe knows it.

It'd be a great time to debut a new version of the Emma character if WWE has any interest in bringing her back at all.

I know it's unlikely, but that doesn't stop me from hoping for it.



Shouldn't participate: Nikki Cross
Just like Ember, I want Nikki to debut at another time. She needs to debut with the rest of her SAnitY cohorts.

They'd be a great addition to the Smackdown roster at some point this year. She's not as interesting on her own.  She'd be just another crazy chick without Eric Young, etc.

It'd work, but she's much more interesting because she mixes it up with the guys.

Part of her appeal is her character and a big part of her character is her association with Eric Young and company.



Unlikely to participate: A.J. Lee
The odds of A.J. Lee appearing are pretty much nonexistent.  But how cool would it be?!

In a lot of ways A.J. Lee jumpstarted the women's evolution or Diva's revolution or whatever you choose to call it.

Without A.J. Lee's success in the WWE, there would absolutely be no Paige or Charlotte or Sasha Banks or Bayley. From the moment A.J. (and Naomi and Maxine and Kaitlyn) set foot in a WWE ring in the original version of NXT, they defied the Diva prototype.

A.J. was quirky, Naomi was highly athletic, Maxine was ambitious and Kaitlyn was a comedic, muscular hottie. There weren't any other women like them at the time. A.J., of course, was the most successful of the bunch, becoming the first woman in ages to have her own merchandise. She was a big factor in Daniel Bryan getting so over in such a huge way.

A.J. (and Kaitlyn) had the first ever female contract signing. She was the GM of Raw for a time being. It'd be nice to see her get a little reward for her hard work by giving her a spot in this match. Of course, it'd shock the Hell out of everyone, so I have some hope that WWE would allow it to happen. However, I don't think A.J. has any interest in it.

I'd be very intrigued to see her interact with Sasha, Charlotte, Mickie and others, seeing as how most of the women on the current roster were in NXT or not signed at the time A.J. Lee was around.



Should participate: Kaitlyn
Speaking of previous women under contract, Kaitlyn would be another great choice to make a come back.

Triple H apparently liked Kaitlyn's look, which isn't surprising since he's a fan of bodybuilding. 

Kaitlyn, of course, quit and started a business with her husband.

She's since split from her husband and has trained at least a couple of times in the past year. She has also stayed in touch with Big E and her other pals still in WWE, so she's seemingly on good terms with the company.

Apparently she's come out and spoken about a substance abuse problem, though. Unless that is absolutely under control, I don't see WWE being anxious to bring her back to the hectic life of a WWE superstar.



Unlikely to participate: Eva Marie
Just like Kelly Kelly, Eva Marie is seen as everything that is wrong with the women's division.

If WWE wanted some cheap heat, they could bring her back for a night.  The crowd in Philadelphia would absolutely murder her with their jeers.

WWE could book her for a quick elimination at the hands of Asuka (for a bit of comedy), possibly after eliminating a fan favorite (filling the arena with boo's).

I am thinking it won't happen since she had the wellness violation, but she is still affiliated with The Rock's wife while trying her hand in Hollywood.

I wouldn't be entirely shocked to see WWE bring her back, but it's probably still unlikely.



Shouldn't participate: Ivory
A read a report that there are rumors that Ivory will go into the Hall of Fame this year.  If that's the case, WWE may very well have her enter into the Rumble.

WWE did that with DDP before they inducted him and The Godfather before they inducted him, as well.

While I was a big fan of Ivory back in the day, I don't see a reason for her to take up a spot that could be given to some other ladies.

I'm more than thrilled that she may be inducted into the Hall of Fame (her work with RTC was phenomenal!) but I don't want to see Ivory randomly run out (likely to very little crowd reaction) and be eliminated.

For what purpose?  There are lots of other ladies on this list that should be brought back and given one of those spots first.



Should participate: Jazz
I think it's probably not likely to happen, but if there's ever time and place it could, then the 2018 Royal Rumble in Philadelphia is it.  Philly fans (especially an arena full of smart fans) should give Jazz a decent reaction.

She's an ECW original.  She is a former two-time Women's Champion.  She deserves a closing chapter on her career after WWE foolishly released her (along with Gail Kim and Nidia) in 2004.

Entering the Rumble and competing with some of the new generation of lady wrestlers would be a nice closing chapter for her.



Should participate: Tessa Blanchard
The daughter of Tully Blanchard and step-daughter of Magnum TA seems like an obvious choice for WWE to sign.  I'm  surprised they haven't already.

After an awesome showing in the Mae Young Classic, WWE would be foolish not to sign her.

I imagine this debut as kind of a female version of A.J. Styles' debut in 2016.  Obviously she's nowhere near as well known, but the comparison is there --- being a free agent who debuts at the Royal Rumble.

Fans probably won't expect it since she's not under contract (that we know of), but they'll show her respect due to her work and her lineage.

It'd be a good time to debut Tessa on the main roster if WWE wants her in their division.



Shouldn't participate: Piper Niven
I wouldn't be surprised if Piper Niven was brought in (and signed after) for this event.  If nothing else, they may want to have a showdown with Nia Jax.

That being said, I don't want to see it.  I'd like to see it next year perhaps, but not this year.  Piper shouldn't debut at the Rumble.

She should have a different debut (if she's signed) later on in the year.  Build her up and make her showdown with Nia (next year) mean something.

She's one of the few Mae Young Classic competitors I could see WWE using though.



Shouldn't participate: Rosa Mendes
Should participate: Jillian Hall or Blue Pants
WWE likes to add comedy into their male Royal Rumbles, so hopefully they don't get the bright idea of bringing Rosa Mendes back for a quick elimination.

I hope Rosa stays happily retired and being a mother in California.

If WWE wants to go the comedy route, then maybe bring in Blue Pants or Jillian Hall instead.  Blue Pants would probably still get a decent pop, right?

Meanwhile Jillian Hall would definitely get a reaction.  She was such a memorable character that I think fans in Philadelphia would give her a very good reaction --- probably by booing and covering their ears, but she'd get a good reaction nonetheless.