Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Who could, should, won't and shouldn't show up at WWE's 2nd women's Royal Rumble?

It's January, which means it's Royal Rumble time.

WWE already announced last October that the 2nd ever women's Royal Rumble will be returning this year.

What can we expect out of this match?  Probably a female version of the men's match.

We saw several returning favorites and NXT surprises at the first ever women's Royal Rumble in January 2018:

  • Beth Phoenix
  • Ember Moon (then NXT Women's Champion)
  • Jacqueline
  • Kairi Sane (2018 Mae Young Classic winner)
  • Kelly Kelly
  • Lita
  • Michelle McCool
  • Molly Holly
  • Torrie Wilson
  • Trish Stratus
  • Vickie Guerrero

That's 11 women who competed in the Rumble who weren't on the main roster at the time.

Granted, some of those women probably returned because WWE didn't have enough women on their rosters to fill up a 30-woman battle royal.

But WWE has stacked it's main roster in 2018.  Billie KayPeyton RoyceZelina Vega and Ember Moon were all called up.  Maria and Maryse both returned from having babies.  

That means those 6 will presumably be in this year's match.

If WWE combined their Raw, Smackdown, NXT and NXT UK brands, they could easily get 30 women.

Here's a list of the women on the active roster who could potentially appear in the match:
  1. Alicia Fox
  2. Bayley
  3. Becky Lynch
  4. Billie Kay
  5. Brie Bella
  6. Carmella
  7. Charlotte
  8. Dana Brooke
  9. Ember Moon
  10. Lacey Evans
  11. Lana
  12. Liv Morgan
  13. Mandy Rose
  14. Maria Kanellis
  15. Maryse
  16. Mickie James
  17. Naomi
  18. Natalya
  19. Nia Jax
  20. Nikki Bella
  21. Nikki Cross
  22. Peyton Royce
  23. Ruby Riott
  24. Sarah Logan
  25. Sasha Banks
  26. Sonya DeVille
  27. Tamina
  28. Zelina Vega
That's almost 30 women right there!

That's not counting NXT or NXT UK ladies:

NXT women:
  1. Shayna Baszler (Champion)
  2. Aliyah
  3. Bianca Belair
  4. Candice LeRae
  5. Dakota Kai
  6. Deonna Purrazzo
  7. Io Shirai
  8. Kairi Sane
  9. Mia Yim
  10. Taynara Conti
  11. Vanessa Borne

Developmental women:
  1. Jessie Elaban
  2. Kacy Catanzaro
  3. Kavita Devi
  4. Lacey Lane
  5. MJ Jenkins
  6. Reina Gonzalez
  7. Xia Li

NXT UK women:
  1. Rhea Ripley (Champion)
  2. Isla Dawn
  3. Jinny
  4. Killer Kelly
  5. Toni Storm
  6. Xia Brookside

Still, my hope is that there's some room left open for some surprise returns.

I think we'll see less NXT women this year (last year both Kairi Sane and Ember Moon competed) and we won't see any of the surprise returns who were in the 2018 match (that means no Lita, Trish, Torrie Wilson, etc.).

Bianca Belair or Io Shirai may show up, but I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't either.

It's possible Maryse doesn't compete because she's been spending time being a mom and she's more of a manager than a wrestler.

But she has been in mixed-tags in 2018 and she's a former Diva's Champion.  She missed out on last year's match, so I wouldn't be surprised if she'd want to be in on this match.

We know these women won't be appearing in the match:
  • Ronda Rousey (because she's the Raw Women's Champion)
  • Asuka (because she's the Smackdown Women's Champion)
  • Tegan Knox (NXT) - injured
  • Alexa Bliss (possibly still recovering from some concussion issues)

So, there are still a few spots open for surprise returns.

WWE has a surprisingly long list of women who they could turn to for a one-time appearance.

The focus should be on putting over newer talent, of course, but nostalgia is always nice.

Here are some ladies who could return, who should return, who won't return and who shouldn't return:

Melina - I'm a huge fan of Melina, so she's number one on my list.  She was awesome for several years in WWE.  I felt that her time was cut short.

She could've contributed for several more years.  Just look at Mickie!  She's still at it.  Melina could be doing the same.

Her matches with Mickie James on Heat and Raw could still be put up against most matches in the women's evolution and hold their own.

There's a lot of Melina in Sasha Banks, so I'd mark out for a battle between those two.  Melina and Zelina Vega are good friends in real-life, so that'd be fun for them (plus their names rhyme).  Melina and Alicia Fox were good friends.  Melina and Maryse were pals.  Melina and Mickie are still good friends.

The Bellas mentioned Melina in their RF Video shoot as being one of their favorites.  There's a lot of combinations that either A) the fans would like or B) the women themselves would like.

Melina announced late last summer that she was retiring, so chances may be slim, but we all know how retirements in pro wrestling go.

Verdict: should appear