The days are winding down until the WWE's most lucrative and anticipated pay-per-view event of the winter, the Royal Rumble.
Ever since the dawning of the social media age, WWE fans and wrestling enthusiasts have been able to get their fill of spoilers, predictions, odds and pre-show analysis and some of it has been spot on and sometimes the bookers and creative team pull a fast one on us and something happens we would never expect.
So this year, 2013, is it that easily predictable we can just throw a name out there much as we have been able to the last couple of years with Sheamus, Del Rio and Edge or is something really special possibly in store for us that we don't see coming?
Despite being a wrestling fan of over 25 years and a strong supporter and follower of the product, over the last 1-2 years I feel that I have easily been able to predict the outcome of almost every major story line and at the same time outcomes of numerous title matches.
The company has failed to keep some of us hardcore fans interested in this manner but in the same breath, for us this is the big one. The Royal Rumble.
For the first time in a long time I am feeling confident in what lies ahead and although I think we do have a degree of predictability for what's coming, I am not ready just yet to count John Cena as the Rumble winner to meet The Rock at WrestleMania 29.
Call it wishful thinking for those who don't necessarily want to see this either, but having said that, here is what I am thinking Royal Rumble-wise as far as our two main matches.
First off, The Rock challenging CM Punk for the WWE Championship. This one is a real emotional toss up for me, mixing my Attitude Era hero with who I consider as the best showman and mic worker of all time.
The one thing I bring myself back to earth with is the fact that I am fully aware the Rock is not going to hang around after WrestleMania 29.
I fully support putting him in the mix and having him perform on the big stage in New Jersey one more time, but unfortunately I don't want or need to see him as champion when I know it's not going to last more than a few months no matter what.
The Rock defending the title at WrestleMania would be almost a clear cut victory for the challenger and to me would not be the most responsible way to use the big talent, especially since that challenger is likely to be John Cena in the minds of most.
In this case, I have to pull for CM Punk to defend at the Royal Rumble and hopefully carry the strap a while longer. What makes this one a bit harder to predict is the lurking John Cena vs. Rock II for the WWE Championship match for WrestleMania rumor.
The fact that this "rumor" exists is enough to get most fans on the edge of their seats from the ring of bell, while a lot of seasoned and maybe more realistic fans will know in their minds there is no way CM Punk will lose the title to the Rock.
I am certainly one of the latter, so despite the rumored WrestleMania angles and the Rock's momentum right now, I just don't see it happening, so my pick here for who I believe will win this match and carry the belt into the Elimination Chamber: CM PUNK.
The Royal Rumble match itself tells a bit of a different tale. I'd love to tell you right now Daniel Bryan will win and face a "cashed in" Dolph Ziggler in an iron man match at WrestleMania, but that's looking not too likely.
The winner of the Royal Rumble this year could depend on a few things that may or may not happen prior. Daniel Bryan, for example, is certainly not out of the mix. He had a very successful 2012 and is extremely over with the fans and a good worker to boot.
If Team Hell No is to drop the titles before the Royal Rumble, expect a possible win from Daniel Bryan to propel him back into the title picture, with hopefully a better showing at WrestleMania.
If CM Punk were to lose the WWE Championship earlier, he would be a possibility, too, but I doubt he will lose the title and I am also wary that match may in fact come out last and demolish that whole idea, which I certainly hope not, but unfortunately cannot be 100 percent ruled out.
John Cena certainly is a favorite every year and this year holds no different. In fact, with the Rock in the picture, the odds are even more in his favor if you like the Cena/Rock angle. Overall it's evident we have a few names here and some are less likely than others.
I've even conjured up this crazy idea the Undertaker could come back at the event and win it, but I'm not here to feed your crazy ideas. Ziggler is likely to have his WrestleMania moment with the Money in the Bank Briefcase regardless, but again he is one of WWE's best workers and there is certainly a lingering possibility of him winning, but probably less likely at this point.
The only other superstars I can envision pointing at the WrestleMania sign high above the ring at the end of the night are either Sheamus or Randy Orton. I am conflicted with what the creative team may have in store for these two.
We were expecting to see them in a World Heavyweight Title feud with Orton as the heel in this scenario. There is certainly still time to get this started, but time is running out for a proper build up to the big show.
I know I am all over the place on this one but to organize my thoughts I am going to go out on a limb and say my prediction will be: DANIEL BRYAN. He deserves it. I hope he gets it.
Overall, I am sincere in my beliefs that CM Punk will retain the WWE Championship and I feel it is an easier prediction for me to make, not because I know it will happen, it just suits common sense more to me. The Royal Rumble match certainly has more of a potential for something unexpected this year but it could just as easily disappoint.
If I had the ability to send one message to WWE creative right now, I'd be very clear. You're going to have a boat load of talent at WrestleMania. Use it correctly this time or be prepared to start losing your fan base. Here's hoping to a great show.
For my first article, I'd like to say thanks friends for reading and sharing you thoughts.