WWE Royal Rumble 2014: Full Card Predictions After TLC
Animosity from this year will bleed into the next as WWE transitions from TLC to Royal Rumble 2014.
Randy Orton stood as the victor of WWE's final pay-per-view on the calender. His upcoming foe will be a familiar one. Who else will be in singles or tag action rather than compete in the battle royal that gives the January event its name?
Recent history provides patterns of what to expect, but only to a point. The title unification shifts things.
The World Heavyweight Championship has been defended at every Royal Rumble since 2003. Now that it doesn't exist anymore, WWE must fill that void with another matchup. The Intercontinental Championship is a great place to start.
From Langston's defense to Orton's challenger, here is the predicted card for the Royal Rumble in addition to the Rumble itself.
Big E. Langston vs. Fandango
Big E Langston has been barreling through his competition.
At TLC, he handled Damien Sandow in just over six minutes. The impressive win likely keeps Sandow out of the running for the title for the moment, while Langston seeks a new challenge.
Fandango was set to compete for the Intercontinental Championship at the inaugural Payback pay-per-view, but a concussion led to Curtis Axel taking his spot.
The ballroom dancer earned a decisive win at TLC against a man in Dolph Ziggler who was recently in the running for the IC title. Though he may just be another victim of Langston's power, Fandango will get a crack at the powerhouse's championship.
AJ Lee vs. Tamina Snuka
AJ Lee survived against Natalya at TLC, retaining her title via submission.
That makes two straight Divas Championship matches where Natalya has failed to swipe the belt from the champ. It took interference from Tamina Snuka to help Lee win their first title bout on the Nov. 13 Main Event.
Who is left for AJ to face? Short of calling up Paige from NXT, WWE's most logical option is to have Tamina turn on her. There is an easy story to tell, one of Tamina's jealousy, one of betrayal.
Might as well complete the Diesel and Shawn Michaels parallel. Tamina has looked powerful and intimidating as AJ's second. This feud takes advantage of that and either crowns a new champ or gives AJ her toughest test to date.
The Real Americans vs. Cody Rhodes and Goldust
Cody Rhodes and Goldust are on a roll that WWE will look to continue.
The champs continue to have show-stealing matches, and the company knows it can depend on them to do that once more here.
After besting The Real Americans, Curtis Axel and Ryback and Rey Mysterio and Big Show at TLC, it's hard to imagine where the Rhodes brothers go from here. With another Real Americans vs. Rhodes boys bout, WWE can both give Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger a big moment while creating friction between the brothers.
The oft-discussed possible Rhodes vs. Goldust match at WrestleMania XXX starts with frustration over losing the titles. That then gives WWE a few months to turn the brothers against each other, culminating in the long-anticipated clash.
Brodus Clay vs. Tensai
This won't be a marquee matchup, but because neither is a threat to win the Rumble and there is a story already in motion between them, Brodus Clay and Tensai will get their opportunity on the pay-per-view.
Clay took on R-Truth at TLC. He seemed to be toying with him at some point, bashing him with no intention on pinning him.
Tensai took offense to those actions and left Clay's side. The Funkadactyls followed.
That builds on tension that has already been simmering between these teammates. To complete Clay's heel turn, expect WWE to have him tear apart his partner.
The dancing, smiling version of Clay will gave way to the monster that feeds at the Royal Rumble.
John Cena vs. Randy Orton
The WWE Championship match can go one of two ways.
With the Rumble taking some of WWE's biggest Superstars away from the title match, folks like Hardcore Holly, Scott Steiner and Dolph Ziggler have received surprising chances at gold. Last year, though, WWE went with a more star-studded affair as The Rock challenged CM Punk.
Expect the 2014 Royal Rumble to follow last year's lead.
John Cena failed against Randy Orton at TLC, but he gets another opportunity here. Taking Cena out of the Rumble creates intrigue about who will win it. It also provides the pay-per-view with star power at the top.
Orton's other top challengers, like Punk and Daniel Bryan, then get a chance to win their first Rumble and force their way into the WrestleMania main event.