Roundtable: WWE Royal Rumble 2021 Preview

WWE Royal Rumble takes place on Sunday January 31st and the Hooked On Wrestling team predict what we will see go down at the event.

Royal Rumble - Women's Rumble 2021

Credit: WWE

It is the first WWE PPV of the year with everyone’s real favourite event, Royal Rumble taking place on Sunday January 31st.

We asked some of the Hooked On Wrestling team to weigh in with their predictions on the event. You too can make your picks known by entering our Royal Rumble Predictions Contest by clicking here and entering any time up to an hour before the start of the 2021 Royal Rumble PPV.

If you want to know the ins and outs of the event itself including how to watch, you can find that info here.

So with that in mind, here’s our team’s picks for all the matches due to take place at the WWE ThunderDome on Sunday:


Men’s Royal Rumble Match

Mens Royal Rumble Match 2021
Credit: WWE

Paul Benson: Despite absolutely no whispers backing it up, I cannot shake the feeling that Brock Lesnar is coming back to win this and start a short babyface stint heading towards a match with Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. And how glorious would that be? A few more predictions for the night: In terms of mystery entrants, expect to see Seth Rollins back in the fray. I could also see rumours of Tyson Kidd or Samoa Joe making injury comebacks coming true. In terms of something off the wall, how about Doink The Clown? I also expect to see Rey and Dominik Mysterio get it on at some point, maybe as the first two entrants? I think we see the younger man eliminate his father.

Winner: Brock Lesnar

Justin Czerwonka: I was able to narrow down the women’s match to two. This one is much harder. Who on RAW stands out right now? Pretty much no one. SmackDown has done well building up more people for this spot. Big E, Nakamura, Daniel Bryan and hell, even Cesaro. Braun came out and dominated people on Friday night too. It’s really wide open. In the end, I’m going with Daniel Bryan. I think his time as a regular performer is coming to an end and he gets a big Rumble match win here, even if it is six years too late.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

James ‘Jester’ Dee: Gods this one is hard to pick! So many viable candidates. Rollins, Cesaro, Nakamura, Strowman, hell I even think Jey Uso may be in with a shot. I think Cesaro is going to be this year’s Ironman and put in the kind of performance everyone knows he is capable of and hopefully he gets propelled up into the main event where a man of his superior Uno talents (shoutout to Da Party!) belongs. However, this is Daniel Bryan’s year to win it, I can’t imagine many things I want more than a match between Bryan and “Head of the Table” Reigns or “Claymore Kicker” McIntyre and I think he takes the win here.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Gary Tait: I think this might be one of the hardest Rumbles to call. WWE have done a good job of making it feel like anyone can win. It boils down to around four people though. Bryan, Edge, Sheamus or AJ Styles (outside of the Goldberg rumours).  I am going with who I want to win based on the possible feud it brings with Drew. The big Irishman to become a two-time winner.

Winner: Sheamus

Marc Hemingway: Daniel Bryan was the favourite but with Edge putting his name in last week, he must now be a close second. The final four will be Bryan, Edge, Braun Strowman and possibly Dominik Mysterio, with Daniel Bryan being the one going to WrestleMania.

Winner: Daniel Bryan


Women’s Royal Rumble Match

Women's Royal Rumble Match
Credit: WWE

Paul Benson: If I wasn’t predicting Lesnar to come back in the other Rumble match, I would be tempted to tip former UFC Champion Ronda Rousey to enter and win this one. As that is too similar, I can only pick one of those scenarios so let’s go with Bianca Belair winning this. She has EVERYTHING needed to be the top women’s star in WWE including ability, a great look, cool factor and relevancy. It is her time and she would be a great choice to win big here. I also expect to see Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler as numbers one and two and mystery entrants to include several NXT names (Naturally) as well as potentially Victoria and Mickie James. Could we see Tessa Blanchard join the fray? I don’t see it.

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Winner: Bianca Belair

Justin Czerwonka: While the build to the Rumble hasn’t been great, it has allowed the Rumble match itself to be more wide open. This comes down to two women for me: Rhea Ripley or Bianca Belair. I’ll pick Belair after she picked up a big win on Smackdown over Bayley. If Charlotte was RAW champ I would be going Ripley, but we aren’t there yet.

Winner: Bianca Belair

James ‘Jester’ Dee: The Women’s Royal Rumble or as I like to call it; The Redemption of One Rhea Ripley. Following the 2020 Rumble, she called out the winner, Charlotte Flair, and picked a fight. Like most who fly too close to the sun, she couldn’t get the job done. Ripley put up a good fight but ultimately lost against the genetically superior Flair. Since then, she’s been prepping, building up her strength, her skills and she’s coming for Charlotte and this time she won’t lose.

Winner: Rhea Ripley

Gary Tait: Similar to the men’s, it is hard to call a winner here but I think it’s not quite as open. I’ve boiled it down to a few. Bianca Belair, Charlotte, Rhea Ripley and Lana (stop laughing). Story wise, all four winning makes sense. That said, I again am going to go with who I want to win and for me, who should win. The winner for me is-Rhea Ripley.

Winner: Rhea Ripley

Marc Hemingway: Bianca Belair needs to win this, it’ll give her the push she needs and also will put Bayley in her place. It’ll come down to those two at the end without a doubt and the winner will be… Bayley.

Winner: Bayley


WWE Championship Match: Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Goldberg

Drew McIntyre Goldberg
Credit: WWE

Paul Benson: I can completely understand the fear of Goldberg winning here. In defeating The Fiend in 2019 he completely derailed that character, arguably beyond redemption. Unlike a number of other legends, I sadly believe Goldberg has zero left to offer. A hugely limited wrestler in his prime, he became a massive star based purely on his aura and explosive style. It worked and it was awesome. As did his initial comeback run against Brock Lesnar. But we’ve seen it all now and I just don’t see what he brings to the product. I have faith that WWE will do the right thing here. Unlike Bray Wyatt, they clearly see McIntyre as the new face of their entire company and I am fairly comfortable predicting they will use Goldberg to further that reputation rather than wrecking it. The Scotsman to win a very short and limited match.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

Justin Czerwonka: Where to begin? If Drew McIntyre loses here the Hot Tag Wrestling Podcast will be a must listen this week. Drew has worked his butt off all year during this pandemic and should not be losing to a part timer. Drew deserves to go into Mania as Champ and wins here.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

James ‘Jester’ Dee: Smackdown 2: Know Your Role for the Playstation had a feature where before an exhibition match you could turn on all the finishing moves and use them all immediately. Just a thought… Goldberg is seeing ghosts, one too many locker room doors to the head has sent him paranoid and he sees threats where there were none before. McIntyre needs to put the old dog out of his misery. Spear, Spear, Jackhammer, kickout, Claymore, Kip-up, Claymore, 1, 2, 3, Drew moves on and Goldberg headsto a farm somewhere up north.

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Winner: Drew McIntyre

Gary Tait: I know, nobody wanted to see this match and many feel it will be awful. It’s hard to disagree with those sentiments. With that said, title matches at the Royal Rumble always play second fiddle, so it’s not an overly big deal.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

Marc Hemingway: Goldberg doesn’t wrestle long matches (anything over a few minutes) and so this’ll be over quickly. It’s going to happen the same way it did when McIntyre destroyed Brock Lesnar but this time it’ll be the Scot being the dominant one and hitting a couple of Claymores to get the quick win. McIntyre to win.

Winner: Drew McIntyre


Universal Championship Last Man Standing Match: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Kevin Owens

Roman Reigns Kevin Owens
Credit: WWE

Paul Benson: If this isn’t the match of the night I will eat my laptop. Reigns has been beyond fantastic since his SummerSlam return. The best heel in WWE since CM Punk’s last run. Maybe longer. Owens isn’t on that level but he offers an easy character to root for and tends to be a fun match machine, especially in these wild brawls. With that in mind, he is a superb foil for the Tribal Chief.

Reigns wins here. There is simply no doubting that. He should not lose for a very, very long time. Expect interference from Reigns and Jey Uso and an interjection from Adam Pearce. Could a returning Jimmy Uso prove the deciding factor in this match?

Winner: Roman Reigns

Justin Czerwonka: Roman Reigns is the best character in all of pro wrestling right now and if you ask me it isn’t close. His promos are great and he grabs your attention every time he’s on the screen. I was hoping KO would return in the Rumble and win that, to get his Mania title match he deserves but instead he gets it here. Unfortunately for him, Roman isn’t losing the title for a long time. Reigns retains.

Winner: Roman Reigns

James ‘Jester’ Dee: Anyone that listened to the most recent Shoot the Work Podcast *plug plug* will know I don’t really like Last Man Standing matches. They are, by their very nature, slow and force the match to grind to a screeching halt every few minutes so the ref can count to eight. It really inhibits a lot of the flow of the match. However, they can work marvellously and if any two wrestlers can make it work, its Reigns and Owens. Reigns isn’t losing this but he’s going to be taken to the cleaners by Owens and he’ll either have the Uso twins holding him up at the end or Owens is going to be buried under a gigantic pile of ringside detritus so he call pull double duty in the rumble later on in the night.

Winner: Roman Reigns

Gary Tait: This match will be outstanding. Both Reigns and Owens have done a great job of building this feud and I am invested. It will be brutal and I fully expect some outside interference. I don’t see Roman dropping the title anytime soon and certainly not before WrestleMania.

Winner: Roman Reigns

Marc Hemingway: Unless Owen’s gets any outside help Reigns will still be champion when this one’s over. Is it about time we had a Jimmy Uso return? Who knows what side he’d be on… It would make an interesting angle… I’m going off with my thoughts, Reigns to retain but both men with be severely beaten up by the other. 

Winner: Roman Reigns


Women’s Tag Team Title Match: Asuka and Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler

Asuka Charlotte Flair Nia Jax Shayna Baszler
Credit: WWE

Paul Benson: Truth be told, I can’t see why this match is taking place. I don’t see what it does for any of the women involved. I expect a good match with the champions retaining and the challengers clashing in the Rumble match later in the night. I’m sure WWE has something in mind here but I’m not feeling any vibes on what that might be.

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Winners: Asuka and Charlotte Flair

Justin Czerwonka: The women’s tag team titles aren’t really clicking with me. I hope the winners of the Women’s Dusty Classic get a shot and take the belts – I think they’d be better off in NXT than on the main roster. With that said, I’ll take Shayna and Nia to win the titles back with the help of Lana. I can see Lana costing the Champs, upset because Charlotte took her spot.

Winners: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler

James ‘Jester’ Dee: As discussed in my Women’s Rumble prediction, I believe Flair is taking the Raw Women’s title from Asuka and that means they need to breed dissension here. As much as I have soured on the Jax/Baszler relationship of late, the power twins are taking this one and I for one look forward to the inevitable title match between Charlotte and Asuka at Fastlane/Roadblock/Roundabout.

Winners: Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax

Gary Tait: I am not sure why this match is happening again but I am a bit of a fan of the Jax/Basler team. I just think they work well together. Charlotte with the tag title is purely a stop gap and to be honest, both Askua and Flair have other storylines to be getting on with.

Winners: Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax

Marc Hemingway: Asuka and Flair don’t gel as a team. Although I thought that about Jax and Baszler but they made it work eventually. Flair has always been better as a heel, turn her after the match and set up Asuka vs Flair. Also, turn Jax and Baszler against each other. Turn everyone!

Winners: Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax


SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Carmella

Sasha Banks Carmella
Credit: WWE

Paul Benson: It is a fairly uninspiring match for the standout perfomer in WWE’s Women’s division over the last year. The feud has been OK with Banks winning their first encounter but without being able to fully shake the heel off her tail. It feels like a classic set up for the heel winning the cheap victory and I expect Carmella to take this in filthy fashion. Maybe after a champagne bottle shot to The Boss’ head? Cheers!

Winner: Carmella

Justin Czerwonka: Carmella has been a good foil for Sasha heading into the Rumble. I like her new character and think it works as a temporary challenger to the Champion. But we’re heading into Mania season and Sasha is the best female in the business right now, and she is walking in as Champion. Sasha retains.

Winner: Sasha Banks

James ‘Jester’ Dee: Camella is great. She’s really working with this whole new gimmick and while Sasha is infinitely more interesting when she’s either the bad guy or chasing the belt, I still think Banks wins this one.

Winner: Sasha Banks

Gary Tait: Sasha Banks has been killing it since the summer and this feud has been well done. I think Banks keeps the title until Mania and whilst I think this match will be fun, I see no title changing here. 

Winner: Sasha Banks

Marc Hemingway: I find it hard seeing Carmella as the next to hold the belt but there’s a good chance she’ll win then drop it right back at the next PPV. I don’t want to see her win though because I’m all about the Boss. Banks to retain. 

Winner: Sasha Banks


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