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Who Are The Favorites To Win Royal Rumble 2023 & Take On Roman Reigns At WrestleMania?
With the WWE roster being as top-heavy as ever, it’s anyone’s match to win this year!
Currently, Roman Reigns is sitting on top of the professional wrestling landscape, enjoying the fruits of his labor that has led him to be the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion for the past two-plus years. For now, there isn’t a challenger in sight — no one currently slated to challenge him one-on-one for the richest prize in the industry.
But come Jan. 28, that will all change. At Royal Rumble, 30 of the greatest wrestlers on the planet will converge in a match to determine Reigns’ WrestleMania opponent. Whoever is left standing at the end will go on to wrestle in the main event on the grandest stage of them all in Los Angeles.
So yes, we’d say the stakes will be quite high at Royal Rumble.
But just who will outlast 29 other Superstars en route to immortality? Here are our best guesses at who will win it all.
Is there anybody hungrier than Seth “Freakin” Rollins at the moment? After losing his coveted United States Championship to Austin Theory on a recent episode of Monday Night RAW, he must be itching for more gold. And based on the way Theory has looked since becoming champion, we’re expecting the Visionary to not get his hands on the U.S. Title anytime soon.
So not only is Rollins hungry and motivated, but he also has history with Roman Reigns. Rivalries often come full circle in WWE — sometimes more than once, in fact. While a part of the Shield, Rollins and Reigns formed a bond that cannot be broken, but that also means there is a never-ending competitive fire burning inside both men. Whether the two Superstars want to admit it or not, they will always be linked to each other. If that means a showdown is due at WrestleMania, well ... that would be yet another chapter in their story.
We’d even go as far as suggesting that of all the possible Superstars to win the Rumble, Seth Rollins is probably Roman Reigns’ worst possible scenario.
With rumors flying that Logan Paul’s knee injury he suffered at Crown Jewel is healing ahead of schedule, the WWE Universe may need to brace themselves for the possibility that Paul wins the whole thing on Jan. 28!
At Crown Jewel, Paul took Roman Reigns to the limit, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion and nearly pulled off the impossible. If Paul wins the Royal Rumble and gets another crack at Reigns at WrestleMania, is it really outside the realm of possibility that he can get the job done this time? Every time we see Logan Paul compete, he manages to add another amazing move or technique to his arsenal. He’s improving by leaps and bounds with each passing match — and by the time WrestleMania rolls around, he may have the skillset to be the man who finally dethrones Roman Reigns. But first thing’s first for Logan Paul: Win the Rumble.
Of course, we couldn’t have a “who will win the Royal Rumble” list without including Brock Lesnar, could we?
By now, every member of the WWE Universe knows what Lesnar is capable of. He’s capable of winning every Royal Rumble he enters, he’s capable of using farm equipment in the middle of main events, and he’s capable of, well, anything. As long as Brock Lesnar is walking, we consider him one of the odds-on favorites to win the Royal Rumble. In fact, we fully expect the Beast Incarnate to be included on this list until he’s retired. That’s how much of an unstoppable generational talent he is.
Here’s where the list gets a little intriguing. For the sake of argument, why couldn’t Sami Zayn win the Royal Rumble? Not only has he come into his own as a full-fledged member of the Bloodline, but he also low-key has tons of momentum going into San Antonio. Many fans forget that behind all of the Bloodline story is a Superstar who has evolved into one of the savviest and smartest wrestlers of all time. Sami Zayn has the ability to shock the world at the Royal Rumble — and in the process he has the ability to shock Roman Reigns as well.
Zayn challenging Reigns for the championship would be a wild turn in the Bloodline saga, and we can’t think of a better time for it to happen than at WrestleMania. For the past year, the Bloodline storyline has been about family, allegiances, and trust. What happens when all of those things are thrown out the window?
If Sami Zayn can win the Royal Rumble, we’ll find out.
There are some Superstars who will always be perennial favorites to win the Rumble, just like they are perennial challengers to the top championships in wrestling. Drew McIntyre is one of these Superstars. The larger-than-life Scotsman has held the top title in WWE before, and his easiest path to holding it again is to win the 2023 Royal Rumble.
Don’t forget, McIntyre still needs to give Reigns a receipt for WrestleMania 35, when Reigns defeated McIntyre after a vicious spear. What better way for McIntyre to get his revenge than to take the championship away from Reigns four years later?
We’ve all seen McIntyre absolutely dominate Royal Rumbles — he’s won it before, and he can do it again. But with a field of possible winners so deep this year, the question remains: Can he pull it off one more time in 2023?
There have been many redemption stories told throughout the history of WWE. But if Cody Rhodes returns from his historic pectoral injury at the Royal Rumble and wins? That’s the stuff dreams are made of. We’ll let this video speak for itself:
Rhodes has made it clear that he returned to WWE last year for one reason and one reason only: The most coveted championship in all of wrestling. We’re crossing our fingers that Rhodes can make it happen. Him participating in the Royal Rumble this year is the easy part — defeating 29 other Superstars will be the hard part. (And, well, defeating Roman Reigns at WrestleMania will be even tougher yet.)
From a sheer physicality standpoint, Bobby Lashley has no equals on the WWE roster. Whenever a battle royal of any kind is concerned, Lashley has to be considered one of the favorites. His skill set and raw power simply makes it very easy for him to throw Superstars over the top rope — while his unbelievable superhero-esque body makes it very hard for other Superstars to do the same to him.
Add all of that to the fact that he’s been the champion before, so he knows what it takes to make it to the top of the mountain. Lashley knows the sacrifices that must be made to become champion, and the WWE Universe knows he’ll be up for that challenge again. Lashley unequivocally had a dominant 2022. But for him to continue his dominance in 2023, winning the Royal Rumble has to be priority one on his to-do list.
For the better part of 2022, Bronn Breakker has been the champion in NXT. He hasn’t just beaten all comers — he’s destroyed them. Some fans argue that Breakker has outgrown NXT entirely by this point, and they might not be wrong. The NXT Champion has largely succeeded in Orlando simply because he is heads and shoulders above all the other up-and-coming Superstars. Is it time for Breakker to ditch the “big fish in a small pond” mentality and finally prove his mettle on the main roster? When you’re as dominant and successful as Bron Breakker, can you really be considered an "up-and-comer"?
In our opinion, he’s arrived. And he’s become too big and too powerful for NXT. While he hasn’t been officially confirmed as participating in this year’s Royal Rumble, we’re sure that if he does wind up making the trip to San Antonio he’ll do some serious damage. Whether that will translate into him winning and going on to WrestleMania remains to be seen.
But don’t count out Bron Breakker making a big impact. Never underestimate a big dog with a big chip on its shoulder.
Kevin Owens has been at the top of the food chain in WWE for quite some time now. And recently, he’s managed to shoehorn himself into the biggest storyline in all of wrestling: the Bloodline. If Owens can’t get his hands on Roman Reigns the easy way, he’ll have to settle for getting to Reigns the hard way via throwing 29 other Superstars over the top rope in San Antonio.
Last year at WrestleMania, Owens proved that he would not shy away from the bright lights of the biggest wrestling event of the year as he battled Stone Cold Steve Austin in an unforgettable match. Although he didn’t come out of that match as the victor, Owens showed the entire world that he can deliver beyond all expectations every time he steps into the ring, especially if it’s at WrestleMania. If he can leave San Antonio with his ticket punched for a match with Roman Reigns, the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion should be very, very worried.
When you think about it, Karrion Kross is the dark horse favorite to win the Rumble. Not only has he been patiently waiting in the wings ever since he took Drew McIntyre to the limit throughout the fall, but he also has the desire and tenacity to outlast 29 other competitors in the exhausting Royal Rumble match.
He’s shown the world what he’s capable of both in and outside the ring, and with Scarlett by his side, he’s truly a force to be reckoned with. Be honest with yourself: If the dust settles on Jan. 28 and Kross’ hand is raised in victory, would you really be surprised? It’s a story we’ve seen many times before in WWE: A Superstar who already has all the tools necessary to become champion uses the Rumble as a launching pad for meteoric success. It’s happened countless times throughout history — and it may just happen again.
Kross’ matches ever since he made his return have been impactful and dominant, and if our interview with him last month is any indication, he takes his role in WWE more seriously than most Superstars — and that alone makes him one of our favorites to go on to face Roman Reigns at WrestleMania.
As you can see, there are more than just one or two Superstars that we can see winning on Jan. 28. Who knows? Maybe the winner will turn out to be somebody who’s not even on this list. Crazier things have happened.
One thing’s for sure: Whoever wins the Royal Rumble and goes on to WrestleMania will face the toughest challenge of their career.
Catch up on all things WWE Universe on Peacock, where you can catch Royal Rumble 2023 when it premieres on Jan. 28.