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7 Surprise Appearances We Might See At Royal Rumble

The best part of the Rumble is arguably the surprise entrants, so here’s a list of what we think could happen.

By Chris Phelan
The Rock walking to the ring

We’re approaching the moment where we can start expressing the amount of time between now and the 2023 Royal Rumble in hours not days — which is why we here at USA Insider have to get down to the nitty-gritty.

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That means that there’s no better time than now to start speculating about who will appear in the men’s and women’s Rumble matches as surprise entrants!

It seems that this year’s Royal Rumble has fewer officially announced participants than usual, which means that the rumor mill has kicked up to a higher gear than in past years — which makes this exercise way more interesting and fun. From legends to returning Superstars to wrestlers who have never appeared in WWE before, here’s who we think can be surprise entrants in Saturday’s Royal Rumble matches.

The Rock

Wwe Royal Rumble Matches

Earlier this month, we pointed out small details in official Royal Rumble graphics that may be pointing to the return of the Rock, and we’re still sticking by that specific instance of investigative journalism!

It just makes too much sense for the Great One to be a surprise entrant in the 2023 Royal Rumble. Don’t forget, the Rock went on the record last year by proclaiming himself the true Head of the Table and starting all of this wild speculation in the first place. Ask yourself this: why would the Rock make that specific proclamation seemingly out of nowhere? If you ask us — and pardon the pun — but Rock’s declaration seems like he was simply setting the table before he becomes Head of the Table.

Although Rock is one of the biggest Superstars in WWE history, he knows better than anybody that sometimes a simple challenge isn’t enough to main event WrestleMania — sometimes you’ve got to go the old fashioned route and win the Royal Rumble.

The Great Muta

The Great Muta

For fans that may not be familiar with the Great Muta, let us give you a quick refresher: He’s a 60-year-old living legend who recently had his retirement match in Japan earlier this month. After starting his career in New Japan Pro Wrestling in the early '80s, he gained national attention in WCW in the late '80s and early '90s, mixing it up with legends like Ric Flair and Sting.

In the ring, he’s historically been a force to be reckoned with, and is known not only for his stunning repertoire of moves but the mist that he frequently sprays at his opponents in the middle of a match! That’s right, long before WWE fan-favorites such as Tajiri were spraying Superstars there was the Great Muta popularizing the technique in Japan.

At age 60, the Great Muta has proven he can still “go” in the ring — and with Triple H in charge of WWE creative decisions these days, we wouldn’t be completely shocked to see Muta mist a few Superstars in the Rumble on Saturday.

Sasha Banks

Sasha Banks with a serious expression on her face

Speaking of Japan, Sasha Banks recently re-emerged in the wrestling world earlier this month when she appeared for New Japan Pro Wrestling. Although she appeared under a different name than the moniker that garnered her worldwide fame, it sure seemed like Sasha still was in great shape!

Now, the rumor mill is buzzing over the prospect of Sasha finally making her return to WWE after her extended absence at the 2023 Royal Rumble. A lot of her fans agree that WWE will always be her home and that inevitably Sasha will return to take her rightful place among the upper echelon of female Superstars — it’s just the matter of when. Will that time come on Saturday? With only a handful of women announced so far for their Rumble match, there certainly will be plenty of room for a handful of surprises along the way — and we’re crossing our fingers the familiar entrance music of Sasha Banks will blast throughout the Alamodome in just a few days.

Ric Flair

Ric Flair

Ever since his re-retirement match a few months ago on the independent wrestling scene, the Nature Boy has made it crystal clear that he has no intent on returning to the ring. In fact, it seems that Flair has gone out of his way in recent weeks to tell the world that he’s never, ever coming back.

But if there’s one thing that we’ve learned as lifelong wrestling fans, it’s to never say never. We have to admit, Flair looked pretty spry and able during his appearance at Raw XXX on Monday, and judging by his Peacock documentary, it seems that a return to the ring — even if it’s for one night only — will always be on the table.

All of this (totally speculative, we admit it) information leads us to believe that there's a tiny chance that the Nature Boy has managed to wheel and deal his way into the Rumble on Saturday, and it’s just a matter of time before the WWE Universe sees arguably the greatest wrestler of all-time lace up his boots once more.

Stone Cold Steve Austin

Stone Cold Steve Austin climbing the ropes of the ring with his fists up

Before last year’s WrestleMania, we would’ve said that Steve Austin was 100 percent finished with professional wrestling. But then he showed up and whooped Kevin Owens all over AT&T Stadium, and looked to be in phenomenal shape in the process.

Was last year’s WrestleMania just a preview of what Stone Cold is planning? Was his match with KO simply a tune-up match to test if Austin still could compete at the highest level?

WWE in 2022 was a year marked with unbelievable moments that, quite frankly, many of us never thought we’d see. Let’s be real, who had “Logan Paul will challenge Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship” on their 2022 bingo card? So is a Stone Cold Steve Austin appearance in this weekend’s Royal Rumble really outside of the realm of possibility? Based on what Austin did to Owens last year, it really feels like the Hall of Famer hasn’t lost a step — and maybe Austin will come to San Antonio to scratch an itch that he’s been wanting to scratch ever since he tasted victory back in April.



Well here’s a name the WWE Universe hasn’t heard in a while!

Ever since his WWE release in May 2021, Andrade has barely made a blip in the wrestling world — but it may be time for him to make a triumphant return, and our theory on Andrade appearing at the Rumble is based on one person: Charlotte Flair.

RELATED: Charlotte Flair Reveals What Kept Her Out Of WWE Action For So Long

As you may or may not know, Andrade and Charlotte are real-life husband and wife — and ever since Charlotte made her shocking return to WWE at the end of 2022 and captured the SmackDown women’s title from Ronda Rousey, she’s seemingly turned over a new leaf. Gone is the brash persona that characterized so many of her previous runs in WWE — instead, and we’ll put it simply here: she seems happy! It’s apparent that something is going on with Charlotte that has caused her to view the fans and her own standing in the world of wrestling in a better light, and for the first time in a long time, the WWE Universe can stand behind Charlotte and her latest title reign.

What could be causing this change of heart from Charlotte these days? Well, maybe it’s because her real-life hubby is making his grand return to the place where she’s called home for many years. That’d put us in a good mood too.

It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Mandy Rose

Mandy Rose

Ever since her exit from NXT, the most successful Women’s Champion the WWE Universe has seen in years has been conspicuous by her absence. But hear us out: Maybe this is all part of the plan.

Perhaps WWE management thought Mandy outgrew NXT last month and immediately began crafting a plan for her return to the main roster. We don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Mandy Rose hasn’t exactly been negative towards WWE since her release — in fact, she has admitted there are no hard feelings between the two camps. Could this all be setting her up for a triumphant return where she dominates every woman who stands in her way of dominating the women’s division on the main roster?

While we honestly have to say this is definitely our most outlandish guess at a surprise Rumble entry, at the same time — the shocking return of Mandy Rose on Saturday would actually not shock us at all.

We’d say that’s a pretty exciting list of men and women who can make appearances on Saturday, isn’t it?

The home stretch is finally here. So enjoy these last few days of calm while you can, because on Saturday at the Royal Rumble, things are about to get a little crazy. The Road to WrestleMania is upon us!

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