Royal Rumble 2021 takes place tonight with WWE world title opportunities at WrestleMania 37 up for grabs.
Thirty men and 30 women will compete in two versions of the famous over-the-top-rope elimination contest, which takes place at the Tropicana Field, Florida for the first time in front of no fans.
The winners of both men and women’s Rumble matches will go on to face the champion of their choosing at WrestleMania 37 on March 28.
But the winner of the male Rumble match may have a different opponent than either of the current incumbents, as both the WWE Championship and WWE Universal Championship will be on the line.
Kevin Owens challenges Universal Champion Roman Reigns in a Last Man Standing Match, while last year’s Royal Rumble winner and current WWE Champion Drew McIntyre will defend his title against Goldberg.
Also announced for the show is a Women’s Tag Team Championship match pitting current champions Asuka and Charlotte Flair against former champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler.
Here is a match-by-match breakdown of the flagship show:
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Asuka and Charlotte Flair (c) vs Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
It’s been a good run for Asuka and Charlotte but I suspect that will come to end tonight at the hands of the team whom they defeated to win the belts. Jax & Baszler were formed out of competition between the pair but I do enjoy their work as a team and feel as though they are the right choice to take the women’s tag team division forward.
Charlotte and Asuka have done a great job in elevating the title and now have their own paths etched out for them to pursue in the form of Alexa Bliss and Lacey Evans. And it’s largely likely that one of these, most probably Evans, will be heavily involved in the outcome of this match and end up costing Asuka and Flair their titles. With three of the four women in this match all pulling double duties as they are also involved in the rumble, this bout may suffer as a result in terms of time.
Predicted winners: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Universal Championship
Roman Reigns (c) Vs Kevin Owens
There is absolutely no denying that the work that these two men have produced in this rivalry has been some of the best of their careers. While we were teased with the prospects of Roman Reigns vs Adam Pearce, it was certainly encouraging to see the promotion do the right thing and put on a Royal Rumble worthy match, which we now have.
The addition of the Last Man Standing stipulation makes me immediately worry for the health of Kevin Owens, who is known to put himself in the most daring of situations to please the WWE Universe. This match has all the chances to steal the show and while the outcome may be one of the more predictable across the card, the intrigue alone in to how they can utilise the stipulation makes this a must watch. Reigns is almost guaranteed to leave as Universal Champion, but it definitely doesn’t take anything away from just how great this match is likely to be.
Predicted winner: Roman Reigns
SmackDown Women’s Championship
Sasha Banks (c) vs Carmella
This rivalry goes back to Carmella’s return to the ring when she attacked Sasha. While The Boss already has a win over Carmella from TLC, Carmella was able to work in a rematch on the basis that Banks could wrestle Carmella’s sommelier, Reginald. Banks wrestled and defeated Reginald and as such Carmella was granted her rematch.
This feud has been fun and a nice opportunity for some spotlight to be placed on Carmella. Banks is known for her ability to elevate talent, which is proving very true in this pairing. If it wasn’t the start of the road to WrestleMania, it would be a great opportunity to pull the trigger on Carmella, but all signs point to a Sasha win, with her going into WrestleMania as the SmackDown Women’s Champion.
Predicted winner: Sasha Banks
Singles Match for WWE Championship
Drew McIntyre (c) Vs Goldberg
So now we come to the elephant in the room. Let’s all face it, nobody wants to see Goldberg dethrone Drew McIntyre, but it’s highly likely that is exactly what’s going to happen. McIntyre shot to super stardom at last year’s Rumble when he eliminated Brock Lesnar before going on to win the Rumble and then beat Lesnar for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 36. Meanwhile Goldberg hasn’t competed inside the squared circle since dropping the Universal Championship to Braun Strowman at WrestleMania 36.
Goldberg’s track record of upsetting an upcoming star started back in 2017, when he beat Kevin Owens in a mere 22 seconds, and carried on at the Super ShowDown in 2020, when he upset The Fiend in less than three minutes. These matches also lean in to what I suspect we will see here and that is a very quick match. The build has played up the fact that Goldberg isn’t perhaps the dominant force he once was, but that is likely to be called into question when Goldberg leaves the Royal Rumble as WWE Champion.
Predicted winner: Goldberg
30-women Royal Rumble match for a women’s world championship match at WrestleMania 37
If last year’s women’s Royal Rumble match was anything to go by, there are two clear favourites going into this year’s event. Both Bianca Belair and Shayna Baszler put in career defying performances in 2020, racking up a record eight eliminations each. This storyline may very well bleed into this year’s Rumble and it wouldn’t be surprising to see either of these women pick up the win.
However, while Belair and Baszler might seem like the most logical choices to win, there are plenty of other women who will be vying for that spot. Last year’s Rumble winner Charlotte Flair is never someone to count out, much like former SmackDown champ Bayley, who will be looking to reestablish herself at the top of the card.
The veteran Natalya has been revealed as the number 30 entrant, but it’s the youngsters fans will look out for, and it’s highly likely that the stars of NXT will be given the platform to prove their worth with the likes of NXT Champion Io Shirai, Raquel Gonzalez, Shotzi Blackheart and Toni Storm all hoping to emulate former NXT star Belair’s 2020 turn.
Which leads us full circle to the mentioning once more of Bianca, who is the clear favourite. The recent focus on Belair has been evident that the company sees a lot of promise in her and a record breaking performance here will put her on a path to go one on one with Banks at WrestleMania.
Predicted winner: Bianca Belair
30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 37
The field may be wide open this year, but all the stars seem to be aligning for a well overdue Daniel Bryan victory. Bryan is the ultimate utility player for the WWE and while the elusive Rumble victory has evaded him so far, the prospect of a Reigns feud going into Mania seems like the natural fit. That said, it might not be so plain sailing for Bryan as the Rumble is the most unpredictable night of the WWE calendar and there are a number of stellar rivals.
Randy Orton is someone who is always on the periphery of a title match, although a returning Fiend could place a roadblock in Orton winning a record equalling third Rumble. However, Orton now has a big job on his hands, as we know he will be entering the match in the number one spot, with his bitter rival, the returning WWE Hall of Famer Edge, at number two!
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Crowd favourite Big E is currently enjoying success as a singles competitor and the current Intercontinental Champion could certainly find himself adding another accolade to his already impressive resume. Surprise entrants may include The Fiend, whom we have not seen since Randy burnt him alive at TLC. We may also get to see former NXT North American Champion Damian Priest make his main roster debut.
With so many great names included in this contest, it does certainly make it difficult to predict just one man who will go on to fight for a championship at the Grandest Stage of Them All. However, with the momentum he has built and his ability to slot into a main event match at Mania never in question, it seems the perfect time for Daniel to tick off another achievement on his long list and claim a Rumble win for the first time in his career.
Predicted winner: Daniel Bryan
1 Asuka and Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler – Tag team match for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
2 Roman Reigns (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs. Kevin Owens – Last Man Standing match for the WWE Universal Championship
3 Sasha Banks (c) vs. Carmella – Singles match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
4 Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Goldberg – Singles match for the WWE Championship
5 Women’s Royal Rumble match – 30-woman Royal Rumble match for a women’s championship match at WrestleMania 37
6 Men’s Royal Rumble match – 30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 37
Watch WWE Royal Rumble 2021 live on BT Sport Box Office 2 at midnight on Sunday, January 31.
You can follow all the action as it happens in our Mirror Sport WWE Royal Rumble Live Blog.