Success in the Royal Rumble has helped to elevate the careers of many WWE superstars since the match and eponymous event was first held in 1988.
From Attitude Era icons like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to Brock Lesnar and 2020 winner Drew McIntyre, victory in the 30-man or woman over the top rope battle royal guarantees you a place in wrestling history. The title shot at WrestleMania that comes with it helps too.
The Royal Rumble can be a place where stars are made and winning the match a stepping stone to greatness. Outlasting 29 other wrestlers in it come 2021 could set these WWE talents on the path to becoming stars.
Current NXT Champion Keith Lee has already featured in the Royal Rumble before. His recent defeat of Adam Cole for the yellow brand’s major title means he is enjoying a push.
Lee has the physique to be a genuinely difficult guy to eliminate from the match. He aided Brock Lesnar in the elimination of Braun Strowman from the 2020 Royal Rumble and is 12/1 on the sportsbooks to win it next year.
Now that he holds both the NXT and North American titles, it is only a matter of time until Lee moves to Raw or SmackDown. Royal Rumble success could help this surprisingly agile big man make a real splash after such a switch, with Seattle, Washington the rumored venue for next year’s event.
The New Day is more than just a stable. It has done wonders for marketing WWE outside the ring with merchandise sales. Kofi Kingston enjoyed singles success and a run as WWE champion in 2019, so why can’t former Intercontinental champ Big E do likewise.
Where Kofi is known for his Royal Rumble spots defying gravity and elimination, Big E is the powerhouse of the group. He has Kingston’s storyline blessing to pursue a singles run and has long been touted for one in gossip columns.
Putting a world title on unlikely wrestlers is something WWE hasn’t been afraid of doing in recent years. Kingston followed on from Jinder Mahal, so popular in India and a 100/1 longshot in the Royal Rumble betting. The match often throws up an underdog winner with Big E is as big as 33/1 with oddsmakers to win it next year.
NXT Women’s champ Io Shirai is on the up after winning the belt in a triple threat match with Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley this summer. WWE has pushed fellow Japanese wrestlers Kairi Sane and Asuka in recent years, making the latter their inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble winner back in 2018.
In the months ahead, Raw and SmackDown would both benefit from fresh faces appearing on them. The female roster isn’t as deep as the guys, so NXT call-ups could help to shake things up. If not, the division is in danger of getting a little stale.
While MMA converts like Shayna Baszler and Ronda Rousey are more fancied to win the 2021 Women’s Royal Rumble, the former saw her push stall after WrestleMania this year and the latter remains on hiatus from WWE. Shirai is 18/1 for the Rumble and would continue the increasingly global trend of match winners following on from compatriots Asuka and Shinsuke Nakamura.