World Heavyweight Champion John Cena vs. JBL (w/Shawn Michaels)

[Prediction: I can't honestly say that anyone expects JBL to walk away with this one. But I don't also feel like we will see HBK turn on JBL either. The heat he received from the angle on Raw was high and it would feel like the WWE pulled the trigger too soon if they didn't experiment with the heel HBK a bit more. I do expect Shawn ending up in the Rumble though. My idea would be that JBL is upset with losing and convinces Stephanie McMahon to put Shawn in the match with every intention of taking his spot at Wrestlemania if Shawn did win.]

WWE Champion Jeff Hardy vs. Edge

[Prediction: I might be one of the few people that DOESN'T want to see Christian return in this match. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for an attack before the match or by a masked man during the match that will cost Hardy the belt. I would just rather save the Christian surprise for the Rumble match itself. I don't see Hardy walking away with the belt but I've been surprised before.]

Women's Champion Beth Phoenix vs. Melina

[Prediction: There is actually a storyline leading into this match and the Phoenix/Rosa angle reminds me of the Trish/Mickie angle of a few years ago. I'm glad they are giving these girls a little screen time. Look for Phoenix to retain and to turn face soon to battle the new tandem of Santino and Rosa.]

ECW Champion Jack Swagger vs. Matt Hardy

[Prediction: I'm on the fence on how I feel about Swagger's win. He is definitely talented in the ring and has the size of a champion but that's about it. Character-wise he reminds of Mr. Perfect during his Bobby Heenan era. Now Henning was a phenomenal talker but Heenan was there for the heat. I think Swagger would benefit enormously from a manager like him. Hardy regains the belt but won't hold it for long.]

The 30-Man Royal Rumble

[Prediction: I said about a month ago that I saw either Randy Orton or Triple H winning this match. 31 days later and I'm still holding solid on this prediction. Triple H would be the obvious and safe choice. Orton would be the hot choice considering the reaction he is getting lately. A Wrestlemania main event match between John Cena and Randy Orton could be a huge event with the crowd fully in the corner of the heel Orton and booing the face Cena out of the building. I think the time is right to have a moment like this but with the new Cena movie coming out, the WWE might not want to risk the negative Cena reactions.]

Final Thoughts: The Royal Rumble is my favorite PPV of the year and I am wholeheartedly looking forward to this relatively stacked card. Every match should be entertaining and I have the hopeful outlook that they will deliver. Combine that with the anticipated surprises the Rumble entails and my expectations are high for the PPV the launches the Road to Wrestlemania.

So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let me know! I want to know you're reading and what your thoughts are on this as well as on the past "Hittin' The Ropes" articles. You can email me at [email protected] or head over to and leave me comments after the articles as well as catch up on all my reviews of the shows.

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