Taking Our Lumps Or A Victory Lap: Wrestling Inc's WWE Royal Rumble 2024 Report Card

The 2024 Royal Rumble has come and gone, and WrestleMania season is officially upon us. We know now that Cody Rhodes will once again attempt to finish his story, indicating after his second consecutive Rumble win that he will choose to run it back with "The Tribal Chief" Roman Reigns for the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship. We also know that Bayley can now boast of a Rumble win, along with her other impressive accolades in WWE, and it seems likely she'll end up getting after it with her (for now) Damage CTRL ally, IYO SKY, for the WWE Women's Championship.

What we don't know is just how well our predictions fared, and in 2024, we're making everything count here at Wrestling Inc., holding ourselves a little more accountable for our prognostications. To that end, we'll be following up each PLE and PPV (for which we claim to know what we're talking about) with a post-mortem assessment of the prediction results. Nineteen of us tried to foretell the Royal Rumble, so let's break down how things went for the WINC staff.

Women's Royal Rumble Match: Bayley [11 votes]

Others receiving votes: Becky Lynch [5], Bianca Belair [1], Nia Jax [1], Jade Cargill [1]

Not only did we see "The Role Model" coming out on top in this one, but we had a good read on the final — well, we'll call it a final five. Since Bayley dumped Belair and Tiffany Stratton at the same time, we didn't really get a traditional final four in this one, but we feel pretty good about the way things went down, as all of the women who got a nod from our predictive participants made a major impact on the match.

Lynch shined for 22:29, and it took both the returning Naomi and the debuting Cargill to take "The Man" out. Belair went just shy of 48 minutes, although curiously, she only had one elimination, that being TNA Knockouts World Champion Jordynne Grace (who deserves an honorable mention for a fine showing herself). Jax had the match's highest number of eliminations with 11, ultimately getting tossed by Cargill in an impressive feat. And Cargill herself shined, eliminating three people in total and teasing a future showdown with Belair in a goosebumps moment.

But the star of this show, and of our predictions, was Bayley, and we're happy to have seen that coming after an impressive run alongside Damage CTRL where she's helped make all of the members of that faction stronger. Does she now come through on her promise to have the whole group dripping in gold, which would mean she's eyeing the WWE Women's World Championship of Rhea Ripley? Or will she up challenging SKY, and in the process, turning babyface for the first time since 2019?

United States Championship: Logan Paul [16 votes]

Others receiving votes: Kevin Owens [3]

Both of Saturday night's non-Rumble matches were predictable, as per our gallery of pundits called everything up to and including the precise finish in this one, as we noted the likelihood of Paul getting assistance from one of his running mates and/or a pair of brass knucks. We got both of those elements correct, but we didn't exactly see a Kevin Owens disqualification in the cards. Nonetheless, it all works out well enough, with a made guy in Owens looking just fine taking the protected L and Paul continuing on his dastardly path toward whatever is next.

Many of us think that will be defending the WWE United States Championship at WrestleMania, and at least one of us thinks there's a good chance of that being a multi-man car crash-type match featuring high spots galore and including Owens, perhaps Austin Theory and Grayson Waller given their involvement in this match, and maybe Ricochet, though given the inconclusive nature of the finish, it's possible he gets Owens again in a singles match. In the meantime, Paul will likely go away again for a bit until he decides to annoy someone else and get them to want to punch him in the face again, 

It's a simple recipe that works for a punchable face like his. And given the success of his WWE run so far, it's probably best that we all get used to it, as he isn't going away for good anytime soon.

Undisputed WWE Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns [18 votes]

Others receiving votes: Randy Orton [1]

That all of us, save for a single Orton supporter, saw Reigns prevailing despite the Fatal-Four-Way stipulation in this match should not have been a surprise to anyone given The Bloodline's affinity for getting involved in just about every Reigns title defense to this point. And we're pretty certain everybody (even the person who cast the vote for Orton) really only saw two options for Reigns come Mania no matter how this match shook out: Cody Rhodes, or that Dwayne guy.

Yes, the easiest thing to do here was to run things back with Rhodes all the while, and that may inspire a grumble or two from somewhere among the masses, but sometimes the easiest and most logical thing to do is also the best thing. So you have Solo Sikoa come out and spike Orton, Reigns pins AJ Styles, LA Knight does his best to hang with these giants (yeah), and everyone comes out okay having had their moments throughout the contest.

Now we get to see if The Rock remains a part of the story (it is impossible to stay away from that word these days), even in a cursory capacity until (if?) it makes more sense for him to become a main player. For now, though there will surely be bumps in the road, expect Cody/Roman/Bloodline interactions galore in the coming weeks and months as WrestleMania approaches.

Men's Royal Rumble Match: CM Punk [11 votes]

Others receiving votes: GUNTHER [4], Drew McIntyre [1], The Rock [1], Kazuchika Okada [1]

We had a real shot at going 4-for-4 at this year's Royal Rumble, but "The American Nightmare" just had to go and get in the way of perfection for us, now, didn't he? We had Punk pegged to punch his ticket to Philadelphia and a likely tilt against WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth "Freakin'" Rollins, and though that got very close to becoming reality, Rhodes made sure we'd only bat .750 for this Premium Live Event, tossing Punk to become the first repeat Rumble winner since "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in 1998. Despite our lone collective loss here, we feel good about the way we saw this going down, with GUNTHER and McIntyre each having solid showings and their inclusion, alongside Punk and Rhodes, in the final four.

Surely, this would have led to some Punk vs. McIntyre moments in the next several weeks, with the former eliminating the latter and already some elements of a beef between the two in play on "Raw" since Punk's return. And we probably would have thought that Punk always had Elimination Chamber to find his way back toward a shot at Rollins. But thanks to Punk's untimely injury, that's gone now, so maybe we see GUNTHER having something to say about Rhodes simply marching his way toward Reigns again, especially since Cody has won the match and also eliminated "The Ring General" two years in a row. Or he could always be the guy with his sights set on Rollins, as he said they were on "Raw" recently.

Of course, there was that one vote for The Rock (who we really don't even know how to account for in storyline at the moment) and the other one for Okada (who, by most accounts, remains not signed to WWE and likely headed elsewhere anyway) but hey, fun guesses all the same.

Overall, three out of four ain't bad. We'll take it, and we'll be back at it for "NXT" Vengeance Day!

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