Pickin#039; on the Royal Rumble

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2005

As sportswriters, we have a habit of predicting things. Sometimes our thoughts are right and dead-on, sometimes they are over in Walla Walla, Washington hanging out. With that said a lot of prognostications will be made about the Super Bowl, but that's two weeks away.

So the question at hand is: what event should this writer practice his prognostications on?

The first thought would be to look at the calendar of sports.

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We have the NHL.

Oh, wait, that's last season's calendar.

Ok, so we're ruling out the NBA because, well – it's not worth it.

Since football and NBA are the only options really hitting their strides right now, let's look further down the sports calendar.

Found it.

This Sunday night the WWE will host its annual Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View telecast live from the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Ca. It's been seven years since the WWE has invaded Fresno.

Since its inception as one of the four staple events presented by the WWF, now the WWE, the Royal Rumble has been an integral part of what has come to be known as the "Road to WrestleMania."

The winner of the Rumble automatically gets a shot at the world champion at WrestleMania.

Looking at the 2005 version of this event, the 5-match card appear to be as strong as past Rumbles, especially from the Raw-brand's side.

Breaking down the card for the event, the potential is there for this to be a really good show for the fans of sports entertainment.

On the Raw side of things, Shawn Michaels and Edge's feud began in February at the Taboo Tuesday event, according to WWE.com. Edge and Michaels have been feuding primarily because Edge thinks Michaels cost him the shot at the World Championship and these two guys have banged heads on more than one occasion, usually with Michaels coming out on top. That's the prediction for this one, Shawn Michaels will pick up the win.

For the World Championship, according to WWE.com Randy Orton and Triple H, used to be in the same faction called Evolution. That is until Orton won the title. After he refused to hand the title over to Triple H, Orton was kicked out of the group and since then lost the title to Triple H.

The two met at Survivor Series in which H won the title, and Orton was denied a title shot. Until the commissioner changed the contract. That's the history behind that match and the prediction will be that Triple H holds onto the title.

The Smackdown! matches should be as equally interesting. The title match for them is a triple-threat match, meaning that Bradshaw, the champion, doesn't have to lose the match to lose his title. But, after doing some research on some rumor sites, it's in the opinion of this writer that JBL will somehow sneak out with the title once again.

In what should be the final match before the Rumble match, the caskets will be rolled down to ring side for the Casket Match.

Heidenreich is supposedly afraid of caskets and the Undertaker practically invented this match. So for him it should be an easy win.

According to WWE.com the only casket match that the Taker has lost was back in the mid '90's and it took half the locker room to put him in it.

With that said, Sunday, I don't see that happening. The Undertaker will win the match and look for someone to start a new feud with as the one he is currently involved with has come close to running its course.

Finally, the Rumble match is comprised of 15 superstars from each show.

Looking on WWE.com at this year's qualifiers, it appears to be a really strong field. But, the top two candidates to win have to be John Cena, who is currently Smackdown!'s U.S. champion, and Batista, a member of Evolution but gets more cheers as a good guy than a bad one.

Sunday's show should be interesting and has the potential to be a really good show.

But hey, if it's not, next weekend is the Super Bowl.

It's that simple.

Griffin Pritchard is the Sports Editor of the Greenville Advocate and can be reached by phone at 382-3111 ext. 122 or via email at griffin.pritchard@greenvilleadvocate.com