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10 Leading Contenders To Win WWE's Women's Royal Rumble

An active roster member or one of the heavily rumoured surprises?

GOOD NEWS EVERYONE! WWE are doing the first-ever women's Royal Rumble match properly. Phew! There will be 30 ladies in the match and the only way for any of them to be eliminated is to be thrown over the top rope. If you're going to do it at all DO IT RIGHT and damn skippy are they doing it right? Right?

Just like the first-ever women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match did last year, I expect the first-ever women's RR to open the show and get WWE's next network special off to a hot start. What I don't expect to happen is for WWE to woefully misjudge the finish to the match like they did at MITB. Who can forget James Ellsworth - A MAN WITH FULLY FUNCTIONING TESTICLES - ascending the ladder and condescendingly dropping the briefcase to Carmella because the Princess of Staten Island wasn't able to get up there herself? A man became the first ever Miss Money in the Bank... I think I speak on behalf of the entire WWE Universe when I say no nonsense this time, please WWE!

With 30 spots up for grabs in the match, guessing who will be involved - never mind who will win the entire thing - is a stab in the darkest room imaginable. When you take both Raw and SmackDown Live's respective champions out of the equation - Alexa Bliss and Charlotte won't be in the match because they can't challenge themselves - there are only 20 names remaining on the main roster. Maybe the field is just wide open enough for a surprise name from NXT or maybe even further afield to make history... let's have a look at 10 of the leading contenders now.

10. Shayna Baszler


WWE


Even the most fearless people are scared of Shayna Baszler. The former Ultimate Fighter has made quite the impression since making her first televised appearance in a WWE ring in the middle of last year.

Despite having only two-years in-ring experience under her belt, Baszler made it all the way to the final of the first-ever Mae Young Classic, losing to Kairi Sane in the final. After making a huge impression on the women's game during the tournament, and on several people's faces, WWE acted swiftly in signing her to a contract.

After amassing an amount of hype that would even have the likes of Mojo Rawley sweating from the arse, The Queen Of Spades finally made her televised NXT debut on December 27 by choking out Sane. She looked very strong, very strong indeed.

Even though age isn't on her side it looks like WWE are going to use Shayna's legitimate fighting background to its fullest. She's currently going around the Performance Center showing the young guns how to apply submission holds properly before murdering them in the face. "Let me put it on you so you know what it feels like," she says. I got chills just typing that sentence...

A legitimate background, name value, knows her way around the squared circle - Shayna Baszler ticks all the boxes for a potential women's Royal Rumble winner.


9. Bayley


WWE


WWE are finally getting there with Bayley, I think.

Gone are the days where she's a SILLY VIRGIN who doesn't know how to use a kendo stick even though she's a demented soul who once did a Reverse Hurricanrana off the top rope to poor Sasha Banks' neck; and now, she's just a nice gal having a nice time while travelling the world with her best friend by her side. It's going to be a slow process to recover The Hugger after the mess WWE's creative has made over the past 18 months with her, but we're finally seeing the first signs that we might just be on the way to getting there - I only say this because the majority of the boos appear to have subsided. Baby steps.

Would a women's Royal Rumble win for Bayley be out of the blue? Yes.

Is Bayley a big enough name to win the Rumble and it not feel silly? Yes.

Could the win be used the shoot another pretender to bonafide stardom into the stratosphere? Yes.

Is it the most unpopular outcome WWE could rustle up on January 28? Nope.

With all of those answers in mind, I reckon there's a chance. I wouldn't mind seeing Bayley win, even though the build to this potential success - unless WWE makes her the centrepiece of everything they do in the coming weeks - has been colder than my Granny's house.

8. Sasha Banks


WWE


WWE's women's ranks are weird places to be at the moment as so many of the familiar faces have lost just about all of their momentum. With all the focus on a new stable on each show, a number of ladies are currently feeding off scraps - Sasha Banks is one of those.

The Boss has been restricted in what she's been able to do in recent times, so she's very much in the same category as Bayley when it comes to a potential Rumble win. While it would be completely out of the blue with her recent successes, or lack thereof, in mind, her name and talents carry enough weight to shoulder the reaction that a win would bring. I guess it would be like Randy Orton winning last year's men's match, which presumably means Dana Brooke - who has that modicum of 'go away heat' that Roman Reigns has with some quarters - needs to be the last one in there with either Sasha or Bayley.

Who knows, we might see Sasha double-cross and turn heel on Bayley to win the entire thing - we all know she's a way better heel than she is face, and the woman herself has gone on record saying she prefers to work that way. If she did, we'd have so much lovely wrestling to look forward to over the coming months between two ladies who are better foes than they are friends.

7. Naomi


WWE


Hello, you see the two entries before this? The same applies here. When you really think about it, the Riott Squad and Absolution really are short-sighted pieces of booking.

Anyway, every single time Rumble season rolls around we see a man stood in the ring cutting a promo saying he's going to win the damn match and come after the champion's championship. Naomi did this while SmackDown Live Women's Champion and her good friend, I must add, Charlotte was stood right in front of her. I don't know if it's because I got lost in the staredown - bloody hell do I love a good staredown - or the way SmackDown have been emphasising the pair are very good pals in recent times, but the way Naomi said it and the subsequent silence just felt like they were sewing the seeds for something bigger. I don't know, it might just be me...

Whatever happens, if Naomi is to come out on top in the women's Rumble then WWE are going to have to replay that segment roughly 61,472 times because thanks to beatdowns from Ruby, Liv and Sarah, a Naomi win would feel just as cold as my Grandad's house, never mind my Granny's.


6. Becky Lynch


WWE


Becky Lynch is back with a sh*tload steam - that's right steam, not wind - in her sails.

The Irish Lass Kicker was lost in no women's land before jetting off to film The Marine 6: Close Quarters but now appears to be back and brimmed with the piss and vinegar only a push up the card can give you. Yes she'd captained Team SmackDown Live at Survivor Series and yes she'd defeated James Ellsworth in a rarer than a Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat Intergender Match, yet still she was nowhere near the level she was while feuding with Alexa Bliss at the start of 2017.

Sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder. It seems this logic applies to both human hearts and wrestling booker's pencils...

It remains to be seen what SmackDown Live's creative team has in store for Becky over the coming weeks. One thing is for sure though, she'll have to be made the centrepiece of everything going on Tuesday night's to make a potential Rumble victory feel any less cold than my Auntie's house, never mind my Grandad's or Granny's.

I feel like I'm repeating myself a hell of a lot at this stage... DAMN STABLES!

5. Kairi Sane


WWE


I wish I had Kairi Sane's elbow. Life would be easier if you had Kairi Sane's elbow, you know.

The Mae Young Classic winner is one of the heavily rumoured surprises for the women's Rumble, and if she does make an appearance she'll automatically be one of the frontrunners to win the damn match because of her elbow. While most of the ladies in the match will be using both arms and maybe even a leg to get their opponents over the top rope, Sane will just elbow them - probably all at once.

"ARRRRRGH," she'll say. Because she's a pirate.

After building one hell of a reputation while turning out for Stardom over a six-year run, Sane's initial stint as part of the MYC and on NXT signals that big things are coming her way. After winning the tournament she's already been involved in an NXT Women's Championship match at TakeOver: WarGames with limited TV time, which tells you all you need to know. WWE could also work her fledgeling rivalry with Shayna Baszler into the Rumble if they wish, you never know.

If Dave Meltzer labels you one of the three best female wrestlers in the world - alongside Io Shirai and Mayu Iwatani, if you were wondering - you're more than good enough to win the first-ever women's Royal Rumble match. As we all know, Dave Meltzer is love, Dave Meltzer is life.

4. Paige


WWE


I know, you've probably just popped a blood vessel in your head because Paige was recently injured on a house show...

I've just watched an Instagram post of Absolution's entrance at another house show over the weekend and Paige is moving fine. The leader of Absolution even climbed to the middle turnbuckle to salute the crowd so given another couple of weeks rest she should be fine to compete in the Rumble. It's important to note that I'm neither a medical professional nor have any knowledge about Paige's injury, so what I've said there could be complete nonsense.

What isn't nonsense, however, is that before her injury, Paige and Absolution - Asuka aside, obviously - were the dominant act on Raw. Had the injury not occurred, then Paige would have been arguably the favourite to win the entire thing. Since it has, and since it remains to be seen how serious the injury is and how much it will impact on what she's capable of doing in the ring, there's a massive question mark against her name so I'm not really sure what else I can add here...

I guess we'll have to wait and see on this one.


3. Nia Jax


WWE


We may as well all go home at this point because Nia Jax is the favourite to win the women's Royal Rumble.

How any lady in the match is expected to hoist 272 pounds of Jax over the top rope is beyond me. It's impossible. In most of her matches, Nia is the overwhelming favourite but in a match where the only way you can be eliminated is by being thrown over the top rope, she's a certainty to win. No question about it.

Just look a the history books in the men's version and all of the larger athletes who have romped to a victory down the years. Heck, every single year around this time it feels like Michael Cole starts to give us an endless string of lectures on how The Big Show is nailed on to win the Rumble because he's 500 pounds. HOW CAN ANYBODY LIFT HEAVY THINGS OVER THE TOP ROPE?

What's that? Show has never won the Rumble from 12 attempts? Are you sure? Are you dizzy, blud? He's 500 BIG ONES?!

I guess it's best we keep Nia at number three then just in case WWE actually decide to apply logic to their first-ever women's Rumble... the logic that the heaviest wins rather than the heaviest never wins, I mean.

2. Ronda Rousey


WWE


As I sit here writing this article, wondering where it all went wrong, there is still a chance that Ronda Rousey will be in the women's Royal Rumble.

The rumours are still there. They aren't going away. We know that Ronda is going to be making a big announcement soon that will "change the game" through her own website - rather than UFC's - which all but confirms a move to a different company is on the cards. We know that talks have been going on between her and WWE and we know that an agreement hasn't been reached.

Most importantly, however, there hasn't been a 'no' from either side. As long as there isn't one of those between now and the 28th, the women's Rumble looks increasingly more likely to get a bit rowdier.

While Ronda's star has fallen slightly over the past couple of year's there's no doubting her credentials as an attraction. Her name still has considerable value to it while we all know how much of an arse-kicker she is. If Shayna Baszler ticked all the boxes for a potential women's Royal Rumble winner earlier in this list then Ronda Rousey ticks them all twice - maybe thrice!

I'm only putting Ronda at number two on the list as she isn't confirmed for the Rumble. WWE's men's Rumble didn't have a single surprise entrant last year - Tye Dillinger aside but is he really a shocker in the true Rumble sense? - but with 10 free spaces and no public rejection on Rousey from either herself or WWE, surely she's a goer. If she is, you simply can't argue against her winning. That 'if' is still pretty large, though...

1. Asuka


WWE


She's never lost. Simple.

And just so you know, if Asuka doesn't win the first-ever women's Royal Rumble match her undefeated streak IS still intact. Royal Rumbles are matches where there is one winner and no definitive losers in my book. While The Empress Of Tomorrow won't have won the match if she's dumped over the top rope, she won't have definitively lost it either.

Can that discussion end now? FANTASTIC!

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Ross Tweddell

Written by Ross Tweddell

Editor-in-chief of Cultaholic.com and presenter on the Cultaholic Wrestling YouTube channel. Email: [email protected]