The Selective Hearing staff gather once more to make our bold predictions about the WWE’s kickoff event on the road to Wrestlemania. We take no responsibility for any monetary losses based on our bullshit. Please gamble responsibly should you decide to bet on professional wrestling.
Bayley vs. Lacey Evans (SD Women’s Championship)
Do you buy Lacey Evans as a face?
Greg: She was a face for a time in NXT and seemed to be alright. The fed seems to be milking her past as ex-military and a young mother and it seems to be working against an antagonist such as bitchy Bayley.
Allen: I actually don’t mind her as a face after such a weird stint as a heel on the main roster for what seems like forever. I actually like that she’s going up against the Karen-looking Bayley even though it all started with Sasha.
TOZ: Do I buy it? Sure, but it’s not what I want. Heel Lacey is where it’s at.
RJ: Nah. Her ‘turn’ was half-assed at best. She’s basically Liberty Belle from GLOW now, but she’s done jack all to make anyone care that she’s a good person now. One week she was insulting everyone and being a ‘sassy southern belle’, and the next she was just supposed to be someone we cheered for cus she served military time. I don’t buy it at all.
Does she have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the women’s blue belt or is it too soon?
Greg: She has not built up enough good will with the people to get the blue belt yet. Too soon.
Allen: Nope, I see Bayley making it all the way to Mania as the champ.
TOZ: Too soon. I think she should win as a Heel to establish a baseline for future title reigns.
RJ: Way too soon. She’s not really that great in ring or on her character work–and she was a much better heel than face, for my money. I don’t think Bayley’s really working well as a heel yet either, but as the old wrestling adage goes, the chase is always better.
Shorty G vs. Sheamus
Uh… This is really a thing?
Greg: I guess so.
TOZ: Absolutely don’t care.
RJ: I like that Sheamus is back, but this is whack.
Does either man benefit from this particular feud?
Greg: Well Sheamus probably does if you consider this like a soft return to action to dust off his ring rust. But honestly I guess it helps get both men some screen time, most likely on the kickoff show.
Allen: Only if they have a good series of matches. Sheamus is coming off a bunch of injuries, one being his neck, so he may have a great match partner in Gable.
TOZ: No clue.
RJ: I mean, I guess Sheamus needs something to put him over after his return. But I’m not sure that this feud is the thing to do that.
Regardless of the silliness of the storyline, do you believe this match might be surprisingly good?
Greg: Chad Gable (I refuse to call him Shorty G) and Sheamus should put on a competitive match if they are given a reasonable amount of time to put something together. Otherwise it might be like a fast brogue kick to the face to make Sheamus look like a man on the warpath for his most recent comeback.
Allen: I’d love for them to start a series of matches because Gable is so good and Sheamus is good as well. Hopefully they put something entertaining together.
TOZ: They can. But I might not be around to watch it.
RJ: Gable is a great worker, so I’m at least hoping that they can put something nice together in the ring even if the creative (especially for Gable) isn’t there.
Greg: Sheamus makes the most sense.
Allen: Sheamus because of his comeback and Gable’s stupid gimmick name.
TOZ: I like Sheamus, so I’ll pick him.
RJ: Sheamus. Because if this isn’t to put over his return, it’s pointless.
Roman Reigns vs. Baron Corbin (Falls Count Anywhere)
This feud continues to drag on and on. Are you still hyped to see these men face off again?
Greg: Not at all. This should have ended already.
Allen: Nope but it has effectively made me like Roman by default.
RJ: Not even a little bit.
Do you expect to see the use of dog food, men in dog costumes or actual dogs sometime in this match?
Greg: The way this feud is going I expect the WWE to check off all three just because. Maybe we’ll see Roode & Ziggler in dog costumes and some rental pugs will be used to attack Roman at a strategic point in the match.
Allen: I really hope not, dog food looked disgusting the last time they tried using it. I actually wouldn’t count out the use of dog costumes, probably used by the Usos for disguises.
RJ: Hopefully not since they’ve already done all that. But this is WWE creative, the team that thought any of that was a good idea in the first place.
Is Roman destined to win this match and finally end his time with Corbin?
Greg: Yes. But I would honestly just want a solid end to this feud so both men can move on to other things.
Allen: Yes, they’ve had Roman busy with Corbin for so long, let the man get back into the title hunt.
TOZ: Yes. Let’s move forward. I think there is a great opening for Roman to still be a big part of the show without being around the title. It’s just that Corbin wasn’t the one to feud with.
RJ: I don’t really care who wins, I just want it to be over with.
Becky Lynch vs. Asuka (RAW Women’s Championship)
History states that Becky has not defeated Asuka in 1 on 1 championship matches. Is she due or will the Kabuki warrior obtain the women’s red belt?
Greg: This is hard to call. Who else is there down the pipeline for Becky to face if she wins other than Charlotte? (again) The same could be said for Asuka if she wins since there are no credible faces outside of Becky to challenge her.
For the sake of potential fresher match ups in the future I pick Asuka.
Allen: I feel like this is the most difficult outcome to predict. The feud has been pretty good with Becky getting one-upped a lot getting misted a lot by the Empress. I love that they brought back last year’s story of Asuka holding a victory over Becky even though Becky was on the hottest streak of her career.
I personally want Asuka to win because I love her Evil Empress persona, but my head tells me Becky will get her win back after being weak for the last few months.
TOZ: Asuka winning can become the monkey Becky can’t quite get off her back. A bit like how going to the 3rd Austin/Rock match at WM19 revolved around The Rock wanting to beat Austin just to balance the record a bit. I would love for Asuka to be that for Becky.
RJ: I love both these women so it’s hard to pick. Obviously Becky’s still high and mighty so the obvious choice is for her to get her win back, especially with Asuka holding the women’s tag belt. The story is actually a good and classic feud, but they’ve just chosen a poor time to try to execute it. I don’t see anyone else on the Raw roster that should be feuding with Becks at this point though, so maybe this is the lesser of two evils?
I want Asuka two belts though, let’s go.
Should Becky win do you think this is only the beginning of her battles with Asuka or is this a one-off feud?
Greg: If Becky wins this could be a placeholder feud for her until a new opponent is found for Wrestlemania. It would be nice to see it go all the way to ‘Mania if it has the fuel to make it there.
Allen: I only see Becky winning to compliment the Rumble winner. If they drag this feud out, it’ll be because of a non-clean finish.
TOZ: I want Asuka to win so let them go to Mania, sure.
RJ: I actually think Becky’s stock is high enough that she doesn’t need the win back yet. If they build this even more, it could lead to a really beautiful feud. Have Asuka win here, have Becky pissed off and defeated so she maybe causes KW to lose the tag belts in an upcoming match, etc. Build this hatred between them for a really serious and well wrestled feud.
If Asuka wins do you see her facing off against Kairi eventually? ‘Mania is in Tampa Bay after all, and you know pirates and stuff.
Greg: It would be nice. Kairi’s entrance could be on the level of Rusev coming to the ring on a tank.
Allen: They would be stupid to not take advantage of that, but I see them ramping up the Women’s Tag Team championships again after Kairi being injured. Asuka and Kairi have been killing it as a heel tag team, I just want them to start dominating again.
TOZ: Pirates turn on each other all the time.
RJ: WWE doesn’t care enough about Kairi to give her the pirate ‘Mania. She’s not even a pirate anymore… If Asuka wins they need to build the Becky/Asuka feud all the way to ‘Mania.
Andrade vs. Humberto Carillo (U.S. Championship)
Thanks for adding this on at the last minute WWE. Is this typical last second booking to fill time on the PPV?
Greg: Typical of WWE. At least they’re putting together two guys who can go.
Allen: They gotta pad the show out, I paid a lot of money to be there live!
TOZ: People gotta perform.
RJ: Time filler for sure, no build to this really.
Anyway, given the talent of the two men involved do you expect this to be a decent match?
Greg: Yes. I expect this to not suck.
Allen: They better not but I couldn’t care at all for Carillo because he had been on ice for a while.
TOZ: Should be cool.
RJ: Both of these guys can fuckin’ go, so I’m really hoping for a dark horse MOTN
Will they be able to go all out or will they be hampered by the WWE style?
Greg: They won’t go all lucha crazy or anything but there will be enough high spots to placate the masses while still staying between the lines.
Allen: I hope they can because they have the ability to steal the show if allowed.
TOZ: I bet they will get to cook more than we expect.
RJ: WWE producers should be the only thing holding these two back.
Is it already obvious that Andrade will retain or do you think Humberto will get a chance to run with the ball for a bit?
Greg: Humberto is much like Lacey Evans. Not ready yet.
Allen: Mr. Charlotte Flair too good to lose right now. Carillo winning would be an upset.
TOZ: Andrade stays winning.
RJ: Humberto needs a little more time in the oven, and Andrade just picked the belt up. Can build a nice feud between them, so keep the strap on Almas.
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan (Universal Championship Strap Match)
This match will most likely be done under the annoying red light. Do you think any of the it will actually be visible to the viewers?
Greg: Yes, that stupid red light will make this match unwatchable.
Allen: I hope not, I can’t imagine Minute Maid Park being completely covered in red or them bringing out red spotlights just for the match. That would be stupid.
TOZ: Real talk, if I can’t see the story being told, why should I even bother watching?
RJ: I hate the red light, and I’m pretty sure everyone does. It’s been long enough that this information should have trickled down to the people that make these decisions.
Why is this a strap match? The stipulation makes more sense for the Roman vs. Corbin feud. Do you think this should be falls count anywhere instead?
Greg: I no longer question stipulations in WWE since they mean nothing anyway. It just seems like an excuse for Daniel Bryan to whip the hell out of The Fiend only for him to not sell it all.
Allen: I wasn’t excited to hear a strap match because there hasn’t been any memorable strap matches in the last decade. I really hope they can make this a good one.
TOZ: I just want a normal match with a bit more violence than normal. If The Fiend keeps having these insane matches, it’s going to stop being special.
RJ: I’m not really sure why this is a strap match, have they said why on TV at all? Maybe to keep The Fiend from going under the ring and tricking DB? I don’t think the stip makes sense, but I don’t think these two will be hampered by it.
Does “The Fiend” retain or will Daniel Bryan’s full return to superface “YES! GUY” be completed with a championship win?
Greg: If the rumored Roman vs. The Fiend is what is coming down the pipe then there is no new champion being crowned.
Allen: Gotta keep The Fiend strong until Mania.
TOZ: Go with Fiend, my friend.
RJ: Like most of these feuds, too early for The Fiend to lose.
Men’s Royal Rumble / Women’s Royal Rumble
Which legends or surprise entrants do you expect to appear?
Greg: For the men the obvious answer to this is CM Punk. He’s not getting in the ring. The other name floating around is Edge. He could be working the audience but I don’t think he’s showing up either. I’m thinking a couple of NXT dudes will show up. Mainly Keith Lee and Matt Riddle. Other than that I’m not sure.
On the women’s side? Well WWE has plenty of women across all brands. I would maybe guess Naomi would be returning? Paige is another name making the rounds but I’m thinking she will not be in the rumble. I will venture to say that a lot more NXT women will be in the rumble compared to the men’s side.
Allen: I’ll be going with one of the biggest CM Punk fans in the world but we have kept out expectations low for his return. I will flip my shit if he or Edge do show up. There were rumors of Booker T training to get ready for a Harlem Heat vs Revival match but I don’t think that panned out. I wouldn’t mind seeing him because he is from Houston.
Cain Velasquez will probably show up and maybe pull a Goldberg and eliminate Brock.
NXT wise, I’m not sure if Keith Lee shows up now that he is NXT North American champ but I would love to see him battle Brock for a bit. I would rather see Velveteen Dream make a surprise entrant. The women’s match will have a bunch of surprises since they haven’t listed out a huge list of women who declared their participation.
You have a bunch of girls coming back from injury like Ruby Riott and Nia Jax or Naomi make her return after being put on hiatus. I’d love to see Io Shirai, Bianca Bel Air, and Shayna Bazler from the NXT side. I would also love to see a shock return of Rhonda Rousey.
TOZ: I would enjoy Edge. We could do a Christian entrance too and have them be nostalgic. Give me that Velveteen Dream. It’s time.
RJ: For the men: Booker T’s been rumored. I think Swoggle and Kane, too? I know the big hope is Punk or Edge, especially with Edge trying to bury the story so much.
For NXT, I’m hoping for a Keith Lee entrance like everyone else, just so he can pounce someone out of the match. Angel Garza’s hot right now, maybe another midcarder that’s getting love like Damien Priest, Cameron Grimes, Kushida, or Swerve. I’m down with TOZ though, I’d love for Dream to come back already. Cain Velasquez is likely, so he can be the one to eliminate Brock and start that lame feud again.
For the women: I’m gonna guess a lot more NXT and legends/surprise entrants here since the roster is thinner. Toni Storm, Shotzi Blackheart, Chelsea Green, or Tegan Nox make sense. Legends could be any of them, honestly. Could see a Rousey return. Would love for Paige to show up, but I doubt it. Even longer shot: AJ Lee.
Who is your favorite to win?
Greg: Drew McIntyre and Shayna Baszler if she’s in.
Allen: Brock Lensar, I want him to go all the way until the end and conquer the Royal Rumble. If she makes a surprise entrance, Shayna Bazler.
TOZ: Kofi Kingston. It’s a great way to not only remind everyone of Kofi’s accomplishment as WWE Champion, but brings the underdog energy back to Kofi, and tying back to when Brock beat Kofi on the Smackdown debut on FOX. It also gives the opportunity for Kofi to win and break up New Day all in one swoop.
I’m going to go with Kairi Sane. Let’s have the Kabuki Warriors run both divisions.
RJ: Drew McIntyre for my professional pick, Big E for personal. Rousey if she’s in, Charlotte if she’s not. But all my love for Kairi and Io.
Who is your dark horse?
Greg: Assuming he is even in this match? Keith Lee. For the women? Bianca Belair.
Allen: Roman Reigns or Nia Jax.
TOZ: We gotta stop acting like AJ Styles doesn’t exist. Watch him come in at number three and make it to the final four. I’m also going with Bianca Belair.
RJ: Big E and Kairi
Will ToZ continue to win the Selective Hearing Royal Rumble pool or will there be a new champion crowned?
Greg: ToZ has had his long run as champ. It’s time for a new champ to be crowned on Sunday.
Allen: Luck will run out for the ToZster. This is also a reminder to my local buddies that I won both Rumble pools last year, so much so that they raged quit for this year. I shall focus all my luck this year to the Selective Hearing Rumble Pool.
TOZ: Memories fade, but history is forever. The crown stays home.
RJ: I got lucky number 27 this year, so put me in the game, Coach!