It’s hard to pick clear winners for the 2020 Royal Rumble matches.
With the winner of each Royal Rumble match (both the men’s and the women’s) guaranteed a championship match at WrestleMania, it’s not likely that just anybody will be left standing at the end.
But WWE has surprised us with some baffling choices of victors in the past. In many years, it’s crystal clear who will emerge from the 30-competitor, over-the-top match with a ticket to WrestleMania.
The 2020 Royal Rumble, though, has more questions than answers.
Here are our picks for who is most likely to win the men’s and women’s 2020 Royal Rumble matches.
1. Brock Lesnar (Men’s Royal Rumble)
That massive, earth-shattering clap of thunder you heard a few weeks ago was a collective groan from wrestling fans less-than-happy to learn that Brock Lesnar will compete in the 2020 Royal Rumble match.
One way or another, Lesnar – the WWE Champion – being in the match cranks up the intrigue factor. With wrestlers from Raw, SmackDown, and NXT, there’s an opportunity to see Lesnar compete against unfamiliar opponents.
Indeed, the list of dream matches we’ll never get again is pretty endless. Lesnar vs. Orton, Lesnar vs. Matt Riddle, Lesnar vs. Adam Cole, the list goes on.
My hunch is that Brock Lesnar will claim victory in the 2020 Royal Rumble, and I have two reasons.
First, WWE likes to troll its audience.
Another, more remote (but infinitely more fun) possibility, is that Lesnar winning the Rumble ostensibly leaves him without an opponent for WrestleMania. And when the potential payday is big enough, WWE can keep a secret. It’s possible they’ve got a big sports or celebrity name waiting in the wings to challenge Lesnar at WrestleMania 36.
That or there’s a big return they’re keeping really well under wraps. Could the Undertaker pop up to take revenge for his WrestleMania 30 loss? Again? Might Goldberg be wanting to get one more shot at Lesnar?
What’s the Rock’s movie schedule look like right now?
Or maybe. Just maybe. CM Punk is back to do more than work for Fox.
1. Ronda Rousey (Women’s Royal Rumble)
She hasn’t been announced for the 2020 Royal Rumble match.
And she hasn’t even been on WWE television since her loss in the WrestleMania 35 main event.
But Ronda Rousey is going to pull double duty as both the giant surprise entrant and the winner of the women’s 2020 Royal Rumble.
For one thing, when you look at the lineup of wrestlers competing, there just isn’t a lot of star power. There are lots of interesting ways they can go, but only a Rousey win sets the top women’s match at this year’s WrestleMania up for box office success as much as Rousey’s participation.
Plus there’s already a built-in story for a potential rematch with Becky Lynch, as last year’s botched WrestleMania finish left the book wide open.
2. Roman Reigns (Men’s Royal Rumble)
Remember what I said with Lesnar about WWE not being able to help itself when looking to troll its audience?
Meet their favorite instrument for doing just that. Roman Reigns. The winner of the roundly-hated 2015 Royal Rumble could well be standing on top at the end of the 2020 Royal Rumble.
It’s been a little less than a year since Reigns returned to WWE television after his battle from leukemia.
And despite having spent the last couple months stuck in an absolutely dreadful feud with King Corbin involving dog food (no, seriously), the “way to beat cancer” goodwill from the fans hasn’t worn off just yet.
I’d like to think that WWE is smart enough to want to avoid the disaster that would be Reigns vs. Lesnar III. But they weren’t smart enough to avoid Reigns vs. Lesnar II, so who knows?
As hit-and-miss as the Fiend’s run as Universal Champion has been, fans might actually welcome Reigns taking Bray Wyatt’s goofy belt away from him.
2. Sasha Banks (Women’s Royal Rumble)
It’s been a long, weird road for Sasha Banks over the last year or so.
She and Bayley captured the Women’s Tag Team Championship last February, and the Banks had a little bit of a real-life meltdown after dropping those same titles to the IIconics at WrestleMania 35.
Banks disappeared from television for months, and she hasn’t done much of note besides being Bayley’s sidekick as part of the latter’s heel turn.
If the Legit Boss were to capture victory in the 2020 Royal Rumble, it could open the door to showing just how evil a heel Bayley can be. Up to this point, Bayley’s run as a heel has been pretty unremarkable.
What better way to cement it than for Banks to choose her best friend as her WrestleMania opponent? Only to have Bayley – for a change – be the one to turn on her best friend?
It isn’t the most marketable match in the world, but it’s probably the best story to tell and the best way to maximize the more notable full-time talent at WWE’s disposal.
Sasha Banks winning the 2020 Royal Rumble is a distant second-place possibility. But it is a possibility nonetheless.
3. Drew McIntyre (Men’s Royal Rumble)
I’ve been foolishly predicting a big win from Drew McIntyre since he faced off with Reigns at WrestleMania 35.
But the 2020 Royal Rumble might be the time for the Scottish Psychopath to notch a big win to his belt.
Since he was called back up to the main roster in 2018, McIntyre has been in the thick of a lot of big angles. But he’s yet to win a big match.
It’s been reported for almost two years that Vince McMahon is high on McIntyre. And the fans are starting to get behind him. A big win in the 2020 Royal Rumble would go a long way to making McIntyre a bona fide main event player.
3. Shayna Baszler (Women’s Royal Rumble)
If someone from NXT is going to win the 2020 Royal Rumble, it will take place in the women’s match.
Shayna Baszler’s historic reign as NXT Women’s Champion over. And the Queen of Spades hasn’t been up to much since dropping the strap to Rhea Ripley.
Baszler’s star has been on the rise for months in NXT, and the time might be right for a big win. NXT’s women’s division has historically been pretty great, having produced Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Asuka to name a few.
But right now Baszler is a big fish in a small pond. As good as the current women of NXT are, they aren’t really on her level.
A win in the 2020 Royal Rumble could go a long way to positioning her for big things. And if WWE wants a big bout for WrestleMania, Baszler tossing Rousey from the Rumble and going on to face her Four Horsewomen comrade in arms could be box office gold.
4. Rey Mysterio (Men’s Royal Rumble)
This one makes the most storyline sense, which is why it’s at the bottom of our list of likely winners.
Rey Mysterio was the victim of a savage Lesnar beat down on the season premiere of Raw, which led him to bring out Cain Velasquez to confront Lesnar after the Beast’s WWE Championship win over Kofi Kingston on the Fox SmackDown premiere.
Since then, Mysterio challenged Lesnar for the WWE Championship at Survivor Series in November, but there wasn’t much resolution to the story.
A win in the 2020 Royal Rumble would set up a particularly exciting WrestleMania 36 match-up, even if we did just see it a few months ago. Vince McMahon loves David-and-Goliath stories.
But based on recent WWE television, he also likes nonsensical storytelling, so don’t put a lot of stock in this one. In Vince’s mind, Rey already got his Rumble win in 2006; why give him another one?
At the same time, though, don’t be surprised to see Rey Mysterio as the last man standing in the 2020 Royal Rumble.
4. Charlotte Flair (Women’s Royal Rumble)
Charlotte Flair will be the first entrant in the 2020 Royal Rumble, the third such match for the women’s division.
There isn’t much to set this year’s apart in terms of its historical significance. It doesn’t have the curiosity factor of being the first, and it doesn’t have the “Rise of the Man” element of last year’s over-the-top match.
Could WWE go for history by having Charlotte go the distance and becoming only the third (yes, third) WWE superstar in history to go the distance in the Royal Rumble match?
As one of the aforementioned former standouts of NXT, Charlotte’s done it all at this point in WWE.
She’s won multiple women’s championships on both Raw and SmackDown, she main-evented the first all-women PPV, and she main-evented WrestleMania last year.
What’s left besides a Rumble victory?
It isn’t necessarily the right move creatively or for business. But WWE has a lot invested in Charlotte Flair’s reputation – a win in the 2020 Royal Rumble might keep her relevant.
WWE Royal Rumble 2020 streams live on the WWE Network this Sunday beginning at 7 PM/ET. The kickoff show will start at 5 PM/ET.
All images courtesy of WWE.