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Which fork within the highway will WWE take with Sami Zayn?

7 min read

“Whenever you come to a fork within the highway, take it.” — Yogi Berra

Which fork ought to WWE go down in relation to the 2023 Royal Rumble?

When the ultimate bell sounds contained in the Alamodome on Saturday to conclude the lads’s Royal Rumble match, followers may have a clearer image as to which course they’ll be heading. And if Canadian followers have their method, you gained’t be allowed to show proper on a crimson gentle at this fork.

As WWE gears up for WrestleMania 39 in Los Angeles, the highway will journey via Montreal on Feb. 18 when Elimination Chamber takes over the Bell Centre. In case you’re unfamiliar with the driving legal guidelines of Quebec’s largest metropolis, it’s unlawful to show proper on a crimson on the island of Montreal, one thing WWE famous person and Montreal native Sami Zayn is aware of, little doubt.

Zayn ought to win the 2023 version of the Royal Rumble and it’s not simply due to his information of the foundations of the highway. Zayn has been a part of one of the best WWE storyline in no less than six years, if not longer, relationship again to Daniel Bryan’s chase for the title going into WrestleMania 30. The crescendo of that storyline approaches, and now it’s time for Triple H, head of artistic in WWE, to determine which course they wish to go along with Zayn.

Zayn’s ties to Undisputed WWE Common champion Roman Reigns and his Bloodline secure started early in the summertime of 2022. Since then, WWE has achieved a masterful job in telling the story of Zayn slowly incomes the belief of every member of the secure.

Reigns has dictated that Zayn may have a “closing take a look at” on the Rumble, which can probably come throughout the Royal Rumble match itself. Enter: the fork within the highway.

Fork One: Zayn wins the Royal Rumble, incomes him a shot at Reigns at WrestleMania. This probably signifies that, in some unspecified time in the future within the Rumble match, his Bloodline brethren flip their backs on him.

Fork Two: Zayn is requested to sacrifice himself within the Rumble for the advantage of the Bloodline, one thing he acquiesces to. That will then put him on a highway in direction of a spot within the Elimination Chamber the place he might win a No. 1 contender spot for an opportunity to face Reigns at ‘Mania.

Fork Three: Zayn is eradicated within the Rumble by a member of The Bloodline, even after serving to Reigns retain his title in opposition to Kevin Owens earlier within the occasion. That will probably arrange a program for the tag staff championships alongside Owens in opposition to The Usos.

Fork 4: Cody Rhodes wins the Rumble and goes on to dethrone Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. That is the apparent storyline accessible for WWE and it’s certainly an excellent one. Rhodes returned to WWE after a six-year absence at WrestleMania final April and instantly cemented himself as one of many largest stars within the firm with a lot fanfare behind him. Rhodes will likely be returning to WWE on the Rumble, after a multi-month absence because of harm, and the betting odds have him because the favorite to win at -149. Ought to Rhodes win the Rumble and go on to face Reigns at ‘Mania, I concern that the WWE crowd will activate the storyline simply primarily based on its predictability. Followers see it coming, and infrequently when wrestling followers clearly see a storyline coming they activate it (see: Batista in 2014, Reigns in 2015).

Zayn ought to win the Rumble and go on to WrestleMania to defeat Reigns. Maybe it’s simply the Canadian maple leaf distorting my view, however I imagine he’s the most important babyface WWE has seen relationship again to Bryan in 2014, if not longer. It’s time to strike whereas the iron is sizzling relating to Zayn’s recognition. He must both win the Rumble or, on the very least, be despatched down a fork within the highway that results in him successful the Elimination Chamber in his hometown of Montreal.

Prediction: Zayn wins males’s Royal Rumble match

Undisputed WWE Common championship match: Roman Reigns (C) vs. Kevin Owens

The results of the lads’s Rumble match will tie closely to this title match earlier within the night. The results of this match isn’t actually in query. Reigns will retain his championship. Now will not be the time to finish the 1,000-plus day reign of Reigns, proper earlier than the most important present of the 12 months in WrestleMania, as famous by Blake Murphy in Sportsnet’s Royal Rumble preview present.

The one query left to reply for this match is how they’ll arrive at the results of Reigns retaining the championship. Will Zayn help Reigns? How will Zayn’s friendship with Owens play into the match? Sooner or later, Owens will need assistance and all eyes will flip in direction of the doorway ramp the place followers will anticipate to see Zayn.

Prediction: Reigns wins

Uncooked ladies’s championship: Bianca Belair (C) vs Alexa Bliss

Let’s not overlook in regards to the fork chatter talked about earlier on this article. The forks return for this match. Which fork will WWE select in relation to Belair’s opponent at WrestleMania?

Belair is a heavy favorite heading this match at an astronomical -714, which means she is going to virtually definitely retain her championship. In the case of an precise wrestling match, there isn’t any query Belair will completely mud Bliss, which considerably contributes to the betting line. But additionally, earlier cases of Bliss as champion haven’t actually supplied uniquely compelling storylines because of the truth that Bliss isn’t as attention-grabbing as a personality when a babyface is chasing her for the title. As soon as the bell rings, she’s the instant underdog.

There may be nonetheless a slight likelihood, although, that Bliss might win and that probably ties on to the mysterious “Uncle Howdy” character related to Bray Wyatt. Bliss has teased her affiliation with the nameless Howdy over the past variety of weeks and that affiliation might assist propel her to a championship win. However I wound’t guess on it.

Prediction: Belair wins

Ladies’s Royal Rumble match

Just some days earlier than the Rumble, this match has simply seven confirmed entrants. Three of these contributors, although, are three of the betting favourites.

Rhea Ripley leads the pack, going off at almost even cash, Raquel Gonzalez is +900, and Shayna Baszler is +1600. A compelling case could possibly be made for every wrestler to win the Rumble and head to ‘Mania to face both Belair or SmackDown champ Charlotte Aptitude, however I’m leaning in direction of Baszler.

When Aptitude returned late final 12 months to unseat Ronda Rousey as SmackDown ladies’s champion, Baszler was proper there within the nook to observe it occur. Baszler has proven prior to now she has the in-ring means and total manner to hold herself as a respectable champion, and that’s not even mentioning her adorned real-life MMA background.

Baszler successful the Rumble would arrange a compelling chase in direction of Aptitude’s title. It could possibly be argued that she’ll be avenging her buddy Rousey, and will additionally arrange a future program with Rousey after WrestleMania. In the case of believability as champion, Baszler is almost unmatched, which might line up effectively in opposition to Aptitude, probably the most adorned ladies’s professional wrestler of all-time. Baszler and Aptitude would match up effectively on SmackDown. Nevertheless, Ripley can be deserving of a Rumble victory and that victory would propel her to a program with Belair for the Uncooked ladies’s championship.

Prediction: Baszler wins

“Mountain Dew” Pitch Black match: Bray Wyatt vs LA Knight

Simply what’s a Pitch Black match you ask? Nobody is basically positive.

The foundations of this match haven’t been laid out explicitly, however followers have been given the concept it’s an “something goes” kind of match that may solely finish in pinfall or submission. The Mountain Dew sponsorship comes from the truth that they’ve a product that’s known as Pitch Black.

Pitch Black will mark Wyatt’s first televised match since WrestleMania 37 in 2021 and it comes in opposition to relative newcomer Knight. Wyatt goes off because the favorite at -227, probably as a result of truth WWE has spent a unprecedented period of time build up this latest iteration of Wyatt and a loss in his first match again would crumble a lot of that momentum. Nevertheless, Wyatt has proven prior to now that he can endure a noteworthy loss and nonetheless come again wanting sturdy.

In the meantime, it shouldn’t go with out saying Knight has a shot to win. Knight came to visit from Influence Wrestling almost two years in the past and has been on the WWE fundamental roster for about one 12 months. He has proven to be one of many extra polished wrestlers over the past a number of years to obtain a name up from NXT, due to his close to 20 years working within the enterprise prior. Knight has proven a capability to attach with the viewers in promos, works effectively sufficient within the ring and has obtained a favour from head booker Triple H, who was a part of transferring Knight away from his earlier Maxim Male Fashions gimmick and again to his LA Knight persona.

Prediction: Knight wins

Be a part of Kevin Michie for Sportsnet’s stay weblog protection of the 2023 version of the Royal Rumble on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.

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