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“As of now, I’m not in the 30-man Royal Rumble match, I’m trying to get involved in it. COO Triple H doesn’t want me anywhere in the Royal Rumble match.”

Daniel Bryan told the Straits Timesbatistacena, yesterday. Now, had Bryan not had disclosed that information, my money would have been on the Yes! man to cap off a banner year with winning the 2014 Royal Rumble.

But since he did, let’s look at some other possible winners of the match.

Historically, the Rumble winner has been someone who is either…

a.) on the cusp of being a main-event staple, or at least the brass at WWE believe he is.

b.) a big name who is need of a little help to recapture relevancy.

c.) a major returning superstar.

Just have a look at the past 10 winners: John Cena (2013), Sheamus (2012), Alberto Del Rio (2011), Edge (2010), Randy Orton (2009), John Cena (2008), the Undertaker (2007), Rey Mysterio (2006), Batista (2005) and Chris Benoit (2004).

Category A: a superstar on the cusp of being a main-event staple, or at least the brass at WWE believe he is.  

See, this is where Daniel Bryan would have been the logical choice. In a year where he’s been the most “over” wrestler by miles and miles, it would have made sense for Bryan to win; but the WWE doesn’t exactly specialize in common sense, does it?  Instead, he’s stuck in an anti-climactic match with Bray Wyatt, that appeared to have resolved itself at the conclusion of the cage match two weeks ago. Let’s all cross our fingers that Triple H re-considers, and gets the Bryan/Wyatt match out of the way early in the night, before giving the Goat-faced superstar a prominent role in the pay-pay-view’s signature match. Dean Ambrose has an outside shot at winning it as well, he’ll certainly be around for the latter stages of the match with the help of his fellow Shield members; don’t be surprised if a possible blow-up between the triumvirate happens at some point during Sunday night.

Category B: a big name who is need of a little help to recapture relevancy.

CM Punk may need this win more than anyone else, since his historic 434-day title reign came to an end, what has he really done that has been memorable? He put on the best match at Wrestlemania versus the Undertaker, followed by an overdue (and fantastic) feud with Paul Heyman. With Kane announcing that Punk will enter the Rumble as the first entrant, it all but ensures he’ll be in the match for a while, or maybe even win it, as #1 entrant has produced as many winners as entrant #30.  It’s about time the Best in the World re-enters the title picture.

Other names to look out for in this category: Damien Sandow, Alberto Del Rio, Brock Lesnar and Big Show.

Category C: a major returning superstar

Two Royal Rumbles ago, when Chris Jericho made his return, he lasted until the final two, before being eliminated by Sheamus. With Batista’s return, there’s no reason not to believe he’s the favorite in this match, especially considering his return on Monday night sparked the highest ratings for WWE’s flagship show since 2013.

Final four prediction: Batista, Dean Ambrose, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.