WWE Royal Rumble: Brock Lesnar a value bet to take title
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | January 22, 2016
Some 24 years on from the only other previous occasion the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was put up for grabs in the Royal Rumble, 2003 winner Brock Lesnar looks a lock at a superb 7/2 with Coral for victory in the 30-man battle royal.
Lesnar to take rumble foes to Suplex City
The Beast Incarnate may only be on a part-time appearance deal in professional wrestling nowadays, but that has not stopped the WWE putting the belt on him before. The 2016 Royal Rumble takes place in Orlando, Florida.
Lesnar, whose fourth WWE World Heavyweight Championship reign began with an infamous squash of John Cena at SummerSlam 2014 and ended controversially at WrestleMania 31 last year, is fresh off completing a feud with squared circle icon The Undertaker.
Having beat The Phenom at the Hell In A Cell event in October in ‘Taker’s signature match, creative plans simply will not have Lesnar looking weak. Yet two other wrestlers are more fancied in the 2016 Royal Rumble betting market.
King of Kings in line for return?
Triple H, who has been kept off television in recent weeks, is the 11/8 favourite for a second Royal Rumble victory, having won the 2002 edition after returning from a serious quadriceps muscle injury.
Whether The Game is set for a high draw in this Royal Rumble remains to be seen, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him return to action ahead of the run-up to WrestleMania.
Reigns has it all to do
Defending WWE World Heavyweight Champion and 2015 Royal Rumble winner Roman Reigns (11/4 to repeat) has the deck stacked against him, as he will begin his bid to win the match in back-to-back years and retain the title by being first in the ring.
The Big Dog is currently embroiled in a feud with WWE owners the McMahon family, though there are rumours Reigns and Lesnar will be involved in a controversial finish.
It’s no secret in recent years, Reigns has received a huge push – not dissimilar to the one his cousin Dwayne The Rock Johnson in 1997/98, yet his bad blood with The Authority could see him screwed out of the title.
Wyatt a worthy dark horse
Of all the wrestlers confirmed for the Royal Rumble, Bray Wyatt comes in with the most momentum. Backed by his eponymous family (Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman), The New Face Of Fear should go far.
Whether there is the confidence to put the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on The Eater of Worlds remains to be seen, but Wyatt’s odds have tumbled from a relative 20/1 outsider to 6/1 fourth-favourite.
This year’s Royal Rumble looks a four-horse race, with reports that popular underdog superstar Daniel Bryan would be returning to the ring after a string of injury problems looking wide of the mark.
Ambrose v Owens could steal show
On the undercard, there are four title bouts with the WWE Divas, Intercontinental, Tag Team and United States Championships all on the line.
Dean Ambrose (8/15) defends the IC strap against former champion Kevin Owens (11/8) in a Last Man Standing match. The Lunatic Fringe is helping to get former Indy circuit favourite Owens (known there and in Ring of Honor by his real name, Kevin Steen) over with the WWE Universe.
The Prizefighter dropped this title to Ambrose at the Tables, Ladders and Chairs event in December, but the belt changing hands again so soon seems unlikely in a contest with virtually no rules other than answering the count of 10.
Viva Del Rio
US champ Alberto Del Rio traded his title with fellow Latino wrestler Kalisto recently, dropping it on a recent episode of Monday Night Raw only to regain it on Smackdown!
An overwhelming odds-on 1/4 favourite to retain, Del Rio’s latest feud with a masked opponent may be helping to establish cruiserweight Kalisto as a singles star following his run in the Lucha Dragons tag team.
Despite the Ultimo Dragon influence on Kalisto, adopting his Asai DDT patented finisher, he is an 11/4 outsider to be United States champion again.
Could there be new Tag Team champs?
The New Day put their tag titles up for grabs against The Usos, and there is some value in backing the latter to finally dethrone Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E.
Jimmy and Jey Uso as the sons of WWE Hall of Famer and former Intercontinental champion Rikishi, and they have been voted as tag team of the year for 2014 and 2015.
As faces, they are over with WWE fans and The New Day, who are portraying irritable heels in this feud, could drop the belts here. The Usos are 5/4 chances to become Tag Team champions, while it’s 4/7 on a successful defence.
Divas champ Charlotte is the son of 1992 Royal Rumble winner Ric Flair – the only man until now to have been presented with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship after winning this best known battle royal.
Charlotte is odds-on at 1/2 to keep her hands on women’s singles gold, with opponent Becky Lynch at 6/4 to upset.
Coral’s top tip: Lesnar looks the part to win the Royal Rumble match at a superb 7/2.