The topic of Royal Rumble 2017 surprise entrants has been thrown around repeatedly in recent weeks. Just like in previous editions of WWE’s first pay-per-view of the calendar year, the concept of returning legends, comebacking wrestlers having recovered from injuries, and big debuts from NXT or other companies has held a lot of interest for many a wrestling fan. So who can we expect to see at the Rumble, and who won’t be at the Alamodome on Sunday as 30 men fight for the rights to a main event and a championship match at WrestleMania 33?
A new report from PWInsider combined three different rumors on separate WWE legends, and their chances of making it as Royal Rumble 2017 surprise entrants. The first of these possible entrants is Hulk Hogan, who is now 63-years-old, and a year and a half removed from the leaked racial slur controversy that had forced him out of WWE in 2015. PWInsider writes that Hogan is scheduled to be in Los Angeles this weekend, but didn’t elaborate on whether WWE is interested in bringing him back for the Rumble.
Also rumored to be appearing at Royal Rumble 2017 is Rey Mysterio, who had left WWE early in 2015 and moved on to other promotions, including Lucha Underground. PWInsider cited Mexican wrestling legend Konnan, who said that Mysterio’s Lucha Underground contract has expired. As such, he should have no problem appearing at Royal Rumble 2017 should WWE contact him and he be interested in taking part in the main event.
The third wrestler listed in the PWInsider report, Kurt Angle, is more of a longshot as a Royal Rumble 2017 surprise entrant. This comes on the heels of a brief interview with TMZ where he said that for the meantime, he’s only looking forward to his WWE Hall of Fame induction later this year, but nothing else in terms of other appearances.
“Royal Rumble is not gonna happen. A lot of people are assuming it, a lot of writers are writing about it… I haven’t talked to WWE about anything after WWE Hall of Fame.”
What about the other rumored surprise entrants, and those who are more likely than not to appear? Earlier today, The Inquisitr reported that Finn Balor may take part in the Royal Rumble match if doctors clear him to compete, though fans might want to keep their expectations reasonable, as the Demon King’s shoulder injury from August 2016 was “more severe than normal.”
— #BROKEN Dazzy (@DazzyMWP) January 16, 2017
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Samoa Joe, on the other hand, doesn’t just have a good chance of being a Royal Rumble 2017 surprise entrant. He just might end up winning the Royal Rumble match as well, if recent betting odds cited by WrestleZone turn out to be accurate. Forbes also speculated on the possibility that an appearance at the Rumble may lead to Samoa Joe’s main roster debut, and a main event push right out of the gates.
“There truly is no reason to keep him in NXT, where he no longer figures into the brand’s top storylines, and a Royal Rumble debut, followed by a dominant performance, could instantaneously establish him as a top contender on either Raw or SmackDown.”
One man we certainly won’t be seeing as a Royal Rumble 2017 surprise entrant is Kenny Omega, the New Japan Pro Wrestling star whose “will he or won’t he re-sign” drama heated up after his Wrestle Kingdom 11 loss to Kazuchika Okada, and the news that his NJPW deal was expiring on January 31.
In an interview with Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Wrestling Inc.), Omega doused cold water on all the Royal Rumble rumors, announcing that he’s close to hammering out a new deal with New Japan, and that he won’t be at the Rumble as many had been hoping for.
“I will not be at the Royal Rumble. I don’t want people to have this false hope of me showing up in the Royal Rumble and then not being there and being disappointed when there’s a fantastic match happening with fantastic competitors. I don’t want the lack of me being in that to disappoint people.”
As PWInsider wrote, Royal Rumble 2017’s surprise entrants may only be confirmed at the last minute. And the only time we may know for sure who’ll be shocking fans with an unexpected appearance at the Royal Rumble match would be during the match itself.
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