It would seem — at first glance — as though WWE is planning no surprise entries for the 2016 Royal Rumble Match, as a graphic from last night's WWE Monday Night Raw revealed Roman Reigns and 28 "challengers." Brock Lesnar ended the show by making it clear that he would be entering the Rumble Match, rounding out the count at 30.
While the WWE never directly said "these are the 30 competitors in the Royal Rumble Match," they all appeared on the #OneVsAll graphic shown below. Vince and Stephanie repeatedly mentioned on WWE Raw that they came up with the great idea of the #OneVsAll version of the Rumble Match.
The apparent list of 30 Royal Rumble Match entrants, according to this graphic, includes:
- Roman Reigns (Current WWE World Heavyweight Champion)
- Brock Lesnar (not pictured here, but specifically mentioned by the McMahons)
- Kevin Owens
- Big E
- Kofi Kingston
- Xavier Woods
- Dean Ambrose
- The Big Show
- Alberto Del Rio
- Dolph Ziggler
- D-Von Dudley
- Bubba Ray Dudley
- Mark Henry
- Heath Slater
- Bo Dallas
- Curtis Axel
- Adam Rose
- Jack Swagger
- The Miz
- Titus O'Neil
- Darren Young
- Zack Ryder
- Tyler Breeze
— Dustin Murrell (@otheaudacity) January 12, 2016
A look at the numbers
Of course, WWE always leaves themselves some wiggle-room. Speaking to exactly 30 WWE Superstars (not including Roman Reigns or Brock Lesnar) at the beginning of Raw, Vince said, "One of these 30 men; someone is going to make history!"
This would obviously imply that these 30 men he was directly addressing are the same men that will be in the Royal Rumble Match. Right?
Well, for starters, if all 30 of those men were in the match, Roman Reigns wouldn't be included. So Reigns would make the number 31.
Secondly, the Wyatt Family interrupted the ceremony, implying that they were also a part of the match, bringing the number up to 35.
Then, Vince specifically mentions Brock Lesnar being a part of the Rumble match, bringing the number up to 36.
Additionally, if you compare the list of 30 men from the Raw opening to the #OneVsAll graphic, there are 5 additional Superstars to include: Damien Sandow, Fandango, Godust and The Usos. That brings the potential list of competitors up to 41.
Finally, if you feel like we're forgetting someone, you're right. Having already announced his entry, Chris Jericho wasn't included in any of these lists, despite having an active role on this week's Monday Night Raw. So that makes the list of confirmed and implied entrants up to 42.
So, what does this all mean?
It means that WWE still hasn't decided exactly who will make the final cut for the 2016 Royal Rumble Match. It means, as usual, they are leaving themselves plenty of room to make changes without technically contradicting themselves. WWE wants you to think that all of the Rumble Match entrants have been revealed to you. They want you to think that you already know all that there is to know.
And that's exactly when WWE will pull a swerve.
The WWE Royal Rumble will air live on the WWE Network on January 24.