Tossing Salt: NXT Takeover and Royal Rumble Predictions….

Tossing Salt – Worldwide News
Prediction Column
January 27, 2017
Doug Maynard

I’m back. Did you miss me? I know that it’s been a while, but professional wrestling’s most eclectic column and columnist lives on. I’ve been a bit distracted as of late with the world of fan fiction, both writing it and reading it, and the world of sports-entertainment has fallen to the side. Oops! I still watch RAW and Smackdown when I can and try to keep up with as much as possible, but what’s the old saying? Less is more and with Raw on Monday, Smackdown and the Cruiserweight show on Tuesday, NXT on Wednesday, Impact! on Thursday and special events and pay-per-views almost every other weekend, it’s quite a bit to keep up with. Then throw in Indy shows, New Japan, old Nitro’s and episodes of World Championship Wrestling on the Network, etc. It can be overwhelming. I had to step back for a bit and take a breather. But now, here we are on Royal Rumble weekend and it’s time to brave the waters once more. Don’t call it a comeback because I never went away. I just took a slight vacation. And now, let’s break out the crystal ball and channel the late Sister Cleo. Coming up tomorrow night is NXT Takeover: San Antonio and then, on Sunday, is the 30th Annual WWE Royal Rumble. It’s prediction time. Let’s do this…

NXT Takeover: San Antonio

NXT Title Match
Bobby Roode vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (c)

This match should be glorious indeed. Nakamura, the so-called “King of Strong Style”, is so impressive every single time he steps into that ring and Bobby Roode, his nickname may be “Glorious”, but he’s probably the most under-rated performer since Arn Anderson in the way he works and does business inside that squared circle. No matter who wins the match and NXT Championship, the fans and followers of NXT are the true winners just getting the chance to witness this match. I keep hearing rumors that Nakamura is getting groomed to move up to the main WWE roster and if he loses the title here, that’s pretty much says it all. But I don’t think it’s time yet. If any NXT talent gets moved to the main roster over this weekend, I think Samoa Joe will be the one. Thus Nakamura will retain his title here and then we can get a series of rematches with Roode and Nakamura over the next few months. And that will be GLORIOUS!

Winner and STILL NXT Champion: Shinsuke Nakamura

NXT Tag Team Title Match
The Authors of Pain vs. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa (c)

From what little I’ve seen of both teams, this should be another excellent match. The Authors of Pain are so big and remind me of monsters of days gone by, like a modern day Powers of Pain. And DIY, aka Gargano and Ciampa, are equally as impressive although I can’t think of a team from the past to compare them to in terms of mannerisms and ring work. They’re just Gargano and Ciampa and that’s more than enough. I think the champions will retain and keep their titles in a great comeback effort after taking one helluva beating for most of the match.

Winners and STILL NXT Tag Team Champions: Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa

Fatal 4 Way for the NXT Women’s Title
Peyton Royce vs. Nikki Cross vs. Billie Kay vs. Asuka (c)

I love Asuka as the NXT Women’s Champion. She is just so amazing both in and out of that ring and I really don’t see any woman on the NXT roster who could really beat her in a one on one match. But after so long, there needs to be some change and I think it’s time for her to move up to the main roster and challenge the likes of Charlotte, Sasha, Bailey, Nia and the others. So look for a title change here. The thing about the four-way stipulation is that Asuka can lose the title without being pinned and I think that’s what we’ll see here. The only question is who will score that pin over one of her opponents and be lucky enough to walk away as the new champion? I’ll just take a random guess since I’m not very familiar with any of these ladies. Let’s go with Nikki Cross pinning Peyton Royce to capture the NXT Women’s gold.

Winner and NEW NXT Women’s Champion: Nikki Cross

Eric Young vs. Tye Dillinger

Eric Young has always been entertaining in my eyes and Tye Dillinger is, I believe, just killing time until he gets moved up to the main roster. This should be another good match. I think the man of ten, Tye Dillinger, will score the pin after a lot of back and forth and chaotic confusion. No reason why. He just will.

Winner: Tye Dillinger

Roderick Strong vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas

Logic and common sense seem to dictate that Roderick Strong should win, but you know what? I’ve been impressed by and have enjoyed Andrade “Cien” Almas ever since the first time I saw him wrestle. And he’s a sexy beast! So I’m going to go with Almas for this match. What the heck? Why not.

Winner: Andrade “Cien” Almas

And that covers Saturday night. Now let’s move on to the big show, the main event, the reason we’re all here. It’s the 2017 Royal Rumble and it’s exclusive and live on the WWE Network. Are you ready for some more predictions? Let’s go for it and do this…

WWE Royal Rumble 2017

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match – Two Referees
Cesaro and Sheamus (c) vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson

Having two referees make it certain that there will be a screwy finish. I’m kind of torn here. It’s way too early in their reign to take the belts off of Sheamus and Cesaro. But that being said, if they don’t put the titles on Gallows and Anderson now, then what’s the point. When will it happen? I’m actually thinking that in the end, we’ll have a double pin situation with one referee counting a member of the Sheamus / Cesaro team pinned, while the other counts a pin on a member of the Gallows / Anderson team. Thus both teams win… and lose. We get the titles held up on RAW the next night and a rematch to declare new champions. Actually, the more I think of it, that makes the most sense. If not, what is the point of two referees in the first place.

No Contest – Both Teams Score Pins

Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax

I just can’t get into Nia Jax. She’s the Rock’s cousin and all that, but she just seems awkward and dangerous in that ring (and I’m not talking about in a good way!) Sasha will keep selling her “injured leg” and I’m sure that Nia will dominate most of the match, but I think we’ll see a victory snatched from the jaws of defeat as Sasha rolls up Nia and gets the pin and win.

Winner: Sasha Banks

Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, and Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, and Natalya

I don’t think that Mickie came back to lose her first match back on the main roster. And her partner is the current Smackdown Women’s Champion. A loss won’t hurt the face team at all, but the same can’t be said for the heel team so we’ll see a rare, heel team win. Look for Mickie to score the win for her team.

Winners: Alexa Bliss, Mickie James and Natayla

WWE Universal Championbship Match – No Disqualification – Chris Jericho will be suspended in a shark cage above the ring.
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns

Why did they add the No DQ stipulation? That just kind of makes the whole “shark cage” stipulation irrelevant. And what about the shark cage? In the history of professional wrestling, has a shark cage ever stopped the person enclosed in the cage from getting involved in some matter? Ever? Really? Think about it. I do not want Roman Reigns to win. I want to see Kevin Owens go to Wrestlemania as the Universal Champion. I know that Vince and the WWE powers-that-be love Roman, but please, DO NOT make him the new champion. I think we’ll see Jericho drop a chain or pair of brass knucks down to Owens and after confusion, craziness and shenanigans, Roman will attempt to use the weapon on Owens, but Owens will find a way and steal a win anyhow, thus retaining the title. Damn, I hope so anyhow.

Winner and STILL Universal Champion: Kevin Owens

WWE Championship Match
AJ Styles (c) vs. John Cena

If AJ wins, he’ll be 3-0 over John Cena. If Cena wins, he ties the official record for World Championships with the legendary two-time Hall of Famer, Ric Flair (although he’ll never be the champion that Flair was.) It’s so hard to figure out which way that the WWE might go with this. Does AJ retain the title and continue his dominance? Does Cena become a 16-time champ? Does someone get involved and cost Cena the title, thus setting up a new feud for Cena to work with leading up to Wrestlemania? Of all the options, I think I prefer “C”. Look for someone to get involved and cause a distraction. AJ takes advantage and retains the title. AJ then goes on to defend the title in the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view while Cena gets to feud with whoever cost him the title, probably Baron Corbin. Works for me.

Winner and STILL WWE Champion: AJ Styles

WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Bayley

I’m sorry, but I just don’t get Bayley. She’s good in the ring and all that, but I just can’t get into her or her character. Charlotte though, gets better each and every week and is really growing more and more into her role as a top WWE superstar. I think the PPV winning streak will continue, at least until Wrestlemania, and we’ll see the “Queen” put on a clinic in classic Flairisms’ before retaining her title and walking out still the WWE Raw Women’s Champion.

Winner and STILL WWE Raw Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair

WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match
Rich Swann (c) vs. Neville

Rich Swann is decent, but I think that Neville is really ready to just step in there and lead the Cruiserweight Division as it’s never been led before. He’s on a roll and his time is now.

Winner and NEW WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Neville

2017 Royal Rumble Match: 30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 33

This is probably the most loaded and stacked Rumble match in quite a while. It really could be almost anyone in the Rumble at this point and it wouldn’t be an upset. I’m having a hard time trying to decide who I think will come out on top and stand with their arm raised in the end. We’ll figure out that in just a moment. Let’s figure out the other important parts of the Rumble first. Like who will be the “Iron Man” of the Rumble with the best time, lasting the longest. I’m going to go with Chris Jericho on this one. All he needs is four minutes in the Rumble and he sets the record for the most amount of time spent in a Rumble match of any WWE Superstar. I think that we’ll see very impressive performances from Sami Zayn and The Miz as well.

Another big thing about the Rumble is the guest shots and surprises. What mysterious name from the past will show up? Kurt Angle is a possibility, but I don’t think we’ll actually see Kurt back in a WWE ring until after Mania and his HOF induction. I personally would love to see former WCW wrestler Disco Inferno show up and dance his way down that aisle, but I don’t think that’s too likely either. I think the surprises will be kept to a minimum this year with only one or two non-members of the main roster being part of the Rumble. I would love to see Finn Balor return, but I think that’ll be later down the road as well. My picks for “surprise entries” will be Samoa Joe, Carlito and… I don’t know. How about VADER?

Now, the next question is who will be the “Final Four” superstars left at the end of the Rumble. I think we’ll see Brock and Goldberg eliminate each other early in the match so that eliminates those two from consideration. I think Zayn will take out Braun Strauman before he gets eliminated and the numbers will gang up on Big Show to take him out. So many great names are participating, it’s hard to decide on the last men standing. I think I’ll go with Undertaker, Samoa Joe, Chris Jericho and James Ellsworth. What the hell. Why not! And the winner of the 2017 Royal Rumble, who will go on to challenge for either the WWE or Universal Championship at Wrestlemania will be…

Winner: Chris Jericho

And there you go. My predictions for not only NXT Takeover: San Antonio, but also the 2017 Royal Rumble. And just for good measure, next week in the Super Bowl, The Atlanta Falcolns over the New England Patriots, 35 – 24. Yeah, that’s how it’s going to be.

And with that, I’m out of here. Thanks for reading. Feedback is appreciated so let me know what you think? Are my predictions correct or have I lost my mind? Or maybe both? I’m Doug and “‘dat is all de’ people need to know!” I’ll be back so keep an eye out, okay. Have a great one and I’ll see you at the matches.

Ubuntu!