Pro Wrestling stands apart from other mainstream sports in that it’s pretty difficult to predict what a new year will bring. Even in MMA, we can make predictions about which athletes will be rising through the ranks or headed for championship bouts based on previous performances. Not so in wrestling, particularly in the WWE promotion. We may think a storyline is in the bag, but all it takes is a single injury to blow everything out of the water.
This level of surprise undoubtedly plays a big role in making wrestling as entertaining as it is; after all, even diehard superfans don’t want to know every detail about what will happen to their favourite wrestlers each year. But it also makes it hard to forecast who’ll be the big winners and losers and which storylines will take prominence.
As has been proven time and time again, anything can happen in the WWE. However, in this article, we’ve done our best to piece together likely dark horse picks for the Royal Rumble and the storylines that may just come to fruition in 2023. Let’s take a look…
Dark Horse Rumble Winners
The 2023 Royal Rumble isn’t far off, and the wrestling world is running wild with speculation as to who’ll bag the men’s and women’s tiles at WrestleMania 39. While the bookies and pundits alike have their favourites – the likes of Charlotte Flair and Cody Rhodes are never far from the top of the list – we thought it would be more interesting to take our picks from the dark horse entrants.
Asuka, for instance, is gaining quite a name for herself right now by increasing her aggression levels in and out of the ring. She’s even been seen referring to her previous incarnation as Kana in Japan’s AtoZ, so we think she’s got some major changes ahead in the coming weeks.
What better way to cement her new persona as a heel than by challenging Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s belt? She’s already won the title once, back in 2018, and a victory in 2023 would establish her as a force to be reckoned with.
If there’s anyone who knows how it feels to always be the bridesmaid but never the bride, it’s Seth Rollins. Sure, he’s had some big-name matches over the past twelve months, but he’s never quite done enough to be in the spotlight. We foresee all that changing come the Rumble, especially when we factor in the knowledge that Roman Reigns, as of right now, is without a true challenge.
For anyone looking to back our two dark horses, we recommend doing so digitally. In a similar vein to the bonus offers and promotions available at remote casinos, there are plenty of free bet offers to take advantage of at online bookies. This makes it the ideal way to place a wager on our Royal Rumble picks, whether you’re a total newbie or an experienced punter.
Rhea Ripley to Main Event PPV
2022 saw the arrival of The Judgement Day, the powerhouse heel stable of Finn Bálor, Damian Priest, Rhea Ripley, and Dominik Mysterio. Ripley, in particular, has seen her star begin to ascend, and it looks like the promotion is fully supporting her to continue her rise throughout 2023. Now, with the WWE under the creative control of Triple H, she’s primed to take a place at the top of the marquee and debut a PPV main event.
Still just 26, Ripley is a wrestler brimming with potential and has enough star power to truly become a face of the Women’s Division. Factor in the relationship with Dominik Mysterio and there’s already bucket-loads of fan interest in her. Plus, with Sasha Banks and Bayley seemingly out of the picture, Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair are looking pretty lonely at the top.
The Rock makes one last Great Return
We’ve always felt that The Rock’s Hollywood run was more of a side plot than a main event. Dwayne Johnson is a man with wrestling in his blood, and while we’ve been entertained by his silver-screen exploits over the years, we’ve longed to see him take his rightful place in the ring once more. In 2023, we’re of the opinion that we’re going to see that happen!
Ok, so it may have seemed a little far-fetched to predict The Great One coming back at the height of his movie career during the release of Black Adam. But now, with things seemingly cooling off in the DC Extended Universe, he could quite feasibly step into a 4 to 6-month run in the WWE for one last hurrah. If Brock Lesnar can come back, then so can The Rock!