Most Likely 2017 Royal Rumble Surprise Entrants

There’s a 30-man match happening in the WWE this weekend and there are still spots open for the always exciting surprise appearances we’ve waited all year for. It’s potentially the most exciting gimmick match in pro wrestling and the hype for this year’s event seems to be as large as the event’s venue (the Alamo Dome, duh…). So who can we expect to see? Well, like any smart-mark worth his salt, I’ve compiled a list that’ll hopefully spoil all the fun…

Shaquille O’Neal

With The Big Show being announced for the Rumble match and a Wrestlemania bout between he and Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal looking all-but set in stone, the Royal Rumble could be a good place to ignite the feud. The WWE will be high on the possibility of the move gaining mainstream attention, too.

James Ellsworth

Ellsworth is heel? Who knows… but what we do know is that his diminutive stature could make for a sparkle of comedy relief in amongst the wreckage of this year’s ‘big guys that hurt people’ Rumble. Imagine Goldberg, Lesnar, Undertaker or even Braun Strowman clearing the ring and then looking up the ramp awaiting the next entrant, only for it to be Ellsworth? That would be solid Gold, and Ellsworth would die (not literally, of course).

Samoa Joe

If anyone from NXT is due their main roster debut, then it’s Samoa Joe. In the landscape of NXT post-Joe-vs-Nakamura, the Samoan Submission Machine hasn’t had a lot to do, and Dave Meltzer’s reports of an imminent main roster push towards a Wrestlemania main event seem to make him a likely candidate to appear at the Rumble PPV in some capacity, with the Rumble match itself being the most likely of slots.

Tye Dillinger

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… “Entrant 10 is…”… “10!” Enough said.

Finn Balor

He’s been on the shelf for about as long as anyone with his type of injury should be and, if rumours are to be believed, he’s been tested by WWE doctors over the course of the week. He’ll likely appear in some form. If he doesn’t, expect him on Raw in the next 2 weeks.

Tyler Bate

The United Kingdom champion could make the perfect WWE debut by appearing in the Rumble, and while I feel like his inclusion is the least likely of all of the people mentioned in this list, I do feel like it would make an awful lot of sense.

Shinsuke Nakamura

JBL called for Nakamura to be the surprise entrant in the Rumble as early as December, and this possibility could gain a lot of momentum if he drops the NXT Title at TakeOver. The Japanese star is bound to be on the main roster by the Summer at the latest, but is it even possible for him to debut in a more epic way than in the Rumble match?

Hideo Itami

The artist formerly known as KENTA is fit enough to return from his most recent injury, and with many critics suggesting that he sustained the injury from being put in the ring with inexperienced developmental guys, the ‘E’ could thrust him onto the main roster. They won’t choose both Itami and Nakamura, so don’t get your hopes up.

Kevin Nash

He’s Triple H’s good buddy and he’s had several of the best pops in Rumble history. As a nostalgia pick, Nash could be an excellent addition to the Rumble, especially considering his history with Goldberg.

Erick Rowan

The big man is ready to return from his injury, and this could cause a stir within the devolving Wyatt Family. His possible inclusion could be fun. Maybe?

Shelton Benjamin

He was advertised to return to the SDLive brand in the post-draft landscape and then it never happened courtesy of an injury. Benjamin is, however, ready to return, and a Rumble entry could be an excellent way to do that.

And there you have it. On top of these ‘likely’ entrants, I’d like to see Kurt Angle and Stone Cold Steve Austin, though the likelihood of both is less than 1%. The Rock may be a higher 4–5% as a surprise entrant, but again it seems unlikely. No matter what, I hope you guys enjoy the show!