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The Three Count: Predicting Royal Rumble winners, AEW/TNA title No. 1 contenders

We discuss the upcoming WWE Royal Rumble and who should be in line for a shot at Samoa Joe in AEW and Jordynne Grace in TNA.

Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman walk into the arena prior to the WWE and Universal Championship match during the WWE Royal Rumble at the Alamodome on January 28, 2023 in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images

Welcome back to DraftKings Network’s The Three Count. It is Royal Rumble season again, which means that the Road to WrestleMania starts in the WWE on January 27. You will likely be reminded of this an infinite amount of times over the next two weeks, but now is when we can start predicting the men’s and women’s Royal Rumble winners.

In other parts of the wrestling world, Samoa Joe is set to duke it out with Hook for the AEW World Heavyweight Championship on Wednesday. The newly re-branded TNA is coming off its Hard to Kill PPV, and Trinity dropped the TNA Knockouts Title to Jordynne Grace. Who will be the next challenger?

We will probably do this a few more times, but let’s rip the band-aid. Who do you think wins the men’s and women’s royal Rumble, two weeks out?

Nick Simon, Staff Writer

The introduction of the World Heavyweight Championship last May makes the men’s Royal Rumble really interesting, because it opens up the possibilities of who can win the match and go to Wrestlemania. Personally, I think it’s going to come down to Cody Rhodes and CM Punk. We know about the former’s quest to “finish the story” by beating Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania and the latter is destined to face Seth Rollins at ‘Mania (pending Rollins’ injury). I’m going to go with Punk. He never won the Rumble in his first stint in the WWE, so it’s an added accolade that he can put on his resume. Plus, it’ll sow seeds of doubt for how Rhodes will get to Reigns, making whatever they do at Elimination Chamber vital.

On the women’s side, I’d put good money on Becky Lynch winning her second Rumble match. Since the summer, they’ve gradually teased her vs. Rhea Ripley by having them have brief stare downs in backstage segments. After the two finally had a promo battle on Monday, I’m convinced that’s the clear cut direction for Wrestlemania. Don’t overcomplicate this, give it to Becky.

Teddy Ricketson, Staff Writer

It feels like since the explosion of social media, most wrestling storylines get revealed and there aren’t many surprises left to pull off. I agree with Nick that the World Heavyweight Championship does create intrigue on who will be victorious at the Rumble. Whether it be Cody Rhodes for a bout with Roman Reigns or CM Punk with Rollins, neither storyline actually needs the challenger to win the Rumble, as they are already laying plenty of groundwork. The Elimination Chamber also looms, so that could be an interesting addition to the mix. We haven’t seen Punk wrestle yet, and I wish they hadn’t announced him entering the rumble yet. I think Punk takes it, but I would love the swerve of LA Knight winning because it feels like his being over is fading.

I agree that I like Becky Lynch winning. The match between her and Rhea Ripley could be billed as the biggest women’s singles match in the history of the company. I do think that we could see the surprise returns steal the show. If Naomi returns as is expected, that would bring a lot of hype. If AJ Lee’s music hits, the place would become unglued. Pretty sure Sasha Banks is no longer an option, but stranger things have happened in the last few months.

Presumably, Samoa Joe retains over Hook. With AEW Revolution on the horizon a month and a half away, will Joe still be the champion? If so, who do you think he faces?

Nick Simon, Staff Writer

The AEW title picture has been kind of a convoluted mess for a few months now and that did not change with MJF losing at World’s end. Adam Cole declared that Wardlow will take the AEW World title two weeks ago and then last week, both Swerve Strickland and Adam Page confronted Samoa Joe about getting a shot. I could say they’ll just do a fatal four-way at Revolution, but I’ll predict Swerve. He gained a lot of momentum in the back half of 2023 and it’s probable time for him to main event a ppv.

Teddy Ricketson, Staff Writer

I’ll be heading to AEW Revolution, so I am super selfish in hoping that Joe fights Swerve and the latter wins the belt. We will see what they do over the time they have left because if Adam Cole is healthy it could end up being Joe vs. Cole. The Devil tormented MJF for weeks, but now it feels like the Undisputed Kingdom doesn’t have as much direction with the former champ out with an injury. We will see what happens over the next few weeks, but for now I’m going with Samoa Joe vs. Swerve.

Jordynne Grace is once again Knockouts champ. With former foe Deonna Purrazzo in AEW, who could be in line for a title shot? Could it be someone that debuted at Hard to Kill?

Nick Simon, Staff Writer

TNA loves them some recently fired WWE wrestlers. So yeah, I’ll say Ash by Elegance (the artist formerly known as Dana Brooke) gets the shot.

Teddy Ricketson, Staff Writer

I feel for Dana Brooke. She has a debut at a company that is likely to give her a push, and people instantly just see her gimmick as a knock-off of Toni Storm. Granted, I’d love to know what names were passed up for Ash by Elegance, and I am hoping that she gets another name change by her next appearance. She could have an instant push, but for now Gisele Shaw is next in line for an opportunity and she and Grace are no strangers to facing off.