The Road to WrestleMania XXIX stops in Phoenix on Sunday night as the WWE presents Royal Rumble 2013. The winner of the Royal Rumble Match will earn the right to fight for either the World Heavyweight Championship or the WWE Championship at the biggest show of the year. In addition to the annual Royal Rumble Match, WWE Champion CM Punk will be defending the WWE Championship against The Rock. It has been over a decade since The Rock has held that title.
United State Championship: Champion Antonio Cesaro vs. The Miz - This match will be taking place during the pre-show for the event which will be streamed on WWE.com starting at 7:30 PM EST. I think that there are two factors working against the champion in this match. One is that a wrestler with a similar gimmick (evil foreign guy from Europe) is holding the Intercontinental Championship. The other is that between now and WrestleMania XXIX, WWE Studios will be releasing The Marine 3 which The Miz will be starring in. As the company will be promoting both of these ventures over the next few weeks, it just makes more sense for The Miz to be doing the media rounds while in physical possession of a championship belt which features the stars and stripes on it. Predicted Winner: The Miz
WWE Tag Team Championship: Champions Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan) vs. Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow) - I have to admit that it has been fun watching Team Hell No as the champions over the past few months. However, I think the team has gone as far as they can with their current gimmick. Since they have now officially graduated from Anger Management, the next step in their psychological saga is seeing how they handle the adversity of losing the titles. Will they decide to stick together to regain the titles? Will they regress in their behavior and cause Dr. Shelby's work to go to waste? I look forward to the answers to theses questions but for that to happen they will have to lose the titles. Predicted Winners: Team Rhodes Scholars
Last Man Standing Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show - Looking back at the WWE history of Big Show, it seems that all of his World Championship victories have occurred in the second-half of the year and none of his title reigns have lasted until the second week of the following year. I don't see any reason for that trend to stop this year. Alberto Del Rio is potentially a superstar the company can feature as a true main event talent for several years. However, in order for him to be perceived as a legitimate main event star, he will need some impressive title defenses on his resume. I'm picking him to get one here. Predicted Winner: Alberto Del Rio
The Royal Rumble Match - While The Royal Rumble Match is usually the final match of the evening, there have been a few cases where it didn't. I think this will be one of those rare occasions. As far as the Rumble goes, the winner is typically either a true main event star or someone that is really close to being perceived as a main eventer but just in need of a little boost. The last two years, it has been won by the latter and their going on to fight for a title in the opening match of WrestleMania both years has slightly damaged the prestige of this match. Because of that, I'm picking a legitimate main event star to get the win here. My pick for that star is going to be John Cena. Following this match, cameras can follow him to see if he is rooting for either Punk or Rock get the win. Regardless of who eventually enters WrestleMania as WWE Champion, Cena has enough of an issue with both men for it to be a main event worthy of WrestleMania. Predicted Winner: John Cena
WWE Championship: Champion CM Punk vs. The Rock - I see Punk calling in all of his reinforcements for this match. But despite the best efforts of Vickie Guerrero, Paul Heyman, and Brad Maddox, the longest title reign of the past 25 years will be coming to an end. That will immediately lead to the speculation that we will be seeing a rematch of last year's WrestleMania main event of The Rock vs. John Cena. I don't think that will be the case. I'm picking Punk to win the rematch at Elimination Chamber due to the interference of Brock Lesnar. That sets up WrestleMania XXIX to feature Brock vs. Rock and WWE Champion CM Punk vs. John Cena. I can't think of two bigger matches to headline this year's Showcase of the Immortals. Predicted Winner: The Rock
Photo of WWE Champion CM Punk: Jason Merritt/Getty Images