With the WWE's last pay-per-view event of 2013 over with, all eyes look toward the first pay-per-view of the new year as the Royal Rumble takes place live from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Jan. 26. Reports indicate that despite the WWE having over five weeks remaining until the pay-per-view, they have begun thinking of surprise entrants to have in the 30-man over-the-top-rope elimination Royal Rumble match.
With a trip to WrestleMania XXX to take on the WWE World Heavyweight Champion on the line, the 30-man match will feel more important than in recent years now that there is only one world title to go for at the biggest event of the year.
According to 24Wrestling.com, the WWE has been working on securing their surprise entrants for the event as the Royal Rumble is usually an event that features the return of past stars for either one-night only or lengthy surprise stints by appearing in the match.
According to the report, the company is looking at stars that aren't on the current active roster, some of which will be past stars that will make returns at the event as well as a few NXT stars that have potential to be called up and showcased at the event.
One speculated name could be Hulk Hogan, who is rumored to be "training like a madman" for a return to WrestleMania. It has been rumored that "The Hulkster" may come back for the WWE'sWrestleMania XXX pay-per-view to team up with John Cena in a tag team match, and it's possible that a Royal Rumble appearance can jump-start the program. While that match isn't set in stone, Hogan has at least admitted he'll be at the Superdome in New Orleans on April 6.
"I haven't been to WrestleMania for years," Hogan told TMZ earlier this month. "My new wife Jennifer, she's never been to one brother. I'm gonna have to wear masks like Mil Mascaras and sit in the front row," he quipped.
"We operate at a high level of speed in the WWE nowadays," Cena told TMZ earlier this month. "I think you can't have a WrestleMania 30 without Hulk Hogan. I really truly hope he's there in my heart of hearts because asWrestleMania turns 30 I think we need the Hulkster, but we'll see if we can get him there to do whatever he can do."
It is merely speculation that Hogan would return at the January pay-per-view. Another name that could be speculated for a return is Chris Jericho as he recently wrapped up a Fozzy tour and teased appearing at the WWE's TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairspay-per-view on Sunday night in Houston via Twitter:
Jericho may not be gearing up for a return, but its feasible to speculate that "Y2J" could make a surprise return at the Royal Rumble as only he is known to do.
It remains to be seen who WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton will face at the Royal Rumble itself, and while the WWE may decide to give Cena his rematch after losing the tables, ladders and chairs match at TLC, Cena could also use the Rumble match as a way to face Orton at the biggest show of the year. Orton and Daniel Bryan have feuded in recent months, and that could also conceivably be a match on the card.
It remains to be seen what the card will look like on the road to WrestleMania that begins at theRoyal Rumble, but a clearer picture should present itself after the holidays and in the New Year.