As we approach the end of 2016, we can start looking forward to a new year for professional wrestling, and the most immediate event on the horizon is the January tradition of the Royal Rumble match.
Often described as “the most exciting 60 minutes of the year”, the mammoth battle royal is something that almost every wrestling fan looks forward to, as the nature of the match virtually ensures that excitement is high at least every two minutes. Surprise entrants have become a tradition in themselves, as the Rumble is an ideal stage for returning heroes or good old nostalgia pops, and after taking a back seat last year due to the WWE Championship stipulation (bar one big exception, who is currently the reigning WWE Champion), WWE are sure to have one or two tricks up their sleeve for this year.
We’ll be taking a look at 10 likely candidates, along with assessing the chances of each happening.
For the purposes of this list, a “surprise entrant” is anybody not currently on the active main WWE roster, including those that have been out injured, or are not under WWE contract.
10. Tye Dillinger
The Royal Rumble is all about numbers. The statistics machine goes into overdrive for the annual extravaganza, tracking number of eliminations, total number of entries, time spent in the match, and of course, the order of entry. What could be better than NXT’s Perfect 10 making his grand entrance at number 10 in the match?
Will it happen? Dillinger is one of the most consistent and popular performers in NXT, having really found his feet with the Perfect 10 character. It can’t have escaped the notice of Vince and co. that the “10” chants have made their way to main roster crowds at major events, and they may be looking to capitalise on this.
However, Dillinger is currently in the middle of his hottest run on the yellow brand, as the Booby Roode rivalry has given him his first real storyline to sink his teeth into, and he has not disappointed. There may be unfinished business for him there, and NXT needs to keep hold of some talent, after all.