We are just weeks away from one of my favorite WWE pay-per-view events of the year – the 2019 Royal Rumble. The main events of these shows, a thirty man/woman over-the-top-rope elimination match is one of the more exciting matches, not just in the WWE, but in all of professional wrestling. With two men/women (respective of each division) starting the match and a new entrant entering the match at ninety second intervals until all thirty participants have entered the match, the last man/woman standing at the end having eliminated the twenty-nine other participants by throwing them over the top rope, the Royal Rumble matches are a surprising, fast-paced, athletic event that always manages to draw in the crowd and entertain as very few other gimmick match types can. Personally, the Royal Rumble match is my second favorite match type, falling just behind the Hell-In-A-Cell gimmick match, and the Royal Rumble event falls just behind WrestleMania – though I often end up liking the Royal Rumble event more so than WrestleMania when I reflect upon the events that the WWE puts on throughout the year.
That being said, one of the main reasons why I love the Royal Rumble match as much as I do is the inclusion of surprise entrants that the WWE brings in every year. Whether it be retired legends and wrestlers like Booker T, Diesel, Lita, Trish Stratus or Bubba Ray Dudley or newcomers to the WWE such as AJ Styles, the Royal Rumble match introduces more surprises than any other match type. This has been especially true ever since the WWE began their NXT developmental brand. NXT wrestlers like Adam Cole, Andrade “Cien” Almas, Kairi Sane, Ember Moon, Tye Dillinger, and Sami Zayn have made names for themselves as surprise entrants to the match and introducing themselves to the WWE Universe at large. And this year should be no different as I expect several NXT wrestlers to make their mark on the Royal Rumble matches this year. And I actually expect to see maybe a few wrestlers from the NXT UK brand as well.
And that brings us to this list here, as I list off ten male and female wrestlers from NXT and NXT UK that I would like to see as entrants to the male and female Royal Rumble matches. Whether they appear or not is a whole other issue, but as a WWE fan, these are the ten men and women that I think would be wonderful surprise entrants for each match.
Note: I was going to include NXT wrestlers EC3, Lacey Evans, Nikki Cross and Heavy Machinery, but as they have already been announced as recent main roster call ups, I decided to leave them off of this list because I feel that as recent call ups to RAW and SmackDown Live, they would most certainly be making an appearance at the Royal Rumble event in some way. And now on to the list.
First, here are the NXT and NXT UK men that I would like to see in the Men’s Royal Rumble match:
Weight: 210 lbs
Date of Birth: July 5, 1989
He’s Adam Cole, bay bay!!! Adam Cole is the Shawn Michaels of today and he continues to show why he is often compared to the legend with each match he’s in. From his time in promotions like Ring of Honor, Combat Zone Wrestling, and Pro Wrestling Guerilla to his recent accomplishments in NXT as a former NXT North American Champion, and even an appearance at last year’s Royal Rumble, Adam Cole deserves another appearance at the event to shine through one more time.
Weight: 215 lbs
Date of Birth: May 19, 1985
As it stands, Aleister Black is my favorite wrestler on the NXT brand, and for that reason alone I want to see him enter the Royal Rumble. But as a former NXT Champion, and one of the hardest hitting wrestlers in the WWE today, it would be great for him to get exposure with the greater WWE Universe as I believe that he may be called up to the main roster sooner than later.
Weight: 315 lbs
Date of Birth: July 21, 1984
I only became aware of Dave Mastiff recently when I saw a match of his for the promotion Revolution Pro Wrestling and have since followed him as he became the inaugural World of Sport Wrestling Champion, having since moved on to the NXT UK brand. His throwback look to some of the old-school wrestlers and agile beyond what his body should allow, it’d be a fun spot seeing him enter the Royal Rumble match.
Weight: 199 lbs
Date of Birth: August 14, 1987
If I need to explain to you why Johnny Gargano needs to appear at the Royal Rumble, then you seriously need to come out of your cave. I mean, his nickname is “Johnny Wrestling”, for stars sake. He is one of the best in-ring performers of the past two years, no matter what promotion you are talking about. The WWE needs to recognize his ability, and an appearance at the Royal Rumble is a well-deserved one.
Weight: 320 lbs
Date of Birth: November 8, 1984
Keith Lee is one of the most agile big man I have seen in a WWE ring in a long time. He continues the lineage of Vader and Bam Bam Bigelow as a man, who despite his size, can move and fly like the smallest of competitors. I first caught a glimpse of Keith Lee during his time at Evolve and Pro Wrestling Guerilla, and if he were to appear at the Royal Rumble, it would give us a chance to all “bask in his glory”.
Weight: 161 lbs
Date of Birth: January 7, 1985
Just go back and watch some of Ligero’s matches (then known as El Ligero) in Pro Wrestling Noah, Progress Wrestling, Defiant Wrestling and World of Sport Wrestling to see why this Mexican inspired British wrestler has won over the fans everywhere he has wrestled. It’d be great to see this Luchador enter the Royal Rumble and have some spots with one of the greatest Luchadors of all time – Rey Mysterio.
Weight: 205 lbs
Date of Birth: November 9, 1993
As the current WWE United Kingdom Champion, and a staple of both NXT and NXT UK brands, Pete Dunne is an incredible wrestler who is also the longest reigning WWE champion in the modern era. That accomplishment alone shows why he deserves to have a spot in the Royal Rumble as “the Bruiserweight” shows why he and his British Strong Style stable mates are some of the best in the world.
Weight: 196 lbs
Date of Birth: October 11, 1988
From Lucha Underground to Pro Wrestling Guerilla to Evolve and now NXT (and numerous other promotions around the world), the man known as Ricochet has made a name for himself as one of the most athletic wrestlers in the world. And as the current NXT North American Champion, it would raise his stock a little more to see the “One and Only” as an entrant in the Royal Rumble ahead of his deserving main roster debut.
Weight: 227 lbs
Date of Birth: August 19, 1995
I strongly believe that the Velveteen Dream will one day become a WWE Champion because his in-ring style and charisma really sets him apart from many of his contemporaries. His matches are consistently some of the best on the NXT TakeOver events and he has amassed a number of fans because of this. So, to have him appear at the Royal Rumble would be a great treat for him and for his fans.
Weight: 310 lbs
Date of Birth: August 20, 1987
If you haven’t seen Walter wrestle before, go check out his matches in Pro Wrestling Guerilla, Progress Wrestling, and Westside Xtreme Wrestling to see what you are missing. Walter is an intimidating and imposing figure and is more athletic than a man his size has any right to be. And with him recently debuting on the NXT UK brand, it’d be great to get his name out there in the WWE Universe.
And now for the NXT and NXT UK women that I would like to see in the Women’s Royal Rumble match:
Weight: 155 lbs
Date of Birth: April 9, 1989
I first became aware of Bianca Belair when she participated in the 2017 Mae Young Classic tournament, and I was surprised that I had no seen (or remembered) her previous matches in NXT beforehand. But seeing as she came into NXT with no previous wrestling experience, it’s clear to see how much she has progressed in the ring, both in-ring and on the mic, and I would love to see her in the Royal Rumble.
Weight: 110 lbs
Date of Birth: September 29, 1985
As a longtime fan of Pro Wrestling Guerilla, I’ve been a fan of Candice LeRae for quite a while – and her in-ring efforts and performance has earned her a loyal fanbase amongst fans. I was super excited to finally see her join NXT in 2017 and have been anticipating her moving up to the women’s main roster since. Her participation in the Royal Rumble match could facilitate that and cap off an already incredible career in the squared circle.
Weight: 119 lbs
Date of Birth: May 8, 1990
As the former “ace” of World Wonder Ring Stardom, Io Shirai is one of the most recognized and accomplished female wrestlers in the world. Though an injury kept her out of the WWE program in 2017, in 2018 she went on to participate in the Mae Young Classic and later debut on NXT television. As a well-rounded performer, it would be fun and exciting to see what she could do as a participant in the Royal Rumble match.
Weight: 194 lbs
Date of Birth: June 4, 1982
I have been a fan of Jazzy Gabert for years, closely following her tenure in the independent wrestling promotions around the world – and it’s easy to see why she has earned the moniker of “The Alpha Female”. Her look and style show how well she is inside a wrestling ring, and she showed that to the WWE Universe in the 2017 Mae Young Classic – and will continue to do so as the latest addition to the NXT UK brand.
Weight: 115 lbs
Date of Birth: September 23, 1988
Kairi Sane is already a huge name within the WWE. As the “Pirate Princess” of NXT, she made a name for herself as the winner of the inaugural Mae Young Classic tournament in 2017 and went on to later capture the NXT Women’s Championship. But looking at her past experience and accomplishments in World Wonder Ring Stardom, it’s easy to see why she would make for an exciting participant in the Royal Rumble.
Weight: 132 lbs
Date of Birth: April 16, 1989
A well-travelled and experienced name in the world of professional wrestling, Mia Yim is well-known to much of the WWE – and that was before her participation as an entrant in both Mae Young Classic tournaments. She is even a former TNA Knockouts Champion under the ring name of Jade. Because of that, I would love to see her get a chance to participate in the Royal Rumble and see what she can do in the match.
Weight: 137 lbs
Date of Birth: October 11, 1996
As the inaugural and former NXT UK Women’s Champion, Rhea Ripley is a wonderful and intimidating female wrestling talent. At just 22-years old, she is already an accomplished wrestler in and out of the WWE program. If she were to make an appearance as an entrant in the Royal Rumble match, it would only go to add more experience and exposure to this incredible young performer.
Weight: 136 lbs
Date of Birth: August 8, 1980
The current NXT Women’s Champion, Shayna Baszler has certainly surprised me with how far along she has come as an in-ring competitor since she made her WWE debut at the 2017 Mae Young Classic. Of course, her background and experience with Elite XC, Strikeforce, and UFC mixed martial arts promotions helped, showing some real athletic prowess – all of it that has gone into making her a superb professional wrestling persona.
Weight: 143 lbs
Date of Birth: October 19, 1995
Toni Storm already has a huge following in the professional wrestling world. A participant in the 2017 Mae Young Classic, the winner of the 2018 Mae Young Classic, and the current NXT UK Women’s Champion, she has all the name recognition with the WWE Universe that would make her participation in the Royal Rumble a surprising but welcome addition.
Weight: 110 lbs
Date of Birth: October 16, 1998
The daughter of legendary British wrestler, Robbie Brookside, and a participant of the 2018 Mae Young Classic, at just 20 years old, Xia Brookside already has three years of in-ring experience under her belt and is one of the most unique and interesting female wrestlers in the world today. I can only imagine the kind of impact this young lady would make if she were to enter the Royal Rumble and show the world what she can do.