Folks, it’s official: the 2023 Royal Rumble is officially upon us. All of the groundwork has been laid, the feuds have been solidified, and at the end of the night, the “Road to WrestleMania” will officially begin.

And the best part? Because of the nature of the Royal Rumble, there should be plenty of intrigue surrounding both of the show’s titular events, with surprise returns and/or debuts becoming a bit of a tradition over the years.

With the five-match card rapidly approaching, here are five bold predictions for the 2023 Royal Rumble.

5. Ronda Rousey wins the Women’s Royal Rumble

Would it be cool to see Rhea Ripley win the Royal Rumble and challenge… someone for the RAW Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 39? Most definitely; Ripley can work heel against Bianca Belair, or face against an Uncle Howdy-influenced Alexa Bliss and is beyond over among fans in a very particular way with WWE fans that the promotion hasn’t seen since Chyna during her DX run.

… with that being said, it just makes too much sense to bring back Ronda Rousey at the Rumble and set up a re-match with Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 39, as such a return would draw mainstream headlines, engage Rousey’s fanbase, maybe elicit a few more Pay-Per-View buys Peacock subscriptions ahead of the biggest show of the year.

4. LA Knight beats Bray Wyatt

One-on-one, LA Knight shouldn’t beat Bray Wyatt. Sure, the “Megastar” is one of the most compelling WWE stars going right now, and he’s gotten, like, insanely over in the lead-up to the Mtn Dew Pitch Black Match due to the consistent opportunities Paul “Triple H” Levesque has afforded him to showcase his mic skills, but LA Knight’s bark has always been worse than his bite, as his near-20 year wrestling resume clearly shows.

With that being said, the presence of Uncle Howdy is the great equalizer in this particular contest, and his impact on the match could lead to a win by Los Angeles’ finest, with Wyatt scratching his head wondering if he should have aligned a little more closely with his Uncle. Fortunately, with WrestleMania a few months away, Wyatt can remedy that situation and embrace his inner Fiend.

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3. Alexa Bliss wins the RAW Women’s Championship

Eventually, someone is going to have to unseat Bianca Belair as the RAW Women’s Champion. Becky Lynch wasn’t able to, neither was Bayley, and despite multiple tries, neither Sonya DeVille nor Carmella were able to overcome “The EST” to become the 25th RAW Women’s Champion since the title was introduced in April of 2016.

Can Alexa Bliss be the person who ultimately dethrones Belair? Yes; after aligning together during the back half of 2022, Bliss and Belair had a pretty public falling out once Wyatt and his Uncle Howdy made their way back into the WWE Universe in October. With their first championship match ending in a disqualification due to Bliss’ unwillingness to play by the rules, resulting in Belair taking an absolute beating outside of the ring, the timing appears right for Lily’s best friend to earn her first singles championship win – excluding the 24/7  Championship (RIP) – since 2018. Fortunately, Belair could totally request a rematch at WrestleMania 39, leading to her third championship win on the show of shows.

2. Roman Reigns retains the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship

Would it be cool to see Kevin Owens beat Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship? Yes. Will it actually happen? No, probably not.

For all of the excitement KO has brought to the leadup to this particular match, from his involvement with Team Banger Bros at Survivor Series, to his match with Solo Sikoa, and his one-man wrecking crew through The Bloodline at their contract signing, Owens just doesn’t feel like the guy Levesque and company have been building up to best Reigns after 800+ days as champion. Fortunately, because of Owens’ relationship with Sami Zayn, even a losing effort could progress the storyline further.

1. Sami Zayn, not Cody Rhodes, wins the Men’s Royal Rumble

Would it be cool to see Cody Rhodes win the 2023 Royal Rumble? Yes; after seeing his WWE return sidelined due to a brutal pec injury that required surgery, things are lining up perfectly for the former TNT Champion to enter the ring, run the table, and finally challenge for the title his father never held in Vince McMahon’s company. But this is a “bold predictions” story, right? Why not get bold?

Zayn’s falling out with The Bloodline after finally being accepted by the group back in November has been one of the most compelling storylines on WWE programming, regardless of the show. While some may quibble with Zayn besting Reigns at WrestleMania 39, suggesting that it should instead be The Rock, Rhodes, or even more conventional – read: safe – options like Brock Lesnar, giving Zayn the rub and the belt would be a pretty incredible conclusion to a storyline nearly a year in the making.