Rhea Ripley & 4 stars to watch out for heading into WWE Royal Rumble 2023

WWE currently has a handful of performers who are destined to be major players in the company going forward. Ever since Triple H took over creative control, we’ve seen various stars have their careers salvaged and the future looks bright.

Since The Game has been in charge, Intercontinental Champion Gunther, Karrion Kross and most recently Ricochet, have been featured prominently on television. This is only the tip of the iceberg when looking at performers who have seen success since The Game took over.

It’s not necessary for every superstar to be a main event player and constantly win bouts. However, there is a certain degree of gravitas required for each character, and Triple H knows the business best.

As we head towards the new year, with the next premium live event scheduled to be Royal Rumble in January, let’s look at five superstars to watch out for.

#5. The Ring General has more than one challenger

Ricochet won the SmackDown World Cup Tournament to become the #1 contender in Gunther’s Intercontinental Championship. The match is scheduled for tonight’s episode of the blue brand.

Meanwhile, there has been a budding feud growing in the background between The Ring General and Braun Strowman. Their match has been held off for a long time now and it’s only a matter of time before the two behemoths meet. Whether it’s on an episode of WWE SmackDown or a premium live event remains to be seen.

The Imperium leader is highly regarded by Triple H, so it’s safe to say that all his incredible work this year will pay off huge come WrestleMania season. With potential plans being discussed for a match against Brock Lesnar, or even a rumored bout with John Cena, expect GUNTHER to make a statement en route to The Show of Shows.

#4. The unsung hero of the women’s division in WWE, Bayley

Bayley feuded with Bianca Belair all throughout the second half of 2022!
Bayley feuded with Bianca Belair all throughout the second half of 2022!

Despite coming out on the losing end of a feud, Bayley had many stellar performances in the second half of 2022. Both the Ladder match at WWE Extreme Rules and the Last Woman Standing match at Crown Jewel against Bianca Belair had tremendous quality.

The WarGames match at Survivor Series seemed to be the end of the feud between the RAW Women’s Champion and Damage CTRL. Bayley immediately bounced back with an all-out brawl on the Nov. 28 episode of WWE RAW, which was one of the most engaging opening segments of Monday Nights this year.

On WWE SmackDown, Damage CTRL seems to have more foil in the form of Liv Morgan and the returning Tegan Nox.

Overall, being featured heavily every week in major storylines, puts Bayley in a significant spot on the roster. Expect The Role Model and Damage CTRL to be involved in a significant storyline with destination Hollywood.

#3. The matriarch of Judgment Day

It’s too soon to say if Dominik Mysterio will have the much anticipated Mysterio versus Mysterio clash in Hollywood. However, it is almost certain his stablemates Finn Bálor and Rhea Ripley will have significant bouts on The Grandest Stage of Them All next year.

Rhea Ripley, in particular, has been a breakout star since aligning with The Judgment Day. She has seen a surge in popularity with her regular shenanigans on RAW alongside Dom, Bálor and Damian Priest. She competed in the WarGames match at WWE Survivor Series, and despite being on the losing team, had some solid moments in the match and remains a hot name heading into Royal Rumble.

RAW Women’s Champion Bianca Belair singled out the matriarch of Judgment Day as the opponent she would like to face in Hollywood. If not for The Show of Shows, with Charlotte Flair’s inevitable return on the horizon, the company can book both women in a match at the Royal Rumble itself. The annual January event is one of the “big four” premium live events and has featured numerous monumental matches in the past.

#2. The Bray Wyatt experience in WWE

Bray Wyatt returned to WWE programming in October
Bray Wyatt returned to WWE programming in October

How do you enjoy a Bray Wyatt segment on television? You simply sit back and let the whole thing play out.

Since returning to WWE programming in October, Wyatt is yet to have his first match. If rumors are to be believed, Wyatt will compete in the first-ever Pitch Black match at the Royal Rumble in 2023 against LA Knight.

A report stated that WWE has major plans for Wyatt’s entrance at WrestleMania. One can assume that an extraordinary spectacle is in the works for the former Universal Champion, thus making him a wrestler to watch out for en route to next month’s premium live event, all the way through ‘Mania in Hollywood.

Wyatt has delivered subpar matches after strong build-ups multiple times in the past, but this time it will be different. In Triple H we trust.

#1. A second Rumble win and an old foe for The Man

Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey are yet to have a singles match
Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey are yet to have a singles match

Becky Lynch lost a triple threat match on the latest episode of WWE RAW, with Alexa Bliss emerging victorious. The loss is not going to affect The Man, however, even in the slightest. Heading towards any Royal Rumble, one can’t rule out the possibility of a Lynch win.

Especially next year, and here’s why:

The Women’s Rumble match winner is a tough one to pick, as there are several candidates who could potentially have a major match at The Show of Shows following a Rumble win. Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair come to mind, and even Sasha Banks as a wild card.

There were rumors earlier this year that with Flair and The Baddest Woman on the Planet booked for ‘Mania 38, the company plans to spotlight a much-anticipated women’s bout between Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey for Hollywood.

While many of Rousey’s matches this year have left a lot to be desired, this blockbuster bout is still a major draw. The Man may be looking to make a move to the blue brand and issue a challenge to the SmackDown Women’s Champion.

Remember the cameraman that Bray Wyatt attacked? He broke his silence right here.

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