Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Yes, I Still Have Rollins To Win The Rumble

A few people got in touch with me yesterday - following Monday's Raw - to see whether Seth Rollins is still my pick to win the men's Royal Rumble.

The answer was, and still is, 'Yes'.

Braun Strowman now moving out of the Universal Championship match has evidently caused some to think there's a chance of Strowman winning the battle royal. Over at Sky Bet, the Monster Among Men's price has been on a steep decline since Monday night.

He was 33/1 before Raw, was 18/1 yesterday morning, 5/1 when I checked in the evening, 9/2 after that and is now - as of the time of writing - 4/1.

Strowman was my pick to win following WWE Crown Jewel. I believe I'll make the most profit out of all the bets I've placed on the Rumble if he were to win, so it would benefit me if I turn out wrong. However,  I moved away from Strowman as my winner as soon as the reports of Seth Rollins .vs. Brock Lesnar being planned for WrestleMania came out.

At best, Strowman would have to be my 'Dark Horse', but it's hard to call someone a dark horse when their odds are declining as rapidly as Strowman's.

I was asked by Damo in the comments section of THIS POST whether I think it's worth betting on Strowman to make the final four or to get the most eliminations now that he's no longer competing in the Universal Championship match. I don't even know if he has been cleared to wrestle, so I am reluctant to agree or disagree with the possibility. With that said, another visitor contacted me to say that they had backed Strowman to be the iron man (was 33/1 with Sky Bet, but now 12/1) because he could see Vince McMahon placing him in the match as the first competitor as punishment for what Strowman did to McMahon's limousine on Monday. I thought that was a brilliant idea and backed it myself. This is, like I noted above, despite not knowing for sure if Strowman has been cleared to wrestle. 

Back to Rollins.

I remain convinced Rollins is the person who'll challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. I know he could get to that match at a later point by winning a qualifier at the Elimination Chamber.

There could have been somewhat of a clue on Monday's Raw. Did you notice when Vince McMahon was in the ring to set up a challenger for Brock Lesnar that the person who has been the most vocal about wanting Lesnar and the Universal Championship was not written into the segment? He wasn't even there when there was a line outside Vince McMahon's office requesting the match.

Nor did Rollins do what Jinder Mahal did and seek out McMahon backstage and request a place in the main event.

On the surface, it's poor continuity for Rollins' character not to have been asking McMahon for a shot at Lesnar considering he had shown his intent to go for the Universal Championship for weeks.

In my opinion, the reason why Rollins wasn't written into any of those segments on Monday is because he's getting the shot in the long run.

It's the only reasoning that I could think of.

And I'm not buying 'but, he was preparing for the Intercontinental Championship match' because one of his most recent promos has been about wanting to be a double champ.

I know there's one more week of TV left, but I cannot see myself changing my opinion between now and the 27th.  

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Lesnar .vs. Balor Market Published

The Sky Bet bookmakers have installed a market for the changed WWE Universal Championship match that will take place during the 2019 WWE Royal Rumble PPV.

On last night's Raw, Braun Strowman was written out of the match. Then - by the end of the show - Finn Balor was revealed as his replacement.

Sky Bet has Brock Lesnar as a 2/7 favourite. His challenger is 5/2. This is, as you can see below, similar to how the Brock Lesnar .vs. Braun Strowman market looked before it was removed.

Brock Lesnar
Braun Strowman
17/12 11:00AM
17/12 9:15PM
24/12 3:45PM
27/12 10:30PM
2/1 10:15AM
5/1 11:45AM
7/1 10:00AM
13/1 5:50PM

The change in match has strengthened my belief that Brock Lesnar will defend the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 35.

Before last night, some had Strowman winning at the Rumble and then having Lesnar meet Seth Rollins in a regular match on the card. Seth Rollins' promos for the past few weeks have contradicted any suggestion he wouldn't be in the title match as they have focused squarely on Lesnar and his strap and had even overlooked Braun Strowman.

Today's episode of Wrestling Observer Radio shed a bit of light on this. Apparently, Vince McMahon changed his mind on another Brock Lesnar .vs. Braun Strowman match sometime after the one-sided duel which was won by Brock Lesnar at WWE Crown Jewel.

McMahon knew that the result in the rematch would have harmed Strowman and this is why the decision was made to move to a different challenger for January 27th.

The fact that McMahon was worried about cooling off Strowman in the rematch makes one immediately suspect that Balor has no chance of going over in a week from Sunday.

Elias Is Favourite To Become Next IC Champ

Elias is a favourite to be succeed Bobby Lashley as WWE Intercontinental Champion.

A market was installed by Sky Bet earlier today where clients can place wagers on who will be the next champion after Lashley, who walked out of a triple threat match against Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins holding the gold.

As of the time of writing, Elias - who had been feuding with Bobby Lashley in recent weeks - is 3/1. He's followed by:

Baron Corbin 4/1
Drew McIntyre 4/1
Dean Ambrose 9/2
Seth Rollins 9/2
Jinder Mahal 5/1
Kevin Owens 5/1
Apollo Crews 11/2
Dolph Ziggler 6/1

In these Sky Bet 'Champion After' posts, I like to point out a selection that stands out to me. Well - the one on this list that is screaming at me is Kevin Owens.

When Owens was written out of TV before having to undergo surgery on his knees, the person WWE had beat Owens up as a storyline reason to explain the absence was Bobby Lashley.

Owens returning to avenge the October attack would not be a surprise to me.

I didn't place any wagers on the 'Intercontinental Champion After Dean Ambrose' market, but did notice Lashley was 8/1 when I looked through it yesterday evening.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Strowman Possibly Out Of Universal Title Match At The Royal Rumble

It looks like the Brock Lesnar .vs. Braun Strowman match - that was scheduled to take place at the Royal Rumble in less than two weeks - is off.

There are reports that, on tonight's episode of WWE Raw, Vince McMahon will remove Strowman from the match and there will be an angle where McMahon's limousine will be flipped over. Whether this happens before or after Strowman is taken out of the Universal Championship match hasn't been reported.

I suspected there was a chance of some sort of change when Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley began to talk about winning the Royal Rumble and then going on to challenge Brock Lesnar. Their promos overlooked the possibility of Strowman being their potential WrestleMania opponent.

This evidently points to Strowman not having been cleared from the elbow surgery he had at the latter part of 2018.

I am glad Strowman is out of this match because - if it is Rollins chasing Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title into Mania - this would mean The Monster Among Men would have had to once again come up short against Lesnar. 

Either that or leave the match with a decision, but not the strap.

This is a guess on my part, but the obvious choice to replace Strowman as Universal Championship contender is Finn Balor.

The company has been building him up lately and makes the most sense to me considering he was the first-ever Universal Champion (something the commentary team pointed out on Saturday night during NXT UK TakeOver) and is another name who says he wants the Universal Champion at WrestleMania (Unlike Rollins and Lashley, he didn't narrow the focus to Lesnar).

Paddy Power's WWE Royal Rumble 2019 Markets Published

The oddsmakers from Paddy Power have published betting markets for the upcoming WWE Royal Rumble PPV.

As of the time of writing, there are five regular markets as well as outrights for the two battle royals that are scheduled to take place on the card.

Braun Strowman is a 5/2 outsider to defeat Brock Lesnar in the Universal Championship match. A win in favour of the titleholder will pay out at odds of 3/10. For what it's worth, Strowman still hadn't been cleared to wrestle as of last Monday.

WWE Championship contender, AJ Styles, is 2/1 to score a decision against Daniel Bryan (4/11).

Shane McMahon and The Miz are 2/5 faves to beat The Bar in the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship contest. The titleholders are 7/4.

WWE Raw Women's Champion - Ronda Rousey - is 1/14 for her defence against Sasha Banks (13/2). While - over in the market for Smackdown's women's title match - Asuka is 2/5 to successfully retain against Becky Lynch.

Lynch is a 7/4 second-favourite to leave Arizona as winner of the women's Royal Rumble. The favourite is Charlotte Flair at 4/9.

The outright winner market for the men's battle royal is topped by Seth Rollins at 6/4. He's followed by Finn Balor and Drew McIntyre, who are both in jount-second at 7/2. John Cena is next up at 10/1 followed by a person who will 100% not be in the match - Kenny Omega (16/1).

The Paddy Power-owned Betfair is also taking wagers on this event.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Cena Unlikely To Win The Rumble

In yesterday's post, I once again wrote about my picks to win the 2019 Royal Rumble matches. This week's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter may have ended any hope I had in my dark horse - John Cena - winning the men's battle royal.

Dave Meltzer reports - in an article concerning the Rumble and WrestleMania 35 matches - that one of the plans for Mania was to have Lars Sullivan take on John Cena in one of the bouts on the card.

The article notes that Sullivan was due to wrestle a dark match at this week's Raw taping but possibly suffered some sort of anxiety attack and left the building. He was then set to work another dark match before the Smackdown taping, but didn't. He is apparently back home in Colorado.

This obviously puts the Cena match in jeopardy. However, the newsletter's editor points out that the build would have started at the Royal Rumble. Therefore - if it is still on - a spot or angle at the Rumble could be the indicator.

Kambi had a market where customers could wager on who they believed would oppose Cena on April 7th. It last appeared on the sportsbooks' websites in mid-December. Sullivan was not an option.

John Cena's WrestleMania 35 Opponent Betting Odds

Sullivan .vs. Cena being booked for WrestleMania, in what would be a battle of the free agents and could have been built across both Raw and Smackdown, evidently means there is a different plan for the WWE Championship and would therefore mean that the chase for Cena's seventeenth title win will happen at a later point.

More importantly, it means that he was unlikely to win the Royal Rumble.

As I've written in recent posts, the next opportunity for a Cena title chase - in my opinion - is once Smackdown is on Fox later this year.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Rumble Ramblings Reprise

It has been over two weeks since I published the post from Christmas Day where I gave my leans on the two Royal Rumble matches. I was asked by a friend this morning whether they're still who I'd go for and the answer is 'yes'.

For those who may have missed the post, I went with Seth Rollins to win the men's match. I also had John Cena as a 'dark horse' option. Both have been confirmed for the match within the past few days.

The Rollins pick has somewhat strengthened since Christmas because he is now confirmed for the battle royal and is still being vocal about Brock Lesnar and the Universal Championship.

Until the moment when John Cena wins the seventeenth championship, he'll remain in my list of potential Rumble and Elimination Chamber winners. When my friend asked this morning, I pointed out that Cena at 20/1 with Sky Bet is very generous considering that WWE is sure to one day do Cena's chase for number seventeen. As of the time of writing, he has dipped to 18/1 but is an far shorter 3/1 with the folks at Kambi.

If Cena isn't in the title mix for WrestleMania, then my next guess would be the chase for seventeen to occur during the latter part of this year when Smackdown is on Fox.

In the December 25th post, I repeated an idea I have had for the women's Rumble with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch coming out as joint-winners to set up a triple threat match against Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 35. Today's episode of Wrestling Observer Radio suggests that this is the current plan for Mania and could even be the main event.

I did not pick an outsider, but did state that - if I had to pick one over the other - I would go with Charlotte Flair and then have Becky find a way into the WrestleMania match at a later point. It could go the other way, but Becky finding her way in against Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey would get a better reaction than it would with Charlotte finding her way in.

I'd prefer it if the first scenario of joint-winners plays out as I have wagers on the battle royal having two winners, but - with Becky Lynch now confirmed as Asuka's opponent for the Smackdown Women's Championship match on Royal Rumble Sunday - I think Charlotte is the rightful betting favourite if I had to choose either of the ladies.

With that said, I believe Becky will end up in the battle royal. I feel that the championship match will be won by Asuka following interference by Nia Jax and Tamina (a receipt for the receipt Becky delivered backstage at Tables, Ladders and Chairs). Then - later in the show - I could see Becky stealing Tamina's spot and then have her eliminate Nia as the match is nearing its conclusion.

So, it's just a repeat of what I wrote over a fortnight ago.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

2 More Rumble 2019 Match Markets From Sky Bet

Sky Bet has opened a book on the two matches that were added to the WWE 2019 Royal Rumble card last night.

The bookmakers have priced up The Bar as 11/8 to successfully retain the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship against The Miz and Shane McMahon.

A win for the challengers will pay out at odds of 8/15. They have been favourites to succeed The Bar for the straps in another special that's available on the website. As of the time of writing, they are 1/2 to be the next champs.

The other Rumble 2019 match market that went up today - after being confirmed on Smackdown following Becky Lynch's win over Charlotte Flair and Carmella in a triple threat match to find a challenger for Asuka's WWE Smackdown Women's Championship - was kind of already published weeks ago when the Asuka .vs. Becky Lynch match was referred to on an episode of Main Event, but was then announced as being 'Not Official'. The market was then taken down.

The odds are as they were when I first saw them on December 21st with the champ a 1/2 favourite and Becky at 6/4.

Kambi Publishes Rumble 2019 Match Markets

The oddsmakers from Kambi have released betting markets for the matches that are currently scheduled to take place on the undercard of this year's WWE Royal Rumble.

In this post, I'll run through all of the prices as of the time they were installed.

For starters, the bookies have placed The Miz and Shane McMahon as 1/3 favourites to beat the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions, The Bar. A win in favour of the titleholders will pay out at 2/1.

Another match that was confirmed on last night's episode of Smackdown will have Asuka defend her WWE Smackdown Women's Championship against Becky Lynch. The challenger is a 4/5 favourite while Asuka is 9/10.

WWE Champion - Daniel Bryan - is 1/3 to retain his title with a decision over AJ Styles (2/1). While Raw's champ - Brock Lesnar - is 3/10 to overcome Braun Strowman (11/5) if he's good to go for the Universal Championship match.

Ronda Rousey is 1/16 to best Sasha Banks in the WWE Raw Women's Championship match. Banks is 6/1.

Markets for the two Royal Rumble matches were republished alongside the regular match odds.

Seth Rollins has moved to 5/4 favourite. The most recent price I have for him is 2/1. At the time, Drew McIntyre was at 6/4, but he's now up to 5/2 second-favourite.

Becky Lynch was previously an even-money favourite to be victorious in the women's Rumble. However, with Lynch in the Smackdown Women's Championship match, the bookmakers have moved her up to 5/2 and cut Charlotte Flair from 3/1 into 1/4.

Match positioning might be important in regard to Becky Lynch. If the women's Rumble goes before the Smackdown Women's Championship match, you can forget about her being in the battle royal let alone win it. If, on the other hand, her match with Asuka happens before the women's Rumble - and she doesn't leave with the strap - there would still be a chance of her participating later in the night.

With that said, Charlotte Flair being moved into favouritism following the Asuka .vs. Becky Lynch match being confirmed is understandable.

Prices correct as of the time of writing. You can view the latest by following the link below to one of the websites with Kambi's odds.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Rousey .vs. Banks Rumble Market Published

A market for the latest match to be added to the 2019 WWE Royal Rumble card has been published by Sky Bet.

On last night's episode of WWE Raw, Sasha Banks earned a title shot against WWE Raw Women's Champion - Ronda Rousey - by winning a number one contender's match. Nia Jax was her opponent.

As of this morning, the firm has the titleholder at 1/16 to successfully retain her strap. A decision in favour of Banks will pay out at odds of 7/1.