Potential 2019 Royal Rumble Winners: CM Punk
WWE's annual Royal Rumble event is traditionally the start of their road to WrestleMania.
To borrow a phrase from WWE Hall of Famer, 'Good ol JR', Jim Ross, this is when "business is about to pick up".
The largest amount of intrigue surrounds the winner of the eponymous Royal Rumble Match, a 30-Superstar over the top rope battle royal, wherein the winner faces the World Champion of their choosing at WrestleMania.
The winner of the Royal Rumble Match is the first Superstar to have an announced WrestleMania match, and is traditionally the focus of the most important storyline leading into WrestleMania. It is a highly coveted spot.
It is an acknowledgement from the WWE that they trust the winner to carry an important storyline leading into the most important event of the year. More than that, it is based on a belief that the winner can draw enough interest and money to their storyline.
There have been no less than 32 Men's Royal Rumble matches. Till date, only 23 men have won the Royal Rumble match. Out of those 23 men, there have been 6 men who have won the Royal Rumble match twice. The legendary 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin is the only superstar in history to have won 3 Royal Rumble matches.
In the lead-up to this year's Royal Rumble, we take a look at potential winners. We build the case for them, the case against them, and use this to predict the likelihood of their victory. This is based solely on the concerned Superstar; will they benefit from the victory, can they carry a main-event storyline, does it make sense for them to win this year, what they bring to the table.
So without further ado, let's get straight to it.
The case for CM Punk winning
The case for CM Punk winning this year's men's Royal Rumble match is simple. He is one of the most popular Superstars of the modern era; irrespective of gender. Fans still chant his name at WWE events, even though it has been five years since his last WWE appearance.
He has the necessary star power to carry a main-event storyline. He would instantly draw more buzz and interest in the WWE than any other Superstar on the roster. CM Punk would like to return for a WrestleMania main event, and for a whole lot of money. If he were to return, winning the Royal Rumble match is an ideal way to reintroduce him.
The case against CM Punk winning
If CM Punk entered this year's Men's Royal Rumble match, he would instantly be the favourite to win it. Indeed, some would argue that if he entered the match, he would be the only logical choice to win. His return would certainly overshadow the eventual winner's victory.
Be that as it may, it is extremely improbable that CM Punk would enter this year's Men's Royal Rumble match.
He had a very acrimonious split with the WWE. His tell-all podcast on the reasons for his departure likely burned a lot of bridges. He was sued by a WWE doctor, and believes that the WWE bankrolled that law-suit.
These are all very strong reasons to oppose CM Punk returning to enter the match, but the strongest reason is that he has publicly gone on record stating that he is done with professional wrestling.
He seems to be content pursuing a career as an MMA commentator, and occasional comic book artist.
The likelihood that this happens: Look, you never say never in wrestling, and stranger things have happened. However, Curt Hawkins has a better chance of winning this year's Men's Royal Rumble match than CM Punk does.