8. Seth Rollins
Speaking of advertised returns that didn’t end up happening, Seth Rollins was promoted for the New Year’s Day SmackDown show, but WWE stopped advertising the former WWE Champion for the show and he didn’t appear on the broadcast in any capacity.
With just over three weeks until Royal Rumble, WWE could and probably should hold off on a Seth Rollins return until the pay-per-view to try and generate a big pop… from those watching at home.
Seth Rollins is one of the biggest stars in WWE right now, and the sort of name that the company would probably like to have return at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view event.
7. Rhea Ripley
Rhea Ripley is not only someone who could make a surprise appearance in the 2021 Royal Rumble women’s match, but someone that could win the entire thing.
Rhea Ripley was defeated by Raquel Gonzalez on New Year’s Evil this week, and some reports have suggested that this is going to be the last time we see the former NXT Women’s Champion wrestle for the black and gold brand, at least for the time being.
Some have speculated that WWE may have Charlotte Flair win the Raw Women’s Championship over the coming weeks and defend it against Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania 37 in a rematch from last year’s show, and the Royal Rumble could be a great way to set that match up.
Whether or not she is booked to win the match, Rhea Ripley appearing in the women’s Royal Rumble match this year should be a pretty safe bet.
6. Wade Barrett
Wade Barrett hasn’t wrestled in a WWE ring since the April 4th episode of Raw after WrestleMania 32, but the former Intercontinental Champion is currently on WWE’s book as an announcer for NXT.
Wade Barrett was a great fixture on the WWE roster from his debut with The Nexus in 2010 until he departed the company in 2016, and WWE could easily ask the former wrestler to step into the ring one more time for a spot in the men’s match later this month.
There have been no reports indicating that Wade Barrett is going to be in the match later this month, it is certainly wouldn’t be the biggest shock of the year if we see the Englishman make an appearance in the bout.