Predictions for the 2018 Royal Rumble

The 30th anniversary of WWE's Royal Rumble event is just a few short days away. 30 competitors enter the ring, and one man is left standing after the rest of the field is unceremoniously thrown over the top rope. The WWE is also making history this year by introducing the first-ever Women's Royal Rumble. It's sure to break barriers around the industry. However, we're going to solely focus on the male version of the Rumble.

Here are five bold predictions for this upcoming Sunday:

First Entrant -- Elias

As hilarious as it sounds to have Elias strolling down the ramp strumming his guitar while the ring is filled with other participants, it makes far more sense for him to kick off the event with a song. The Pittsburgh native will take a few shots at the Philadelphia crowd in the Wells Fargo Center. After drawing some heat from the home town crowd, the arena darkens...

And suddenly…

”BREAK THE WALLS DOWN!”

Most Eliminations -- Baron Corbin

Braun Strowman’s title opportunity earlier in the card complicates his chances here -- but don’t completely rule out the 'Monster Among Men.' He doesn’t need to be involved in the match for a lengthy period of time to make an impact. Last year, Strowman tossed seven of his compatriots out of the ring in just 13 minutes of action.

However, Strowman doesn’t need many more accolades to validate his dominance. As such, we instead look at the guy that actually eliminated Braun last year -- Baron Corbin. Strowman was Corbin’s lone elimination last year. Impressively, the 'Lone Wolf' lasted a respectable 32 minutes in the match versus the hulking opponent. Expect him to enter early and clean house.

Longest Time -- Finn Balor

There's a trend between recent Royal Rumble ironman -- they come into the bout fresh. Not since 1998 has a person that lasted the longest in the Royal Rumble also had a match earlier in the evening (The Rock defended his IC title against Ken Shamrock then went 51 minutes deep in the Rumble). That trend disqualifies potential picks like Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens and A.J. Styles. It’s almost always a main event player as well, making the well-conditioned Balor a perfect candidate. If he enters the ring in the “demon paint”, this pick is a lock.

Surprise Entrant -- Bobby Lashley

Rumblings around the Twittersphere suggest that WWE are on the verge of making some impactful signings. TNA star Ethan Carter’s contract is reportedly expired -- and all signs are pointing in the WWE’s direction. However, given Carter’s background, persona, and in-ring work, he might be a better fit with NXT for the time being. After all, Carter starred on the old NXT during his first stint with the company in 2010.

Instead, the crowd will be treated to a familiar face -- and one of Carter's Impact Wrestling buddies in Bobby Lashley. The Lesnar/Lashley at Wrestlemania 34 rumors can officially start now.

Winner -- Shinsuke Nakamura

At this point, it would be a bit predictable. But what’s wrong with predictability? Nakamura versus Styles is the match WWE fans have clamored for ever since the two world renowned stars signed with the company. They should have given Nakamura the title at Summerslam, and then again at Hell in a Cell -- but they didn’t. This is WWE’s chance to right their past wrongdoings with the handling of Nakamura while also giving the fans what they have so desperately wanted.

Sources: Scott Dudelson/GETTY Images, Philippe Huguen/GETTY Images, WWE.com, Leon Halip/GETTY Images

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