WWE announced via social media that the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal will be returning as part of a special WrestleMania-themed edition of SmackDown Live this coming week. The ARMBAR will act as a fitting prelude to the weekend’s two-night extravaganza, alongside a four-way SmackDown Tag Championship match and a war of words between Roman Reigns, Edge and Daniel Bryan.
Of course, the most intriguing of these is the battle royal, which will pit a plethora of the roster’s undercard against one another in the hopes of scoring some relevance for the next few weeks. For those who haven’t seen the list of superstars confirmed to appear in the battle royal, picture the 24/7 Championship scene flanked by a few credible stars to help make it a little more interesting.
We’re going to run down a few potential winners from the list of names revealed and determine who should be this year’s winner of the Andre The Giant Memorial trophy.
1. Shinsuke Nakamura
For some bizarre reason, WWE decided to drop Shinsuke’s singles push just as it was getting hot. Granted, Nakamura has recently competed on the main card of a pay-per-view against Seth Rollins and is being touted as one of the favourites going into the ARMBAR, but after coming oh-so-close to challenging Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship around the Royal Rumble, it feels like somewhat of a step backwards.
Naturally, many fans are predicting that Nakamura will be the one to hoist up the Andre trophy this year, and rightfully so. It will give ‘The King of Strong Style’ a bit of credibility as he enters a new year on the main roster with the hopes of picking up some of that lost momentum. The Andre win has done favours for the likes of Matt Hardy and Braun Strowman in the past, helping those established stars be thrust back into the singles spotlight, so hopefully it’ll do the same for Nakamura.
2021 needs to be the year of Shinsuke Nakamura, if he’s to ever become the star everyone wanted him to be in WWE. This could be a great first step towards achieving that career resurgence.
Another superstar that has fallen by the wayside this year is Elias. The Songster was making headway this time last year as a babyface star on the SmackDown roster, facing King Corbin at WrestleMania and looking as if he was on his way to a potential mid-card title win. Unfortunately, injuries set him back and now he’s stuck in a bit of a mute partnership with Jaxson Ryker.
With his inclusion in the ARMBAR this year, this lends credence to a revival of his singles dominance. Elias has more than a right to winning something of that calibre, even if it is his only achievement this year after being destroyed by Braun Strowman for two weeks straight.
Fans wouldn’t reject the idea of Elias being put over most of the undercard superstars and hopefully it’ll lead to a decent feud for one of the potential top heels in the company to sink his teeth into.
3. King Corbin
King Corbin has gone from competing in main-event level matches to seemingly being forgotten about on the blue brand’s roster. Corbin might not be the most popular superstar on the WWE roster, not only in terms of kayfabe but also for his general lack of charisma, but it’d be hard to say that he doesn’t deserve a spot on the WrestleMania card and a place in the winner’s circle.
A former Andre winner already, Corbin could make history in becoming the first-ever two time ARMBAR winner, a feat that nobody has come close to accomplishing just yet. Hopefully, Corbin will soon ditch the King gimmick and return to a form of dignity as this year’s trophy winner, maybe even going on to challenge for the IC title in the coming months.
Either that or he gets eliminated first by absolutely everyone in the match.
So what are all these WrestleMania plans for Retribution leading to then? With Ali now out of the leadership seat, Retribution are floundering as part of the lower card scene and are all three confirmed to appear in the Andre battle royal. There’s a chance here for WWE to really make good on the three former NXT stars, especially a certain big hoss by the name of Dominik Dijakovic.
A man that has been known for 5* classics against the likes of Keith Lee, the man now known as T-Bar deserves a little more credit than what he’s been dealt so far as part of the anarchist faction. T-Bar could shock the world by going on to win the battle royal, perhaps eliminating his Retribution allies in the process and ripping off the Bane mask to truly bring an end to Retribution’s tenure.
I wouldn’t groan at the angle coming to an end, and for WWE to take a shot in the dark with someone like T-Bar would be an interesting swerve to say the least.
Oh Ricochet, how far you’ve fallen. Seeing him included in the backstage segment with the 24/7 Championship gang was a far cry from what everyone hoped for ‘The King of Flight’ when he debuted in 2019. Ricochet deserves a hell of a lot more than what he’s getting, and hopefully his inclusion in the ARMBAR will present him with the opportunity he needs to get back on top of his game. Either that or signal his time to part ways.
Ricochet hasn’t had the best luck in battle royals and Royal Rumble scenarios, but much like Nakamura, he could easily be the fan’s choice to win this match and sway WWE’s booking decisions. Let’s hope that Ricochet manages to claw back some of his former glory as part of the WrestleMania special this year, at least it’ll be something more than just being another guy standing next to a Ninja.
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