If the “forbidden door” swings in the direction of WWE, these are three names fans would be excited to see in the Royal Rumble.
The Royal Rumble is a major moment in professional wrestling. Each year, fans keep their eyes on the countdown clock to see what big returns or surprise entrants make their way down the aisle. 2023 especially has value because WWE is under new leadership in Triple H. The promotion once held an isolationist stance for much of recent history, but there seems to chips in that wall heading into the new year. With that in mind, here are three individuals that would work as a surprise “forbidden door” entrants in the rumbles on January 28.
Fightful Select released an interview with Rocky Romero on January 1 that brings up the deal that allowed Karl Anderson to compete within NJPW as the NEVER Openweight Champion. In the post, they mention that Romero said he didn’t know of WWE asking for anything in return, but maybe they will end up asking for something. Could that “something” be an NJPW performer appearing on WWE television in the future? No one knows and only time will tell.
However, if rampant speculation takes over, Rumble would be a great spot for someone to pop up. Don’t forget, WWE was willing to partner with Impact wrestling in 2022 when Mickie James entered the women’s rumble as the Impact Knockouts Champion. Shinsuke Nakamura taking part in Great Muta’s retirement tour is another example of WWE being willing to work with other promotions. So, let’s dive into some speculation around names that fans would be excited to see as surprises in either rumble.
If there was a surprise in the women’s rumble, Jordynne Grace would be a great option. As the Impact Knockouts Champion, she continues to excel as the focal point of that division. In her second reign as champion, she’s coming up on 200 days with the title. Many have wanted to see Grace on a larger platform to see how well she would transition in front of more viewers and this would be the opportunity.
Impact continues to do well with how the promotion features the women’s division, with many considering this the best representation of women’s wrestling among the three big promotions in North America. As the “leader” of that division, Grace would be a strong representative for the division.
Fred Rosser has experienced a career rebirth since leaving the WWE in 2017. His stint with New Japan has created a spark in his character and presentation that probably would have never occurred if he remained in WWE. Rosser is amid a 232-day run as NJPW STRONG Openweight Champion and his persona is completely different from what fans remember during his WWE days. Rosser may not be a massive name that fans would recognize, but he’s an individual who has improved their position in WWE since leaving the company and could be a pleasant surprise for the Rumble.
Juice Robinson, like Fred Rosser, is another name who has completely exploded their persona after leaving WWE. Known as CJ Parker in WWE NXT, Robinson is now a huge act in New Japan. He’s picked up three stints as IWGP United States Champion, the IWGP Tag Team Titles, and a brief run as Impact World Tag Team Champions. The current iteration of his character within the Bullet Club is the most entertaining version of Robinson and seeing him in the rumble would be a crazy moment, especially if other members of the Club or Bullet Club as they are known are in the ring.
The Royal Rumble is an exciting kickoff to the year of wrestling and leads into WrestleMania season. If 2023 is the year that the “forbidden door” begins to crack open, these are some names that we could see as the first to walk through and into the WWE.