|By importance, or age?|
This year we're poised for a hot Rumble match, though. Reigns isn't in it. Cena isn't in it. 22 wrestlers have announced, and while Old Hosses (Goldberg, Lesnar, Big Show, Undertaker) and a new hoss (Strowman) are a huge part of the story, after rewatching every Royal Rumble match in order, I don't think it's in the cards for most of them. I can't really predict it, espeially with 8 surprise entrants, but I can groiup things. I'm good at grouping things.
These are the likelies. WIth the exception of Cesaro, they all have a story going into Wrestlemania. Jericho-Owens, Undertaker's Wrestlemania Return, The Unstoppable Monster, The New Big Guy, and of course surprise returns. Cesaro I'm putting in as a dark horse because he's the most likely of the dark horses given his current popularity.
These are the guys who could win just because WWE likes them and likes keeping them around and happy. They shouldn't win, they have no real reason to win, but WWE might throw it at them.
These are the dark horse surprises. If the WWE wanted to use the Rumble to hotshot someone into the main event, it'll be one of these guys or Cesaro. That almost never happens, though.
These guys have no shot:
There are eight slots open for surprise entrants. Historically, these are given out to developmentals and a much smaller pool of surprise return legends than you'd think. Putting in Tye Dillinger from NXT at #10 is a no-brainer. Samoa Joe debuting as an official call-up is pretty likely. If they're gonna bring in a cruiserweight, they'd be nuts not to use Jack Gallagher. Nia Jax is a possibility, as four times in the past, they've brought in a giant woman to eliminate one person before getting tossed (2x Chyna, Beth Phoenix, Kharma).
As for returning legends, Angle's a possibility, of course. Booker T comes back a lot for Rumbles. Shelton Benjamin may be ready to debut after an injury prevented his return last year. There are rumors of Shaquille O'Neal, which would be a fucking nightmare. There are Carlito and Wade Barrett rumors as well.