Backstage WWE News On Plans For Top Royal Rumble Title Matches

Note: This article contains spoilers for tonight’s episode of WWE SmackDown, which was taped last week.

The road to WWE WrestleMania 40 is set to begin in just over a month at the 2024 Royal Rumble. So far, only the two Royal Rumble matches have been confirmed for the Premium Live Event with Cody Rhodes and CM Punk confirmed for the men’s match while Bayley and Nia Jax are the only stars locked in for the women’s match thus far. Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns is expected to defend his title at the show for the first time since Crown Jewel, though it’s not entirely clear who his challenger will be quite yet.

Writing in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer reports that his challenger appears to be Randy Orton at the moment after The Viper laid down a challenge to The Tribal Chief on last week’s SmackDown, but notes that both AJ Styles and LA Knight are also in the running.

In a spoiler for tonight’s SmackDown (which was taped last week), it will be announced that all three of Reigns’ potential challengers will face off in a triple threat match on the January 5th, 2024 edition of SmackDown where the winner will earn the right to challenge Reigns at the Rumble. However, Meltzer also noted the possibility that Reigns’ next defense could be against multiple challengers at once.

Meltzer also reported that Logan Paul will defend his United States Championship for the very first time at the Premium Live Event. His challenger is expected to be Kevin Owens through him winning the ongoing United States Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament.

The semi-finals of the tournament are set to take place on tonight’s SmackDown which, as previously noted, has already been taped. In a spoiler for tonight’s show, Kevin Owens and Santos Escobar will book their respective spots in the finals with respective victories over Carmelo Hayes and Bobby Lashley – though Escobar’s victory will be aided by the returning Angel Garza and Humberto Carillo.