The Latest Backstage News On WWE Royal Rumble Plans

The road to WrestleMania 40 officially begins tomorrow night with the WWE Royal Rumble Premium Live Event. Speculation and rumors have been swirling over the last few weeks regarding the company’s plans for the show: Most notably, a report from Sports Illustrated claimed that WWE Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER was set to win the Men’s Royal Rumble match and would go on to challenge World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins during the first night of WrestleMania.

This would mean that the long-rumored WrestleMania match between Rollins and CM Punk would no longer happen. Instead, it was reported that Punk would face Cody Rhodes at the event, with the two’s confrontation on Raw this past Monday acting as the first step towards that. With Rhodes facing Punk, this would leave Roman Reigns open for an Undisputed WWE Universal Championship defense against The Rock on The Grandest Stage Of Them All.

However, Sports Illustrated has since retracted that report, claiming that there had been “a deliberate attempt at misinformation” or that misinformation was being spread within WWE itself as their report was based on information from previously reliable sources. The outlet went on to speculate based on analysis of the current landscape that Cody Rhodes is most likely to win the men’s Royal Rumble match and go on to finish his story by defeating Roman Reigns on the second night of WrestleMania 40.

In addition, it appears one surprise return planned for the Rumble tomorrow night may now have been scrapped. Fightful Select first reported last night that the return of Brock Lesnar was discussed to occur on the Premium Live Event, with Dave Meltzer adding in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Lesnar’s return was scheduled for the show as of January 25th. However, due to Lesnar’s implication in the newly filed Janel Grant lawsuit, in which Vince McMahon was accused of sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking, he may no longer appear at the event.