For many wrestling fans, the Royal Rumble is as much of a buzz as Wrestlemania or any other PPV on the calendar. This may be a less popular opinion nowadays after a string of poorly-booked Rumbles where the supposed battle royale turned into a series of glorified triple threat matches, but when wrestling fans turn to sites like for betting options, they’re still highly likely to check for odds on this PPV due to the intrigue that surrounds it. The winner gets a guaranteed title shot and potentially a main event at Wrestlemania, so it’s always fun to try and piece together what the bookers are thinking.

This year, the Rumble is taking place against the backdrop of Vince McMahon taking more control over the promotion with a view to selling it off. McMahon has a reputation for imposing his creative will on the booking process and ignoring fan opinion in favor of what he considers to be quality sports entertainment. In that light, the Rumble will be fascinating not least for what it reveals about the immediate future direction of the WWE. The potential winner of the match will tell us a lot, so here are three possibilities ranked from pleasantly surprising to grimly inevitable…

Popular: Cody Rhodes

We don’t know how ready the American Nightmare is to get in the ring for a full-length bout right now, but we do know he’s set to be ready for a barn-burner of a match at the bigger PPV in April. What better way to set that up than have him make his return from a pec injury as a surprise late entrant in the Rumble, eliminate a gloating heel and book his spot on the Mania running order? Crowds always love a returning star pointing at the Wrestlemania logo as the Rumble goes off air, and Rhodes can get over just by walking down the ramp, so this would be the best choice the creative team could make.

Unpopular: Brock Lesnar

Putting it kindly, Lesnar doesn’t need the Rumble to get a title shot in April. The presence of Vince McMahon in the WWE building means Lesnar will always have a title shot if he wants one, usually against Roman Reigns, because McMahon thinks if the company puts that match on often enough the audience will somehow learn to love slow, staccato matches filled with suplexes and stiff punches. Both men can tear down the house with the right opponent, and neither man is each other’s right opponent, but if Lesnar does win the Rumble you can guarantee that they’ll be facing off for the title this Spring.

Please, No: Logan Paul
The less credible Paul brother has Go Away heat from the fans in the arena, online and frankly from those yet to be born. Either because he has mistaken the weary boos of the fanbase for legit heel energy, or because he hates the fans, McMahon is rumored to like the idea of putting Paul up against John Cena at Wrestlemania. Every time the clock counts down on the night of January 28th, fans will be muttering “please, not Logan Paul”. If he does enter the match, that muttering will become fervent prayer that he doesn’t win it. If he does win it, we’ll see if the sound of 70,000 people booing can cause an earthquake.