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Dolph will likely not win this year's event, but he doesn't need it. He just needs to put on a good showing and get "something" out of it. I think this new record will be that something.
We know now, following Raw's "Beat the Clock Challenge", that Dolph will be entering number one or two. He should take the first spot, vowing to go the distance and win the whole thing. He'll come close, too. Let him be in the final two or three, but if nothing else, give him the record for lasting longer than anyone else in history.
Records are valuable, even in pro wrestling. That's why JBL still touts his reign as champion of Smackdown, Ric Flair as the 16-time world champion, and, of course, Undertaker's undefeated streak at 'Mania.
I believe Dolph will be a major focus of 2013, and it starts this Sunday at the Rumble. Breaking Rey's record, coming "this" close to winning the whole thing, and eventually going on to cash in his Money in the Bank and winning the World Heavyweight Championship, you can't ask for a better start to a year. WWE would be foolish to let that go to waste.
The Last Man Standing
I picked Brock Lesnar to win the Rumble months ago. I'll stand by my choice, but I am starting to think the chance of that happening is not quite as a high as it once was. Don't get me wrong - I absolutely think Lesnar is showing up this Sunday, but he'll likely get involved in the Punk/Rock match, so a surprise entry in the Rumble isn't quite as feasible.
Taking Brock, plus any others who have not been announced yet, out of the equation, I'll list my top five picks to win the Rumble. Keep in mind, these are listed in order of who I think are most likely to win it:
#5. Dolph Ziggler - I think he beats Rey's record, for sure, but he's not out of the running to win it either. I don't know how they'll decide to spin it in relation to his MITB contract, but it would be fresh, original, and a huge milestone for Dolph if they wanted to go this route.
#4. Ryback - The Shield may be banned from the Punk/Rock match, but they'll be at the Rumble, and they'll be active in some form or fashion. I don't necessarily see them as official entrants, but I definitely seem them getting involved and potentially eliminating Ryback (maybe even Orton and/or Sheamus). If they don't succeed, Ryback could be given the win to make up for his recent streak of losses.
#3. Randy Orton - He denied rumors of taking off, there's been reports of him getting a push this year, plus his upcoming heel turn (assuming it happens soon), could use a shot in the arm. He's been putting guys over quite a bit lately - a Rumble win could offset that in an instant.
#2. Sheamus - The idea of a two-time winner in consecutive years is intriguing, and Sheamus is still clearly viewed by management as one of the company's top babyfaces. If he's to headline WrestleMania in the World Heavyweight Championship match, as it's been rumored, this is an easy way to set it up.
#1. John Cena - the easiest, most obvious choice, especially if we're going to get the reported Rock vs Cena II at 'Mania with the WWE Title on the line.