WWEs annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view is usually good for a handful of surprises. Given that the battle royal itself includes 30 participants, theres usually enough room for some legends of the past or recently signed debutants to pop up and shock everyone.Often times however, the result of the match isnt really in question. Generally, there are a handful of competitorsusually about three or fourwho could realistically win, and storylines leading up to the pay-per-view can often provide clues as to which one it will be. Sometimes, that creates disappointing finishes, like Batista winning in 2014 or Roman Reigns in 2015.This year however, offshore betting lines have created an intriguing possibility. On several wagering sites, Daniel Bryan is listed as the odds-on favorite to win the mens Royal Rumble match.
On Paddy Power, a popular wagering site, the odds currently sit as follows:Shinsuke Nakamura 11/8Roman Reigns 5/2Daniel Bryan 5/1Dolph Ziggler 4/1John Cena 9/2Line movement can often be a terrific indicator of whats going to happen. Particularly in the case of wrestling, there are indeed some people in the world who do know the result or probable result of the Rumble already, and in theory, they could be either tipping people off or making bets themselves. Alternatively, there could be a wave of enthusiasm from fans about a particular wrestler winning a match, and they all flood the market. Or, the sportsbook could be playing mind games!In the case of Bryan, there have definitely been hints at an in-ring comeback after a brain injury (temporarily?) ended his career. As the on-screen general manager of Smackdown, he has become more and more involved in storylines, even toeing the line as a heel in a feud involving AJ Styles, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Months ago, though it was never actually shown, he was chokeslammed by his former tag team partner Kane. More recently, he had a fierce staredown with The Miz on RAW 25.The implication of physical participation from Bryan has already been there. Not to mention, Bryan hasnt been too shy about implying that he would leave the company and wrestle elsewhere if they refused to medically clear him.The issue is that as far as we know, he isnt medically cleared. And while WWE is certainly mentioning and more publicly cognizant of New Japan Pro Wrestling, they may not be afraid enough of Bryans potential impact were he to join to company to loosen their own medical standards and let him back in the ring.That said, Kurt Angle, who dealt with major neck injuries for years and was not allowed to wrestle in WWE, recently did return and take part in a match.Crazier things have happened, and if WWE is looking to atone for the ultimate disappointment of Batista winning the Rumble instead of Bryan in 2014, what better way to say were sorry?If it does happen, it could be one of the best kept secrets, and longest cons weve ever seen in pro wrestling.