Debuts and returns are one of the most exciting parts of WWE—just ask Austin Theory.
Theory found out first-hand what it’s like to be part of a surprise return on Raw is XXX when Brock Lesnar decimated the United States Champion and his challenger Bobby Lashley.
Retaining his title while unconscious from an F5, Theory now has the chance to headline WrestleMania 39 with a win in the Royal Rumble.
Theory is one of 20 announced entrants for the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match, alongside the likes of fan favourite Cody Rhodes.
“Cody Rhodes had that crazy injury and just to know he’s already back and he’s already jumping in full-force into a match like the Royal Rumble, that just kind of shows you the kind of guy Cody is,” Theory said in an interview provided to NZPWI.
“If there’s something [Rhodes] wants, he’s gonna go after it. So I think, in the Rumble, Cody is definitely going to be somebody that … it’s gonna be a test for sure, because there’s no way that man’s going out easy, y’know?”
With just 20 entrants confirmed (and even fewer in the 30-Woman Royal Rumble), there is plenty of room for surprise entrants at Royal Rumble 2023—adding to a long legacy of Rumble debuts and returns.
“I remember the moment where John Cena made a return, that was a big moment for me,” Theory recalled.
“Also, I remember being at the Royal Rumble in Atlanta, and this was where Edge made a return – being at the side of the stage and seeing that, I’ll never forget that moment.”
While being the last man standing and advancing to WrestleMania 39 in Los Angeles is undoubtedly at the top of Theory’s wishlist, the United States Champion has some other hopes for the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match.
“Surprises, when I think about them, for me, it’d be really cool to see The Undertaker again,” Theory said.
“I don’t know if we’re gonna get to see that, but, y’know, it’s the Royal Rumble. Who knows?”
WWE Royal Rumble streams live today, January 29, from 2pm (NZDT) on WWE Network.