WWE Royal Rumble 2014 Preview: Brock Lesnar faces Big Show

WWE presents its second biggest event of the year Sunday, the Royal Rumble, which officially kicks off the road to WrestleMania XXX. On the show, former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar takes on the Big Show.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar makes his anticipated return to a WWE ring Sunday when he faces The Big Show as part of WWE's annual Royal Rumble extravaganza.

This year's Royal Rumble (8 p.m. Sunday) takes place at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. It airs exclusively on pay-per-view following an hour-long pre-show on WWE.com.

The Lesnar/Show match is one of five matches on the show, which is headlined by a 30-man over-the-top-rope Royal Rumble, where the winner will earn a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania XXX.

Let's take a look at this year's anticipated edition of the Royal Rumble:

Grudge Match: Brock Lesnar vs. The Big Show

What's at stake: Of all of Lesnar's five matches since his return to the WWE ring in April 2012, this is by far the least anticipated of them all. Because really, it's just Lesnar facing a guy. The Big Show means absolutely nothing to most wrestling fans these days, especially when facing someone like Lesnar, who is supposed to be an attraction.

This match basically came about for almost no reason. Yes, Show is bigger than Lesnar, and I guess that's supposed to be the hook. This will also be interesting because it's Lesnar's first match since his return where the match hasn't taken place under some sort of no disqualification stipulation, which is unfortunate, because this is the one that could use it the most.

This is almost like the glut of UFC shows on TV. I remember "back in the day," like 2005 and 2006 where there was only a UFC show every other month, or once a month. Nowadays, it's very rare a UFC show is special. WWE had that with Lesnar matches, but not this one. Show has flung Lesnar around the ring twice now. Whoopdedoo. What a great rivalry.

Prediction: Lesnar obviously wins. WWE is setting him up, presumably, for something big at WrestleMania, so I'll eat my hat if the Big Show somehow ends up winning this match. I'd be shocked. So hopefully this one overachieves in the ring because it certainly hasn't lit my world on fire in the build-up.

Heat check (10 for must-see, 1 for snack time): 6

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: (c) Randy Orton vs. John Cena

What's at stake: WWE is laughably billing this one as one of the biggest championship rematches of all-time. That's a good one. Both of these guys are dull. Cena is fine, but Orton has to be one of the most boring, lackluster top performers in company history. In certain roles, he's fine, but this run as champion has been almost as bad as his run as WWE Champion in 2010, which was, to me, historically boring.

These two should have a good match, but it's just so hard for me to care about either of these two, especially Orton, when people like Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, among others, are left to basically toil, even though they are much more entertaining and get better crowd responses. As I said, this match should be fine, but if I never had to see these two wrestle each other ever again, it would be too soon.

Prediction: This one could go either way. But I'd actually prefer the title be on Cena because I'm holding out hope for a Cena/Bryan title match at WrestleMania, but I'm thinking Orton retains the belt here and I continue to not care at all.

Heat check (10 for must-see, 1 for snack time): 4

WWE Tag Team Championship: (c) Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. The New Age Outlaws

What's at stake: This will be the WWE.com Kickoff Match, and features the former five-time tag team champions the Road Dogg and Billy Gunn, 15 years past their peak popularity, suddenly turning heel to challenge the brother duo of Cody Rhodes and Goldust for the titles.

I don't get making a team as popular as the Outlaws heels, especially just for a bit title match on the pre-show. I'd be shocked if they walked away with the titles here. Rhodes and Goldust have been very entertaining as champions, having great, fun matches up-and-down the board with everybody. This will be a solid in-ring match, but don't expect fireworks in this one.

Prediction: The Brotherhood retains the titles.

Heat check (10 for must-see, 1 for snack time): 6

Grudge Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt

What's at stake: Bryan joined the Wyatt Family for a cup of coffee earlier this month, but thankfully was quickly removed after Michigan State fans broke out in big "YES!" chants for both its football and basketball teams, which garnered coverage on ESPN. This is a big grudge match, as Bryan made a big statement when he split off from Wyatt, leaving him laying following a steel cage match.

Bryan needs to be set up for something big at WrestleMania, but Wyatt probably does, too. It will be interesting to see what direction WWE goes with this one.

Prediction: I foresee some sort of indecisive finish in this one. Maybe a disqualification as Bryan is setting up for the win. Who knows. But I'd be shocked if either one won this cleanly.

Heat check (10 for must-see, 1 for snack time): 7

30-Man Royal Rumble Match

What's at stake: This is the big one, and always one of my most-anticipated matches of the entire year. This is no different. The winner earns a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans in April. This year's version of the Rumble is not going to have the star power that many previous Rumbles have had, but gets a big boost with the return of Batista, who returned to WWE this past week after a nearly four-year hiatus, during which time he did compete in one MMA fight.

Batista does seem the odds-on favorite to come away with the Rumble win, but this one will be all about the surprises. What legends or returning stars will come back to compete in this match? Many are hoping for Jake "The Snake" Roberts, and there's always speculation about Chris Jericho, who came back at last year's Rumble in a big shocker. Sheamus, who's been out forever with an injury, could return, too.

We'll see how this one unfolds, but there's no doubt it will help set the course on the road to WrestleMania.

Prediction: I'm pulling for Bryan to win, but would be perfectly OK with Batista winning, as well. CM Punk is a dark horse, but he enters at No. 1, thus he has quite the uphill climb to come away with the win. There are really so few people who you could see winning this. Maybe WWE is setting us up for a huge surprise.

Heat check (10 for must-see, 1 for snack time): 10

While the undercard of the Royal Rumble might not be lighting my world on fire because of the build-up, each match on this show can be a very good match in the ring. Then you add in the Royal Rumble Match, and this is a must-order PPV for wrestling fans.

However, if you choose not to order it (or even if you do), I'll be here Sunday night for live play-by-play and discussion of the show.

Also, please note, per Kid Nate, if you comment just to complain about a WWE post being on an MMA website, you will be warned, then banned.

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