• Cody Rhodes is a strong contender to win the 2024 Men's Royal Rumble based on his booking, storyline impact, and crowd support, setting up a highly-anticipated rematch with Roman Reigns for WrestleMania 40.
  • AJ Styles, a veteran with nothing left to prove, could win the Royal Rumble and challenge Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania, creating a masterpiece match and helping a fresh face rise to the top.
  • LA Knight's sudden rise to pop culture superstardom and top merchandise seller status makes him a fan-favorite pick to win the Royal Rumble and kick off a successful run as a top star in WWE, despite his initial bad booking.

The WWE calendar is creeping closer to the 2024 Royal Rumble premium live event, and after an eventful 2023 so far, the show looks primed to set the stage for another exciting year of WWE action. 2023 has been historic for the company, with fresh faces such as LA Knight and Gunther rising to prominence and popularity, and the franchise faces like Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins continuing to headline the flagship TV shows, Raw and SmackDown.

Storylines across WWE's shows this year are inevitably building towards the biggest WrestleMania anniversary, WrestleMania 40 in 2024. For this reason alone, the 2024 Royal Rumble is automatically destined to be a massive show. Without further ado, let's take a moment to explore some potential winners of the 2024 Men's Royal Rumble match based on their booking in 2023, the impact of their storylines, and their potential to main event what will become one of the biggest years in the history of WWE.

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5 Cody Rhodes

Image credits: WWE

Cody Rhodes is the obvious choice to win the 2024 Men's Royal Rumble match. Cody's entire WWE run so far has been about 'completing his story' and adding the WWE Championship to the Rhodes' family legacy. The WWE Championship is the one title that eluded Cody's legendary father, "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes.

Cody has been subject to strong booking throughout 2023. Even during his rare losses, he has been heavily protected in order to preserve his momentum. Cody won the 2023 Royal Rumble and looked poised to win the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship from Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 39, but the company instead opted to have Cody lose and have the two rivals go their separate ways.

While this divided the WWE Universe at the time, Roman Reigns went on to continue one of the best WWE storylines in recent memory involving The Bloodline. Cody went on to continue to prove his place in the main event in an awesome feud with Brock Lesnar. Cody also has the crowd's support and sympathy from his WrestleMania loss in 2023.

Cody's WWE return has been nothing short of a massive success. He is one of the most over acts in the company right now, and he has the in-ring talent and charisma to back up his ongoing crowd support. Cody is also a top merchandise seller which always contributes to the WWE's decision to make someone a star.

All of these reasons combined with the WWE Universe wanting to see the highly-anticipated rematch between Cody and Roman make Cody Rhodes a top and likely pick to win the 2024 Men's Royal Rumble match and headline WrestleMania 40 against Roman Reigns.

4 AJ Styles

AJ Styles in the WWE
Image source: WWE

The 46-year-old AJ Styles is a ring veteran who still performs above and beyond the levels of expectation for a superstar of his age. AJ Styles was a top free agent in the world of professional wrestling before WWE finally pulled the trigger on signing him to a contract back in 2016.

Styles' run in the WWE has been nothing short of successful. He has risen to the top of the mountain on several occasions and won just about every important championship that WWE has to offer. He has done it all and has nothing left to prove, but he still has a lot to offer as he enters the twilight of his career.

While AJ Styles doesn't need a main event championship, the main event division does need him right now, and one more big push for AJ could be the way to go. WWE is entering a fork in the road where they are attempting to make new superstars, and one tried and tested way to help a fresh face rise to the top is to pit them against a popular veteran.

If AJ Styles were to win the 2024 Men's Royal Rumble match, he would likely go on to challenge Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 40, which in itself is destined to be a masterpiece. Rollins and Styles have met each other on several occasions and always leave it all in the ring together.

Having Styles win the Royal Rumble, defeat Rollins, and go on to feud with a young, up-and-coming star for the World Heavyweight Championship would certainly help set the stage for anyone in 2024, and this makes the veteran AJ Styles a sensible pick to win the match.

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3 LA Knight

Image Credits: WWE

There is nobody active in the WWE right now who has grabbed the bull by the horns and been propelled into pop culture superstardom as fast or as successfully as LA Knight since being called up to the main roster. The 40-year-old Knight is a veteran of the ring and has achieved success in places such as Impact Wrestling. He also excelled in NXT, but he has been catapulted to the top of the food chain on the main roster in 2023 by his own doing.

It is so rare these days for a wrestler to get over by themselves in such an organic way, but Knight has managed to do it. His sudden popularity has made him a top merchandise seller in 2023. He remains one of the most over acts on WWE television and one of the best current WWE Superstars, and it has been all-natural.

Knight possesses a gift that allows him to connect with the fans with ease. His unmatched charisma and impressive in-ring abilities are overshadowed only by his own endless ability to talk on the microphone. Every time LA Knight is featured on a WWE show, he makes the match or the segment simply must-see TV.

It is no secret that LA Knight's sudden rise has caught WWE's creative team off-guard. LA Knight started off 2023 with bad booking, including his critically panned match at the 2023 Royal Rumble against Bray Wyatt. Knight however didn't let the bad booking consume him, and he continued to make moves to get himself over, and did he succeed? YEAH!

LA Knight is a top pick to win the WWE Royal Rumble simply because that is what the WWE Universe wants to happen. Knight isn't getting any younger, but he has more than a few good years left in him. Age is just a number when it comes to pro wrestling. Knight has the power to carry the company on his back for a good while, and it could all begin at the 2024 Royal Rumble if they pull the trigger on giving him the win.

2 Brock Lesnar

Image credits: WWE

Much like AJ Styles, Brock Lesnar is a 'sensible' choice to win the 2024 Men's Royal Rumble match. Lesnar has always been good on the main roster, and he has always been over. He is one of the most successful WWE Superstars of all time, and he is a globally recognized legend of professional wrestling and combat sports in general. The 46-year-old behemoth is and likely always will be one of the WWE's most popular special attractions.

Brock Lesnar's run as a main-event player in WWE has been historic. Brock famously held the Universal Title 'hostage' on several occasions when he was running as a top heel in the company. While he wasn't around to defend the title every week, when The Beast did appear, you could be assured that the match he was featured in with the title on the line would always have a big match feel. He is also one of the best WWE Champions in recent memory, and potentially of all time.

Lesnar is one of the few legitimate contenders for the World Heavyweight Championship right now, and The Beast could pose a big threat to whoever is the champion come WrestleMania season if he wins the men's Royal Rumble match.

While Lesnar also has unfinished business with Roman Reigns, Lesnar is currently not allowed to compete for the Undisputed WWE Championship following a loss against Roman Reigns at SummerSlam 2022. Billed as a 'Last Chance Match', Lesnar is unable to challenge for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship as long as Reigns is the champion.

Their unfinished business stems from a 'Winner Takes All' match at WrestleMania 38 when Reigns defeated Lesnar to win both the WWE Championship and the Universal Championship. This of course resulted in Roman becoming the Undisputed Champion and embarking on a legendary reign of over 1,000 days. However, unless the WWE makes a U-turn on the SummerSlam 2022 stipulation, if Lesnar were to win the Royal Rumble match, it would be to headline WrestleMania 40 against Seth Rollins, or whoever has the belt at the time, rather than Roman Reigns.

Lesnar has a rare ability to get anyone over who works with him in a WWE ring. Whether an opponent picks up a win or a loss against Lesnar has never really mattered, just being in the ring with him has the potential to make a star. Giving Lesnar a run with the World Heavyweight Title and pushing a younger, up-and-coming star such as Gunther against him would certainly help to build towards creating the next generation of WWE superstars, and this makes Lesnar a top and sensible pick to win the Royal Rumble match.

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1 Gunther

Image credits: WWE

"The Ring General" Gunther is a future WWE World Champion and there is no way to dispute that as a fact. He possesses every tool in his arsenal to climb to the top of the mountain in the world of professional wrestling. From his flawless in-ring abilities to his intensity and his natural superstar look, Gunther has it all. This man has breathed new life and importance into the legendary WWE Intercontinental Championship.

Since becoming Intercontinental Champion, Gunther has defended the belt in two five-star matches, rated by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The first 5-star classic happened at Clash of the Castle in 2022 against Sheamus, and the second one occurred at WrestleMania 39 in 2023 against Sheamus and Drew McIntyre.

Gunther is a world-traveled veteran of the ring, and he has been protected since he arrived in the WWE. His massively successful run in NXT saw him seamlessly turn the NXT UK Championship into a main event caliber title, simply showing his potential to become a face of the company. He has since played that back with his Intercontinental Championship reign, bringing the title back to its former glory.

Read next: 6 Reasons why Gunther is the Best WWE Intercontinental Champion of the 2020s (So Far)

Rumors have been flying around all year about Gunther becoming the winner of the 2024 Royal Rumble, and plenty of fans expect 2024 to be the biggest year in the career of The Ring General to date. Winning the Men's Royal Rumble match and going on to headline WrestleMania would make Gunther a main eventer overnight, a position on the card that he has already well and truly proved that he is worthy of.

Gunther is not only a believable choice to win the Royal Rumble match, but he is also a believable challenger to both Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns in terms of stature, talent, and popularity. A WrestleMania match against either one of these top names would cement him as a major player in WWE and set the stage for a massively successful career year for the hard-hitting Austrian sensation.