Stop 25: Lake Ohrid. I’m gonna stay one or two days…

I walked through the town centre armed with a leaflet that had a map on it to get to Sunny Lake Hostel. Easy right? Yep, until I got to the old town and I was greeted by steep windy roads. I saw a hand made sign that pointed me to Sunny Lake but after that it was trial and error. I finally got there and hoped they had rooms.

The hostel owner greeted me and showed me to the room. It was soon apparent that I was in the hostel by myself. I explored a little bit outside while it was dark and got into the Christmas spirit, then decided I was gonna do one more day here then head off to Albania.

One hour later a male human by the name of Brad entered my room. I tried not to look appalled that he’d invaded my personal space and spoke to him for a bit. He was cool enough for me to ask him if he wanted to grab some dinner. So we had dinner in the form of a Boss Burger (Boss Burger would become an important part of my life over the next few days…)

Brad (I would have given him a nickname by now, but Brad Pitt is too easy) said he was meeting a girl at the hostel later on, I accepted the fact that he would be having loud, passionate sex in our room with this girl whilst I would be quietly crying myself to sleep…

Fortunately for me there was no sex or crying involved! Louise was just friends with Brad and I hit it off with Louise instantly as well. It’s nice when you meet a group of people and you all have the same sense of humour. Then the next day me, Louise and Brad went and explored the old town.

We saw the fort, the stadium (of sorts) and a lot of ruins. I pretended I was all cultured and all that and looked around in an entitled manner whilst taking photos. The we went to watch the sunset. Don’t worry I’ve got photos of that as well…

That evening involved Grand Theft Auto (The game mum, we’re not actually committing crimes in former Yugoslavia!) for a while, then Belgian Bruno asked if anyone wanted to play poker upstairs. 5 of us went up and paid 100 dinar (or 2 euros in my case) to play.

I played well surprisingly, and was slowly collecting all the chips. Then Belgian Bruno bought €2 worth of chips off me (giving me my money back) and gave the chips to a long haired Macedonian rock star (I’m not joking, the hostel owner, Gyoko, has lots of friends who are in a band and apparently this band are well known around Macedonia..) and hairy rock star kept going all in, once without even looking at his cards. Belgian Bruno then won a lot of chips off me and kept slipping them to hairy rock star until his kamikaze method paid off and he took all our chips. I dragged my feet as I went downstairs defeated, ready to play some more GTA.

Hairy rock star came back with pizzas for everyone and they were melt in your mouth, hit some high notes fantastic! We then played a game on GTA where you had to sprint across the motorway without looking and see how many times you could do it without dying. Brad got the record with six…

Brad and Louise left the next day, so I cried like this for a while then said to myself I’d have a chill out day playing the Playstation then head to Albania, that was until I got a message from a familiar Aussie:

“Facking Lewis mate! You still up for Christmas in Macedonia together?” I’d love to say this was from Ellie, but it wasn’t, it was a traditional Aaron greeting. I’d forgotten that I said to Aaron pissed out of my head that we would do Macedonia together, but I’m a man of my word (and I like Aaron, which played a factor) so I stayed for a few more days not doing very much except getting drunk with Aaron. Well, it was cold so there’s not much else to do in Macedonia at night apart from get drunk and message ex girlfriends saying we should give it another try when we get back…

Gyoko (The hostel owner) told me there was a girl staying in the hostel, so naturally I panicked and tried to act calm, turns out I was worrying about nothing because it wasn’t a girl, it was a Jaime! We hugged and swapped stories, and before I knew it two days had gone and so was she. She left in the evening and I lost track of time, and I shot up asking if Jaime had gone yet. Gyoko told me she had left seconds ago, so I ran out the hostel and chased after her in minus 1 weather only wearing a t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms. It was like the shittest love film ever!  I ran for about 300 metres before I found her so I could say goodbye. We hugged and it was romantic, that is until I awkwardly kissed her on the cheek whilst completely out of breath as I said goodbye. Then I ran back before frostbite or something less dramatic set in.

So yeah, like most travelling stories recently one or two days has turned into a week. Normally I end this with “Next stop: BlahBLAHistan” But I haven’t actually left yet; this is gonna be a two parter because I’m now volunteering at the hostel until the new year. (Cool story…it’s not really, but I’ll tell you in the next blog post. You know, suspense and all that…)

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Christmas in Macedonia

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“Merry facking Christmas mate!” Was the voice that woke me up. It wasn’t the traditional Merry Christmas greeting, but it was still heartfelt from our mate Aaron.

Last Christmas I was back home celebrating with my sister’s family, and for the last five years before that my Christmas dinner was a McDonald’s meal whilst living in Thailand. On this trip I didn’t know where I was going to be, and Lake Ohrid in Macedonia turned out to be the destination for me.

We had breakfast and Aaron was already on the beers, so much so that he was fucked before midday. I was calmly eating my Nesquik cereal as he filmed a video on his camera to say merry Christmas to all his followers. Yes, I’m in with that crowd now…

Gyoko, our hostel owner, asked us if we wanted to get some traditional Macedonian food for lunch. I mentioned that I’d tried chorba (like a shredded beef stew) and it was b to the rilliant, which led him to counter punch that Ohrid was well known for having high quality fish chorba as they had decent trout from the lake. In the end 4 of us accepted his quest for chorba; Me, Aaron, Aussie A and Aussie B (I don’t know their names, so instead of calling them cuntchops and arsespray, I thought I’d get into the Christmas spirit and call them Aussie A and Aussie B instead…) and Gyoko went to a restaurant on the lake. Here’s some pictures so I can show off:

The food lived up to its reputation, but the view was what made it. Christmas dinner wasn’t what I was expecting but it still hit the spot. Aaron was filming videos and saying ‘Merry Christmas!’ to random Macedonian girls we met by the lakeside.

We spent the rest of the evening playing PS4 as it is a few degrees below freezing at night over here at the moment.

So yeah, it wasn’t that interesting. We had a cool local lunch with a nice view but other than that it just pretty much involved me messing around on Facebook. I’d love to lie to you and say it was incredible; that we had fire jugglers come in the hostel do back flips and stuff, but no, my Christmas was pretty much the same as yours. Get drunk, eat food, feel lonely, sit on my phone scrolling at nothing for a few hours, send a message to someone, regret said message, drink more to forget about the message, and repeat. Looks like my next Christmas will be in Thailand (barring any unforeseen circumstances) so this may be my last Christmas in Europe for a while.

 

Balkan Hostel Reviews: Part 1

Here’s some reviews and shit. Read at your own risk…

Athens, Greece – Zeus Hostel

Price: €9 a night

How To Get There: Pretty hard to explain as there is no starting point. The buses drop you off wherever they fancy. They dropped us off relatively close to the Omonia Metro Station so I’ll start from there…

This is a main square with multiple turnings. One of the main turnings heads towards Syntagma Square, which is one of the main tourist spots. If you are facing that road you need to go down the next road to your right. Then walk straight for 200 metres whilst looking to your right. You will see the big ass Zeus sign down one of those roads

About The Hostel: Cheap and cheerful. There was nothing special about this hostel in terms of perks, but you can’t complain about the price considering it’s Greece, and the capital city at that. There’s a little rooftop balcony where people gather but there’s no wifi there. In fact unless you are on the bottom floor (which I was) there’s no wifi in the rooms either. We had people sitting on the stairs and by our room to get some internet, especially the people who were working online.

Selling point: The guy that worked there was pretty cool. Also there’s a load of quality cheap gyros (Greek kebabs) places nearby so you don’t have to spend a lot of money here. There’s also a lot of Greek Gods painted on the walls all over the hostel if you are into the street art kinda feel to a place.

Overall Rating: 7/10, and maybe I’m being harsh because I did enjoy myself here

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Trikala, Greece – Hostel Meteora

Price: €12.50 a night

How To Get There: From the bus station there’s a €1 bus into town (the bus stations in Greece are always in the middle of nowhere…) then from there head towards the square with the bridge over the river. Then walk down the road behind you if you are facing the river (so walk away from the river without crossing the bridge) then walk from 4 minutes until you see a PC shop, then turn left and its there

About The Hostel: The volunteers made this hostel. It was a pretty standard hostel and was more expensive than the one in Athens, but I stayed a lot longer than planned solely because of the people there. Guests and staff.

Selling point: It’s a 20 minute bus ride to Meteora and the picture of the place speaks for itself.It’s not a bad hostel by any means, but there’s nothing keeping me there let’s put it that way…

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Overall Rating: 7/10

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Thessoloniki, Greece – Little Big House

Price: €17

How To Get There: This is a real fucking pain; I took the 31 bus from the station (again, in a derelict part of town) to the main road of Thessoloniki. Now THIS is where it gets tricky… You need to get the 28A bus, well at least that’s what I got told; No one knew and were all contradicting each other. In the end I walked there and it took about an hour, and it was uphill the whole way. Luckily one hostel (that was full) gave me a map of the town, otherwise I would have never have found it, so to answer this question I’m just gonna say it’s near the broken castle at the top of the hill

About The Hostel: It’s nice in terms of standards. I had a dorm with 4 of us and 2 separate rooms. I got on with the people in my room but I got the feeling the hostel itself was a very ‘clicky’ place, a place I didn’t fit in

Selling point: This is quite difficult actually. As I’ve said it’s a nice hostel with a kitchen inside the room, but the price doesn’t justify the quality for me. If it was a €10-12 place then I’d be saying how much of a gem this was. But in terms of perks there were none. I suppose you could hang your washing outside but there’s nothing that makes me say ‘oh yeah this place was great because…’

Overall Rating: 6/10

(Would have been much higher if it wasn’t so overpriced. I simply can’t justify the price for what you get)

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Sofia, Bulgaria – Hostel Mostel

Price: 24 Lev (£11.50) a night

How To Get There: Just walk straight from the bus station, following the road, for a mile. When you see the department of justice building (the place with the big fuck off lion statues…) turn right. If you somehow miss these massive lion statues then remember it’s where the McDonalds and the Burger King are opposite each other. Then walk for about 5 minutes until you come to a big intersection. Hostel Mostel is right in front of you across the intersection. The signs for the place are small though so you have to really look for it

About The Hostel: This has 150 beds. (Don’t worry, they’re not all in one room…) and they own apartments around the area where you can stay as well. Because of this there’s loads of people from all walks of life to meet here. It was a bit intimidating for me as I was a solo traveller, but as a group this place is the best place ever.

Selling point: Free dinner. So simple but so brilliant. Many hostels offer a free breakfast, but this is the only place that offers free dinner as well. All it is is some spaghetti with a tomato based sauce, but things like that are what you remember. If I was to ever open a hostel that would be one of the things I would offer. There’s also a pool table in the common room its so worn out it plays like the pool table on GTA San Andreas, but it’s still really cool to have a pool table

Overall Rating: 8/10.

It would have been 10, but my stay wasn’t as fun as others and I felt suffocated by the sheer volume of people in one place. Also the showers run out of hot water very quickly. Other than that there is a reason this place has a reputation as one of the best hostels in Europe

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Sofia, Bulgaria – Moreto Caffeto

Price: 17 Lev (£8) a night

How To Get There: It’s really far away (2-3 kms from the bus station) despite this it’s surprisingly easy to find; Just keep walking straight. Follow the road and keep walking straight. Eventually after walking past Hostel Mostel and underpasses and thinking you are f to the cucked, you will see a restaurant called ‘Golden Nero’ (Which I remembered as a wrestling fan and thought of ‘Brother Nero’…) then turn left there.

About The Hostel: It’s quite a quaint place. It’s in the middle of nowhere but its a 15 minute walk back the way you came in search of life. However the hostel itself is pretty cool. 8 beds in a room, but don’t let that put you off. There’s a nice hot shower (surprisingly rare in hostels). I literally only went there to see a friend of mine who was volunteering there, but I was glad I went there

Selling point: There’s a nice common room with cable TV (some of the channels had uncensored hardcore porn on them, those horny fucking Bulgarians… Where were these Bulgarians while I was there?!?) and a PS3 for nights in. Don’t forget how cheap it is. That’s always a bonus while you are travelling for a while

Overall Rating: 9/10

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Plovdiv, Bulgaria – Hikers Hostel

Price: 20 Lev (£9) a night

How To Get There: Walk towards the old town centre, then turn right when you get to the big old Mosque on the right (You’ll know because there’s the old stadium that was built underground right in front of you when you get to the Mosque) then walk up the hill for about 5 minutes, and Rob’s your father’s brother!

About The Hostel: It’s pretty much a hut. Not great in the cold winter months but its a relaxed place to be. This was perfect for me to finish writing my book. It’s also slap bang in the middle of the old town, so you are walking distance away from pretty much everything you want to see. There’s a free walking tour in the town that’s pretty legend-dairy. There are vegan free tours as well if you fancy…

Selling point: This will always have a warm place in my heart as I finished writing a book here, but this place has so much going for it. The chilled out vibe soon became party hostel central when I finished the book so the owners were pretty lax, which I think is important in a hostel environment. Also Valon (the manager) gave me a discount to 16 Lev (£7.50) unprovoked when I’d stayed for a while which says a lot about him.

Overall rating: 8/10

Again, would have been a ten but there were some problems, luckily for these owners they are easily fixable. First the showers are cold most of the time. Invest in an extra boiler and you’ve won at life. The other thing was the rooms were cold as it was essentially a hut and we only had 3 portable heater for the entire hostel. Buy another four or five and scatter them around the hostel. A small running cost and you are golden

 

Fifa Night In Macedonia

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Ohrid was a wise choice in the end…I’m acting as if I planned this shit! Basically I was in Skopje (The capital of Macedonia) and the hostel owner told me that Ohrid was a nice place to see so off I went to see was all about…

The hostel owner was called Gyoko and he was pretty cool and in the hostel was a PS4 with GTA5 and Fifa 17, so naturally I caned the bejeebus out of it as I was in the hostel by myself, so whilst destroying a season on Fifa with Watford Gyoko said to me that he’d invite some of his mates over and we’d have a Fifa tournament.

I haven’t played since Fifa 15 (that’s a lie, I played Fifa 16 a couple of times at my brother in law’s house…) So naturally I was a bit rusty and I soon found out it was much harder to score on Fifa 17, but I was still up for a gaming night which was a nice change of pace from constantly doing travelling things…

Yeah…I got my arse handed to me! These Macedonians were on a different level to me and simply destroyed me. Most of the games were relatively tight but I just couldn’t score (Story of my life…) And ended up losing 1-0 or 2-0.

Then I played the grand champion. My confidence was knocked by this point so I don’t think anyone was betting on me to win. The first half was very even and I was only 1-0 down, but he figured me out in the second half and I ended up losing 6-0. I think there were new defending and attacking buttons that I’m not aware off as well because in the second half he had about 75-80% possession and whenever I tried to launch an attack the threat was neutralised instantly.

So it was a masterclass! Just not by me… It was still a fun evening though and now there are more people in the hostel so it’s a bit livelier. Will Be posting an Ohrid blog in a few days were I have been with Aaron and...Jaime the girl I met in Meteora! Tonight’s gonna be fun! I hope…

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Our view from the hostel balcony where we have breakfast every day

Stop 23: Skopje, Valentin and Nikoletta

“Hi, er… do you have any beds?” I asked tentatively to the man who opened the door.

“Of course!” Replied the man and gestured for me to come in.

He introduced himself and said he was Kurdish. He seemed nice enough, which goes to show how bad I am at judging people because this guy turned out to be one of the most aggressive and confrontational men I have ever met. But this post isn’t about him, I’ll save that guy as a character for a future book…

The first evening I was there I was greeted by a pretty lady who smiled and said her name was Nikoletta. I resisted the urge to go full on Del Boy on her and say “You know Nikoletta is one of my most favourite names…” and opted with the traditional Hello, where are you from, and all that jazz.

“I’m from here…” She said, looking confused. “I’m the owner.”

“Oh, so is that guy who checked me in your husband?” I asked.

“Oh no! He’s just a volunteer here.” She replied.

She then made me a tea, sat me down and showed me where to go on her map. She recommended a few places and I decided to stay at least two days and explore the sights.

Day 1: Castle and shit

The castle was McBitching! I wandered in tentatively wondering if I was trespassing and would be speared with a boyonet, I soon realised the Macedonians nearby couldn’t care less, and as soon as I saw randomers wandering around as well I decided to join the Shaun of The Dead extras cast and wander aimlessly with them. I nearly broke my ankle misjudging the drop when I stepped down an uneven bit and celebrated my ability to walk with a Zinedine Zidane class doner for 80 Dinar (Just over one whole English Pound of sterling silver…)

Day 2: Zoo and… more shit

I wrote about the zoo in my previous blog post (Click on the blue writing, yadda yadda yadda and random plugs…) but before I got there I had another doner. (Sing it like a Sean Paul song: Shake that thing miss.. Doner Doner!) and went to Skopje’s international stadium which was nearby. I asked if I could take a photo inside as it was open and the angry Macedonian man said “Neigh!” (He wasn’t a part time horse, ‘neigh’ is no in Macedonian…) then I got lost and eventually saved by a young Macedonian couple who showed me the way and walked with me. What heroes! So naturally I bored them about my books until I ran out of breath. Then I umm… went to the zoo, and that’s it really…

Day 3: Bruno Mars: The Lazy Song

I did Nothing at all! Ooh-ooo-ooh! Ooh-ooo-ooh! Nothing at all! Except fart arse around on the internet and occasionally scratch my delicate balls. Oh, the highlight of the day was buying some odds and sods to eat, including lots of chocolate. Valentin also taught me a bit of jujitsu as you do. I don’t know if that’s included in the price but it’s a good selling point!

Day 4: Matka, but not really

Nothing to report here: I was supposed to go to a place called Matka and got on the bus that said it stopped at Matka. Only it didn’t. It stopped at a few places that didn’t look that particularly interesting, did a loop and ended up back in Skopje. I realised something wasn’t right after I’d been on the bus for nearly an hour, and sure enough ten minutes after that we drove past Skopje’s city mall for the second time. I went back to the hostel embarrassed in defeat, but not before I bought more Kinder chocolate to cheer myself up…

Day 5: Where the fuck is Nikoletta?

Valentin had been visibly ill for the last few days but still made some appearances. Nikoletta was feeling worse than Valentin and stayed at their flat. I made a point of asking Valentin how they both were every day and as I had planned on leaving the next day (as travellers know “I’m leaving tomorrow” usually means you’re going to wake up at midday, say ‘fuck that!’ and stay a couple more nights…) I decided to buy Nikoletta a goodbye present. I know she liked these cheap Macedonian chocolate and banana cake bars so I bought her a pack of them as a way of saying goodbye and thank you for being such kind and considerate hosts.

I went on a museum day and saw the holocaust museum, a Mother Teresa museum (As she was born in Skopje) and some random history museum. They were interesting, especially the holocaust museum as it focused on not just the Jewish massacre in the 1940’s but a lot of mass genocides ranging from Pol Pot’s regime in Cambodia to the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi, and it had shrines dedicated to the people who protected these minorities from whoever it was that was hunting them down.

Day 6: Yep, I stayed. But it’s a good job I did

I bumped into Valentin the day before and he said his wife was feeling better. I said that I probably wouldn’t see them again this trip but that I’d bought Nikoletta some of her favourite chocolates as a way of saying thank you and Valentin was very grateful. He said he’d take me out for lunch the next day if I was still there. Of course I was going to be still there, check out time was 10:30 and I’m a lazy bastard! So Nikoletta turned up looking much better, literally bouncing around with a huge smile on her face. The two of them then took me to a local restaurant where we had a traditional dish called Chorba, which is basically a stew with shredded beef and vegetables. Oh, they also made their own bread, and it was shake uncontrollably in pleasure standard. Valentin refused to let me pay as well. Then as they left they both said goodbye to me and wished me all the best.

There is a cliche that is thrown about by hostel and hotel owners: Come to us as guests, leave us as friends. This probably applies best to Valentin and Nikoletta. They are a lovely couple who genuinely like people. They are perfect for this type of business and to be fair I did leave as their friend. I’ve met a few travellers who I’d like to keep in touch with after this trip ends, but these are the first hosts who I’ve felt that way about. I’m sure I’ll bump into you again one day. All the best and thanks for everything!

Skopje Zoo: Macedonia

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Yesterday I missed the bus to the Macedonian village (which is hilariously called ‘Macedonian Village’) so I was wondering what I could do that afternoon that didn’t mean I’d wasted a day sitting on my bed hoping all the riches and happiness in the world would fall on my lap, then by pure chance I saw there was a zoo on the map. It was a 45 minute walk, but I could still have a good 3 hours wandering around the zoo if I left right that second, so off I went. It was only 50 Dinar (Less than a pound) to get in, so it wouldn’t be that bad if I only got to see 3 hours worth…

After asking a few people where it was I eventually found the zoo with the help of a young couple who spoke good English. I walked in and found a zoo that was pretty much derelict…

Sure, they had animals, but a lot of the enclosures were empty (I heard this place was awful 10 years ago but they are improving it, so maybe the enclosures are ready for animals to live in in the future.) I walked around in shock thinking that I was going to be done in ten minutes. All the food and drink stalls were closed and there were overgrown grassy areas that hadn’t been tended to in a while. I turned around and looked at the few animals that were out, trying to get my money’s worth, then headed towards the exit.

Just as I was leaving I saw an extra half of the zoo that was far more populated, so I went in that direction and saw a few more animals that were far more energetic and happy. This cheered me up because at first I was concerned for the animal’s well being, but once you see happy animals it makes you feel far more relaxed.

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The worlds most photogenic bison…

The seals were dancing around, the giraffe was playing hide and seek and the baboon was trying to start a fight with anyone who made eye contact with him. I soon realised why the animals were so happy, Macedonian people normally bring fruits and vegetables with them, and feed it to the animals. I didn’t see a zookeeper the entire time I was there so seeing the locals look after the animals made me feel much better about the place. I watched the bears stand on their hind legs for food and roar at each other then I went to the final section of the zoo: the bird section.

 

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Nothing too much to report here, except when the kids were waving at a bird on top of the cage I soon realised that one of the birds had escaped from the cage and was walking around freely. I looked in disbelief as the peacock was staring into the…um…peacock cage like a paying customer. I took some pictures because that’s what privileged people do…

So the whole visit only took 45 minutes of my life. It was only a small zoo so 45 minutes was more than enough. I wouldn’t recommend seeing this zoo as a tourist, but if you view it more as a place where you can feed all sorts of animals then I would recommend it. Go in armed with fruits and shoots, then feed animals until your heart’s content, or until you run out of food…

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14 Possible Surprise Entrants For The Royal Rumble

  1. Kurt Angle
    Kurt is arguably the best wrestler to wrestle for the WWE in the modern era. He’s a draw, and WWE knows this, it’s just a case of whether he can get cleared to wrestle or not. The rumours of a Kurt Angle return have been there for a while now but nothing has materialised yet. What better way to get the Royal Rumble pumping than have Kurt enter at number 2 or 3?
  2. John Morrison
    I would love to see John Morrison back in a WWE ring. The chances of this happening however are slim as he is not only wrestling in AAA but has recently acquired the Latin American Championship, but we can all dream of him hitting starship pain one more time in the rumble.
  3. Finn Balor
    Finn was very unlucky to get injured just as WWE publicly backed him as their first universal champion. As a Kevin Owens fan I’m happy for the knock on effect but Finn still deserves his props. It is rumoured that Balor is getting better now and WWE could be keeping him under wraps for a huge pop at the rumble, either winning to face Owens at Wrestlemania or being robbed of a victory by Owens (if he’s no longer the champion by then) or a technical wrestler like Rollins, leading to an excellent Wrestlemania match.
  4. Ricochet
    Wrestling fans would love to see Ricochet finally land in the WWE, and if he was doing flips for fun in the rumble the casual fans would soon be aware of what he is all about. I feel this rumble could be a platform to promote the cruiserweights a bit more, and if you have people like Ricochet, Neville, TJ Perkins and Gran Metalik (with one of his over the top rope entrance moves), people would definitely start to pay attention.
  5. Samoa Joe
    Joe has been in NXT for seemingly forever. It’s like WWE doesn’t know when to pull the trigger on this guy. The rumble could be the perfect time to unleash him if he isn’t in the main roster already by that time.
  6. Shinsuke Nakamura
    Nakamura’s charisma gives me chills, this guy is destined to be one of the greats, he just has that energy about him. Watching Nakamura strut down the ramp after being announced as participant number 1 or 2 would make the crowd go nuts. If he came down half way through his entrance would be somewhat shortened unless all the wrestlers in the ring at the time have been wiped out which would put the focus on the next entrant.
  7. Hulk Hogan
    OK, somewhat controversial considering what happened in 2015, but stay with me on this… Triple H has suggested he would be willing to work with Hogan again in the future so the door hasn’t been completely closed on him despite his comments. Also Vince is also all about business. He has proved time and time again that he is willing to put his personal feelings to one side if it means it benefits the business, and there’s no denying the pop that Hogan receives whenever his music plays and he flexes his muscles. Hogan returning, knocking down a few people, hitting a leg drop and then being hit from behind and subsequently eliminated would be something that would make this rumble stand out in the future.
  8. John Cena
    Not really a huge surprise, but the man deserves his props and is way better than the indy smarks suggest he is. He is slowly getting the respect that he has merited and if he finishes his film by the rumble hearing his music will divide the arena, but as Triple H has said before everyone has an opinion of him and he sells out arenas. I’m not saying he should win the rumble, but having him come back at the rumble would make sense and be an extra surprise entrant to talk about.
  9. Shelton Benjamin
    Like most wrestling fans I went mental when I heard The Gold Standard was coming back to the WWE, only to have the return cruelly taken away by a long term injury. Not much has been said on the Shelton front which makes me wonder if they are deliberately keeping him under wraps until the rumble, so he can come out to a huge reaction. I hope so, this guy was consistently brilliant in his last run and the roof would come off if “Ain’t no stopping me” started playing halfway through the rumble
  10. Hideo Itami
    I admittedly don’t know much about this guy, but I do know he has a MASSIVE reputation. The innovator of ‘go to sleep’ and Daniel Bryan’s running knee just can’t catch a break in WWE, injury after injury seems to stop any kind of momentum he gets. Rumour has it though that his latest injury isn’t as bad as originally thought and being a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble isn’t as far-fetched as you may think…
  11. Rob Van Dam
    He’s getting on a bit now, but as far as I’m aware he’s not tied up to a company right now, and a short term deal could suit both parties. RVD is 45 now and is approaching the end of his career (unlike the seemingly ageless Jericho…) so seeing one more rolling thunder sooner rather than later would be good for both fans and the wrestler himself.
  12. Daniel Bryan
    Yeah I know, he’s retired, but WWE keep teasing him and The Miz and everyone is wondering why. This could be a huge swerve by the WWE to make people think he’s going to wrestle one more time to keep the crowd on their toes, but it could also lead to Daniel eliminating The Miz in the rumble, and that Wrestlemania match they seem to be teasing without actually saying anything…
  13. CM Punk
    Yep, this guy is also retired, and signed to a UFC contract, but come on; who wouldn’t want to see Punk come back one more time? The reaction Punk got when he entered the octagon speaks for itself, and I’ve already mentioned about how Vince puts business first. Is this really that implausible? There’s talk of Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey, why not CM Punk?
  14. Tyson Kidd
    The word ‘underrated’ gets thrown around a lot, but Tyson Kidd deserves this accolade. Then just as people will beginning to appreciate his talent and he was getting over with Cesaro, he nearly dies in a freak accident with Samoa Joe. Most likely he will be forced to retire and the wrestling world will be robbed of a phenomenal talent, but you never know, he could be making a comeback behind the scenes and an entry in the rumble would complete a remarkable recovery.