With the 2017 Royal Rumble two weeks away, WWE fans have entered the most speculative period of the pro wrestling calendar year.

The annual January event's very nature — 30 staggered entrants into a battle royal, with the winner getting a shot at the world champ at WrestleMania — invites a lot of guesswork. First, of course, there's guessing the winner. Then there's guessing the WrestleMania matches set in motion by the winner of both the Rumble and the event's title defenses.

Then, and perhaps most fun and wide-open of all, there's guessing the surprise entrants into the Royal Rumble.

In recent years, the Rumble has been the platform for nostalgic one-shots (Booker T, Diesel), NXT call-ups (Rusev, Sami Zayn) and surprise returns (John Cena, Triple H). Two of those, Zayn and Triple H, took place at last year's Rumble at they weren't even the match's biggest shocker Longtime TNA franchise and former IWGP Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles' internet-melting entry at No. 3 may go down as the best Royal Rumble surprise ever.

Given last year's unpredictability, then, fans are flinging around a lot of surprise names for this year's Royal Rumble. Here are the five best possible ones:

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Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.

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