WWE’s Royal Rumble has become the second-biggest show on the WWE calendar, as well as the set-up to WrestleMania. This year’s edition takes place Saturday in St. Louis, MO. Having graduated to stadium-show status, the Rumble will take place at clunkily-named Dome at America’s Center. We’ll have an idea of the top WrestleMania matches after this show, which makes it a highly-anticipated event for WWE fans.
Fight Game Media will provide live coverage of the event. We also have a Guide to the show with all the participants and a review of the angles here:
I wrote a piece about the Women’s Rumble match last week. One caveat is Ronda Rousey is now expected to be at the Rumble. That makes her the favorite to win it and go on to face Lynch or Charlotte at Mania. The smart money is on Lynch. Still, if something falls through, here is the piece on the announced entrants:
We’ll take a look at the other matches in this column. This year, there are an unusual number of possibilities in play on the men’s side of the equation.
WWE and Universal Title Matches: These are intriguing because they could truly go either way. Most believe the destination is still Lesnar versus Reigns at WrestleMania. That means at least one will need to lose unless they decide to do champion versus champion. That is possible, but with a two-night WrestleMania card, two major title matches feels like the more likely direction.
With both Lesnar and Reigns on the Rumble card, it’s not hard to imagine either of them interfering in the other’s match. That could give either one an excuse for the loss and put them right back on their collision course.
If one is going to lose, who will it be?
The case for Reigns is a strong one. Rollins has played up how successful he’s been against Reigns, and the Usos have been banned from ringside. A Rollins Universal title reign could give the Royal Rumble winner a target while Reigns tangles with Lesnar over the WWE title. It really doesn’t matter which belt they fight over as long as that match gets in the ring. The argument against is WWE has worked hard to protect Reigns and him overcoming a difficult opponent without help from the Usos could be just the thing to make him look as invincible as possible going into the WrestleMania main event.
The case for Lesnar losing would be to re-launch Lashley and give Lesnar a reason to chase Reigns again. Lashley could be challenged by the Rumble winner. Lashley has been presented as a babyface so a heel Rumble winner would make sense here.
Men’s Royal Rumble: Four of the company’s biggest stars are in the big title matches. Any of them would be a contender, but none are set to be in the Rumble match. Someone losing early in the night could be added. After all, only 21 entrants have been officially announced so far. For instance, Lenar could be cheated out of his title early, then enter the Rumble later and win it. Reigns could also be used in that spot, but it makes less narrative sense. WWE does not always bother with logic anyway and could slide either in as a surprise.
Barring that twist, one name on the men’s side makes the most sense. Kevin Owens would make an interesting Rumble winner in either scenario. If Rollins wins the Universal title, Owens could challenge his “best friend” and we’d get that whole “frienemies” dynamic. If Lashley wins the WWE title, Owens would be a fresh match-up for him. They could even tease dissention between he and Rollins going into the Elimination Chamber show or soon after. On a side note, it would be a nice bonus for a man who just signed a new deal with the company.
— WWE (@WWE) January 18, 2022
AJ Styles is also a possibility. WWE knows it can trust him in a high-profile match. Lesnar has worked well with him before and even sold more than usual for Styles. He’s respected and has credibility with fans, so it’s a wild card the company can play when it thinks it needs to.
The worry here is AJ will be eliminated by Omos, who seems likely to get the traditional big man Rumble push of eliminating a swath of wrestlers. The ever-approaching Veer could also get a few if he’s put in the match.
Austin Theory seems a possible nominee for the “Look-how-long-he’s-lasted” push. Riddle is another contender for that spot.
Everyone will also be looking to Reginald or Kofi Kingston for the parkour spot where they seem to be eliminated but come up with a convoluted way to avoid touching the floor before getting back in.
Women’s Title Match: Lynch is portrayed as being on a different level than almost anyone in the company. They have done some work toward building up Doudrop, but it would be a shock if Lynch didn’t come out with a victory here.
The real goal for Doudrop is to have the best match with Lynch possible and show the company she deserves a prominent role. She is a talented worker, and capable of doing so.
Mixed Tag Team Match: This storyline seems to be peaking here. The addition of Beth Phoenix points toward a babyface finish and the end of this feud. We can hope so, anyway.
The Rumble is likely to bring surprises, hits and misses Saturday. We’ll have our takeaways column and a post-show edition of the WRAP podcast up soon after, so you will have everything you need going forward into the Elimination Chamber event, then on to WrestleMania.