2022: The Mystique Dissolves Early
I’m writing this in the aftermath of the event, and I’m still working out my feelings, so BEAR WITH ME and let’s get right into it!
Seth Rollins Vs Roman Reigns
The purpose of this series has always been to rank and review the Royal Rumble matches themselves, but I did want to dedicate at least a few thoughts to the overall card. Like this, for instance.
Given how the show played out, having this end in a disqualification seems like it doesn’t make much sense, but it does keep Roman from straight up twiddling his thumbs until WrestleMania. After 516 days, Roman finally found a foe he couldn’t just run through, as he had to take a disqualification LOSS to remain champ here. Hmmm.
Now, it seems this just keeps this feud alive long enough for Roman to have something to do at Elimination Chamber. And I’m sure that’s the thing. He’ll beat Seth there, the end.
What if Seth keeps having Roman’s number?
What if Roman CAN’T ever put Seth cleanly away?
What if instead of Roman/Brock At Wrestlemania, Part III…
Could we get Roman/Brock/Seth at Wrestlemania, Part II?
It’s not like Seth has no place in this story. He’s had BOTH of these guy’s numbers at ‘Mania and in world title matches. Instead of using him as a roadblock, use him as this year’s Daniel Bryan.
I mean… I can dream, right? Not saying Seth has to (or should) win, but… Roman/Brock is a little stale by itself. Add garnishment!
Seth Rollins is the parsley of wrestling.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
- Sasha Banks
- Kelly Kelly **
- Liv Morgan
- Zelina Vega
- Bianca Belair
- Dana Brooke
- Michelle McCool
- Sonya Deville
- Cameron ***
- Rhea Ripley
- Ivory ****
- Brie Bella
- Mickie James
- Alicia Fox (not asterisks here? Wait, am I sure about that?)
- Nikki ASH
- Summer Rae *****
- Nikki Bella
- Sarah Logan ******
- Mighty Molly *******
- Ronda Rousey
- Shayna Baszler
-You’re probably wondering what the asterisks are for!
Well, those are for the SEVEN entrants that were just returning old timers (“legends”) who were all IMMEDIATELY eliminated from the match.
No Raquel Gonzalez.
No Io Shirai.
But SEVEN pointless entrants? Yes! Because where would we have been without Kelly Kelly getting 45 seconds to do nothing and get tossed (with kind of an ugly belly flop bump to the floor; I hope she’s okay)?
And that’s not even counting other warm bodies like Alicia Fox and Michelle McCool who hung around and weren’t insta-tossed.
-Sasha with the Daniel Bryan-In-2015 run where she lasts a few minutes, is a big enough star that she should have stuck around until the late stages, but nope… just goes out to no fanfare early on. Bigger names usually have eliminations that mean more.
-Sonya and her weird Jacket/No Jacket rule doesn’t enter right away, but then hears Cameron was Naomi’s friend, and rushes the ring to attack and pitch her, leading to…
-Naomi at #14, the easiest prediction of the night (until the #30 entrant of the men’s Rumble became predictable halfway through the show).
-“Ugh, I forgot Charlotte was in this” – my actual note partway through.
-Ivory with the microphone was fun for the 38 seconds it lasted, but given WWE in 2022, you have to figure that RTC would be booked as babyfaces who even Vince defers to.
-Gotta love Brie Bella doing the YES! chant her husband is currently not allowed to do.
-HUGE pop for Mickie James, and all is right in the world as far as I am concerned.
-Does Rhea Ripley call Nikki ASH a “twat” at one point?! I swear to god she audibly says “Nowhere to run you little twat” at one point. Someone correct me on this. Or confirm it for me. I thought there was no way I heard that right.
-Around the early 20’s, I keep desperately trying to count how many people are in the ring (I think it was 11 at most), but it was almost impossible because of Kevin Dunn’s god damn cuts. JUST LET ME COUNT FOR A FEW SECONDS, KEVIN, JESUS.
-Lita eliminates Mickie, but… hadn’t Mickie re-established in the ring? She went over the top, started coming back through the ropes, and then Lita DDT’ed her in the ring. Which meant that a solid 80% of Mickie was back in the ring, but Lita shoved her back through the ropes, and James was out. I mean, I’ll accept that Mickie never got ALL FOUR LIMBS back in the ring, but I’ve never seen an elimination under those circumstances.I should really be the source on this, too, right?
-Ronda Rousey enters at #28–NOT 30 because this show wasn’t doing the same thing twice!–and I really hope they catch whoever stole her ring gear, forcing her to wear her gym outfit TO THE FUCKING ROYAL RUMBLE.
Seriously, what the hell was she wearing? Just black sweatpants, a black shoulder cover goer-over thingie, and a black undershirt that said “BADDEST”.
I hope Roman Reigns shows up at WrestleMania in sweatshorts and a torn tank top. Spectacle be damned!
I was more dressed up for the Rumble sitting in my comfy chair at home than Ronda Rousey was.
-Brie gets revenge on Nikki Bella from a few years ago. Good for her. Nikki was always booked better than she was. That 2014 storyline finally paid off!
-FINAL FOUR: Charlotte, Ronda Rousey, Bianca, Shayna Baszler.
-WHAT a letdown of a final four! Charlotte tosses Shayna and Bianca like nothing, and then Ronda almost effortlessly gets Charlotte out after one missed move. Which, okay fair: not every final four / final two needs to be a big conflict, but this felt like “OH, WE’RE DOWN TO THE NITTY GRITTY HERE and it’s over, okay”.
ON THE PLUS SIDE: I predicted this result! Bully for me, I’m so very clever.
Don’t worry… it would get MUCH WORSE IN THAT REGARD later. Like “One of these 3 things will happen, but then none of them do” worse.
So… not that clever, actually.
Becky Lynch Vs Doudrop
Hahaha, WOW no one in attendance cared about this AT ALL. Maybe because, of the two non-Rumble matches to this point, both were strangely Heel Vs Heel?
We’re still rolling with Becky as a heel, huh?
Let me know how that works when Ronda challenges her.
If WWE is smart–and this is assuming they want Rousey to be a babyface–they’ll have Ronda choose to fight Charlotte at ‘Mania.
But I don’t think that is likely.
Do I mean I don’t think it’s likely they’ll do that or I don’t think it’s likely WWE is smart?
Bobby Lashley vs Brock Lesnar
All that speculation on who might win the Men’s Royal Rumble, just for this match to happen, then we all go “OHHHHHH, okay, I guess that’s it then”.
I’m probably the idiot. I REALLY thought there was no way Brock lost here.
Maybe it’s because it means the return of my long national nightmare of Bobby Lashley as WWE champion and OH MY GOD seriously, do I have to sit through THIS again? This does not entice me to start watching Raw again.
More on the other aspect of this match later!
Also, OH HEY, YOU KNOW WHAT? I’m going to fan fiction away this show as “Brock Lesnar lost to Big E, who should have had a rematch and is now WWE champion again. Elsewhere on the show, Bobby Lashley lasted, like, 5 minutes in the Rumble and was punk eliminated”.
Give me a few minutes to let that idea take in the old noggin.
Edge/Beth Phoenix vs The Miz/Maryse
I don’t even care a little bit. Sorry. Was THIS the match you wanted a breakdown on? Because I’m here to Rank Rumbles and maybe add a bit on the other matches. I’m not sure why this was on PPV.
Hm, let me see.
My Mac keeps autocorrecting Miz to either Mix, Mid, or Mia, and that’s really frustrating. I feel kind of bad Miz couldn’t get a win here, and if he can’t even get one win over a 50 year old, what is his future status at this point?
Mixed tag matches are weird when both active competitors are crawling towards their corner for a tag, and it’s frustratingly irrelevant who tags first because you can’t cut your opponent off. Miz and Edge were both fighting to get a tag at one points and I just thought “Just… just tell the women to come in and not worry about this”.
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
- AJ Styles
- Shinsuke Nakamura
- Austin Theory
- Robert Roode
- Ridge Holland
- Montez Ford
- Damin Priest
- Sami Zayn
- Johnny Knoxville
- Angelo Dawkins (who I’m 90% sure was called Angelo Hawkins by commentary. Did Michael Buffer astral project into Michael Cole there?)
- Chad Gable
- Dominik Mysterio
- Happy Corbin
- Dolph Ziggler
- Rick Boogs
- Madcap Moss
- Drew McIntyre
- Rey Mysterio
- Kofi Kingston
- Big E
- Bad Bunny
- Shane McMahon
- Randy Orton
- Brock Lesnar oh no what a surprise who could possibly have foreseen this turn of events
-I was very very wrong, so I’ll tell you who my top 3 predictions were and why! It’s more fun being an idiot prognosticator than a good one!
3rd likely: Riddle! WWE does seem to be high on him. He and Randy don’t have the belts anymore, and maybe that was to move him up. And Riddle vs Brock! They could make a story out of Brock saying they’d never have a match!
2nd likely: Drew McIntyre. I mean, it seemed like he could be safely fed to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania even while appearing to be a legit threat.
1st most likely: The Fiend. Okay, I played myself here. I don’t even like The Fiend, but I DID like the story in my head.
CONVINCED Brock and Roman were both retaining, no one on the active roster seemed like someone they hadn’t already beaten. But Bray hasn’t shown up anywhere else… maybe WWE got him back in secret! And since Roman’s reign started by ending The Fiend’s run–without actually having pinned or submitted The Fiend–it makes perfect sense.
Maxwell Smart could tell you how much I missed that by.
Onto my notes!
-I miss The Way Austin Theory. Also: I miss The Way.
-Here’s why I am not 100% sure if I heard Rhea call Nikki a twat or that Cole called Dawkins “Hawkins”: The fans get all excited and chant… something… for AJ Styles and Robert Roode. Was it “T-N-A”? That doesn’t seem plausible. I have old man hearing, though.
-Knoxville takes some truly mediocre bumps considering he is JOHNNY KNOXVILLE and I thought we could expect to see him get the piss pounded out of him for our amusement.
-Gable takes full credit for the gang elimination on Omos which was presented as 70% AJ Styles’ doing, and I kind of love him for that. “The Master Plan!”. God bless you, Gable.
-Drew McIntyre is the first big quasi-surprise entrant, and that’s at #21. This Rumble ends up being a DESERT for surprise entrances. No one from NXT. No Forbidden Door talents (I’m not saying Cody or Moxley was going to be there; that speculation was always foolish. But I’d heard Moose’s name bandied about, and that could have been a thing). No The Fiend (*angry fist* at my prediction sheet)!
But hey. We got Bad Bunny!
And Shane McMahon.
And at least they didn’t do anything really stupid like have Shane McMahon make it to the final three OH GOD DAMN IT.
-Also, when Shane entered at #28, I unwaveringly wrote Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar’s names at 29 and 30.
-Big E, who came in at #26 and was world champion A MONTH AGO, gets tossed like trash. Haha, remember a few months ago when Big E won Money In The Bank and we were all like “Hey, Big E is going to be a star!”.
We’re stupid. That was stupid of us.
I MEAN what am I talking about? Big E won the WWE Title from Lesnar tonight! That was HUGE for him! I’m very excited for Monday Night Raw going forward.
(Phfew, that was a close brush with reality there)
–FINAL FOUR: Brock Lesnar, Drew McIntyre, Riddle, and SHANE MCMAHON.
To be fair, they got 75% of that right. I’d have had Big E there instead of Shane, but what do I know? Here came the money.
-Drew McIntyre and Brock are the final two, and AGAIN we are denied an extended showdown as Brock gets rid of Drew… relatively easily. They could have given these two another few minutes of hossing each other, I thought.
So where does that leave me?
ON THE ONE HAND: The Men’s Rumble was not that good AS A RUMBLE MATCH. No big pop entrances. No huge surprises. And the fourth match of the show all but ended in a flashing banner that told us the Rumble ending. So the Men’s Rumble was all going through the motions just waiting for the inevitable result.
ON THE OTHER HAND: I’m not going to lie: they did the right thing. They swerved me by having Brock win the WWE Title because I thought “Well, they’ve been building this whole Brock / Roman story… what happens to that now that he’s champ on the other show?”. And here, they went back to that story in a fitting way. And it’s not going to be a stupid title unification match (though I was getting very eager to be the first person to say BROCKY TWO BELTS).
Heyman paid off.
Brock is clearly the babyface he should be in this feud again.
And IF THEY WANT TO TAKE IT… Seth Rollins is still RIGHT THERE.
The detour was just to trick us, and we’re back to the story Smackdown has been working since August. Which, hell, Seth was a part of that, too, back then since it’s where he first started hinting about going after Roman.
The Royal Rumble, as a card, grabbed us and pointed us in a direction, and I like that direction! This is a path I want to pursue! Things feel like they are paying off.
The problem with this particular show here, though, is how rote the Royal Rumble matches are becoming, especially in the last 3-4 years. It follows the same formula every time now: There’s a countdown… the new entrant comes out… the new entrant either A) comes in like a house of fire, hitting all his/her big moves before settling into the malaise of the match when the next shiny new toy comes out, or B) is immediately eliminated before the next entrant. Repeat 27 times.
I feel like the Rumble in its first two+ decades did a good job of being different year to year. When I watched all the Rumbles back to back when I started this series back in… 2015?… they never felt repetitive. Now it feels like we just have a 90 second cycle we keep repeating until the very end. Even when it’s been a year since I’ve seen a Royal Rumble, it takes just a few minutes to feel very… samesy.
1. 2001 (Austin III) – 10/10
2. 2010 (Edge I) – 9/10
3. 2004 (Benoit) – 9/10
4. 1992 (Flair) – 9/10
5. 2007 (The Undertaker) – 8/10
6. 2019W (Becky Lynch) – 8/10
7. 1997 (Austin I) – 8/10
8. 1998 (Austin II) – 8/10
9. 2008 (Cena I) – 7/10
10. 2018 (Nakamura) – 7/10
11. 2021W (Belair) – 7/10
12. 2002 (HHH I) – 7/10
13. 2018W (Asuka) – 6/10
14. 2016 (HHH II) – 6/10
15. 2005 (Batista I) – 6/10
16. 2020 (McIntyre) – 6/10
17. 2017 (Orton II) – 6/10
18. 2003 (Lesnar) -5/10
19. 1989 (Studd) – 5/10
20. 1996 (Michaels II) – 5/10
21. 2018GRR (Strowman) – 5/10
22. 2019 (Rollins) – 5/10
23. 2011 (Del Rio) – 5/10
24. 2022 (Lesnar II) – 4/10
25. 2022W (Rousey) – 4/10
26. 1999 (McMahon) 4/10
27. 1993 (Yokozuna) – 4/10
28. 2020W (Charlotte) – 4/10
29. 1990 (Hogan I) – 4/10
30. 1994 (Hart/Luger) – 4/10
31. 2013 (Cena II) – 4/10
32. 2009 (Orton I) – 4/10
33. 2012 (Sheamus) – 3/10
34. 1991 (Hogan II) – 3/10
35. 2014 (Batista II) – 3/10
36. 2006 (Mysterio) – 3/10
37. 2000 (The Rock) – 3/10
38. 2021 (Edge II) – 3/10
39. 1995 (Michaels I) – 2/10
40. 1988 (Duggan) – 2/10
41. 2015 (Reigns) – 1/10
I think this year both Royal Rumble matches were… fine. Not bad. Certainly not good. I’d grade them both out as slightly below average, but just… slightly. Neither did anything egregiously negative; neither had any great moments, either. The weakest part of the women’s Rumble was the number of pointless entrants. The weakest part of the men’s was predictability with no BIG MOMENTS to lighten it up.
Your mileage will most likely vary depending on how huge of a Bad Bunny fan you are. I appreciate the dude’s effort! But I’m old and out of touch, so he doesn’t do much for me.
Oh well. At least I have Big E’s exciting second WWE Title reign to look forward to!