ShareAll sharing options for:WWE Royal Rumble 2022 review: Already a bump in the road to WrestleMania
- Twitter (opens in new window)
- Facebook (opens in new window)
- Reddit (opens in new window)
- Pocket (opens in new window)
- Flipboard (opens in new window)
- Email (opens in new window)
However disillusioned you might feel as a fan sometimes, there is no denying that come the Royal Rumble, your energy rises. In its 35th year, this event is arguably second only to WrestleMania in being the must see WWE show of the year. Promising shocks, twists and major construction into the feuds that will define that year’s WrestleMania season, it really is the start of what should be/sometimes is the WWE’s hottest streak. True to form this year’s show promised a lot of action and excitement, with a darn good card to boot, so lets see how things panned out at the first of the big four “premium live events” of 2022…
The opening video package gets us hyped for the Rumbles and a great match card line-up.
1. WWE Universal Championship – Usos Banned From Ringside
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins
This Universal Championship match was arguably the match of the night. Starting with Seth Rollins donning The Shield attire and entrance to screw with his former brother Roman Reigns, this title match had real story, chemistry and psychology, and was Roman’s best match in months. Rollins is Reigns’ ghost, he just can’t seem to beat him and this match saw Seth hang with Roman for the whole duration. The balance kept shifting and you were on seat edge throughout, and both guys were on top form. Especially Rollins. The crowd were red hot and the energy was just electric and had an unpredictable edge. True the DQ finish (as a frustrated Roman would not release his Guillotine choke) rankles a tad but story-wise made sense, as it allows this one to continue later down the line, and it actually gave Rollins the technical victory – despite his post-match beatdown from Roman with a chair – meaning he once again gets the win and bragging rights over Reigns. This really ought to be the main Mania story this year but we all know it’s Brock Lesnar. Although I hold out hope Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins may be around in the mix somewhere.
2. 30-Woman Royal Rumble Match
Now, I hold my hands up here when I say that I really enjoyed this women’s rumble. I know many are of a complete opposite viewpoint on that but I had a great time watching it, in spite of some unusual booking choices and them announcing some of the field ahead of time. Starting with Sasha Banks and a surprise appearance from Melina (this Rumble had tonnes of surprise entrants!), the match started as it meant to go on. An unfortunate mishap saw Melina leave early and Banks surprisingly did not last all that long either (while the likes of Tamina and Brie Bella did oddly enough) but it had a joyful atmosphere and appearances from the likes of Ivory (in full Right To Censor character mode), Lita and Mighty Molly, which helped to ensure a fun match, while some of the storylines were allowed to advance (Naomi and Sonya Deville for instance) in the midst of it all. It was also nice to see Bianca Belair and Rhea Ripley have long stints in there, and both look great. Though my favourite moment had to be the “forbidden door” appearance of current Impact Knockouts Champion and former WWE star Mickie James, who not only brought her promotion’s title with her but entered with her “Hardcore Country” theme, it was great to see WWE embrace this spirit of co-operation and it would be fantastic to see it happen again. In the end though, as soon as the music hit for number 28, I knew! As Ronda Rousey made her exciting return and ultimately won the Rumble last eliminating Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. Some had a real problem with this result but I was happy enough with it, it was a big event and a surprise. Capping off a fun match.
3. WWE RAW Women’s Championship Match
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Doudrop
Frankly, there was nothing abhorrent about this unusual title match between Becky Lynch and Doudrop but the crowd were absolutely flat for most of it, save for a pyro fire that got more over than the match itself. The real problem was that everybody knew this one was Becky bound and seemed more concerned with what was coming next. The match really just kind of happened and Lynch would ultimately win with a Manhandle Slam, and overall this was a sadly forgettable affair.
4. WWE Championship Match
Brock Lesnar (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Bobby Lashley w/ MVP
This to me was the major turning point for the show, for all the wrong reasons, and honestly where things began to fall apart. Bobby Lashley and Brock Lesnar has been a dream match for years, and seeing it booked for the Rumble instead of Mania was suggesting we’d get something special, sadly, the match was completely overshadowed by the stupid shenanigans of the Reigns/Lesnar WrestleMania inevitability. Unlike the Universal Championship match though, the preceding match did not manage to withstand the aftermath. It was a beast clash of course but the ending hurt it tremendously and rendered a match that should have been untainted as pretty irrelevant and crushingly forgettable, as Paul Heyman turned on Lesnar to hand an interfering Roman the title, who clocked Brock, giving Lashley a screwy win. This was not only unnecessary but it left us with a story that was blindingly obvious from here on out, regarding the Royal Rumble match later (more on that doozy shortly)…Not good.
5. Edge and Beth Phoenix vs. The Miz and Maryse
After their good Day1 match, The Miz and Edge teamed with their wives Maryse and Beth Phoenix, for a super family showdown, that really ought to have been a bit more memorable than this was. The action was fine but at 12 1/2 minutes it still felt too long for what it was. It was good to see Edge and Beth shut the mouthes of the A-List couple but this never really clicked and while nowhere near as terrible as the Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella vs. Miz and Maryse match at Hell in a Cell 2018, it was certainly on the lesser end of Edge’s matches since his return back in 2020. Disposable.
6. 30-Man Royal Rumble Match
Oh boy. It was clear early on, that this was going to be a lesser Royal Rumble match to say the least. Starting hot with AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, what followed was a horrendously booked match with baffling short stints from the likes of Damian Priest and Big E, and even more baffling eliminations like Styles by Madcap Moss (seriously?!) or celebrity entrant Johnny Knoxville entering (game for a laugh) and doing virtually sod all. Hell, even Kofi Kingston’s yearly gravity-defying Rumble save was sadly botched and he was eliminated in less than half a minute. Few things went right. That said, it was great to see Drew McIntyre return and Bad Bunny made a guest appearance proving his WrestleMania performance was no fluke. However, this was a dull slog of a Rumble altogether, missing major surprises and shocks, as well as missing some rather big names too. Then, there was the whole Shane McMahon return which was oddly inserted at the end (and apparently caused some controversy backstage too), but it all properly collapsed with entrant Number 30 as, you guessed it, out came Lesnar for the dominant win. Look I have no issue with Lesnar (in fact this face run of his, has been pretty great all round) but this was not necessary for the Lesnar/Reigns WrestleMania match to happen and this show felt sacrificed for the sake of that one match, as did this pretty darn bad main event. Very little made sense here and it ended the night in an unsatisfying and even more unnecessary way.
Overall, WWE Royal Rumble 2022 was a major letdown. You cannot look at it any other way. Starting well, the show just went downhill, as a great Universal Title match and fun Women’s Rumble failed to save a string of average matches, a monumental letdown of a dream match and a unanimously terrible Rumble that had hardly any surprises and felt very uneventful all round (even the few surprises they had, did not really do the trick). As we head to Saudi Arabia for the Elimination Chamber next, let’s hope WWE gets the Road to WrestleMania back on more hospitable terrain, because this one was a huge disappointment.