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The road to WrestleMania, and all the sign pointing it entails, begins On January 29, 2022, with the thirty-fifth Royal Rumble coming from the The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The recent cuts, coupled with injuries, highlight the thinness of the roster as it seems nearly the whole roster will be participating on the card (minus the 24-7 people but there are still some available spots as of writing). Three titles will be defended as Seth Rollins takes on former Shield partner, Roman Reigns, Bobby Lashley takes on Brock Lesnar in what was a dream match for many, and Doudrop takes on Becky Lynch.
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
Story in a nutshell: Thirty men enter the ring at regular intervals and are eliminated by getting tossed over the top rope with both feet touching the ground with the last person standing winning a title shot against the champion of their choice.
At the time of righting only twenty-two men have been announced as participants to the Royal Rumble. From this group, Damien Priest and Kevin Owens have been mixing it up for the US Championship. AJ Styles has had issues with Omos, Austin Theory and NXT talent. Austin Theory, for his part is being mentored by Vince McMahon. For the shameless advertisement portion of the Rumble, Johnny Knoxville will be participating, and he has drawn the ire of Sami Zayne. The rest of the field is mostly made up of tag teams including Riddle and Randy Orton.
Prediction and analysis: There is a lot to unpack here. If either Brock Lesnar or Roman Reigns lose their title, then they’ll enter and win. Otherwise, Big E and AJ Styles are my front runners. Big E winning will help cement him in the top echelons of the current roster and frankly he needs it after losing the title to Brock Lesnar. A.J. Styles also stands out. Ever since Omos turned on him he has taken on a more serious demeanor.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
Story in a nutshell: Thirty women enter the ring at regular intervals and are eliminated by getting tossed over the top rope with both feet touching the ground with the last person standing winning a title shot against the champion of their choice.
At the time of righting only twenty-one women have been announced as participants to the Royal Rumble, and seven are “Legends”. Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. have their issues after Nikki turned on Ripley. Charlotte Flair is the champion and if she wins, she gets to choose her opponent. She’s also run afoul of Lita. Bianca Belair has been pursuing the title held by Becky Lynch only to be thwarted by Becky who does not want to face her.
Prediction and analysis: There are some rumors that Ronda Rousey might return in which case there is a strong (though not guaranteed) chance that she wins. Belair would be my first choice. Winning back-to-back Rumbles would be a great feather in her cap. There are several wrestlers that can make surprise returns like Sasha Banks, Bayley, Asuka, and Alexa Bliss. Charlotte will likely be eliminated by a “Legend” to maybe set something up for the next Saudi Arabia show. My one hope for the match though is that the returning Mickie James shows up with a trash bag.
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Seth Rollins – WWE Universal Championship Match
Story in a nutshell: Since Roman Reigns had defeated everyone of import on the Smackdown roster, Adam Pearce imported Seth Rollins from the Raw roster as Reigns’s next challenger for the WWE Universal Title.
Seth Rollins had won a ladder match to earn a shot at Big E at the Day 1 PLE. Things spun out of control leading to what was eventually a fatal five-way match instead of the singles match he had earned. He complained about not getting a fair shot and apparently Adam Pearce agreed. Pearce needed to find and opponent for Reigns for the Rumble and selected Reigns’s former Shield partner, Seth Rollins. Rollins teamed up with Kevin Owens on Smackdown to defeat (thanks to a disqualification) the Usos which, according to the stipulations for the match, now barred the Usos for being at ringside for the match.
Prediction: Yeah. Reigns wins, although to be fair, I’m only 85% sure on this one.
Brock Lesnar (c) vs Bobby Lashley – WWE Championship Match
Story in a nutshell: Bobby Lashley won a fatal-four way to earn a shot at Brock Lesnar’s WWE Championship.
Bobby Lashley defeated Big E, Kevin Owens, and Seth Rollins in a fatal four-way match for the right to challenge Brock Lesnar for his title. Lesnar now has regained the services of Paul Heyman after Roman Reigns fired Heyman from his employ. Lesnar has been disrespectful to Lashley by claiming he doesn’t know who Lashley is, although that just might’ve been in order to get under Lashley’s skin.
Prediction: With MVP at Lashley’s side and still simmering issues between Lesnar and Reigns, there is a chance Lesnar drops the title. With a Saudi Arabia show coming up, the safe bet is to say Lesnar retains.
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Doudrop – WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match
Story in a nutshell: In order to avoid having to face Bianca Belair, Becky Lynch interfered in a match that was to determine Becky’s next challenger and Doudrop was the beneficiary of her actions.
It was decided that the winner of a triple threat match between Bianca Belair, Liv Morgan, and Doudrop would determine the next challenger for Becky Lynch. Not wanting to face Belair, Becky interfered in the match leading to a Doudrop victory. It was a dubious strategy by the champion who steeled herself by holding on to the idea that her experience would give her the edge in the match. Since then, Becky has been trying to undermine Doudrop’s confidence.
Prediction: Becky wins using a “veteran move”, like holding on to the ropes or some other shortcut.
The Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. The Miz & Maryse – Mixed Tag Team Match
Story in a nutshell: The feud between Edge and Miz continues but now with their wives getting involved.
Maryse had been helping Miz get the better of Edge on the lead up to their match at Day 1. During the match, Maryse tried to interfere only to be countered by the arrival of Beth Phoenix leading to a win by Edge. Upset with what happened, Miz challenged Edge and Beth to a mixed tag match much to Maryse’s chagrin. At one point Maryse used a purse loaded with a brick so expect that to come into play during this match.
Prediction: I mean Edge won their first match so it would make sense for Miz and Maryse to win this one to set up something for the Saudi Arabia show.