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TJRWrestling WWE Royal Rumble 2022 Preview

wwe royal rumble 2022 preview tjrwrestling

It’s a big one. WWE Royal Rumble 2022 is here. It’s the 35th year where WWE is running a Royal Rumble event and after last year’s show with no fans, there’s going to be a big crowd on Saturday night in the dome in St. Louis.

John: I think WWE has done a nice job of putting together a lineup for the big crowd in St. Louis in their dome stadium. The two Rumble matches themselves are a draw for a lot of people, but then you add in two major title matches including the first-ever Brock Lesnar-Bobby Lashley dream match and the first Roman Reigns-Seth Rollins match in several years. That’s pretty damn good, I think. I’m also happy that it’s a Saturday show since Sunday is a big day for me as my LA Rams are playing in the NFL’s NFC Title game. It’s smart of WWE to move the Rumble to Saturday to avoid competition from NFL Championship Sunday. Plus, I think it’s good for non-North American fans that stay up late to watch this show and then they can rest on a Sunday instead of a Monday.

Joining me for the preview are TJRWrestling writers Lance Augustine, Joel McIntyre, Marc Madison, Alex Podgorski, Matthew Fowler and Kelly Dishnow.

Marc: For the WWE’s second pay-per-view of the year, the company presents the 2022 edition of the Royal Rumble. To the credit of all involved, both Rumble matches are the event’s highlights. However, the first time ever match between Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley also has the potential of being a truly special battle between two men with success both in the ring and the octagon.

Also, with the WWE Universal Championship on the line, it is another case of whether or not Roman Reigns will ultimately get the better of the one man that has had his number during their time together in the WWE in Seth “Freakin” Rollins.

Alex: This is my favorite wrestling show of the year. It’s the one time that even the wildest predictions and theories have a remote chance of actually coming true. We as fans can make all the predictions we want and still leave the show pleasantly surprised.

But this year there’s more than just two Rumble matches. There are also (at least) two big dream matches worthy of main-eventing WrestleMania. Is WWE being generous to its fans, or are these the products of last-minute booking changes? It doesn’t matter because we’re in for a pretty great show this time around.

(Note: All graphics are from WWE.)

Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. The Miz & Maryse

Lance: The build to this has been average. I feel like they are trying to maximize Edge’s value and put him in fresh matchups, so putting him with The Miz here makes sense. They have already had their singles match and with Beth Phoenix leaving NXT commentary right when this feud was heating up, the writing was on the wall that this would happen. I actually thought they would save it for WrestleMania, but putting it here is fine too. I think since Edge picked up the singles win, we could have Miz & Maryse winning and lead to a rematch at WrestleMania. That’s where I think this might be heading.

Winner(s): The Miz and Maryse

Joel: I think this rivalry has done a lot to rejuvenate The Miz character since he returned. Miz had been so stagnant for roughly almost two years before that. Maryse adds a lot to the presentation. I figured Beth would eventually return once Maryse was injected into the story between Edge and Miz. Edge got the win at Day 1 so I’m tempted to go with Miz and Maryse here, but that would mean the feud continues and I don’t see it going past the Royal Rumble. I’m going with Edge and Beth here.

Winners: Edge and Beth Phoenix

Marc: The Grit couple goes against the It couple. This is a match that fans likely didn’t think very much of previously. but may have changed their minds in recent weeks. Although both sides are trying to build it through a series of promos from a sheer entertainment standpoint, it could be compelling. First, another layer is added with the spouses and former WWE talents in Beth Phoenix and Maryse; then, there is an attempt to add depth to the match.

Clearly, from a skill level, it’s clear that (and they even suggest it) Beth Phoenix is a much more intimidating and dangerous competitor than Maryse. When we see underhanded tactics such as Maryse knocking out Beth with a brick in a purse, its intent to give the heels the upper hand in the feud is evident. Their most recent exchange of Edge and Beth ruined Maryse’s recent birthday celebration. This leads into a triumphant return to the ring by Beth Phoenix. I’m of the impression this match leads us to believe it goes much like when Ronda Rousey & Stephanie McMahon exchange where Stephanie attempted to avoid Ronda at all costs during their mixed-tag WrestleMania match.

Winner: Edge & Beth Phoenix

Alex: Hopefully this match signals the end of this feud, and we don’t see a rubber match in the future. Edge has been great since returning and deserves better treatment. Not to discredit Miz and Maryse, but they’re not big deals at all. They come across as annoying midcard characters instead of legit threats. This storyline is basically a re-hash of Miz’s feud with Cena from a few years ago, complete with the same result in the end: Miz and Maryse losing to the bigger stars.

I don’t expect this going more than ten minutes, especially with what’s left on the card.

Winners: Edge & Beth Phoenix

Matthew: I will admit that this may be the first time in my 30+ years as a pro wrestling fan, that I am actually interested in a Mixed Tag Match. Edge and the returning Beth Phoenix have been fun to see together, and I am excited to watch them as a team. Although this match will be fun to watch, it is also one of the easiest to predict as well. Edge and Beth will dominate most of this match, picking up an easy win to give the crowd a feel good moment.

Winner: Edge and Beth Phoenix

Kelly: This was the eventual next step in feud. I still can’t get into this feud. The promo work was good, but couldn’t grab my interest. As with Day 1, I still don’t believe that Miz and Maryse have any chance here. This was just to give them something to do until the Rumble. Like Day 1, the result should be the same and both can move on to starting their WrestleMania programs.

Winners: Edge and Beth Phoenix

John: They have given this feud a lot of time over the last two months, which is fine because Edge and Miz are great talkers. This is probably the feud ender with the babyface husband/wife duo of Edge and Beth getting the clean win. I don’t expect a great match, but I think the fans will be into it. Maryse is probably not going to bump much at all, so I expect the guys to do most of the match. Maybe Beth beats Maryse with a Glam Slam. I hope it’s the end of the feud while Edge moves on to a bigger singles rivalry for WrestleMania whether it’s against a heel like Kevin Owens or a dream match against AJ Styles.

Winners: Edge & Beth Phoenix

 

Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Doudrop

Lance: Becky Lynch is a serious star. Not just on the women’s side, but in the entire company. She carries herself as a champion should, and they have been protecting her as much as they have Roman Reigns. Doudrop has been fine since being called up to the main roster, although the name does need some work. This match should be fine, but I think there is a better chance of Vince wrestling God again than Doudrop winning the title.

Winner and STILL Raw Women’s Champion: Becky Lynch

Joel: I like Doudrop, but I never thought she had much of a chance. She’s only in this match because they needed both Liv Morgan and Bianca for the Rumble. Becky wins and goes on to Wrestlemania.

Winner: Becky Lynch

Marc: For fans of Becky Lynch and the Big Time Beck’s character, all the power to you. While it certainly strikes me like a female variation of Seth Rollins’ character because of its often outlandish and over-the-top nature in its persona, good for her. Personally, from a strictly an opportunity perspective, it is Doudrop (such an awful name) that I gravitate towards. As someone that has seen her work outside of the WWE, fans would see such an agile and athletic talent that has captured championships and battled the best women in the world.

For Doudrop to have this opportunity on one of the company’s major pay-per-view events does feel like a true nod of the head to what they think of her. From her time in NXT UK as Piper Niven to her rebranding and alliance as Doudrop with Eva Marie, Doudrop has the potential of really making a statement here. Now, will she win this match and become the next Raw Women’s Champion? Not likely. What we can anticipate is that a genuine exchange between the face of the brand and someone capable of excelling in a match if she is granted time.

Winner: Becky Lynch

Alex: While it’s nice to see Lynch dealing with new challengers, there’s no way Lynch is losing here. Lynch is still a major draw and big star, despite the eyebrow-raising booking she’s endured since SummerSlam. Plus, she has much bigger problems to deal with courtesy Ronda Rousey.

Rumor has it that Ronda Rousey’s returning at the Rumble. And even though we have our match order for this preview, I predict that the women’s Rumble will happen earlier on the show and Lynch’s match will take place afterwards. Someone else will win that Rumble match (more on that shortly), and in my opinion it’ll be someone on SmackDown. That’ll free up Lynch’s title situation to allow the following scenario to happen: Lynch retains in a twelve-to-fifteen-minute match, but her celebration will be cut short by Rousey’s return. The two women will stare at each other (and at the WrestleMania logo, because they’re both contractually obligated to do so), which will setup a big rematch from a few years ago.

Winner and STILL RAW Women’s Champion: Becky Lynch

Matthew: Of all the matches on this card, this is the one I am the least excited for. This has nothing to do with either of the women who are in the match, who are both very talented and will likely have a very good match. The problem is that Doudrop (I feel stupider every time I write that name) does not feel like she has a chance in this match. Doudrop is just in this match to give Lynch a win on the show, before she potentially gets “Rowdy” at WrestleMania.

Winner: Becky Lynch

Kelly: We all know going into this match that Doudrop has zero chance of winning the title here. Doudrop has the match so we don’t have another Bianca Belair or Liv Morgan match here and get us to a triple threat at WrestleMania. Becky will make Doudrop look formidable in defeat. This could perhaps bring about the end of Doudrop and the return of Piper Niven.

Winner: Becky Lynch

John: This is the most obvious match on the card in terms of predicting a result. While they could have Doudrop win to shock the world, it’s not like she’s a pushed babyface that the fans want to see win. Fans are probably going to cheer for Lynch more even though she’s a cocky heel champion. They’ll probably get 10-15 minutes and Lynch is always going to have good matches if she gets time to tell a story. Doudrop will probably come close to winning a few times, but Lynch should win and it should be clean too.

Winner: Becky Lynch

 

30-Woman Royal Rumble Match – Charlotte Flair, Bianca Belair, Liv Morgan, Naomi, Rhea Ripley, Nikki A.S.H., Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Carmella, Queen Zelina, Lita, Michelle McCool, Kelly Kelly, Dana Brooke, Natalya, Mickie James, Tamina, Shayna Baszler, Summer Rae, Aliyah, Shotzi and more.

Lance: There is a lot of nostalgia in this match, a lot of which was announced in advance. It kind of takes a little bit away from the surprise aspect, but I guess it makes sense to get more eyes on the show. It’s awesome to see greats like Lita coming back to tangle with today’s stars. I don’t think she will win the Rumble, but I could see Lita in a big-time Mania match this year. It was reported that Ronda Rousey would be making her return here, and it feels like that is going to be what happens. It will be nice to have her back because Rousey made everything she did feel legitimate. I honestly feel like this year has the potential to be a standout in history just from the star power in it. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Rhea Ripley

Most Eliminations:Bianca Belair

Final Four:Charlotte, Lita, Rhea Ripley, and Ronda Rousey

Winner: Ronda Rousey – If Rousey is in it, there is no way she is not winning it.

 

Joel: I’m intrigued to a degree about this match. My interest level dropped a bit when I heard the news that Ronda Rousey might be in the Rumble, but I’m still interested to see how it goes. I think Bianca and Liv have stand out performances. I believe Sonya Deville will screw Naomi. I’m glad to see Mickie James in the Rumble. I’m not going to speculate on surprises other than Ronda, but hopefully it’s good. Rather than change my pick, I’m going to stick to my gut on this one and say Charlotte eliminates Ronda and Bianca eliminates Charlotte to win.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Charlotte Flair

Most Eliminations:Bianca

Final Four: Bianca Belair, Liv Morgan, Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair

Winner: Bianca Belair

 

Marc: To date, 21 names have been announced to participate in the match. With that said, nine more spots leave room for lots of unannounced names & faces to be a part of this match. One of the surprise entrants is the current IMPACT Knockouts Champion, Mickie James. Whether her entry into this match is because of how her departure from the company was handled or a means of putting history behind them and a show of goodwill, her part in the match should be celebrated. Fans can also expect her inclusion in this match to be very special.

One of the most interesting selling points recently of the competitors was advertising some as ‘legends.’ Whether you believe Summer Rae is a WWE legend or not, it has generated attention and good or bad having people talk about her, and the event itself is ultimately important. Finally, as we mentioned earlier, there are nine names unannounced for this match, leaving it open for DING DONG, former SmackDown Women’s Champion, Bayley, to make her return to the company. It is Bayley’s return that fans are likely anticipating and looking forward to in this match.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Charlotte Flair

Most Eliminations:Rhea Ripley or Shayna Baszler

Final Four:Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, Bayley and Lita.

Winner: Lita

 

Alex: This match will have something extra special courtesy of Charlotte Flair. And while I usually can’t stand seeing her constantly being in the title picture, that’s not the case here. She has done something I’ve always dreamed a champion would do: Enter the Rumble as champion and announce her own challenger if she wins. That alone makes me want her to win. It would be a refreshing change and whoever Charlotte deems worthy of challenging her would instantly be seen as a big deal.

As for the other match happenings, I’ll break those down in point-form:

  • Tamina will be the token ‘giant’ and to the roar spot that will cause people to fly backwards. Sadly, she won’t eliminate anyone by doing this, even though it would be funny if she did.
  • Sasha Banks will pull a John Cena and enter as the mystery #30 entrant.
  • Bianca Belair will be in the ‘endurance spot’ and will try to redeem herself following her loss, only to be eliminated by Sasha.
  • All three members of NXT’s Toxic Attraction will show up and they’ll dominate for a while.
  • Trish Stratus will make a surprise appearance, only to be eliminated by Mickie James.
  • Liv Morgan will be in the underdog position that will make it to the final four and be the beacon of hope that’ll sadly get eliminated.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Liv Morgan

Most Eliminations: Toxic Attraction (as a unit) with 8

Final Four: Liv Morgan, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Bianca Belair

Winner: Charlotte Flair

 

Matthew: For as much as I usually hate Mixed Tag Matches, I absolutely love Rumble Matches. Ever since I saw Hacksaw Jim Duggan win the first Rumble when I was seven years old, I have been hooked. When WWE announced that they were going to start having a Women’s Rumble a few years back, I was excited. This Rumble is no different because I am excited, but wish that so many of the potential surprises were not announced ahead of time. I also wish that the rumor of Ronda Rousey of appearing did not leak as well. I now fully expect Rousey to be number 30 in the Rumble and win the whole thing.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Bianca Belair before being eliminated by Rousey.

Most Eliminations: A returning Asuka

Final Four: Asuka, Charlotte, Belair and Rousey

Winner: Ronda Rousey

 

Kelly: Prior to the Day 1 PLE, my response to this was going to be “Liv Morgan will win the Royal Rumble and defeat Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania.” If you followed my writings in the lead up to Day 1, I said this several times. Since loss at Day 1, Morgan has been cooled off a bit too much. Sure, she has new graphics and music, so she’s being set up for something big. They’ve been harping on the fact that Bianca Belair could be the first person in 24 years to go back to back with Rumble wins. I could have seen either of these happening. Charlotte Flair is only in the Rumble to find her WrestleMania opponent, either Lita or perhaps a Raquel Gonzalez call up. However, reports this week suggest that Ronda Rousey will be a surprise entrant at the Rumble. As much as it sucks for Morgan and Belair, Rousey will win the Rumble and face Becky Lynch at WrestleMania for the Raw Women’s Title. It’s the only money match Rousey has left in the WWE.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Liv Morgan

Most Eliminations: Bianca Belair

Final Four:Belair, Morgan, Rousey, Gonzales

Winner: Ronda Rousey (unfortunately)

 

John: I like to go over Rumble predictions using point form style thoughts.

* Asuka should make her return from an arm injury and I think she’ll do well. I can see her making it to the final four.

* I’m so happy that Mickie James is in the match. It’s funny that she has more momentum and is more over right now than when she was there for the previous four years. Hopefully she gets to have a moment with Charlotte Flair because I know that’s a future match that Mickie wants. They should do it some day.

* Liv Morgan has lost a lot of momentum over the last month. She went from being somebody that a lot of people might have picked to win due to her multiple close losses to Becky Lynch, but I think Liv is likely out of the title picture now.

* I think Charlotte Flair will be in one of the first five spots and last near the end. Even though she won’t win, she’ll do well as the wrestler that lasts the longest.

* Since Natalya is about setting “World Records” now, it wouldn’t shock me if she was eliminated quickly to be the fast elimination in a women’s Rumble ever. However, I think that would be a bad move because she’s a good worker that should be in the match longer.

* While some people might think WWE will put NXT women like Raquel Gonzalez or Io Shirai in the match, I think WWE is going to avoid doing that. Both women will be in the upcoming Dusty Classic tag team tournament. It will only be current stars from Raw/Smackdown and some women from the past as well.

* I don’t think Bayley will be in the match, but if she is then she should at least make it to the final four. If she comes back and loses, then what’s the point. If she comes back she should win. I just don’t think that’s the plan for her.

My pick to win was going to be Bianca Belair, but when the Rousey rumors started, I thought it was a clear indication that she was going to win. I think Rousey wins here and goes on to headline WrestleMania Night 1 against Becky Lynch.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Charlotte Flair

Most Eliminations: Bianca Belair

Final Four: Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair, Bianca Belair and Asuka.

Winner: Ronda Rousey

 

WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Bobby Lashley

Lance: This is a match a lot of fans have been waiting to see. Both guys are legit great amateur wrestlers and have both been stars in this industry. Lashley went away to reinvent himself for a while, but he has been on the best run of his career since coming back and I find him to be entertaining as ever. The same goes for Brock, who seems to be, dare I say, having a good time. It has been a while since we have seen this much personality from The Beast Incarnate, but it is a nice change of pace. I feel like the play at Mania is going to be Lesnar vs. Reigns and since Lesnar won the WWE Title due to last-minute circumstances, he can lose it here. That kind of plays my hand of how the Rumble comes out, but sometimes being predictable isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Winner and NEW WWE Champion: Bobby Lashley

Joel: I’ve been looking forward to this match for years. It is one of the few legitimate dream matches that’s left with current WWE talent. If we get motivated Brock, this should be an all time classic. I’m glad Bobby Lashley is getting this match since that is one of the main reasons he even came back to WWE in 2018. I think this will be a great match but, in the end, I can’t see them giving Lesnar the belt just to take it off of him three weeks later.

Winner: Brock Lesnar

Marc: While the build hasn’t felt very even on the part of Lashley and Lesnar, the match itself can be very special. Often considered a match many fans would have called fantasy booking is actually coming true. This past week’s Raw had a disappointing exchange between Lesnar and Lashley as part of the weigh-in. While Lesnar in the face role acted dismissive of Lashley and his accomplishments, Lashley didn’t do any favors by not reacting or responding and asserting himself during that exchange.

Bobby who? It is something that will generate heat (and laughs) for Lesnar. And all the credit to both MVP and Paul Heyman playing the roles the two of them have in this feud as well. However, Lashley’s ability to elevate himself on the microphone to put Lesnar in his place has been a disappointment. Yes, promos aren’t everyone’s strong suit, but, in this instance, if something had a tipping point, this match did in Lesnar’s favor. Lashley could beat down on Alexander and Benjamin all he likes to show just what he can do, but it just wasn’t enough to convince fans to see this as an equal matchup between Lashley and Lesnar.

Winner: Brock Lesnar

Alex: Oh, HELL YES!

This is an honest-to-God dream match that should’ve been saved for WrestleMania that we’re getting a few months early. You couldn’t ask for two better-matched opponents. Both of them are incredible natural athletes. They both have successful MMA careers. Lesnar has been protected as this indestructible monster while Lashley has been dominant and destructive in his own right over the past few years. This going to be utter mayhem, a tremendous example of ‘irresistible force meets immovable object’. But who will have their hand raised in the end?

Neither man.

This will be the most brutal and unhinged match on the card. Lesnar and Lashley will go to incredible lengths to destroy each other. MMA holds will be used. One or both men will go through the announce tables. Lesnar will try to break Lashley’s arm with the kimura more than once while Lashley will lock Lesnar in his Hurt Lock longer than anyone else, only for Lesnar to still keep going. In the end, both of them will do some kind of killer bump (like a spear through the barricade, a suplex from the apron to the floor, something off the entrance ramp, etc.) and the referee will be forced to start counting. Neither man will get up and Lesnar will retain his title via technicality. Lashley will be able to claim (rightfully) that he never lost and will get a rematch at the Elimination Chamber PPV in February, which will be in some crazy stipulation match in which there will have to be a clear winner.

Winner due to double-KO/count-out and STILL WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar

Matthew: Wrestling is at its best when it is believable, and there are not two more believable wrestlers right now then Bobby Lashley and Brock Lesnar. Lesnar and Lashley has been a dream match for a lot of fans for years, and I am excited that it is finally happening. I expect these two to have a good old fashioned hoss fight, that could potentially steal the whole show. As for who wins, I expect either Lesnar or Roman Reigns to not leave the Rumble with their title. I will predict however that Lesnar does successfully defend his title, after a great match.

Winner: Brock Lesnar

Kelly: This is one of the few dream matches left in WWE. Lashley has been compared to Lesnar at various points in his career. Both have had similar career paths, crossing over from wrestling to MMA. Both have similar styles and should be a really good match. The only disappointment has been the limited promo battles between MVP and Paul Heyman. Those should have been fantastic. As for the actual match, I think Lesnar will retain the title. Lesnar/Reigns does not need to have a title involved despite whatever Vince thinks. It will be a top match at WrestleMania regardless. Lesnar retaining and taking the title to Smackdown makes some sense. I just feel bad for Lashley.

Winner: Brock Lesnar

John: This match could headline any WWE PPV this year and it is absolutely a dream match for a lot of us. I know it’s a dream match for Lashley, who has talked about wanting to face Lesnar for many years. I’m a big fan of both guys. This version of Lesnar has been a lot of fun because he’s showing more personality, he changed up his look with the hairstyle as well as the clothes he wears and I think it’s been a smart move. It will be cool to see them do some mat wrestling, throw a lot of suplexes and also make it look like an MMA fight at times too. They are two dudes who weight over 260 pounds that have legitimate credibility and are great pro wrestlers as well.

I have this feeling that they are going to do something where Lesnar gets into some sort of confrontation with Roman Reigns before both of their matches. This match will go on first, Reigns will try to cost Lesnar to win, but Reigns will mess up and Lesnar will get the win while Lashley can complain that it wasn’t fair. They can do a Lesnar/Lashley rematch at Elimination Chamber that’s like a Street Fight that can allow them to brawl more. I’ll go with Lesnar here.

Winner: Brock Lesnar

 

WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins

Lance: Reigns has been great in his time as champion, and it’s only a matter of time until he has a huge babyface turn. You can hear some support for him in the crowds, so it seems the process is already underway. Rollins is great and has been doing good work defining this new persona. I hate they added Freakin to his name, but I think he is good enough to overcome it. This has a main event feel to it, even though I do think the outcome is predictable. Reigns is going to lose the title eventually, but I don’t think it’ll be here.

Winner and STILL WWE Universal Champion: Roman Reigns

Joel: Another match that I’ve been looking forward to for awhile. I know they’ve faced before, but it’s been over four years now so it feels fresh. The rumor was Seth Rollins was supposed to win the WWE Title at Day 1 before Roman Reigns came down with Covid-19 leading to WWE pivoting to Lesnar winning the WWE Title that night. Maybe they’re correcting things here. I’m 99.9% confident in Brock vs. Roman at Wrestlemania. I don’t see it being title for title so that means one of them has to lose their Title before that show. I think it ends up being Roman Reigns because Brock Lesnar doesn’t have three-week title reigns.

Winner AND NEW Universal Champion: Seth “Freakin” Rollins

Marc: If any two men have had a history with another on the roster, it is Roman Reigns and Seth “Freakin” Rollins. From their time together in The Shield to their rivalry after the faction split, these two know each other very well. With two heels facing one another, the unconventional booking of this match does lend itself to some interesting scenarios. Rollins has often boasted about how he has had Roman’s number, so this match is just another example of how he could use their history against one another to play itself out here as well.

With the Usos being banned from ringside, Reigns does leave it open to prove Rollins wrong and ultimately defeat him and retain the Universal Championship. Reigns championship reign has been history-making, and in doing so, the question about who becomes the one to eventually dethrone him for the title is also asked. Will this be a case of Reigns finally proving Rollins wrong or Rollins once again proving that he has Reigns’ number?

Whether it happens or not, what fans are likely to get out of it is an incredibly spirited match between the two. However, this time, we believe Reigns will finally get the better of Rollins.

Winner: Roman Reigns

Alex: Even after 514+ days, it’s still not the right time for Reigns to lose his title. Rollins can come up with all the sneaky tricks (like promising to bring the Universal title to RAW) and flash his s**t-eating grin all he wants. They won’t save him. Reigns is simply better than him at this point. And now that Reigns has surpassed Lesnar’s record as champion, he has further reason to work hard to win. He’ll do whatever it takes to win – as he has done before – and will retain his title once again. If this match goes before the men’s Rumble match, then it’ll add more intrigue to that match. Rollins came all the way from RAW to challenge Reigns and still lost. The mystery of Reigns’ next challenger will add another level of intrigue into both the Rumble match and subsequent episodes of SmackDown.

The only problem, though, is how this match will be structured. Reigns is clearly a heel and…so is Rollins. He never had his moment whereby he established himself as a guy to cheer for. That’ll leave the live audience without a clear favorite. I can see the Usos helping Reigns (even though they are banned from ringside), but that’ll cast Rollins in a sympathetic light, which won’t make sense given his underhanded personality of late.

If there was ever a case of this whole ‘shades of grey’ characters not working properly in wrestling, it’s this match.

Winner and STILL WWE Universal Champion: Roman Reigns

Matthew: Two heels competing in a world championship match, is without question a rarity in the wrestling world. Despite this however, both Reigns and Rollins have done a great job of creating interest for this match. Reigns has held the Universal Championship for over 500 days, and has had one of the greatest runs in the history of the business. All good things must come to an end however, and I predict that this Saturday will be that time. I predict that Lesnar is going to cause Reigns to lose the tile to Rollins, ending his historic reign.

Winner: Seth “Freakin” Rollins

Kelly: This should be another outstanding bout between the two former Shield members. We haven’t had a match between these two in quite a while. It has been teased a few times though. This will be an outstanding match and likely the match of the night. The best outcome for all will be for Rollins to walk out Universal Champion. He’ll likely take the title back to Raw and that’ll be better then some stupid title exchange. I’d rather someone else get the rub of beating Reigns for the title but Rollins is an acceptable alternative. The Universal title will be his reward for letting Lesnar take the WWE title at Day 1.

Winner AND NEW Universal Champion: Seth Rollins

John: It’s weird to have a heel vs. heel match like this especially with a Raw guy Rollins facing a Smackdown guy like Reigns, but I think this is a case of WWE wanting to get some gold on Rollins. We have read the reports about Day 1 four weeks ago when Reigns couldn’t compete due to COVID-19, so WWE put Lesnar in the WWE Title match and Brock left with the title. According to reports at the time, Rollins was likely going to leave as the WWE Champion if there wasn’t a title change. Now Rollins gets a shot at another “World” Title, so I think WWE did that because they still want to get a title on Rollins before WrestleMania. That’s fine with me because Seth is an awesome performer and Roman’s 500+ day title reign does need to end soon. I think they’ll have a great match, the fans will probably root for Rollins more than Reigns and I think there will be some controversy when it comes to the finish. It’s not going to be a clean match.

It’s risky to pick against Reigns, but that’s what I’m doing here. I mentioned Reigns trying to cost the title earlier and failing. I think Lesnar is going to show up for some payback, he’ll be successful in costing Reigns and the heel Rollins will be happy to capitalize on the situation to get the win for the title. Rollins said in a promo recently that he’s going to take the Universal Title back to Raw, so I think that’s what happens. Reigns can win an Elimination Chamber to earn a WWE Title shot against Lesnar at WrestleMania, so that’s how they can get to that match.

Winner AND NEW Universal Champion: Seth Rollins

 

30-Man Royal Rumble Match – Big E, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Riddle, Omos, Chad Gable, Otis, Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, Damian Priest, Johnny Knoxville, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Happy Corbin, Madcap Moss, Sheamus, Angelo Dawkins, Montez Ford, Rey Mysterio, Dominik Mysterio, Austin Theory and more.

Lance: This has far fewer stars from the past than the Women’s Rumble match. I do like the collection of talent here and I feel like this could be a breakout moment for some of them. You have some veteran talent like Orton, Sheamus, and Styles, but mostly this match consists of guys that have become stars over the last couple of years. I also think some NXT guys are going to be in this, most notably NXT Champion Bron Breakker. He could benefit from a strong showing here and I think he is going to have one. This will be a good match for the young guys, and I believe someone like Austin Theory has a good chance to raise his stock with a solid outing here. I do think that Lesnar will be added at the last minute due to losing his title match, and will ultimately find his way into the Mania main event. This one should be fun.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Austin Theory

Most Eliminations:Damian Priest

Final Four:Brock Lesnar, Austin Theory, AJ Styles, Bron Breakker

Winner: Brock Lesnar

 

Joel: After the Ronda news, I can honestly say I’m more interested in the Men’s Royal Rumble. It seems to be more wide open as far as who wins. I think we may see some surprises and I’m excited to see how it goes. I think Austin Theory will have a breakout performance, but I’m hoping this is Big E’s moment. I believe there will be some angles started such as Rey or Dominik eliminating the other and Randy Orton and Riddle so we’ll see what happens.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Austin Theory

Most Eliminations: Omos

Final Four:Big E, Austin Theory, Omos, Kevin Owens.

Winner: Big E

 

Marc: Much like the women’s Royal Rumble match, there were eight spaces in the Rumble still not listed. From those not listed, several surprises from talents outside of the company, retired or previously involved in the company are interesting possibilities. Whether names that were involved in the company in the past, such as Bubba Ray Dudley, Mark Henry, or rumored Cody Rhodes or Jon Moxley, who will actually appear, is just as much fun. Could this be another instance where we see the forbidden door opened like in the women’s Rumble match? We can hope so from a fan’s perspective.

It’s clear the involvement of Johnny Knoxville is as much about publicity for his upcoming Jackass film as it is being featured in this match; nothing much should be expected about his inclusion. However, of those already mentioned, it’s also an opportunity for the likes of Big E could have a do-over on his run as the WWE Champion. His run was met with a series of singles losses and sadly lost the WWE Championship. If any entrant in this match deserves another opportunity to show what he can do as a legitimate threat for the WWE Championship, it is Big E.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: AJ Styles

Most Eliminations: Damian Priest

Final Four: Austin Theory/Big E/AJ Styles/Kevin Owens

Winner: Big E

 

Alex: WWE has a golden opportunity to recapture the magic of one of the better WrestleManias of the past (WrestleMania XIX), and achieving that begins here, with Gable Steveson making his debut and winning the Royal Rumble match.

Steveson has been an official member of the RAW roster since October but he hasn’t been seen on WWE TV since. So why not give him the biggest debut possible by booking him to win the Rumble and then facing Lesnar at WrestleMania? He already has tons of credibility as an Olympian, and WWE can add more on top of that by booking him as basically Kurt Angle 2.0. It’s such a simple story yet it’s a license to print money.

That aside, I can also see the following happening:

  • Big E eliminates Omos as revenge for last year
  • Austin Theory makes it to the final four and is the last man eliminated by Steveson
  • Omos will be to this match what Tamina is to the women: the giant that will require tons of people working together to eliminate
  • Orton will turn on Riddle, setting up a WrestleMania feud between them
  • Kofi does another clever avoid-elimination spot. The guy’s creative as hell and will definitely have something ready this year
  • Bron Breakker comes in around #20 and eliminates ¾ of the participants immediately
  • Johnny Knoxville eliminates Sami Zayn
  • Damian Priest eliminates Kevin Owens to setup a WrestleMania feud
  • Steveson enters at #27 accompanied by Kurt Angle and wins the whole thing. Most people will see his entrance and think that WWE will swerve the audience because #27 is the lucky number and will thus assume he doesn’t win. But in fact the opposite will happen and Steveson will win to further emphasize that number’s importance.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: AJ Styles

Most Eliminations: Bron Breakker with 9

Final Four: Bron Breakker, Austin Theory, AJ Styles, and Gable Steveson

Winner: Gable Steveson

 

Matthew: As already established, I love the Rumble match, and this one should be a lot of fun. There are currently 22 wrestlers announced for this match, meaning the potential for eight surprises in the match. This Rumble match is also a lot harder to predict then the women’s, with a number of different wrestlers potentially having a chance to win.

As for my predictions, I actually have two that I am going back and forth on. First is the one I do not want to see, which is Roman Reigns being a surprise entry and winning so he can face Lesnar at WrestleMania. I will not go with that prediction, as it quite frankly is to depressing. I instead will predict that Big E will win to regain his momentum, and set up a match against Rollins at Mania.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: Austin Theory since WWE clearly wants to push him.

Most Eliminations: Omos. I would be surprised if any of my fellow writers picks someone else.

Final Four: Austin Theory, Big E, AJ Styles and Kevin Owens.

Winner: Big E

 

Kelly: Talk about a wide open Rumble. I don’t think there is a clear favorite right now. Fans are frothing at the mouth at the possibly of who could cross over from other promotions and enter the Rumble with Mickie James announced and acknowledged as an Impact Wrestling superstar. I hate to burst your bubble, but don’t get your hopes up for anyone from AEW or New Japan showing up. I would expect someone from Impact to cross over, but I’m not sure. I don’t know if they’d waste the spots, but a MSK/Trey Miguel reunion would be cool. I would pick a few guys from NXT to show up like LA Knight, Tommaso Ciampa, and/or Pete Dunne.

As for the actual match itself, it’s hard to say and that’s a good thing. I think Seth Rollins will defeat Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship and takes it back to Raw. If that happens, then I’ll pick Big E to win the Rumble to finally give us the one-on-one title match between the two.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest:AJ Styles

Most Eliminations:Omos

Final Four: Ciampa, Styles, Priest, Big E

Winner: Big E

 

John: I’ll go point form thoughts with this.

* I’m sure people will assume that Johnny Knoxville will toss out Sami Zayn, but I think we might see something like Sami getting an assist from best friend Kevin Owens and Owens will toss out Knoxville. Maybe after that, the other Jackass guys will go in to eliminate Zayn.

* People might think that Randy Orton is the one that will toss out Riddle due to Orton having a history of being a heel, but I’m going the other way by predicting Riddle to eliminate Orton from the match. I think Riddle will have a strong showing in the match.

* Austin Theory should do well as a younger guy on the rise.

* Just like with the women’s match, I don’t think any NXT wrestlers will be in the match. I also think they’ll keep Gable Steveson out of it.

* Omos will have a dominant run until multiple people team up to eliminate him and his former partner AJ Styles will be part of the group.

* Speaking of Styles, he’s my pick to last the longest in the match. I want to see Styles vs. Edge at WrestleMania, so maybe Edge can claim one of the remaining open spots and they can do an angle in the Rumble to set up WrestleMania.

* I think there’s absolutely a possibility that Roman Reigns or Brock Lesnar will enter this match after losing their title earlier in the show. It’s not what I would do, but I think WWE might do it and have one of those guys win the Rumble match.

My pick to win is Big E because I think WWE knows they need to rehab his character so to speak after losing the WWE Title at Day 1. Give Big E this win, then he goes after new Universal Champion Seth Rollins at WrestleMania and maybe Big E wins a big title again there.

Wrestler That Lasts The Longest: AJ Styles

Most Eliminations: Omos

Final Four: Big E, AJ Styles, Kevin Owens and Riddle.

Winner: Big E

 

BONUS TOPICS!

The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most

Lance: Both Rumble Matches.

Joel: Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley.

Marc: Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley.

Alex: Either Rumble match.

Matthew: Men’s Rumble Match.

Kelly: Men’s Rumble Match.

John: I really like Lesnar vs. Lashley and I think that would be my pick on most PPVs, but the men’s Royal Rumble is always a favorite of mine.

 

The Match I Care About The Least

Lance: Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. Miz & Maryse.

Joel: Becky Lynch vs. Doudrop.

Marc: Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. Miz & Maryse.

Alex: Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. Miz & Maryse.

Matthew: Becky Lynch vs. Doudrop.

Kelly: Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. Miz & Maryse.

John: Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. Miz & Maryse.

Longest Match

Lance: Men’s Royal Rumble.

Joel: Men’s Royal Rumble.

Marc: Men’s Royal Rumble.

Alex: Men’s Royal Rumble match (~1 hour)

Matthew: Men’s Rumble Match.

Kelly: Men’s Royal Rumble.

John: Men’s Royal Rumble.

 

Shortest Match

Lance: Becky Lynch vs. Doudrop.

Joel: Becky Lynch vs. Doudrop.

Marc: Becky Lynch vs. Doudrop.

Alex: Edge & Beth vs. Miz & Maryse (10-12 minutes).

Matthew: Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. The Miz & Maryse.

Kelly: Becky Lynch vs. Doudrop.

John: Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. Miz & Maryse. Maybe around ten minutes.

 

Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)

Lance: I am going with a 7. The Royal Rumble is always a fun show and I think, especially this year, we are going to see younger talent shine. It’s always good to have fresh faces in big spots and I think this may be the start to some pretty solid careers. The other matches on the show are strong too which is usually a receipt for success.

Joel: 8. The WWE and Universal Title matches are going to be awesome. Ronda news aside, I’m looking forward to seeing how they book the Women’s Royal Rumble. The Men’s is more intriguing unless Brock Lesnar or Roman Reigns is inserted after they lose their match, but I’m hoping that doesn’t happen. There’s not a bad match on the card. Even Becky and Doudrop should be a good match even though the winner was never really in doubt. It’s Wrestlemania season. Buckle Up!

Marc: 7.5 out of 10.

Alex: 9.5 for me. I’d have put a ten were it not for two things: the Edge/Miz match being underwhelming and the Rousey rumor being everywhere and therefore basically spoiling Lynch’s match. Those two issues aside, this show looks awesome. Two wildly unpredictable Rumble matches and two incredible world title matches. This show has the potential to be truly great…IF booked correctly.

Matthew: 9. It is the Rumble, so how can you not be excited? This has the potential to be one of the best WWE shows in months, with there not being a bad match on the card. There is no way WWE can mess this one up right, right…..?

Kelly: 7. The possibilities of surprise entrants for the men’s Rumble and Lesnar/Lashley make the card intriguing.

John: It’s an 8 for me because I think the build to this card has been strong. The least anticipated match is the mixed tag, but that’s had two months of a storyline going into it. While Lynch/Doudrop is predictable, they’ll work hard and have a passable match. Lesnar/Lashley is a legit dream match that should be great, Reigns/Rollins feels fresh again and obviously the two Rumble matches are the big draw for a lot of us that love this PPV year after year. I hope it’s in the 3.5 hour range because if it’s over four hours, that’s too much. I’d be very surprised if this was a bad show. I have high expectations because they are deserved.

In Closing

John: I’ll be back with a review of WWE Royal Rumble on TJRWrestling.net on Saturday night, so check that out live or any time after it’s over.

You can also tweet me @johnreport, Joel is @GiftedMoney, Marc is @TheMarcMadison, Kelly is @ciscowebwiz76, Matthew is @fowlerwrestlin1, Alex is not on twitter and Lance is @Collectiveheel with any comments as well.

If you want to send an email, send it to me at mrjohncanton@gmail.com as well. Thanks for reading.