The John Report: WWE Royal Rumble 2022 Review
The 2022 WWE Royal Rumble has arrived with two Rumble matches, some major championships on the line, there will be some surprises and a whole lot more.
This year’s Royal Rumble is the second Premium Live Event (pay-per-view) of the year following the Day 1 PPV that took place on New Year’s Day. It’s weird having the first two PPVs on Saturday instead of Sunday, but I think it’s a smart move to avoid competition from the NFL on Sundays. Lots of news and rumors going into this year’s Rumble as usual.
There was no Kickoff Show match. They had a panel talking about the show, they showed video packages, a couple of replays and that was it for the full hour.
WWE Royal Rumble
From The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri
January 29, 2022
The opening video package aired showing some historical Royal Rumble clips along with some images of the stars that are set to compete in this year’s show. It also focused on the non-Rumble matches as well.
There was a shot of the crowd in St. Louis with the WrestleMania log high up in the building. I was a bit surprised by the lack of a pyro display to start the show. The Smackdown announce team of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee (in a shiny jacket) were on hand to call the action. It is Pat’s first Rumble as an announcer, so he was excited.
Roman Reigns made his entrance as the Universal Champion for the first match of the show. Cole put over Roman’s lengthy 516-day title reign while noting only four men have held the title for longer: Pedro Morales, Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan and Bruno Sammartino. As we knew going into the match, Roman’s cousins The Usos are barred from ringside for this match. Reigns got a superstar reaction from the crowd with a lot of boos, but really it’s a lot of noise. Reigns posed with his title in the ring as the pyro went off in the dome.
Seth “Freakin” Rollins made his entrance with The Shield music starting instead of his actual theme song and then Rollins was in the crowd wearing some Shield attire. Reigns had a frustrated look on his face to show he was pissed off because Rollins was mocking what they did as part of The Shield. Rollins walked down to the ring from the upper decks and made his way down to ringside with a smirk on his face. They stood in the ring for the championship introductions from Samantha Irvin. The crowd was into this match right away.
WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins
Reigns went for a punch, Rollins ducked and Seth connected with a few punches of his own. Reigns with a corner clothesline, Rollins with strikes and a running forearm. Rollins with a Slingblade neckbreaker followed by a clothesline over the top to the floor. Rollins with a suicide dive, then back in the ring and Rollins hit another suicide dive to send Reigns into the barricade. Back in the ring, Rollins went for a springboard attack, but Reigns stopped him with an uppercut punch. Rollins hit a Drive By dropkick on the apron. Reigns off the steps, Rollins caught him and Rollins gave Reigns a Powerbomb that Cole called a Shieldbomb through the table. I guess that’s not a DQ because it’s around the ringside area, but it is using an object. The Shield put people through tables a lot, so that’s what Cole was referring to. Back in the ring, Rollins went up top and hit a Frog Splash for two. Rollins went up top, he went for a twisting splash, Reigns avoided it. Rollins hit a forearm to the back followed by a Buckle Bomb into the turnbuckle followed by Rollins hitting The Stomp for the two count with Reigns getting his shoulder up. Rollins charged in again, but Reigns got back up with a clothesline leading to Seth doing a flip bump. Reigns worked over Rollins with repeated forearms. To the head. Reigns gave Rollins a hard Powerbomb for a two count. It looks like Reigns took a shot to the left side of his face near his eye since it was red around there. Reigns talked to Rollins about Seth laughing at him, Rollins went for a triangle choke submission and Reigns countered with a Powerbomb. They left the ring with Reigns sending Rollins into the barricade at ringside. Reigns whipped Rollins into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Reigns hit a Superman Punch for a two count. That’s a move that usually gets a two count, but it’s still a big move for Reigns. Rollins was out on the floor, so Reigns left the ring and hit a Spear while on the floor. They were back in the ring, Reigns went for a Spear again and Rollins countered to a Pedigree! That was cool and it got a two count.
Rollins was back up to his feet with the fans cheering him even though he’s been a heel. They were chanting “Burn it Down” as Rollins stomped his foot. Rollins fought out of a power move, but then Reigns came back with an uppercut. Reigns ran the ropes leading to a Spear while Rollins laughed and put his fist out as if he wanted to do a Shield pose again. Rollins: “I’ll always love you.” That meant that Reigns didn’t go for a cover after that Spear. Reigns was talking to himself to stay focused leading to Reigns applying the Guillotine Choke that he has used to win many matches over the last two years, but Rollins was able to push forward and Rollins was able to get his right hand on the bottom rope. The way it was done saw the referee lift Seth’s hand up then it came down with Seth’s hand grabbing the rope. Reigns didn’t let go of the Guillotine Choke hold at the count of five, so referee Charles Robinson called for the disqualification. Reigns continued to hold on. Reigns: “He won’t allow me to let go!” It went 14:25.
Winner by disqualification: Seth Rollins (Roman Reigns remains Universal Champion)
Analysis: ***3/4 This match was great even with the DQ finish. I know fans are going to hate that it was a DQ, but I assume that was done with a purpose leading to something else down the road. I liked how it was booked with Rollins on fire in the first few minutes, he got a lot of offense and came close to winning a few times. When Reigns hit his Spear, he didn’t even go for a cover because Rollins was taunting him wanting a fist bump and Reigns lost his mind a bit after that. I don’t love the ending because we want to see clean finishes at major PPV events. However, it does lead to the possibility of another big match in the future, so I’m intrigued to see where it goes from here.
Post match, Reigns was standing by the ropes looking frustrated about this. The fans chanted “Roman sucks” repeatedly. Reigns left the ring, he grabbed a chair and hit Rollins with a chair to the back. Reigns destroyed Rollins with repeated chair shots to the back and the body of Rollins. Reigns let out a deep exhale as if to show he was happy with what he had just done. It looked like Reigns was going to leave, but then he grabbed another chair and went back into the ring to hit Rollins with more chair shots to the back. Reigns left with his Universal Title while Rollins was down in the ring selling the brutal chair attack. While Reigns went to the back, Reigns was down selling. They cut away before Rollins got back up.
Analysis: A vicious attack from Reigns showed just how much he hated Rollins and wanted to hurt him. Rollins pissed off Reigns so much that Reigns lost his mind. When they have that next match it should have a stipulation on it.
A video aired for WrestleMania 38 in Dallas noting it was 63 days away on Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3.
The Raw announce team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton were at ringside to call the Women’s Royal Rumble Match.
30-Woman Royal Rumble Match
Sasha Banks was up first as the #1 entrant in the women’s Royal Rumble match. Banks got a full entrance with the crowd popping for her. It’s a legendary entrant at #2 because former Women’s Champion Melina was up next. That’s a cool start to the match. The crowd popped for Melina’s memorable entrance. Banks and Melina did some trash talking early in the match. Banks blocked a kick, hit a knee to the face and dumped Melina over the top to the floor. Banks mocked Melina’s splits after the elimination as well. Tamina was next at #3 with Banks doing a baseball slide dropkick before Tamina made it into the ring. Banks hit a double knee attack on Tamina on the floor. They went back into the ring with Banks hitting a bulldog followed by the running knees to the face two more times. Tamina with a headbutt. It’s Kelly Kelly at #4 with the fans cheering for her as former Women’s Champion as well. Kelly with a forearm on Tamina followed by a sloppy-looking headscissors that didn’t look great. Kelly did a handspring corner elbow and Tamina knocked Kelly over with a clothesline. Kelly used her legs to choke Banks by the ropes, Kelly put herself near the ropes and Banks knocked Kelly over the top to the floor. Aliyah was #5 as a newcomer on Smackdown. Aliyah with a Thesz Press on Banks followed by some punches. Tamina went after Aliyah, there was a kick from Aliyah and Banks tried to eliminate Aliyah. Banks sent Aliyah over the top to the apron, Aliyah slid back in and Banks hit a knee to the ribs.
Liv Morgan from Raw was #6 as she hit Aliyah with a dropkick. Morgan kicked Banks into the ropes, Banks nearly went over and Tamina hit Morgan to stop that. Morgan with a missile dropkick off the middle rope on Tamina. Morgan pointed at the WrestleMania sign. Banks hit Aliyah with the Three Amigos suplexes for Eddie Guerrero. Queen Zelina Vega was #7 as she went after Aliyah with a kick. Banks with a knee to Zelina, then Tamina lifted up Banks to the apron and Zelina kicked Banks off the apron to the floor. That drew a big reaction since Banks was popular with the crowd and a big name. Here’s some star power at #8 with last year’s winner Bianca Belair running down to the ring. Belair lasted nearly one hour last year to win. Belair avoided a charging Tamina, a kick to the head by Belair and Vega jumped on Belair’s back. Belair picked up Vega for a delayed suplex. Belair sent Morgan over the top to the apron, but Morgan held on. Belair with a handspring moonsault on Vega in the ring. Dana Brooke was #9 as the 24/7 Champion although she didn’t bring her title with her. She had her friend Reggie with her. Brooke lifted up Vega over the top, but Tamina grabbed Broke by the hair. Brooke with a dropkick on Tamina and a handspring elbow on Belair along with a neckbreaker on Morgan. Belair lifted up Aliyah to the top rope, Morgan nearly dumped Belair, but Belair held on. There were six women in the ring as #10 Michelle McCool made her entrance and she’s another former Women’s Champion. McCool with a kick on Tamina. McCool kicked Brooke, but Reggie caught Brooke to save her. McCool hit the Faith Breaker on Vega. Brooke jumped off the top, McCool hit her with a boot to the face and McCool dumped Brooke. Tamina knocked down McCool right after that. The six women paired off in different corners.
Sonya Deville was next at #11 as a WWE Official with the announcers saying with her jacket on she’s an official, but if she takes the jacket off she’s a competitor. Deville chose not to go in the ring and instead she sat down on commentary. Deville said she’ll take off the jacket when she’s ready. Natalya was next at #12 with her Guinness World Records and she took her time getting down to the ring. Natalya was attacked by Morgan as soon as she got in there, but then Natalya lifted Morgan over the top. Natalya kicked Morgan to knock her down. Belair lifted Natalya, then Tamina saved her former partner Natalya and Tamina tried to get rid of Belair. Natalya dumped Tamina out while also trying to get rid of Belair, but Belair held onto the ropes to avoid elimination. That was close. Cameron was #13 as former Funkadactyl (with Naomi) that hasn’t been in a WWE ring in a long time. Cameron with a headscissors followed by double knees to Vega and a bulldog on Natalya. Deville went into the ring to go after Cameron, who was a good friend of Naomi and Deville lifted Cameron to the apron. Deville sent Cameron into the ring post, so Cameron bumped to the floor and Cameron was eliminated. Thanks for showing up. Right on cue, there’s Naomi on #14. What a shock by that huh? Naomi ran down to the ring where she checked on her friend Cameron and Naomi went into the ring to go after Deville. Naomi hit an impressive springboard kick off the middle rope. Naomi sent Deville over the top to the apron and a kick by Naomi eliminated Deville. Naomi hit a jawbreaker-like move on Natalya. Carmella was #15 with Corey Graves going crazy for his fiancée making her entrance by saying that she was the favorite to win the match. Saxton disagreed with that. Belair was battling Morgan by the turnbuckle, Natalya nearly eliminated Belair again and Carmella slowly made her way into the ring. Belair tried to eliminate McCool, Natalya joined in, but McCool fought them off. Carmella stayed on the floor during that entire period where she was supposed to enter.
It’s Rhea Ripley at #16 as she realized Carmella wasn’t in yet, so she sent Carmella into the ring. Carmella had ringside attendants put a mask on Carmella’s face. Natalya hit Ripley with a clothesline. Vega and Carmella tried to eliminate Ripley, so Ripley lifted them both over the top and Ripley hit a dropkick on both women to eliminate them. Ripley stood in the middle of the ring while taking hitting moves on every other woman in the match. A big name at #17 because it was the Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair taking her time to walk down the aisle while the fans chanted “WOO” for her. Belair and Naomi tried to eliminate Natalya, but Natalya was able to hang on to avoid elimination. Flair entered the match with a shot to Ripley, a boot to Aliyah and she tossed Aliyah out. Flair hit a fallaway slam on Morgan. Flair with chops to Naomi, then Naomi went for a headscissors and Flair sent Naomi to the apron. Naomi tried to save herself by doing a handstand on the floor, but Sonya Deville showed up and pulled Naomi by the hands to the floor! That drew boos as Naomi was eliminated. The WWE Hall of Famer Ivory was in at #18 as the oldest woman in the match and she was dressed in Right to Censor gear. Ivory did a promo saying that nothing has changed because it’s hard to look at these girls. Ivory said she saw some wayward lost little girls. Ivory was in the ring doing the promo, so Ripley lifted her over the top to the apron and shoved her off the apron to the floor. Ivory: “How dare you!” Thanks for showing up, Ivory. There were six women in the ring: Belair, Flair, McCool, Morgan, Natalya and Ripley. There’s another Hall of Famer because Brie Bella was #19 with Brie running into the ring with a clothesline. The fans chanted “YES” for Brie due to husband Daniel Bryan (truly an elite talent) and Brie nearly eliminated, but Natalya avoided elimination again. Natalya tried to dump Brie out, Brie fought back with kicks and Brie held on. Ripley and Belair worked together on Flair for a double suplex putting Flair on the apron. They were not able to get Flair out. Mickie James was #20 as Hardcore Country and she was wearing the Impact Wrestling Knockouts Title around her waist. I’m so glad that she got to use that song and she held up her title. What a pop! That was such a cool moment and I’m so happy for her. James went after McCool since that’s an old rivalry and James did a headscissors to send McCool over the top to the floor with both of Michelle’s feet touching the floor.
There were ten women left as Alicia Fox entered at #21 with some impressive dropkicks along with an ax kick on Mickie’s neck. Fox and Natalya each grabbed eachother’s hair for a takedown. Fox was lifted over the top to the apron, Charlotte tried to get Natalya out, but Natalya held on and the clock counted down again. Nikki A.S.H. was #22 with Rhea Ripley waiting for her in the ring. There was no sign of Nikki immediately in the aisle, so Nikki showed up from behind to try to get rid of Ripley. Nikki sent Ripley to the apron, but Ripley stopped her from an elimination. Nikki A went under the bottom rope to the floor, so Flair hit Ripley in the back. James was trying to get rid of Morgan while Saxton noted that Morgan was in the ring for over 30 minutes at this point. Ripley with a hard chop to Flair and the clock ticked down again with nine women in the match. Summer Rae was #23 with Saxton noting that she had been out of action for five years. Summer went right after Natalya with punches, Natalya slapped her right in the face, then they exchanged more slaps and Summer hit a spinning kick to the head. Flair knocked down Summer leading to cheers. Natalya picked up Summer and dumped her over the top to the floor. Thanks for showing up. Flair tried to get rid of Natalya with Flair sending her to the apron, but Natalya was able to kick herself free. There’s another Nikki in the match with Nikki Bella getting a big reaction at #24 as another Hall of Famer in the match. Nikki’s had neck issues, but she’s cleared and she used her knee to attack Belair and Natalya. Nikki hit a spinebuster on Natalya. Belair sent Fox to the apron. The Bellas hit a double flatliner on Belair. Fox did a “Team Bella” shoutout with the Bellas, but then the Bellas punched her to eliminate Fox. Here’s another former superstar as Sarah Logan made her entrance as #25 and she’s another woman that has had a baby since she left WWE. She’s married to Erik of Viking Raiders. Logan hit an impressive headbutt to Nikki Bella. Logan saw her friend Morgan in the ring, but the Bellas knocked them both down. The Bellas tossed Logan over the top to the floor. Morgan went for a cross body block attack, the Bellas caught her, Morgan to the apron and Brie kicked Morgan out. The fans booed that. Morgan and Logan were down on the floor together.
There was a big pop for another Hall of Famer Lita at #26. Great reaction for Lita. Lita with a suplex on Nikki. James hit Lita in the back with a forearm, James went for a headscissors to the apron and Lita hit James with a DDT leading to James going to the floor. Since Mickie went over the top to the apron, she was eliminated from the match. That made me sad. I was hoping Mickie could have had a few memorable moments in the match. Molly Holly as Might Molly was #27 as another Hall of Famer in the match, but Nikki ASH attacked Molly and whipped her into the steel steps. Nikki ASH yelled at Molly about how there can only be one superhero. Nikki ASH lifted Molly over the top to the floor. Huge pop for #28 Ronda Rousey making her WWE return after three years. Everybody in the ring stopped what they were doing to stare at Rousey. It was a big ovation for Rousey, who punched Nikki Bella.
Rousey sent Nikki ASH and Nikki Bella each to the apron and she kicked Nikki ASH off the apron to the floor. Brie tried to save sister Nikki, then Brie punched Nikki and eliminated her. Rousey worked over Brie with punches. There were only two spots left with Shotzi at #29 and she went up top with a cross body block onto Ripley/Belair in the ring. Shotzi with an enziguri kick on Flair. Rousey tossed Brie over the top to the floor. I don’t know if Brie was supposed to stay on the apron, but she was out to the floor. Lita used her legs to take down Shotzi. Belair was in the ring for over 40 minutes at this point. The #30 entrant as the last woman in the match was Shayna Baszler. Rousey was happy to see her friend enter the match.
Baszler was on fire with suplexes and knees for several women in the match. Rousey faced off with Baszler, but then Charlotte hit Baszler with a forearm to the jaw. Natalya went after Rousey, who put Natalya onto the apron. Rousey kicked Shotzi and tossed her over the top to the floor. Rousey went for an armbar on Natalya for the ropes, but Belair went over and shoved Natalya, who had gone over the top and Belair kicked her out. Natalya went back in for some reason, Rousey grabbed her and tossed her out. Maybe Natalya wasn’t eliminated before that. Lita dropped Flair with a Twist of Fate. Lita hit a hurricanrana off the middle rope on Ripley. Lita kicked Ripley down while by the turnbuckle, Lita went up top and Ripley shoved Lita to the apron. Flair got back up and kicked Lita off the apron to the floor. The fans booed. There were five women left in the match with Ripley lifting Rousey up, but Rousey got a hold of Ripley’s arm, Flair got involved, Ripley shoved Rousey into the ring post and Flair kicked Ripley off the apron to the floor.
The final four were Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, Shayna Baszler and Ronda Rousey. Belair and Flair exchanged strikes, Flair bumped to the apron. Flair went for a kick on Rousey, but Belair kicked Flair. It was not enough to eliminate Flair. Belair with a spinebuster on Baszler. Belair went for a move off the ropes, Baszler went for the Kirifuda Clutch, Belair got out of that and Flair dumped Baszler/Belair out at the same time.
Rousey and Flair faced off as the final two with the fans getting loud for this showdown with Rousey chants. Flair went for a running kick, Rousey caught her and dumped Flair over the top to the floor. It was 59:40.
Winner: Ronda Rousey
Analysis: *** The match was okay for the most part, but I’d call it around average for a Rumble. Rousey was my pick to win, she was a popular pick for a lot of us and that’s because of the news that she was probably going to be there. The rumored WrestleMania match is Charlotte Flair against Rousey, so it’s no surprise that they had Flair as the final two with Rousey. A lot of the former stars that were in the match barely did anything and many of them were only in the ring briefly. They were there to fill the spots. I was hoping we’d see a bit more from Mickie James interacting with Flair or somebody else like that. Lita getting rid of Mickie was a nice nod to their history since they were in the company at the same time. Natalya held on from elimination a lot until she got tossed out near the end. Bianca Belair had a strong showing and I think if Rousey wasn’t in the match, she may have won again. I’m not surprised by the result at all. I picked Rousey because I assumed if she was in there then she was going to win and that’s what happened.
Ronda Rousey celebrated the win by pointing at the WrestleMania sign. The pyro went off for her. The fans cheered. Rousey had a smile on her face. She walked to the back as the victor.
There were a bunch of commercials and other videos to kill some time after the Rumble match.
Doudrop made her entrance as the challenger for the Raw Women’s Championship. Becky Lynch was next as the Raw Women’s Champion and Big Time Becks got a big reaction as usual.
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch vs. Doudrop
I missed a few minutes due to needing a bit of a break after that last long match. Doudrop was in control with a headbutt, she wanted a splash off the ropes and Lynch got away from her with a break to the floor. Back in the ring, Doudrop jumped on Lynch’s back with a senton splash. Lynch was on the floor again, Doudrop went for a cannonball, Lynch moved and Doudrop hit the steel steps. Lynch grabbed a chinlock, Doudrop broke free and went for a move, but Lynch applied a chinlock again. The fans were paying attention to something in the crowd, so Lynch just held onto the chinlock for longer. (Apparently, the WrestleMania sign was on “fire” after pyro from Rousey’s win.) Doudrop got back up to her feet leading to Doudrop driving Lynch back first into the turnbuckle. Lynch came back with a missile dropkick off the top for a two count. Lynch trash-talked Doudrop saying she doesn’t know who she is in the ring with and Doudrop decked her with a slap to the face. Doudrop with a belly to back suplex, a body slam and a running senton splash for two. Lynch was able to come back with a Disarm-her submission, Doudrop fought out of it and Lynch kicked Doudrop repeatedly while going for a cross armbreaker. Doudrop got back up to her feet with a Powerbomb for a two count. Doudrop with a running cannonball splash on Lynch for a two count. Doudrop went for a splash off the middle rope, Lynch got her knees up to block and Lynch hit a somersault dive off the top rope onto Doudrop for a two count. That’s the Molly Go Round move that Molly Holly used to use. Lynch worked over Doudrop with punches while Doudrop was tied by the ropes. Lynch went for a leg drop off the middle rope, Doudrop moved and Doudrop delivered some headbutts. Lynch with a neckbreaker against the top rope and she trapped Doudrop across the top rope leading to Lynch jumping off the top with a leg drop for a two count. Doudrop got back into it by picking up Lynch and dropping her to the mat like a Big Ending for a two count. The fans weren’t reacting too much, but that got a bit of a reaction. Doudrop to the middle rope, Lynch hit a chop block to the back of the leg and Lynch hit the Manhandle Slam off the middle rope for the pinfall win at 13:02.
Winner by pinfall: Becky Lynch
Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match where they worked hard, tried their best and the fans just didn’t really care that much until the finish. The finish was well done because it was Becky’s finisher off the middle rope on a bigger woman like Doudrop, so it was a big spot to end the match. I don’t think anybody watching in the arena or at home thought Doudrop was going to win. I think WWE booked themselves in a corner by booking two heels against eachother because it’s tough to make the fans care about a match like that. They did that because they needed other women in the Rumble match. Anyway, that’s it for Doudrop’s title chase for now. Lynch will probably carry that title to WrestleMania.
More commercials aired.
The ring announcer Mike Rome announced the attendance as 44,390 people. The real number is just under 40,000 people I believe. WWE has always inflated attendance numbers.
The WWE Championship match between champion Brock Lesnar and challenger Bobby Lashley was up next. There was a video package for it. Great video package for this match.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance first with his buddy Montel Vontavious Porter by his side. Brock Lesnar walked out with the WWE Championship around his waist while his advocate Paul Heyman was by his side. Lesnar had his long hair tied up a bit on the top of his head while rocking a beard. Mike Rome did the championship introduction for Lashley as the challenger. However, Paul Heyman grabbed the microphone for the introduction with the fans chanting along for the familiar phrases that Heyman uses for Lesnar. Brock was happy about it too.
WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Bobby Lashley (w/MVP)
They did a bit of posturing before locking up, Lesnar got a hold of Lashley and Lesnar hit a German Suplex with Lashley popping up right away. They circled eachother in the ring again, Lashley got a hold of Lesnar and Lashley hit a German Suplex with Lesnar hitting high on his back. Lesnar locked his hands around the waist leading to two German Suplexes in a row with Lashley getting back up again. Lashley with punches, Lesnar wanted and F5, Lashley slipped out of it, sent Lesnar into the ropes and Lashley hit a Spear. Lashley hit another Spear leading to Lesnar going to the floor for a break. Lashley charged on the floor, Lesnar moved and Lashley went crashing through the barricade at ringside. Lesnar pointed at his head showing that he was smart and he was ready for it. Lashley got back up, he was able to counter Lesnar and sent Lesnar into the ring post. Back in the ring, Lashley charged, Lesnar moved and Lashley hit the middle turnbuckle. Lesnar got a hold of Lashley leading to another German Suplex. Lesnar hit another huge German Suplex with Lashley landing hard on the neck. Lesnar with another German Suplex although this time Lashley turned a bit and took the bump more on his side. Lesnar with another German Suplex as Lashley was down selling while Lesnar stood on top with a forearm to the back. Lesnar with another German Suplex, so I think that was five in a row. Lesnar wanted the F5, Lashley slipped out of it and applied the Hurt Lock submission with Lashley locking his hands behind Lesnar’s head. Lesnar was selling it by stumbling around a bit and selling the pain of the move, but then Lesnar reversed Lashley so that he squashed Lashley against referee Chad Patton against the turnbuckle. Lesnar got Lashley on his shoulders and hit an F5 with Lashley’s legs hitting referee Patton in the head. The referee Chad Patton was on the floor as Lesnar tried to pin Lashley.
Lesnar was walking around the ring, he turned around and Reigns hit Lesnar with a Spear. Reigns stared at his former Special Counsel and told Heyman to hand him the WWE Title, so Heyman did that. Reigns waited for Lesnar to get back up to his feet, he charged at Lesnar and Reigns hit Lesnar with the WWE Championship in the head. Reigns tossed the title down. Heyman walked away with Reigns. Lashley covered Lesnar to become the WWE Champion! This went 10:17.
Winner by pinfall AND NEW WWE Champion: Bobby Lashley
Analysis: ***1/4 It was pretty good for the most part with a lot of suplexes leading to the controversial finish with Reigns getting involved. They probably went too heavy with the German Suplexes although they did look devastating. I just think it would have been cool if they did some MMA-type holds and maybe some brawling a bit. I liked Lesnar avoiding the spot on the floor leading to Lashley going through the barricade early in the match. Lesnar dominated a lot of the match after that and nearly had it won if not for the referee bump. The big thing was Heyman turning on Lesnar, which is not a shock to me because I have written about that in the past although I didn’t predict it on this show. We know WWE wants to do Reigns vs. Lesnar again, so obviously they can get there with Lesnar seeking revenge for Reigns costing him the WWE Title. That’s fine with me.
Roman Reigns left with Paul Heyman, so it looks like they are reunited.
Bobby Lashley celebrated with MVP with Lashley being presented the WWE Championship. It’s the second WWE Championship win for Lashley.
Analysis: That meant that Brock Lesnar only held the title for four weeks. They can always go back to a Lashley/Lesnar rematch down the road with a clean finish if that’s what they want to do. That’s a big rematch for later in the year. Also, Reigns being back with Heyman seems right again. I liked that pairing a lot.
There were more commercials.
They showed highlights of Ronda Rousey’s Royal Rumble win. Rousey will also be on Monday’s Raw.
A video package aired for the mixed tag match with Miz & Maryse facing Edge & Beth Phoenix. They are both married couples and each couple has two daughters. It’s the It Couple vs. Grit Couple.
The Miz and Maryse made their entrance as the It Couple that was dressed in similar red attire. Edge and Beth Phoenix were next as The Grit Couple with the fans popping loud for Edge’s theme song.
Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. The Miz & Maryse
Miz and Edge started the match. Maryse got in a cheap shot on Edge, so Miz knocked Edge out of the ring. Miz worked over Edge with some kicks to the body, then Edge ducked a kick and Edge got a rollup. Miz hit a neckbreaker for two. Miz set up Edge on the middle rope, so Maryse hit a running slap to Edge’s face. Beth grabbed a steel chair to chase Maryse and then the women got back on the apron. Miz was staring at the referee during that, so Edge hit the Edgecution DDT on Miz. Beth wanted the tag, Maryse didn’t want to go in and Edge kicked Miz out of the ring. Maryse tried to stop Edge, but Beth tagged in with clotheslines and some head slamming into the mat. Beth hit a spinning sidewalk slam on Maryse for a two count with Miz making the save. Miz turned around to face off with Miz, the fans liked this showdown and Miz said he’s going to kick Edge’s ass. Beth slammed Miz into the turnbuckle followed by punches. Maryse got back up with the dreaded LOADED PURSE~! to Beth’s back for a two count. Maryse threw the purse out of the ring after she used it. Maryse stomped on Beth a bit followed by her hair toss taunt against the ropes. Maryse applied a chinlock, Beth got out of it and they did a double clothesline.
Edge tagged in against Miz with clotheslines, a forearm and a sitout neckbreaker for two. Edge went to the top rope, Miz went after him, Maryse got in a cheap shot, so Beth knocked Maryse off the apron and Beth hit a Powerbomb on Miz. Edge jumped off the top with an elbow drop for a two count. Maryse went after Beth on the apron and pulled her down. Maryse whipped Beth into the steel steps. Edge hit a flapjack on Miz. Edge went for a Spear, Maryse grabbed his leg, Edge broke free and missed a Spear leading to Edge hitting the middle turnbuckle. Maryse jumped off the ropes with a hurricanrana on Edge. I didn’t expect that! Maryse hit her DDT on Beth and Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Edge for a two count. Beth was back in with a Spear on Maryse. Edge and Beth each ran the ropes with a double Spear on Miz at the same time. Edge hit the Glam Slam on Miz while Beth hit the Glam Slam on Maryse for the pinfall win at 12:35.
Winners by pinfall: Edge & Beth Phoenix
Analysis: *** That went about as well as I expected with the faces Edge/Beth getting the win to put an end to this rivalry that was going on for about two months. I’ll give Maryse credit for getting involved more in the match a lot more than I expected because she did bump enough in the match while also hitting more moves than I thought. Edge and Beth hit some cool tag team moves during the match as well. Something else I will add is that the referee allowed all four wrestlers in the ring a lot, so I mean they didn’t follow tag team rules well, but I get why they did it to do some double team moves.
The Hall of Fame Grit Couple of Edge and Beth Phoenix celebrated the win. Their two young daughters were sitting at ringside, so Edge went over to them and the camera cut away at that point.
A commercial aired for WWE Elimination Chamber on Saturday, February 19 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It’s only three weeks away.
A video aired about Captain Florent Groberg, who underwent 34 surgeries after he stopped a suicide bomber doing more damage when he was in a war. Four of his friends died that day, but he saved the lives of many other people. He was awarded a Medal of Honor. Flo Groberg was at ringside with his family. The fans cheered for them along with “USA” chants. That’s cool.
The Smackdown commentary team of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee were calling the main event. AJ Styles was out first for the Royal Rumble and Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura was second.
30-Man Royal Rumble Match
The intervals for the Rumble match are at 90 seconds. I don’t think I wrote that for the women’s match, but that’s what WWE usually does. It’s AJ Styles at #1 and Shinsuke Nakamura at #2 with McAfee doing some dancing during Nakamura’s entrance as usual. Styles blocked a Nakamura kick, then he did dragon screw leg whip and Nakamura tried to do a suplex, but Styles blocked that with elbow smashes. Nakamura with a kick to the head. Styles avoided a charging Nakamura leading to a sliding forearm to the head. Austin Theory was #3 with the announcers talking about how he was like Vince McMahon’s pet project these days on Raw. Theory with a shoulder tackle to Styles followed by a dropkick and Theory hit a belly to back suplex. Styles tried to eliminate Theory, but Theory held on and stomped on Styles. It was Robert Roode at #4 with McAfee saying this might be the year for Roode…I doubt that. Roode with a spinebuster on Nakamura, a spinebuster on Theory and Roode faced off with Styles with some “TNA” chants. Roode sent Styles to the apron, Styles jumped back in with a sunset flip and Roode hit Styles with a forearm. Styles sent Roode over the top followed by a forearm to knock Roode out of the ring. Theory knocked down Styles and then Nakamura hit an overhead suplex on Theory. Theory came back with a spinning backbreaker on Nakamura. Ride Holland was #5 making his first Rumble appearance and he was wearing a protective facemask. No reaction for Holland as he hit a shoulder tackle on Theory followed by an overhead suplex. Styles battled Nakamura with AJ hitting a kick to knock Nakamura off the apron to eliminate him. Holland with a suplex on Styles. Holland hit Styles with a forearm while Theory punched Holland down.
It was Montez Ford of the Street Profits at #6 with Ford nearly tossing out Styles, but AJ held on. Ford hit an impressive dropkick on Theory and he tossed Theory over the top to the apron. Ford with a jumping kick and then Holland came back with a powerslam. Holland with a back body drop on Styles. Damien Priest was #7 as the current United States Champion. Priest got four eliminations last year according to Cole. Priest hit a backbreaker on Theory. Styles tried tossing Priest out, but Priest held on and Styles tried to dump Theory. Sami Zayn was #8 leading to Sami going into the ring to avoid everybody until Ford went after him. Zayn tried dumping Ford, but Ford held on while on the apron. There wasn’t much happening at that point. Johnny Knoxville was #9 and some of his Jackass Forever buddies made their entrance with the fans popping for Knoxville’s entrance. Knoxville had some ridiculous attire on that was white and red. Knoxville with punches on Zayn followed by an elbow drop. Knoxville pointed at the WrestleMania sign. Knoxville hit Styles with a forearm to the chest, Styles hit him with a flurry of strikes and a clothesline. Ford went up top and he hit a huge Frog Splash on Knoxville. Holland lifted Knoxville to apron, so Zayn gave Knoxville the Helluva Kick to knock Johnny off the apron. Zayn celebrated that, so Styles dumped Zayn out. Priest nearly dumped out Styles, but AJ held on. Angelo Dawkins of the Street Profits was #10 with Dawkins going after Styles with kicks and the two Street Profits went after Priest, but he was able to hang on. Lots of standing around doing strikes while gently pushing guys up against the ropes.
The big man Omos was #11 making his first Rumble appearance. The other six guys in the ring stopped to stare at Omos. Omos decked guys with punches and a back elbow stopped a running Theory. Dawkins went after Omos, which was a mistake and Omos tossed Dawkins out. Ford jumped onto Omos, who grabbed Ford by the throat and tossed Ford out of the ring. Omos with a knee to the body of Theory. Styles with punches on former partner Omos, then Omos whipped him to the ring post and Styles bumped into the ring post. Ricochet was #12 as he ran down to the ring with a missile dropkick. Omos tossed Ricochet up into the air until he crashed to the mat. Omos was the only man standing while the others were down selling. Theory and Ricochet tried going after Omos, but that was a mistake since Omos decked Ricochet with a chop to the chest. Omos tossed Ricochet across the ring. The #13 man was Chad Gable of the Alpha Academy – the Raw Tag Team Champions. Gable talked to everybody in the ring saying he had a plan to work together so they can go after Omos together. Priest went after Omos with some punches, but then Omos managed to toss Priest over the top to the floor. The other guys in the ring worked together to dump Omos out. Dominik Mysterio was #14 with Dominik joining the team to dump out Omos, then Styles ran the ropes and he hit a forearm to eliminate Omos from the match. Gable took credit for that elimination. The six guys in the ring were Styles, Theory, Dominik, Holland, Richet and Gable. It was Happy Corbin at #15 for his seventh Rumble match according to Cole. Corbin hit a huge Chokeslam on Theory, Ricochet jumped off the chest of Corbin, Ricochet to the ropes and Corbin shoved him over the top to the floor. Styles went after Corbin. The six guys in the ring all battled by the ropes.
The #16 man was Dolph Ziggler for the second half of entrants. Ziggler hit a superkick right away. Dominik battled Corbin, Dom avoided Corbin and Corbin hit a Deep Six slam on Dominik leading to Corbin tossing Dominik over the top to the floor. Styles battled Theory by the apron and AJ kicked out Theory to eliminate him. Theory was in the match for 22 minutes. Sheamus was #17 as Styles eliminated Holland right in front of Sheamus. That led to Sheamus going after Styles with Sheamus hitting a huge knee lift on Styles. Sheamus hit a backbreaker on Gable. Sheamus sent Styles to the apron, Styles held on and Sheamus hit Styles with forearms. Rick Boogs was #18 with Pat calling him the “Yolked Freddy Mercury.” Boogs with some lifting moves on Gable without doing a move. Gable was set up on the top rope, he went for an armbar and Boogs slammed Gable into the ring. Boogs pressed Gable overhead with a one-handed military pressed and dumped Gable over the top to the floor. Madcap Moss was #19 with his buddy Corbin happy about Moss entering the match. Corbin nearly eliminated Sheamus, who managed to hold on. Boogs pressed Ziggler over his head, but Ziggler held on to avoid the elimination. Styles with a jumping kick to Corbin, Moss sent Styles into the corner and Styles came back with a forearm. Corbin got a hold of Styles with a Chokeslam Backbrekaer and then Moss eliminated Styles. The fans booed that. Styles was in the ring for 29:05 according to Cole. It was the scooter man Riddle at #20 with the fans chanting “bro” for the man that kicked off his flip flops in the ring. Riddle with a German Suplex on Moss. Corbin saved Moss from an attack by Boogs. Moss sent Boogs to the apron and Corbin knocked Boogs off the apron to eliminate him.
Welcome back Drew McIntyre at #21 to a big pop. We didn’t know if he would be ready for this show, but here he is looking good after missing the last four weeks with a neck injury. Drew cleaned house right away by eliminating Moss with a clothesline and Drew tossed Corbin over the top to the floor. Drew went under the bottom rope to the floor where he tossed Corbin into the steels steps. Drew suplexed Moss on the floor. Drew used the steel steps to knock down Moss and Corbin. Drew suplexed Moss onto the bottom half of the steel steps. Kevin Owens was #22 with Drew going after Owens there and they went back into the ring with Owens hitting a Popup Powerbomb on Drew. Owens with a cannonball splash in the corner. Owens stomped on the bare feet of Riddle and hit a superkick. Rey Mysterio was #23 in his 13th Royal Rumble match. Rey with a headscissors on Owens, then a springboard cross body block on Sheamus and Rey tried to dump Riddle, but Riddle held on. Owens battled Rey leading to KO hitting a Stunner. Ziggler nearly dumped out Riddle, but Riddle held on. Kofi Kingston was #24 for his 14th Rumble match, which is third all-time after Kane and Ziggler. Owens sent Kofi to the apron, then it looked like Kofi went for a springboard attack, but Owens shoved Kofi to the barricade. It looked like Kofi was supposed to hang for a saving spot, but then the replay showed Kofi’s feet hit the floor. It’s big man Otis at #25 as one of the Raw Tag Team Champions. Otis went into the ring with a spinning back elbow on Ziggler and an overhead suplex on Ziggler. Sheamus nearly got rid of Rey, but Rey held on. Owens with a powerslam on Drew. Lots of standing around punching as they waited for the next guy.
Big E was #26 as a Rumble favorite as he went into the ring to drop Owens with a belly to belly slam. Big E tossed Riddle overhead across the ring. Big E with a running splash and he wanted more, but Sheamus stopped that. Rey jumped off the apron, Sheamus caught him and hit two backbreakers. There’s a familiar face as Bad Bunny entered as the #27 man in the match. Bunny stunned Sheamus across the top rope and he hit a cross body block on Sheamus. Bunny hit a headscissors on Owens. Bunny hit a Canadian Destroyer on Riddle! Damn. That was good. Sheamus sent Bunny over the top to the apron, Sheamus went for a Brogue Kick, Bunny ducked it and Sheamus was eliminated because of that. Rey with a hurricanrana on Ziggler, Bunny tripped up Rey against the ropes, Rey with a 619 kick and Bunny eliminated Ziggler. Here comes the Money at #28 as Shane McMahon entered to a huge pop! Rey was eliminated by Otis as that was going on. Shane delivered some punches to everybody in sight, Shane got a hold of former rival Kevin Owens and tossed KO over the top to the floor. Shane exchanged punches with Drew for a bit while everybody was up against the ropes. Randy Orton got a HUGE pop at #29 since they were in St. Louis and he’s the hometown boy for his 14th Rumble match. Orton is a two-time Rumble winner as well. Orton avoided Big E and hit an RKO on Big E. Orton and Riddle tossed out Big E. Orton hit an RKO on Otis. Riddle jumped off the back of Otis and hit an RKO on Drew. Riddle and Orton tossed out Riddle. Big E was a winning pick for a lot of people, but then he did nothing in this match. That’s a damn shame. Brock Lesnar was the last man in the match as #30 even though he was in a match earlier in the night.
Lesnar with belly to belly suplex on Orton, Shane and Riddle. Lesnar gave Orton a clothesline over the top to the floor. The fans didn’t like that since they like Orton. Lesnar hit Bad Bunny with an F5 in the middle of the ring. Lesnar tossed out Bunny easily. Lesnar with a suplex on Shane. Lesnar caught Riddle in the air and dumped him over the top to the floor. Lesnar clotheslined Shane to eliminate him.
Lesnar and McIntyre were the last two men left in the match. Drew won two years earlier. Lesnar drove Drew into the turnbuckle. Drew avoided an F5 and hit a Glasgow Kiss headbutt. Lesnar avoided a Claymore Kick, Lesnar picked up Drew on his shoulders and Lesnar gave McIntyre and F5 over the top to the floor. Lesnar wins. It went 51:17.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Analysis: **3/4 It’s rare for me to go under three stars for a Men’s Rumble in the last 20 years, but this one just wasn’t that interesting. While there were a few mild surprises like Shane McMahon and Bad Bunny, they weren’t that exciting in terms of the choices of who the surprises were. I was glad to see Drew McIntyre back in action. I was disappointed to see Big E tossed aside as if he was nothing in the match. It also sucked that Kofi Kingston couldn’t land safely on the floor and do an elimination tease spot. I guess you can say Lesnar was a surprise, but the guy didn’t “need” the Rumble win that much. They can push Lesnar at any time and we see them do that all the time, so why give him a Rumble win when it could help somebody else more? As soon as Lesnar got in there, he destroyed everybody so fast probably because WWE wanted the PPV to end in under four hours and by having Lesnar dominate so much, that was a way to end the show on time. I just think this was one of the weaker Royal Rumbles in many years. They could have done a lot better.
Post match, Lesnar pointed up at the WrestleMania sign. The pyro went off. Lesnar continued to celebrate. That was it.
Analysis: The victory means that Lesnar wins the Royal Rumble for the second time. His first win was in 2003, so the wins were 19 years apart. Lesnar will likely face Roman Reigns for the Universal Title at WrestleMania. I’m sure we could all see that coming.
This event had a runtime of 3:57:45 on WWE Network.
Five Stars of the Show
- Seth Rollins
- Roman Reigns
- Brock Lesnar
- Ronda Rousey
- Charlotte Flair
I’m going with a 6 out of 10 for this show.
It was just average for a Royal Rumble event. I expected a better show. The two Rumble matches felt just passable, but nothing worth going out of your way to see if you missed it. Wrestlers like Ronda Rousey and Brock Lesnar didn’t “need” to win the Rumble matches. They could get pushes any time without it, but WWE felt the need to put them both over. Why? Probably because they are among the two highest-paid people in WWE, so Vince McMahon probably felt like he needed to put them over. I don’t love it. I try to understand it.
The WWE and Universal Title matches were both very good while being on their way to being great, but then the finishes happened. Reigns lost by DQ to Rollins while Lashley beat Lesnar because of blatant interference from Reigns. If you like clean finishes then this was not the show for you.
The other matches on the card were just average too. I’m not going to call it a bad show because there were things that I liked. I just thought it would be a better show.
Here are the PPV rankings for 2022 so far.
Day 1 – 7.5 (January 1)
Royal Rumble – 6 (January 29)
As a reminder, I have a listing of every WWE PPV that I reviewed in order by year. Thank you for supporting us at TJRWrestling. We appreciate you.
Thanks for reading this review. My contact info is below.