2022 Royal Rumble Analysis and Predictions

The Road to WrestleMania 38 begins Saturday night at the Royal Rumble in St. Louis. WrestleMania is now an unnecessarily long two-night event, so there are a lot of storylines to lay out between now and then. The matches on the Rumble card that will have the biggest consequences for WrestleMania are the men’s rumble match, and the two men’s championship matches.

Edge and Beth Phoenix vs. The Miz and Maryse in a Mixed tag team match

A lot of what Miz does these days is mid-card work that promotes his outside interests in reality shows. He is still the most dependable heel the WWE has on the roster and could easily move up the card if he was not mired in situations like this.

You would be hard-pressed to find an Edge fan who wanted to see him come out of retirement to be in a mixed tag team match with his wife. This is a long way down from last year when he won the 2021 men’s rumble match as the #1 entrant and went on to get smoked by Roman Reigns in the WrestleMania main event.

Prediction: Winners, The Miz and Maryse

Becky Lynch (c) vs. Doudrop in a Singles match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship

No comment.

Prediction: I’m going to take a nap during this match.

Brock Lesnar (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs. Bobby Lashley (with MVP) in a singles match for the WWE Championship

These are two of the very best in the game right now. Both competitors have similar backgrounds as amateur wrestlers-turned pro who then bounced between professional wrestling and mixed martial arts. Lesnar has been near or at the top of the WWE for his entire career, but Lashley was more of a late bloomer, not winning his first WWE championship until he was in his mid-40’s.

Time has not slowed these two down at all, they are both peak athletes and freakishly large. This is a WrestleMania caliber match that I cannot wait to watch.

Prediction: Winner and new WWE Champion, Bobby Lashley

Roman Reigns (c) vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins in a Singles match for the WWE Universal Championship

These two former Shield members are feuding again. They have both undergone many character machinations since Rollins took the belt off Reigns at WrestleMania 31. Reigns took longer to find himself but he finally figured out how to be the top guy in the company. This will be the first time they clash as heels. The Uso’s have been banned from ringside so Reigns will have to go it alone.

Prediction: Winner and still WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns

Women’s Royal Rumble Match

Ronda Rousey is going to make a surprise return to win the Royal Rumble and go on to face Becky Lynch at WrestleMania.

Men’s Royal Rumble Match

The rumor mill has not had much to say about this year’s men’s rumble winner. The main men’s matches at WrestleMania are going to feature Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar (potentially even head-to-head) so that leaves a spot open for someone to jump into the main event picture.

The WWE is cross promoting the new Jackass movie and will place Johnny Knoxville in the rumble match where he will likely eliminate Sami Zayn. Zayn always seems to be the mark to get guest celebrities over. Not a bad spot to be in.

At the time of this writing, there are five spots that have yet to be announced. They’ll likely be filled by NXT call ups and returning retirees. None of them have potential to contend for the win.

I am handicapping the field as follows:

No Chance in Hell

  • Angelo Dawkins
  • Montez Ford
  • Dominik Mysterio
  • Austin Theory
  • Johnny Knoxville
  • Happy Corbin
  • Madcap Moss
  • Sami Zayn
  • Omos
  • Riddle
  • Chad Gable
  • Otis
  • Dolph Ziggler
  • Robert Roode
  • Shinsuke Nakamura
  • Rick Boogs
  • Ricochet

Dark Horse Potential

  • Sheamus
  • Damian Priest
  • AJ Styles
  • Kofi Kingston
  • Randy Orton

Favorites

  • Rey Mysterio
  • Big E
  • Kevin Owens

The No Chance in Hell field contains nobody with WrestleMania main event potential, at least not in 2022.

Damien Priest has been on the rise this year and could surprise with a big win. The rest of the dark horse field are former champions and can be counted on to carry a WrestleMania title match. A win by any of them would be a surprise, but not a shock.

Rey Mysterio has been at the forefront of WWE storylines and is on the cover of the latest WWE video game. The geriatric luchador apparently is still a moneymaker and might have one big main event run left in him.

Big E is a recent former champion and may be poised to take off again. He would match up well against Reigns or Lesnar in a one-on-one match.

Kevin Owens recently returned to working as a heel which is his natural state. He would be able to sell a WrestleMania main even against a top babyface in his sleep. Maybe this is finally KO’s time to have a big WrestleMania moment.

WrestleMania 37 Night 1 Analysis and Predictions

After a year of not having fans in attendance, the WWE is “back in business” with a live crowd at WrestleMania 37 in Tampa. The WWE product has been downright bizarre to watch without real fans in attendance this past year and having a crowd for the performers to work off will be a welcome change.

Splitting WrestleMania into two nights leaves a lot less clutter on the WrestleMania card than in a normal year where they over-book many matches to get as many people on the card as possible. There are lot more singles matches than we would have seen in years past.

The WWE has also seemingly admitted that the “Women’s Revolution” in the WWE has been an abject failure. Just two years ago, the WrestleMania event was a triple-threat between Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and Ronda Rousey. This year, none of the three are even on the card. Something is clearly wrong with the creative process that has left most of the women in the WWE out of a prominent spot at WrestleMania.

There have been some creative missteps on the men’s side of things as well. The bizarre saga of Bobby Lashey as champion (more on that in a bit) has been a head-scratcher. For the life of me, I can not understand the appeal of Riddle. And the sudden emergence of Apollo Crews’ fake Nigerian accent almost makes me embarrassed for him.

But this is WrestleMania, and the card is stacked with talent who will have ample time to tell good stories. Without the involvement of John Cena or The Undertaker, the members of the current roster will look to cement their own WrestleMania legacies. Even if the lead-in to WrestleMania was weak, this two-night event could be professional wrestling at its best! On to the match predictions.

Bad Bunny and Damian Priest vs. The Miz and John Morrison

WrestleMania history is rife with celebrity guest appearances, many of whom actively participated in matches.  Mr. T. started the tradition when he teamed with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 1.  This year, Bad Bunny gets the nod as the token WrestleMania celebrity used to bring in viewers that are not part of the current fan base. 

The appeal of Bad Bunny is lost on me, I guess I am not in his target demographic. However, there are reports that his WWE merchandise is a huge seller right now, so this appears to be a good business decision for the WWE. He is not a trained wrestler so The Miz and Morrison are going to have to carry him in the match. The rookie Damian Priest will not be much help in covering Bunny’s weaknesses. I would not expect this match to be remembered as a WrestleMania classic.

Prediction: Winner, The Miz and Morrison

The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) (c) vs. AJ Styles and Omos in a Tag team match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship

This is an interesting spot for AJ Styles, having been assigned the task of getting NXT call-up Omos over as a main-roster competitor. I am not sure I like the creative direction this angle has taken, Omos seems to be lacking on the microphone, and attempts at the two of them being comedic have fallen flat. His appearance and skill set seem better suited to “monster heel” than comedic sidekick, but this is what we get so we will see how he does. For Omos, this is a great spot in which to make his debut in a championship match at WrestleMania.

The New Day continue to flounder as a duo, having lost their most charismatic member, Big E to a singles push. It is time for this team to break up, no better time or way to accomplish that than a WrestleMania swerve and a heel turn for one of them!

Prediction: Winners and new WWE Raw Tag Team Champions, AJ Styles and Omos

Lana and Naomi vs. Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose vs. The Riott Squad (Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott) vs. Natalya and Tamina in a Tag Team Turmoil match, winners receive a WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match on Night 2

This is a late addition to the card to placate those who were upset there was not enough involvement from the Women’s division. There is not a single wrestler in this match who is worth watching.

Prediction: This match is going to suck

Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon in a Steel Cage match

It is WrestleMania! Time for Shane McMahon to jump off something high and attempt to mount credible offense against someone he has no business being in the ring with! Stop me if you have heard this one before.

Prediction: Winner, Braun Strowman

Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bianca Belair in a singles match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship

The only bright side about this match is that it is the only women’s singles match on the card.

Prediction: This match is going to suck

Cesaro Vs. Seth Rollins

I have always felt that WrestleMania needs more matches like these on the card. No-gimmick singles matches that are based on a grudge and nothing else. It gives the competitors a chance to tell a unique story and showcase their skills.

Both superstars in this match are at an interesting crossroads in their individual careers. Cesaro has been a constant under-achiever as a singles competitor, and this is his first singles WrestleMania match. Seth Rollins was on a roll with his “Monday Night Messiah” gimmick, but that appears to have been taken away from him. He kept the look but not the personality which makes no sense at all. Even still, Rollins is one of the best in-ring competitors the WWE has on the roster today and he should be able to carry Cesaro in this match.

Prediction: Winner, Seth Rollins

Bobby Lashley (c) (with MVP) vs. Drew McIntyre in a singles match for the WWE Championship

This is an intriguing matchup of two superstars who took long and difficult trajectories to a championship match at WrestleMania.

Drew McIntyre had poor timing for his first WrestleMania moment as it took place in a taped match at the WWE Performance Center with no fans in attendance. He likely would have gotten a huge pop from a live crowd if there were fans in attendance. He spent most of the following calendar year as champion without performing in front of a live crowd. This match finally gives him a chance to reconnect with a live audience since his ascension to the top.

Bobby Lashley was the other feel-good story during the pandemic, having won his first ever major WWE championship at age 44 in March. The WWE is doing everything it can to muddy his creative waters since then. At the time of his win, he was presented as a vicious mauler who had to chase down a cowardly Miz and ragdoll him to win the championship. He was surrounded by a stable that supported his aura and was on top of the wrestling world.

In the ensuing weeks, he flipped to being a cowardly heel by putting out a “bounty” on Drew McIntyre, then his stable inexplicably broke up. I do not know how this helps build a WrestleMania match, but I believe that these two veterans will still step it up when the bell rings and bring the house down.

Prediction: Winner and still WWE Champion, Bobby Lashley