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Pantoja’s WWE Royal Rumble 2022 Review

January 30, 2022 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Ronda Rousey Image Credit: WWE
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Pantoja’s WWE Royal Rumble 2022 Review  

WWE Royal Rumble
January 29th, 2022 | The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri | Attendance: 44,390

I want to note up front that I watched this show without doing the review as it happened. I did it a bit later off memory so there won’t be much in the way of moves recaps or tons of detail.

WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns [c] vs. Seth Rollins
Right off the bat, this felt incredible as “SIERRA, HOTEL, INDIA, ECHO, LIMA, DELTA, SHIELD,” hit the speakers. Seth Rollins came out in full Shield gear and walked through the crowd, really getting into Roman’s head. It worked as he dominated the early stages, hitting a powerbomb through the announce table, Buckle Bomb, and Curb Stomp for a close call. Roman was rattled and it was clear. He weathered the storm and started getting his own stuff going, throwing bombs at Seth. I typically don’t like matches where it’s just a bunch of kickouts of big moves but this was a rare case of it working for me. There was a section in the middle that didn’t work as well as the rest but was still good. The biggest issue people had was with the finish. Reigns hit a Spear and Rollins laughed while hurt, offering a Shield fist bump. A frustrated and pissed Reigns put him in the Guillotine Choke and refused to let go when Seth got to the ropes, giving us a DQ in 14:44. That was disappointing but it works if this is the start of a longer story. Forget Brock/Roman, the money is in Seth/Roman at Mania and this would be an excellent way to set that up. [****]

Women’s Royal Rumble
The Women’s Rumbles so far have all been fantastic and got at least **** from me. This year’s iteration began with Sasha Banks (who looked incredible) and Melina. Sasha got rid of her quickly but didn’t last too long unfortunately. I assume she’s not 100%. Tamina oddly got like 20 minutes out there, which is bad news. There were some spots that continued angles, like Sonya Deville beating up the returning Cameron to upset Naomi, who then showed up and eliminated her, only for Sonya to then cause her to get sent packing. Ivory had a fun spot in her Right to Censor gear where she cut a promo as she got eliminated. Mickie James getting her Impact theme and having the Knockouts Title was a wild sight to see. Sarah Logan was a surprise. It was great to see the Bella Twins again and Brie actually had a few eliminations. Things totally became predictable as soon as Ronda Rousey made her return. You just knew where this was going. It came down to her, Charlotte, Shayna, and Bianca, with the latter two getting tossed by Charlotte. Ronda then got rid of Charlotte in non-dramatic fashion to win in 59:37. I get that Ronda is a big name and she needs a big match for Mania. I just don’t think you need to have her win the Rumble for that. Someone like Liv (who has a story with Becky) or Rhea could have used this run, while Ronda could go after Becky or Charlotte based on their history. It also hurts that half of the field were cameos, part-timers, etc. This had fun moments but was easily the worst Women’s Rumble so far. [***]

WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch [c] vs. Doudrop
It is so difficult to take someone seriously when their name is Doudrop. It’s a shame because the former Piper Niven is really good and everything besides her name works for me. Anyway, they did a pretty good job telling a story here. Becky is always confident and in firm control but Doudrop’s size caused major problems for her. She kept overwhelming Becky, who had to take frequent breaks. Becky was able to do some damage with arm work and ground her larger opponent. Doudrop got a pretty good pop for her Big Ending like move down the stretch. Becky chop blocked her on the ropes and finally hit the Manhandle Slam from there to retain in 12:53. This was good though nobody believed in anything but a Becky win. [***]

WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar [c] vs. Bobby Lashley
The MEATIEST OF MEN SLAPPING MEAT. There was a big fight feel to this and these guys delivered. Bobby showed no intimidation of Brock and went toe to toe with him. He even delivered a German suplex that Brock bumped on like he was in an Ibushi/Naito match. Brock looked impressed and that set the tone for a match where the two guys were hitting each other hard and throwing one another around. It was just what I wanted from these two. They did things like the barricade spear spot that everyone knows, though Bobby missed and crashed through on his own. Soon after that, Brock started in with the German suplexes but Bobby responded with his own offense and applied the Hurt Lock. Brock trying to escape led to a ref bump and we got another on the next move. That brought out Roman Reigns to Spear Brock and then have the WWE Title handed to him by Paul Heyman. SWERVE, BRO. Roman clocked Brock with the title and Bobby covered to win in 10:16. Another banger with another not great finish. [****]

Beth Phoenix and Edge vs. Maryse and The Miz
Edge and The Miz are both legitimately in my all-time top five. It’s Edge, Bryan, Sasha, Miz, AJ Lee for anyone interested. The couples coordinated their matching gears so well. The main idea here was that Edge and Beth were basically better and outmatched their opponents but Miz and Maryse were the cunning heels who could outsmart them when they needed to. Miz used that to take control but once Beth came in, she dominated Maryse. Beth also kicked Miz’s ass until Maryse used her loaded purse as a weapon. The heels got too cocky and it backfired after a bit. The surprise though was Maryse busting out a hurricanrana on Edge and hitting Beth with a DDT. She even looked shock at it. The finish was cool as a double Skull Crushing Finale was broken up, leading to a tandem Spear from Edge and Beth, followed by stereo Glam Slams to end it in 12:26. That was a lot of fun even if it dragged a bit in the middle, with Maryse stealing the show. [***]

Men’s Royal Rumble
AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura opened this. Remember when they had lame as matches in 2018 and everyone blamed WWE but it was more likely because both guys didn’t seem to care much by that point? Anyway, not much of note happened in the early stages until Johnny Knoxville arrived at #9 and got the Daniel Puder treatment as everyone beat him up. Sami eliminated him but then got tossed out. Omos at #11 got the dominant big man run for a bit until everyone ganged up on him, helped by AJ Styles to get rid of him. Madcap Moss oddly eliminated AJ Styles. Drew McIntyre returned to get revenge on Moss and Corbin. He eliminated both and this match was just dragging along. Kofi entered at #24 and tried one of his save spots but both feet hit the floor and he was unceremoniously out. Bad Bunny entered after his great performance at WrestleMania last year. He did a SICK Destroyer and managed to eliminate Sheamus and Ziggler. Shane McMahon was #28 to a pop and got rid of KO, renewing their old feud. Orton was in at #29 to a thunderous ovation and that gave us some RK-Bro spots. As expected, Brock was #30 and cleaned house, leaving it up to him and McIntyre. He won, again in non-dramatic fashion at the 51:13 mark. That had to be one of the worst Rumbles in history. It was just a bunch of midcarders, helping to showcase how much talent the company got rid of, and then Brock won. Bad Bunny was legitimately the best thing about this match and Johnny Knoxville was probably second. [**]

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
What a mixed bag of a show. You get two banger World Title matches but both had disappointing finishes (especially if Seth/Roman doesn’t lead to anything) and then two disappointing Rumbles. I had decent fun with Becky/Doudrop and the mixed tag but that main event leaves a bad taste.

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Royal Rumble, Kevin Pantoja