There comes a time in everyone’s life when they have to have a “find Jesus” moment (stealing this from fellow THS Wrestling member John Pingel). For WWE and wrestling fans, the Royal Rumble last night might be that moment. Some have checked out already, but are tuning in for the big events. Other fans are still holding out hope that WWE can turn their product around and give us new and exciting wrestling. I hate to break the illusion, but last night’s event was one of the more disheartening events I’ve watched in wrestling. There was some good action. The championship matches were exciting, but they both had finishes that hampered them beyond belief.

Becky Lynch and Doudrop gave us the best match of the night, and it had the correct result from a storytelling standpoint. We had a fun match between Edge, The Miz, Beth Phoenix, and Maryse too. However, the hope, logic, and fun all end there. I say this as one of the wrestling fans that wants WWE to be the best they can be. If WWE is kicking ass from a storytelling standpoint, that filters down to all the other promotions to step up their game.

The Royal Rumble is supposed to be filled with hope; the hope of a new star being crowned on the Road to Wrestlemania. None of that happened at the Royal Rumble 2022. If you want to see my thoughts and see my spirit breaking in real-time, you can check out my live-Tweet of the event.

Universal Title Match: Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins
Roman Reigns Retains Via DQ

This match started off with so much promise. The last time these two had a one-on-one match was at the Money In The Bank PPV in 2016. That match was the first time that these two Shield brothers went head to head and it was absolute magic. It capped off with the third Shield member winning the title via the Money in the Bank briefcase. Combining the mind games of Seth Rollins with the Shield entrance and ring gear, this one had instant classic written all over it.

Seth Rollins and Reigns had the audience eating out of the palm of their hand with multiple near-falls. The action was hard-hitting and everything you’d want out of this matchup. Except when we got to the ending. You have one of the biggest matches of the calendar year and you end it with a DQ? Logically, this ending doesn’t make sense. Seth Rollins is not a babyface (good guy for those out there who don’t know carny language). He does not need the rub from getting absolutely blasted by Roman Reigns in a DQ finish. Roman Reigns snapping and showing us all that the “guy who’s laughing at him” got to him, doesn’t make his character any better. The Tribal Chief character was the best character in wrestling for a long time, but moments like this go a long way to ruining that image.

When you add to it that the referee PUT Seth Rollins had on the rope, and then that led to the DQ, it took a match veering into the Match of the Year category and made it a disappointment. With the rest of the events of the night, it showed exactly what we’re heading for. If you’re going to have a DQ finish at the second-biggest event on your calendar, it should lead to another championship match. Instead, they’re going with Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns.

Grade: C

I’m bumping this grade up a bit from my preliminary grade. Seth Rollins’s mind games, the Shield entrance, and the action before the bonehead finish were all great. Ideally, this would be a rematch at Wrestlemania.

Women’s Royal Rumble Match
Ronda Rousey Wins

It’s no secret that WWE has released plenty of talent over the last year. Many of those talents could have shined in this match. Instead, we got about half and half nostalgia/unsigned/part-time talent with the other talents who are currently signed to WWE. At least this match had some fun moments, but it’s incredibly telling that Sasha Banks got “Sailor Moon” trending on Twitter over “Royal Rumble”. The biggest issue with this Rumble match was that it was disjointed. Normally you have a veteran in the match for most of it to call the action. They guide traffic and that veteran was probably Sasha Banks. Instead, she was tossed out by Zelina, and from there the match was a mess.

It was a series of nostalgia acts getting their shine, but without really interacting with new talent to give them “the rub”. The whole fun of the Royal Rumble is seeing the old mix with the new, even if it’s for a minute or two. But in the case of WWE, they’ve had so many cuts to their female talent pool and they refused to use NXT 2.0 talent, they needed lots of outside talent. All that outside talent didn’t add much to the match, and when you consider that they showed off many of the “surprise” talents ahead of time, the entrants fell flat.

Adding in Tamina actively saving people from being eliminated, you get to the levels of illogical that this night had. Through the bad, we got some good moments from Rhea Ripley, Shayna Baszler, Naomi, Sonya, and Aliyah. This Women’s Rumble match was at least fun to watch for points, which is more than I can say for the men’s. Once Ronda came out though, the end result was clear. At least we haven’t seen her in a long time, and her feud with Becky Lynch will hopefully be fun.

Grade: C

Comparing this to previous Women’s Rumble matches, this is easily the worse that they’ve done. Pacing, storytelling, and the overall logic of the match is at an all-time low.

Raw Women’s Championship Match: Becky Lynch vs. Doudrop
Becky Lynch Retains

Luckily we had this match on the card. It wasn’t perfect, but it saved this from being one of the all-time worst events in recent memory. Doudrop vs. Becky Lynch is the perfect kind of story for WWE to be telling. The untouchable champion vs. the upstart challenger. Besides having one of the worst names in wrestling, Doudrop does work incredibly well in the ring. If not for massive star power coming down the pipeline with Ronda Rousey, she and Becky should get more to go at this one. Becky Lynch is doing the right thing as champion. She’s giving younger stars like Doudrop and Liv Morgan their time to shine against her. It’s all about passing some of that star power around.

This match was solid and had a very cool move to finish. I’m a sucker for anything off the middle or top rope like that. These so-called “super moves” add something to the finish, especially when Becky couldn’t finish off Doudrop with her normal moveset. Doudrop will be back in this spot soon enough, and hopefully with her actual ring name.

Becky Lynch moves on to hopefully Ronda Rousey at Wrestlemania.

Grade: B

WWE showed that at least their biggest female star can put people over, even while beating them.

WWE Championship Match: Bobby Lashley vs. Brock Lesnar
Bobby Wins Via Shenanigans

WWE actually giving us a first-time match on a big show? Is this a bizarro world? Well, don’t worry, because once it started it followed the formula for every Brock Lesnar match since around 2015. Brock Lesnar showed the world that he could still hack it with matches against John Cena and CM Punk, but ever since around 2015, his matches devolved into “German Suplex, repeat, repeat, repeat, have Brock get beaten down a little bit, and then pick an ending from the wheel of WWE”. This time, the random Vince McMahon ending landed on “Have Brock lose, but make it look as pitiful as possible for who beat him”. I was incredibly hyped for this matchup because it’s something new that we haven’t seen before. Bobby Lashley is a physical freak that can match Brock Lesnar in look, and prowess.

If this match was 4 minutes long and fast-paced with a thrilling finish, it would have been awesome. Instead, we got an extension on the Brock Lesnar-Roman Reigns storyline that we’ve had since 2015. So you take what should be the most prestigious title in the company, and then use it as a prop for the other title’s feud.

We know that WWE loves making mainstream media news, what makes the front page of ESPN? It’s not Brock Lesnar losing in a bullcrap finish. It would be Bobby Lashley making him tap/pass out to the Hurt Lock. That helps build up Bobby Lashley as a superstar and gives him the rub that he needs as a champion.

This was just a display in the same stuff that WWE has been peddling for nearly a decade with Brock Lesnar.

Grade: C

Apparently, WWE has no idea what to do with the WWE Championship after this. The finish to this match shows they really have no idea.

Beth Phoenix and Edge Vs. The Miz and Maryse
Edge And Beth Beat The “It Couple”

Time for another match that was simply fun. Was this worthy of being on an event like the Royal Rumble? Probably not. Was it a nice change of pace? Absolutely. Seeing The Miz get his ass kicked by Beth Phoenix was awesome. Even if Maryse is somewhat limited in the ring, the spots designed to make her look formidable also landed pretty well. Her giving Edge a hurricanrana was a major highlight and shows how far she’s come in her career.

Finishing it all off with Edge and Beth Phoenix swapping their finishing moves, it was a recipe for a fun match. I could have used more Beth Phoenix decimating The Miz, but for what it was, this ended up being a highlight of the show. Hopefully, Edge and The Miz go their separate ways after this match and we get something at Wrestlemania Edge and a big star. It’s what he deserves with this current run he’s on. The Miz might have a big celebrity match again at Mania, but after the Bad Bunny match he led last year, I’m fine with that.

Grade: B

If this was on any other card, it might not be a highlight, but on a stinker like Royal Rumble 2022, this was a breath of fresh air.

Men’s Royal Rumble Match
Brock Lesnar…Wins

Not going to sugarcoat this one. This is the worst Royal Rumble match I’ve ever seen. Go back and check a majority of my reviews for wrestling events, I’m pretty generous. I see the good in things, I like pointing out the positives instead of the negatives. There are far too many people in wrestling journalism that just point out the flaws and are negative. This match had none of what normally makes the Royal Rumble special. Like the Women’s Rumble, this was disjointed, made little sense, and had no hope for the future of the WWE.

The Women’s Rumble did have lots of surprise entrants, this had Drew McIntyre returning to a pretty nice pop, and nothing else. The guidance of Pat Patterson is greatly missed here. AJ Styles was ready-made to win this from the Number One spot, especially after his Shawn Michaels pose to start it off. What this really underscored was how badly WWE has botched a good majority of their stars. People like Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, Ricochet, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, and Big E have all been kneecapped by the booking of WWE.

Problems like this make the end result of the match that much more disappointing. The Rumble is supposed to make new stars. This didn’t make new stars at any point in the match. Kofi Kingston’s big spot getting messed up likely made the lack of flow to the match even worse.

The other fun portion of the Rumble is seeing matchups that we don’t normally get to see, or we’ve never seen before. Look at the 2020 Rumble, seeing Brock Lesnar Vs. Keith Lee, Big E, and other talent was breathtaking. This match had nothing like that. In the grand scheme of things, this is an undercurrent of major issues with booking, talent, and the biggest problem of WWE not being able to make stars. They’re terrified to use anyone new. That’s the major issue with this match.

Grade: F

This match was disheartening. It was not fun to watch, and it exacerbated the issues that plague WWE. They have a disgusting amount of talent at their disposal (even after all the cuts this year), and yet they waste it giving spots to people that don’t need the rub. Brock Lesnar is Brock Lesnar. He can show up on SmackDown on Friday, demand a title shot against Roman Reigns, and get it. Goldberg is a lesser star to Lesnar, and he’s done it multiple years in a row now. It didn’t really make a difference in the overall grade, but Brock winning was a disappointment on top of all the issues.

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