Way-Too-Early Rankings for the Most Likely WWE Royal Rumble 2022 Winners

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2021

Way-Too-Early Rankings for the Most Likely WWE Royal Rumble 2022 Winners

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Now that SummerSlam 2021 is done, WWE should start giving WrestleMania 38 some serious thought. It might seem like it's far away and events such as Extreme Rules and Survivor Series come first, but 2022 will sneak up on everyone.

    At the very least, there should be some general ideas right now of who the top four champions will be and which Superstars could be in contention to win the 2022 Royal Rumble matches to earn title shots on The Grandest Stage of Them All.

    Of course, anything can happen in WWE. With all the recent releases, the upcoming draft and the potential for new champions to be crowned along the way, no one quite knows what the roster will look like next year.

    In the meantime, let's take a crack at some way-too-early predictions for the two Superstars who will be victorious in the men's and women's Rumble matches in 2022.

Honorable Mentions (Women's Match)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Despite there being so many talented women in WWE, only a few names are treated as the true top stars in the division.

    By and large, the biggest share of the spotlight goes to The Four Horsewomen.

    Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch are the Raw and SmackDown champions, respectively, and have both won past Royal Rumbles. But if either drops their title by January, they would immediately jump to the top of the picks, as WWE will always prioritize them.

    Bayley will likely still be out of action due to a lengthy injury absence, but she would be a top prospect if she returned in time for the women's Rumble match.

    Sasha Banks may have even more of an advantage as she's yet to win this accolade. If only to cross it off her list of achievements, The Boss would be a front-runner if she's involved.

    Rounding out our honorable mentions would be this year's winner, Bianca Belair. Back-to-back winners have happened several times, and The EST of WWE could be the next in line, particularly if she challenges The Queen to switch things up.

Honorable Mentions (Men's Match)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The men's picks are particularly tough. While it's fairly safe to assume Roman Reigns will still be champion heading into WrestleMania 38—even with the daunting presence of Brock Lesnar to deal with—Goldberg is still a threat to Bobby Lashley's WWE Championship reign.

    Not knowing if WWE plans to go with The All Mighty, Goldberg or someone else as the top dog on Raw makes it difficult to pinpoint realistic challengers.

    The leader of the pack for honorable mentions might just be Drew McIntyre, though. 

    Much has been made about Money in the Bank being the Scot's last opportunity to challenge for the WWE title while Lashley holds it, but he could circumvent that edict with a Rumble victory. Maybe the company wants to run back last year's event and redeem McIntyre with a win he wasn't able to get in 2021.

    Keith Lee would make for a viable option. He's likeable, huge and could beat Lashley for the title. Perhaps most important of all, he would be a fresh face as champion.

    Big E holds the Money in the Bank briefcase, that doesn't mean he'll still have it by January. He's expressed for years how his dream match is to face Goldberg. If Lashley drops the title to the veteran, perhaps the New Day man would get his wish by winning this match and not cashing in the contract.

    Riddle is another option who has mentioned Goldberg quite often, though in a different context. Their past animosity seems to have cooled over time and WWE might want to capitalize on that, assuming his rise to stardom continues and he isn't involved in a match with Randy Orton in some capacity.

    So few Superstars stand out as picks for the next men's Royal Rumble that the fifth honorable mention might as well be chosen by throwing darts at a board, but Seth Rollins is a possible contender. He could be the backup plan to turn babyface and fight Reigns if our choice isn't able to work it into his schedule.

Women's Runner-Up: Toni Storm

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    Credit: WWE.com

    It may be a shot in the dark, but that's what way-too-early predictions are for: Hoping for the best before it becomes less likely.

    Toni Storm is supremely talented and has years ahead of her at the top of the division. However, that doesn't mean WWE should put the 25-year-old on the sidelines for a decade and wait to get around to her.

    Just as Belair was given the nod this year, it would be nice to see Storm take that step forward to seal herself as a main player who is here to stay. She's proved herself as NXT UK women's champion, which makes her more trustworthy for this responsibility than someone with less accolades.

    As one of the freshest babyfaces on the main roster who has yet to work against Flair or Lynch, she'd make for an interesting opponent who could use the rub. Beating either of them would strap a rocket to her back.

Men's Runner-Up: Brock Lesnar

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Lesnar's return at SummerSlam posed several interesting questions outside of the initial "Will he be able to defeat Roman Reigns?"

    On top of wondering how many matches his newest contract calls for and how often we'll see him, the question of whether he'll face Lashley is perhaps more relevant.

    For years, The All Mighty has wanted a match against Lesnar. And since a clash between the two would be one of the biggest matches this roster could produce, it would be absurd if it didn't happen.

    Reigns is still protected enough as the universal champion, which leaves the WWE titleholder as the opponent in line for The Beast Incarnate.

    WWE keeps relying on bringing back stars like Lesnar. It's doubtful this mentality will change by January, so having him win the men's Royal Rumble aligns with that philosophy.

Women's Top Pick: Rhea Ripley

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Despite how WWE continues to book Rhea Ripley as not being able to defeat Charlotte Flair, the fact that she has been chosen to face the company's golden child so many times proves WWE considers her a hot prospect.

    A rematch against The Queen isn't the most interesting concept, but we shouldn't count it out. However, a match against Becky Lynch could be one of the marquee contests in the women's division.

    Assuming The Man takes the backlash from how she won the SmackDown title from Belair at SummerSlam and does go on a full-blown heel run, she would need someone like Ripley to put her in her place.

Men's Top Pick: The Rock

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    Credit: WWE.com

    If WWE wants WrestleMania 38 to be as big as it possibly can be, the only answer is for The Rock to win the men's match and then face Reigns for the Universal Championship at The Show of Shows.

    This is such an obvious goal, and everyone knows it needs to happen.

    WWE can't afford to make the same mistake it did for Undertaker vs. Sting, Hulk Hogan vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Four Horsewomen vs. The Four Horsewomen and other dream matches that could have happened but were overlooked until they were no longer were viable.

    Assuming The Rock's schedule in Hollywood doesn't stop him from winning the Royal Rumble, a match at WrestleMania against The Tribal Chief should be WWE's top priority and biggest draw for months.

                 

    Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.

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