Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre and 15 WWE and AEW Matches We Need to See in 2022

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2022

Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre and 15 WWE and AEW Matches We Need to See in 2022

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    Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns are bound to rekindle their rivalry sooner rather than later.
    Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns are bound to rekindle their rivalry sooner rather than later.Credit:

    Despite just getting underway, 2022 is already shaping up to be another exhilarating year for both WWE and All Elite Wrestling based on what we've seen so far and what's still to come.

    One of the biggest takeaways from 2021 was that we were treated to several marquee matches from the two companies, with almost all of them living up to the hype. That includes Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair, Edge vs. Seth Rollins, Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega, and Kenny Omega vs. "Hangman" Adam Page.

    However, the rosters have changed so much over the last year that many more matchups are now possible. It also isn't difficult to see where WWE and AEW are headed with certain storylines; rather, it's more a matter of when they will culminate than how.

    In fact, one of those long-awaited outings is set to go down later this month at the Royal Rumble when Bobby Lashley challenges Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship. We also know CM Punk and MJF are on a collision course in AEW at some point given how heated their rivalry has gotten.

    Between now and the end of 2022, WWE and AEW must give the fans what they want to see in the form of these 15 matches. All of them are currently possible and realistic, leaving the two companies no choice but to ensure they come to fruition.

CM Punk vs. MJF

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    When rumors started swirling last summer that CM Punk was set to return to wrestling after a seven-year hiatus, there was a long list of opponents fans wanted to see him match up against in AEW.

    Kenny Omega and Darby Allin were bound to bring out the best in him in the ring, while someone such as MJF would prove to be the perfect foil for him on the microphone.

    Punk was known for his pipebomb promos throughout his time in WWE, specifically in his final few years with the company. His verbal jousts with John Cena, Triple H and The Rock were legendary, but it was unknown if he'd be able to have that same spark after seven years away.

    He erased any doubts about that during his brief rivalry with Eddie Kingston, and his current feud with MJF has produced several promo gems.

    As excellent as their wars of words have been, the endgame should still be a one-on-one match at some point. Punk got a measure of revenge over MJF in a six-man tag team match on the Holiday Bash edition of Dynamite, but their score won't truly be settled until they square off in singles competition.

    Revolution on March 6 would be the perfect place for them to finally collide, and it will be one of the biggest bouts yet for both guys in AEW.

Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley

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    This is another match that fans thought they'd never see but is about to happen having been many years in the making.

    Bobby Lashley has made it quite clear since returning to WWE in 2018 that one of his top goals has been to have a match with Brock Lesnar. There were multiple instances when it could have been booked, but WWE went in a different direction every time.

    There isn't a better time for this dream match to become a reality than right now, though.

    They crossed paths for the first time in the Fatal 5-Way main event at the Day 1 pay-per-view. Interestingly, The Beast Incarnate scored no offense over Lashley before capturing the WWE Championship in the end.

    Following The All Mighty's hard-fought win in the main event of Monday's Raw, two of WWE's biggest behemoths will meet for the WWE title at the Royal Rumble on January 29.

    Regardless of who wins, this colossal clash needs to remain a one-on-one affair and be booked like the brutal hoss fight it has the potential to be.

Christian Cage vs. Jungle Boy

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    Christian Cage mentoring Jungle Boy has been one of AEW's subtler stories of the last year.

    Both men unsuccessfully challenged Kenny Omega for the AEW World Championship in the summer of 2021 but formed a bond through their mutual respect for each other.

    Christian has made Jungle Boy (as well as Luchasaurus by association) his main focus for the last several months and led him to his upcoming opportunity at the AEW World Tag Team Championship.

    Jurassic Express have come up short in their pursuit of the tag titles twice before, so Wednesday's Dynamite may be a different story. Regardless of whether they win or lose, all roads should lead to Christian turning on Jungle Boy and returning to his roots as a heel.

    Jungle Boy was quickly gaining steam as a singles star before linking up with Christian, and their alliance should serve to ultimately elevate the young up-and-comer. The veteran has always thrived in the villain role and been protected enough that Jungle Boy beating him would mean something.

    Look for Christian's betrayal to happen sooner rather than later followed by the inevitable bout between the two.

Edge vs. AJ Styles

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    Edge's shocking return to the ring at the Royal Rumble in 2020 saw him interact with a number of names fans had wanted him to have matches with for years. He eventually went on to face Randy Orton, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, but he and AJ Styles have yet to go at it one-on-one.

    The Rated-R Superstar delivered a Spear to Styles in that men's Rumble match that caused him to separate his shoulder and take him out of the rest of the contest.

    Thankfully, The Phenomenal One's road to WrestleMania 36 wasn't derailed in any way, but he could always use that as his reason for targeting Edge heading into The Show of Shows this year.

    As far as we know, neither man has anything set in stone for 'Mania at the moment. Edge will (seemingly) wrap up his rivalry with The Miz and Maryse at the Royal Rumble, and Styles is in the middle of a feud with his former tag team partner, Omos.

    Edge has been in a marquee match for the last few years at WrestleMania and this year should be no exception. As for Styles, he should be much higher on the card than he is right now and a bout with The Rated-R Superstar would accomplish that.

    WWE needs to book this bout before either man calls it a career, and 2022 should be the year when it goes down.

Adam Page vs. Jon Moxley

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    As two AEW originals, it's wild to think that Adam Page and Jon Moxley have yet to feud or face off in a singles match.

    The closest they came to trading blows in an AEW ring was on the anniversary edition of Dynamite in October during the Casino Ladder match. They went at it on the top of a ladder, and Page ultimately got the better of the exchange and emerged victorious.

    That night was a turning point for both men. Hangman used his earned title shot to dethrone Kenny Omega as AEW world champion at Full Gear, while Moxley started to display heel tendencies and run roughshod over everyone who has stepped up to face him.

    Moxley eventually removed himself from television to enter an inpatient alcohol treatment program. There's no timetable on when he'll be back, but it should be noted that he was never technically eliminated from the AEW World Championship Eliminator Tournament.

    It was heavily teased he'd be turning heel prior to his hiatus and that should still happen at some point. Page is the perfect babyface for him to be feuding with when that time comes, ideally over the company's top title.

Riddle vs. Randy Orton

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    RK-Bro have been dominating the tag team ranks on Raw for quite a while now, but what some fans may not remember is that Riddle and Randy Orton actually started out as adversaries.

    Eight days removed from WrestleMania 37, they faced off in an impromptu bout on Raw for the first time. It turned out to be an entertaining encounter that ended with The Original Bro scoring a surprise clean win.

    That earned Riddle a bit of respect from Orton, and The Legend Killer then slowly but surely warmed to the idea of the two teaming. They put their differences aside to clinch the Raw Tag Team Championships at SummerSlam in August, and they've been riding high ever since.

    As is always the case with this sort of thing, it's more a matter of when than if they'll implode, specifically with Orton blindsiding Riddle with an RKO. It should happen when fans least expect it, but based on the roll they're on right now, it likely won't be in the immediate future.

    WrestleMania 38 would be a fine stage for Orton and Riddle to face off, but that could also be considered too soon depending on what the competition looks like by then.

    Either way, this match will undoubtedly transpire at one point or another in 2022.

Malakai Black vs. Darby Allin

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    As two of the most creative competitors in all of AEW, Darby Allin vs. Malakai Black is a must this year.

    Black has had a much better run for himself in AEW than he ever did on WWE's main roster. He wasted no time in targeting Cody Rhodes, decimated him in his debut match, and racked up wins against a variety of skilled competitors.

    He's been "blinding" people with his signature mist in recent weeks and is apparently building some sort of a faction, presumably The House of Black. He should attempt to recruit Allin only for him to decline and kick off a feud between them.

    Both guys work well with just about everyone they're in the ring with, but their styles specifically would mesh exceptionally well. Black's hard-hitting strikes combined with Allin's awe-inspiring aerial offense would be too tremendous to pass up.

    This is perhaps the most appealing program for Black right now given his current heel persona. AEW could wait to deliver it until later down the road, but 2022 might be best while they're still being featured as prominently as they are.

Naomi vs. Sonya Deville

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    For the many flaws SmackDown has at the moment, the one thing it has mostly managed to nail for the last few months is the feud between Naomi and Sonya Deville.

    Granted, Deville never explained what her beef with Naomi was in the first place, but it's been nice to have a secondary storyline in the women's division that isn't over a championship for a change.

    The WWE official has played her role as the authority figure drunk with power remarkably well, and Naomi has gotten the entire audience behind her as she attempts to overcome every hurdle Deville throws her way. The only issue is that the company has given no indication when the match will happen.

    The Day 1 pay-per-view would have been ideal, but the bout wasn't booked for the show. It's possible they'll interact in the women's Royal Rumble match and set something for WrestleMania 38, but that might be too far in the future considering this storyline has been going on since August and WWE is already running out of ideas for them.

    No matter what, it's imperative the company doesn't abandon this angle. The SmackDown women's division desperately needs Deville back in the ring, and Naomi could get a major momentum boost from beating her if the contest materializes.

The Lucha Brothers vs. Santana and Ortiz

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    Almost all of AEW's top tag teams have clashed at some point since the company's inception three years ago, but The Lucha Brothers and the duo of Santana and Ortiz have somehow eluded each other this entire time.

    That said, they have plenty of history from the time they spent in Impact Wrestling. The two teams had a stellar series of matches over the Impact World Tag Team Championship in the first few months of 2019, culminating in an incredible Full Metal Mayhem match at that year's Rebellion pay-per-view.

    It wasn't long after that both teams were "all elite" and signed with AEW. They've fought alongside each other in multi-man tag team matches but have yet to face off as opponents.

    Now that Penta El Zero M and Rey Fenix are the AEW world tag team champions, there's no excuse for it not to happen in 2022. Santana and Ortiz have been quietly building wins since the summer and should have the titles in their sights eventually.

    Once they do, expect these four to make magic all over again.

Big E vs. Goldberg

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    If Goldberg does indeed have one more match left on his current contract with WWE, who better to send him packing than Big E?

    While not the most notable name on the current roster, Big E has a huge amount of upside and would surely benefit the most from facing (or potentially beating) the veteran in his final farewell. It would only be fitting for Goldberg to put someone over on his way out, and the former New Day man has to be considered a strong possibility.

    After all, Big E has not shied away from professing his love for "big meaty men slapping meat" while discussing his desire to battle Goldberg on The New Day: Feel the Power podcast. Both men come from impressive football backgrounds and would no doubt produce a hard-hitting affair.

    The Powerhouse of Positivity is fresh off losing the WWE Championship at Day 1 and needs a proper rebound. If the plan isn't for him to win the men's Royal Rumble match and chase the title going into WrestleMania, a properly promoted matchup with Goldberg on The Grandest Stage of Them All would an excellent use of him instead.

    A victory over a competitor the caliber of Goldberg would also establish Big E as even more of a main event player than he already is.

Britt Baker vs. Thunder Rosa

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    There is only one woman who makes sense to dethrone Britt Baker as AEW women's world champion and that's Thunder Rosa.

    These two had two terrific matches early in 2021, with the second encounter marking the first time the women of AEW headlined Dynamite. That Unsanctioned Lights Out match pushed boundaries and showed what both were truly capable of.

    Baker, not Rosa, went on to win the women's title from Hikaru Shida at Double or Nothing in May, and she has been in possession of the prestigious prize ever since. She's had successful title defenses against the likes of Nyla Rose, Red Velvet, Kris Statlander, Ruby Soho and Tay Conti.

    Meanwhile, Rosa has been kept completely separate from Baker but recently fell short in the AEW TBS Women's Championship Tournament. That should allow her to shift her focus back to the titleholder just in time for Revolution in March.

    Their inevitable rubber match wouldn't need to be hardcore, though, as they've proved they have strong in-ring chemistry regardless of what the rules dictate.

Becky Lynch vs. Rhea Ripley

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    Becky Lynch has boasted time and time again about being a champion in WWE every active day she's been on the roster since WrestleMania 35. So, it's going to be a big deal when someone eventually beats her for the Raw Women's Championship.

    Bianca Belair would be the most logical candidate considering she and Big Time Becks have unfinished business from last year. However, if WWE wanted to give the champion a fresh opponent for WrestleMania 38 and not someone she's already defeated, Rhea Ripley would be a fantastic choice.

    The Nightmare had a hot start to her main roster run when she unseated Asuka as Raw women's champion at WrestleMania 37 and held the gold for the next three months. She hasn't done a whole lot since losing it other than winning the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship for a brief period and forming an alliance with Nikki A.S.H. that has barely been featured on Raw.

    The two losing the tag titles to Carmella and Queen Zelina in November should free up Ripley to chase the Raw Women's Championship this year. The only match she's ever had with Lynch was on NXT in November 2019 and it was relatively brief.

    Even if it isn't at WrestleMania, Lynch vs. Ripley would be a major contest for any pay-per-view in 2022.

Bryan Danielson vs. Daniel Garcia

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    Bryan Danielson proved in 2021 that no matter who you book him against on the AEW roster, he's virtually guaranteed to put on a clinic every time.

    He's currently chasing Adam Page's AEW World Championship and doing phenomenal work as a heel. Assuming he's unsuccessful in taking the title, he'll need something to fall back on and forming a stable of his own may not be the worst idea.

    Danielson told Scott Fishman of TV Insider in December that he's interested in the idea of getting a group together. The first name he mentioned was none other than Daniel Garcia, someone fans have closely compared to The American Dragon since his arrival in AEW.

    Garcia could play a role similar to the one Drew Gulak had when he served as a protege to Danielson in WWE two years ago. Before then, though, they need to square off in the ring at some point this year.

    Garcia is in the process of being built up through his rivalry with Eddie Kingston, so hopefully he'll pose as much of a threat to Danielson as possible when the time comes. It would surely be a submission-filled spectacle.

Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre

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    Needless to say, Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre are far from strangers to each other.

    Their storied history dates back three years to when they were on a collision course heading into WrestleMania 35. The roles were reversed at that time, with Reigns being the babyface and McIntyre the heel.

    Of the handful of matches they had in 2019, The Tribal Chief won them all. In fact, McIntyre has never beaten Reigns one-on-one, which is exactly why this story must be revisited sooner or later in 2022, ideally over the Universal Championship.

    Their Survivor Series 2020 clash was outstanding and left fans wanting more. They haven't crossed paths since then, but WrestleMania 38 would be as good of a stage as any for them to rekindle their rivalry and for McIntyre to end Reigns' historic run as universal champ.

    Following all of the departures, draft moves and injuries, SmackDown has little star power, meaning WWE may be forced to book this bout no matter what this year.

    But it's one of the biggest bouts the company can do and therefore should be saved for a grand stage such as WrestleMania or SummerSlam.

Kenny Omega vs. Adam Cole

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    It was exciting to see Adam Cole reunite with his Elite buddies at AEW All Out 2021 after over four years apart, but there has always been a question of how he will react when he finds out about his dismissal from the group.

    As Cole prepared for a move to WWE, he was exiled from The Elite at the behest of Kenny Omega with The Young Bucks carrying it out on his behalf. When Cole debuted in AEW, it was explained on Being The Elite that he didn't remember anything that happened to him after being "killed off" the show in 2017.

    He'll have to be reminded of his original exit from The Elite eventually, and it would make sense for Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish to be the ones to do so given their recent history with him. That would perfectly set up a faction war between the remaining members of The Elite and the former Undisputed Era.

    On the post-Full Gear edition of Dynamite, Omega teased tension with Cole when he said he was leaving The Elite in the hands of the Bucks, not him. Since then, the Bucks have had a hard time trusting Cole after he brought in O'Reilly behind their backs.

    Cole vs. Omega never had a chance to happen in 2017, but it's a much bigger bout now. With everything that's transpired since then, it will mean that much more if and when they go head-to-head.


    Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.